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Posts tagged “The Walking Dead

NEO Comiccon 2021

So, it would be accurate to say that there were no quarter bins of comics this year at Neo comicon. It would be accurate to say that. It would NOT however, be accurate to say if there were no quarter bins at all…

We hit Neo comicon lite just as soon as the doors opened this weekend. We had another appointment on the east side of Cleveland so we were going to be very limited in our time here and knew we’d have to be judicious in our browsing. Still, in the two hours we were there, I can’t see me or Maddie having lasted much longer than that.  It’s a small show this year. No programming, no costume contest, no out of town guests. We’re easing back into conventions. Still, it was nice to see old faces and the new acquaintances. One of my buddies from Heroes United ran up to me shook my hand while another just flat out embraced me. He mentioned that he forgot to bring my Flash box set that Chris has… I was confused.

“Wait, I loaned that to Rocky!”
“Yes,” he replied and “Rocky loaded to Chris. And then Chris passed it on to me since I do more Heroes United events than he does these days! But I totally forgot today…”

I love this stuff, it’s nice to be back on the convention circuit.

I caught up with Josh and Steph and Jennifer as well, who I just seen the previous night at our birthday parties… (We did all the July birthdays together at a new restaurant in Cleveland). I haven’t seen Jen in costume in a long time, and that’s kind of cool. Josh on the other hand has pushed Deadpool to a new ridiculous level. He’s got a Deadpool version of the Mandalorian, complete with a baby carrier for the child… Except the child is Detective Pikachu. Also for no reason, there’s an alligator Loki involved in this costume. It’s glorious.
Despite the lack of a costume contest, Cosplays were in full force here. Maddie decided to pull out her Clementine outfit from The Walking Dead again. Both of us were looking for quick and easy costumes that we could get around with no problems in, stuff that wouldn’t get us stopped for photos frequently, although to be fair, Maddie got recognized repeatedly as her character. In fact she was recognized just as often as my Shadow was. Always gratifying. It makes her day, especially considering we’re both showing Up in outfits that (as one of her favorite tik-toker‘s says )
“there is absolutely no demand for this character!”

Maddie bought a sketch from one artist booth that she instantly fell in love with, and immediately dropped her entire convention allowance (and then some of her own money) on it. I love that my kids buy art. I know I’ve said that before, but they still do it and it’s consistent. The fact that they support local artists is one of the things that just makes me proud as a dad. She also grabbed some hero clix with me and then stared longingly at a lot of the Pokémon stuff!

Remember when I said there were no Quarter comic bins? I’m not lying. There were only dollar bins.  Sure, I dug through some of the dollar bins and found a few interesting bits and pieces, but what I really hit hard, were the toys. We found about half a dozen long boxes filled with hero clix, a quarter each or five for a dollar. I dropped five dollars. That doesn’t sound like much, but it sure does look like a whole ton when you have an arm load. Some were OP prizes or FCBD specials that nobody actually carries, as well as dozens of characters that we really like and wanted to play with. I got a new penguin and I got a rocket raccoon, I even got a gladiator hulk! Superman and wonder woman and Batman, or the one I thought was a USAgent that was actually the captain… Steve Rogers while he was in exile. Great figures, and it almost makes me wanna play again!

But the single purchase that I was the most excited for…..

I actually just bought a couple of comics from this vendor, then went around the corner and spied a small box of twenty five cent toys. When I looked in, there were tons of old Star Trek micromachines. I love the Star Trek micromachine series. I grew up reading ads for the FASA wargame miniatures, and these things one for $10 for each ship in the 80s. When this series of Micro Machine starships came out, these were five dollars for three of them. I bought most of them when they ere first on sale about twenty five years ago. In the bin I saw a deep space nine that I immediately grabbed, because The one that I bought years ago, had actually lost a pylon. Snapped right off. Replacing it for a quarter was a treat. a new borg ship, a Klingon D7, and then I looked down and I saw it. It was a saucer. I almost thought it was Miranda class… Maybe the reliant itself but it was completely round, and the lines were sharper… And I saw the registry. NCC-1701-A. My jaw dropped and I frantically dug through the rest of the bin. The saucer section, the primary hull, had broken off of this figure… I dug desprately. Finally, in the corner of the box I found the secondary hall, the body of the ship with the engines…

I see the look on your face. I realize you don’t understand.

I came into Star Trek during the movie era. Not necessarily the wilderness period, but definitely before Star Trek the next generation. For me, Star Trek is the DC comics written by Peter David and Mike W Barr. It’s the maroon wrap around tunics, and the white starship with the blue dish on the front. It’s my single favorite ship in all of Star Trek. But micro machines, in their infinite wisdom, only ever released this ship as part of a large set that I could not afford at the time. Besides, that set had every ship that I’ve already bought in it…

I have always wanted this starship and I don’t care if this one’s broken, I have superglue at home. And at $.25 been this was the single most exciting discovery I had all day. Serious biz, I can’t even tell you how happy this find made me.

So amused that I still hit 25 cent  bins as hard as ever, but today it was all about toys, rather than comics. Nevertheless. I came home with some new reading material, a lot of toys to play hero clicks with my kids, and some really fun memories of what is generally the best comic convention in the area. I’m hoping they’re back to full speed next year.
 
 
 
 

 


Dark X Mas

Conman76688959_1362472190600648_2099482384830300160_oLast year around this time, I was off braving the frozen wastes of Chicago to head out and meet Clive Barker. I’d sent my buddy, director Mark MacKaye out to scope out the resurrection of the Dark X Mas convention. This year, I had an embargo against larger conventions like Days of the Dead I decided to head out to see Dark X Mas for myself. I’d actually quite enjoyed it’s summer counterpart Dark X Fest, but when I pulled up the map on my GPS I had to double check… The show had moved from the eerie hotel in the middle of nowhere, set against barren fields full of ghostly children. This time around, GPS was taking me to Mentor, and a familiar address at that. Dark X Mas has moved to the Holiday Inn that has hosted Lake Effect Comicon for the last few years. It’s familiar digs, despite being configured a little differently.

Once inside, I made a beeline for Marc Price’s table. Price is best known as Michael J. Fox’s best friend Skippy on Family Ties, but Dark X Mas had him here to celebrate the film Trick or Treat, where he co-starred with Ozzy Osbourne and Gene Simmons.That’s not why I wanted to meet him. I sidled up to his table and pulled out my convention bag.He spied the Troma autograph on it, and pointed excitedly.

“Lloyd Kauffman!, I know that name!” Price exclaimed with a huge grin. He turned and pointed to a particular poster on his banner. “He actually just bought up the rights to all the killer tomatoes movies!”
Out of my bag I pulled the same DVD cover and presented him with Killer Tomatoes Eat France.

“Like this?” I replied smiling. I reached into my bag again.

“I also brought you a friend to meet you.” and with those words I pulled out a plush fuzzy tomato. He picked up FT In wonderment, turning him over and over looking for a tag. I informed him that these were handmade, a little something I’ve been putting together since watching the films recently. He shook his head in astonishment

“Seriously? I thought it was official merch!” I commiserated with him that there was no official merchandise for Killer Tomatoes, and even when the cartoon had been on there was very little. Price was excited to talk about the movie, and shocked that anyone had even seen it much less enjoyed it. He taken the role against the wishes of his agent, who was sure it would be a disaster. Price on the other hand didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to travel to Paris on the film’s dime. He still finds it mildly annoying that like trick-or-treat, he’s not on the cover of the movie – but he remembers all the lines and 74389789_2858334960877575_8881670980020207616_n_2858334937544244even knows about some of the other sequels, informing me that George Clooney is in one of them – “the second!” I exclaimed happily.

I pulled out my other killer tomatoes, Zoltan and Fang, and we grabbed a passer-by to take a photo of us with the tomatoes. Price pointed it to them and ask the cameraman do you know what these are?” The guy with the camera grinned and bobbed his head referencing “Part four of the tomatoes trilogy!” Price was flabbergasted that he had another person was familiar with this movie.

He wouldn’t take any money for signing my DVD cover but was selling autographed photos from Trick or Treat and Family Ties with all proceeds going to the Michael J Fox foundation. I cheerfully grabbed a Trick or Treat photo and got a second autograph so I could make a donation. We shook hands but I wasn’t done with Skippy yet!

I moved down to the next table where Angela Jones was sitting. She is probably most notable for a small role that she had in Pulp Fiction, driving taxi for Bruce Willis and chatting about what it feels like to kill a person. It’s a bit role, sure, but it’s a bit role in Pulp Fiction! She was nice enough to sign my VHS box and when it came time to take a photo, there was no one around. She grabbed my phone and waved Price over, asking if he could take the photo for us. This is not something I don’t normally do, asking one of the guests to do grunt work like taking photos seems a little gauche, but she was the one doing the asking. Marc framed us in the picture, then shook his head, unsatisfied with the angle. He moved to the left a little bit… Looked again and shut the shoulders and moved a little bit more to the left. Just a little bit more, and finally found the perfect 78597563_2879276818783389_2650083650145615872_nangle and proceeded to take a photograph of the back of my head. “What are you DOING???” Angela chided Marc as we all laughed together. It was great fun and exactly the kind of goofy stuff you want to see at one of these events.

Shawn South was the last person I was there to meet, he’s been a bit player on a variety of productions, but I was interested in getting him on my Walking Dead poster. They had him seated next to Tim Proctor, another Walking Dead alumni, and he was every bit as friendly and fun as Proctor has been in the past. I caught him well he was chatting up a couple people who had brought him record albums to sign. He told them the story of how Norman Reedus didn’t believe Shawn South was his real name.

“That’s got to be a stage name! Show me your license!” Norman had teased him until he whipped out his driver’s license to prove it. Norman would continue to tease him through production – Shawn SOUTH!” enlisting other cast to run the gag. He recalled one time he had seen Andrew Lincoln pulling out of the parking lot and waved to him “Shawn SOUTH!!!”

I mentioned to him that The Walking Dead was one of of those few TV shows that my 78188300_2858335054210899_2572679212666191872_n_2858335044210900wife would watch with me. I told him the story about me catching up the first few seasons when they were marathoning it before starting the series in earnest. It had just always been on and Amy had wandered by enough that she started to get invested, and now it’s more her show than mine.

“Man, I know exactly what you mean,” South replied. “There’s so many shows I watch just so I can hang out with my wife. I mean stuff I’d NEVER have watched on my own. There’s this one Netflix show, it’s from Canada – it’s called Heartland….” My jaw dropped.

“I know Heartland.” I said, trying to control my laughter. “My wife is OBSESSED with it!”

We chatted for a while about the series and out mutual amazement at how it’s lasted 13 years. Then South paused and looked around the ghoulish wares surrounding us and shook his head.

“This is the last place I thought I’d be talking with someone about Heartland!”

Because this was a little smaller of a show I decide it would be a nice place to to a soft premier of my new Skeksis costume from The Dark Crystal. I’d been tinkering with it for a few months and Dark X Mas gave me a deadline to finish the main body (though I’ll still be working on accessories over the winter). I lugged the large costume over to an empty space across from the registration table. The wristbands for the show had been red, which would blend in nicely with my robes, but that also may present a problem getting in and out. So I walked over to the lady at the registration table and presented my band and explained that it may be obscured soon. She chuckled and nodded, then proceed to watch in fascination as I suited up. Tim Proctor from the Walking Dead stopped dead in his tracks 78692248_2858335674210837_1516686594419982336_n_2858335650877506as he was passing by.

“I saw all the red and gold and the PVC pipes and though they were putting up a tree r something!” He said as he gawked at the bird-like monster. “This is totally not what I expected!”

I wandered in, stopping for photos with people and I heard a voice nearby warn “You better watch out! Thanksgiving is days away!”. Inside I found monsters to play with. Guests Chris Hahn and Marc Price both jumped in for photos with the skeksis as well as several of the Horror Hosts. One group of horror hosts interviewed me asking “If you can’t find any gelflings to eat then what do you do? Is there like a generic version?”

“Lawn Gnomes.” I replied. then headed over to take a picture with Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas. Anne Robinson from the original War of the Worlds saw me and gushed.

“I have no idea what you are, but it’s amazing!” She cackled. “Look at the armature on the hands! The fingers even move!”

I had to run outside to grab something from my car. On the way out the gentleman from the Horror Hotel convention stopped me to tell me about thier show. “If you want to come out this year, you’ve got a ticket. I’d bet with all the indie filmmakers there, someone 78405981_2858335750877496_6194042667098177536_n_2858335740877497might even want to use that suit in a production!” I thanked him and let him know that Horror Hotel is one of those shows that’s been on my radar, but always seemed to conflict with someone else, but that I’d try to make it next year. I unintentionally freaked out some people trying to park in the hotel lot and retrieved my phone from the car, while sneaking some hydration. On the way back in I ran into Lisa Wilcox (from Nightmare on Elm Street 4&5) taking a smoke break and assured her I’d be in for her panel soon. She grinned. I’d see a dark elf out there later – not quite a gelfling, but close enough!

I do love hitting panels at these events. I managed to sit through Angela Jones talk as well as the Walking Dead panel in my street clothes, but had to sneak in the back for Marc Price and Lisa Wilcox due to the bulky costume. Tim Proctor and Shawn SOUTH moderated thier own panel, just having a talk between themselves and the audience, but apparently no one had been scheduled to do Jones or Wilcox. Joe Ostrica from Retro Invasion Weekend jumped in to save the day acting as impromptu moderator and asking excellent questions on the fly. Much respect to him for doing that.

If I have a complaint about Dark X Mas it’s the lack of organization. Not having moderators and kind of failing t keep the panels on time or on track shows a lack of planning and foresight. The panels kind of just lasted as long as they lasted. Maybe an hour for one. Maybe twenty minuets for another (and they NEED strong programming with the dealers room being on the small side). They advertised a costume contest, but no one knew where they were going to hold it or even who the judges would be. At the last moment they decided to hold it near the entrance of the dealers room and asked the horrors hosts to judge. In the future, I’d like to see a bit more planning, but I DO see a future for this show. It’s a friendly show with a fun atmosphere and I honestly had a better time here than I did at Days of the Dead last year. I’m definitely coming back to Dark X Mas in 2020.

 


Knott Dead Yet

commissions

We’re celebrating the rturn of the Walking dead with a little piece I did on the behalf of James T Quirk over at Cap’n Quirk’s Nerd Emporium. The idea is what if the Walking Dead happened in Mayberry? It’s dound south enough – actually not that far from Georgia…

We think it would go a bit like this…..

knott dead 3 knotts dead

Better make that one bullet count Barney….


Josh McDermitt

Autographs

12250077_1071892009521888_2919989705536073660_nSo I got Josh McDermett through the mail and on the set – except, the picture came with this note.

12241570_1071891976188558_5737756955605845605_n

Eugene is now my hero.

12301497_1071892026188553_4186800931622410765_n


Chandler Riggs

AutographsNo dedication, He just scribbled his name on both. I’m just happy to have it back, it’s the fourth time I’ve sent it out and it’s come back to me. That makes Chandler Riggs, Andrew Lincoln, Jeffrey DeMunn and Vincent Ward on it!

12004712_1041277025916720_1769645149966416716_n


Andrew Lincoln

Autographs

I can’t justify the ridiculous prices that the Walking Dead cast members charge at cons, but I’m not above writing letters and asking for autographs  through the mail….this was a thrill to get.

Andrew Lincoln


ConCoction 2016

ConmanConcoctionFour conventions in four weeks is a little excessive, even for me – however, you have to admit that every show I’ve been to lately has been a different kind: Zipcon was an Anime Convention – very focused on Japanese animation and manga. You might see a Spiderman or Deadpool there, but really it’s all about the cartoons. Great Lakes on the other hand was a comic con. They had a more straightforward focus on mainstream comics, with only a couple of media guests, and all of them comic related. The 80s theme made a great deal of fun as well. Horror Relm is strictly a horror convention, with a heavy media and film focus. To their credit they do in fact have a literary component, but it’s overshadowed by the media guests.

That leaves us with this weekend, my first time out to the Cleveland ConCoction. ConCoction is a sci-fi convention – there’s a few more elements in there, a little bit of anime and comics, but it’s far more about speculative fiction. There is a heavy literary influence here, with very few media guests and more authors doing panels then actors. There’s a lot of Star Wars here predictably, but there is also an enormous amount of Star Trek here as well, hearkening back a little bit to the old days of Star Trek conventions. Seriously, I have not seen this many Star Trek costumes in one place in probably 20 years? That was fun and refreshing to be around again. It made it the perfect place to debut my new Borg outfit (truthfully created with ConCotion at least partially in mind) and I spent Saturday going around attempting to add biological and technological distinctiveness to my own. Sadly, all I managed to assimilate was girl scout cookies.

BorgConcoction has been around for three years now, and they been on my radar the entire time – my main barrier to entry has been the cost – concoction is a little bit more expensive than other shows sheratonits  size and on top of that, their location is the Sheraton hotel at the Cleveland Hopkins airport – this is a problem because it means you are going to pay to park, and if the hotel lot fills up (which it did, long before I made it there) you’re going to pay a LOT to park. Just a Saturday ticket is $40 at the door, although if you register early enough you can get the entire weekend for about $45 or so, and if you can get into the hotel parking lot it’ll only cost a fiver for a place to put your car. But if you get stuck having to park at the airport lot, you’re dropping an extra $12. All that cost up front, with very few media guests has kept me away first few years, but when I won a admission last September during a costume contest, it definitely got me excited about coming and far more willing to brave the extra costs of going.

Yes, ConCoction costs more, but they try harder too. There is programming from early in the morning all the way up until 1468755_1135510343160054_4953599633679730211_nmidnight here, and that’s not even getting into after parties and stuff like that. There is a ConSuite on site as well, where are you can find food and beverage. I’ve seen Motor City Nightmares do a similar hospitality suite, but wit far less of a spread and you had to get a special VIP admission for it. At ConCoction, the Consuite is open to anyone attending the show.  I had all of my meals there, and this is really a great thing… Not having to run away from the hotel to grab food, not having to strategically plan your meals. They kept me hydrated (kind of important in some of my costumes) and fed. They also held several the panels in this cozy dining room.

10564994_1135510339826721_3087686439105258383_nThe panels at ConCoction are very interesting, not just the content but also in the way that they are run. A lot of them are far more of a forum than a strict panel – there is a lot of audience participation and conversation going on. As soon as I arrived, I ran into some friends who were on their way to a panel in the Consuite being hosted by Pete Mako (of Pete Mako in the Boogiemen, remember them from a few weeks ago?). I was still getting my bearings and found myself in the Consuite and noticed that they were there. I asked “I thought you guys were going to a panel!” Pete walked past me smiling and clapped my shoulder then said “This IS the panel!” The group, about have a dozen of them relaxed around a table and began discussing the topic of “Geek Dating”.  It wasn’t the first time I’d see this, in fact later on I would sit down to a panel charmingly  titled “Why You Are Here: Two Old Broads and Why They Ran (and stopped running) cons in Cleveland “. It was a discussion of behind-the-scenes at conventions, and what it was like to host the old Earth Cons back in the 80s.  I like to consider myself a convention Veteran. I’ve been on the scene since I was a kid back in ’87, but these ladies were doing it back in the late 70s and started hosting their own show in’81… In fact Earth Con’s last show was held just before the first Star Trek Convention I ever went to! They discussed the difference between the Literary cons and media cons, something I’ve never even really been aware of – things were leaning a little bit more towards media and Star Trek conventions during my time. They reminisced about gathering diffrent groups together to gaming, sci-fi, comics and the how the cooperation from different groups  help Make Earth Con a reality. The gamers would bring in Steve Jackson. The Comic people would bring in Stan Lee, while Earth Con would get someone like Anne McCaffrey or James Doohan. But then, the unity between the orginizations began to fragment, each wanting to hold their own conventions. It was fascinating to hear about how that cooperation transformed into competition.

I was riveted, so were a couple of the tweeners hanging out – a couple of junior high girls who were fascinated by the idea, and so excited about the convention experience that all they wanted to do was just find more shows to go to, and more time to spend at these events.

I sat back, trying to decide if thier giggling, gasping hyperactivity was annoying or inspiring.

The thing is, I was that age once. I remember… I remember what this felt like, I remember what it was like to break into the world of fandom, and I can’t help but smile – seeing it happen all over again, it really does makes me happy.

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There are several comedy shows going on at ConCoction, and I was dead 1924260_1134584266585995_8867013992410242920_nset on making sure I hit “doctor whose line is it anyway? ”

It really set the tone for a lot of the comedy show cases that we saw over this weekend There were two different improv troupes going on, and that made up a great deal of the sketch comedy happening, but also, later in the evening there was a group of stand-ups who came out to perform. This was really fun to see, with the subject matter tailored to fit the convention – sci-fi and fantasy genre jokes. Monster Bash is the only10402849_10100447131970896_75788821195389550_n other show that immediately comes to mind that I know that has stand up as part of its routine. It’s a great late night filler and I had a lot of fun with it.

One of the highlights of Saturday for me was “Looking for Love in Alderaan Places”. It’s still improv, but with an outline. They know where they are going, and what the story is, but still keep in off the cuff. It has the feel and style of a classical farce – if it were written by George Lucas.

12814777_10208473897623319_2422085043494285847_nI managed to hit the “State of the Star Trek panel “with Larry Nemecek. Larry is an American Star Trek author, actor, editor, archivist, consultant, interviewer and producer.  He has portrayed Dr. McCoy in the Star Trek Continues web series episodes “Pilgrim of Eternity” and “Lolani.”  and has been around the franchise for a good long time – the buzz of course, is not so much Star Trek beyond, but the new Star Trek series that CBS all access is producing There is a certain degree of trepidation and pessimism that comes along with any of it, and he reminded us of that same kind of feeling 12814683_10208473900423389_8572060921254002335_nback in the days of Star Trek : The Next Generation. You know what, I remember those days and I remember that negativity, but I don’t remember if that was me or not.  I’d like to think that it wasn’t, I’m pretty sure I was excited just because there is new Star Trek been produced in my lifetime and that was unthinkable.

One of my favorite slides he showed was this bullseye from the writers room, basically all the possible responses you could expect from a pitch – and everyone was always aiming for the center.

There is something surreal about the fact 942299_10208473899943377_6591667192631257574_nthat I attended this panel dressed as a Borg. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one in the room who found that funny, several pictures of the back of my head appeared online later on in the evening…

Litarary panels are fun, and really come from a different place than I’m used to. You get a diffrent kind of discussion, usually with far better referances and sources to back up opinions and ideas. “Growing up sci-fi” emphasised a lot of the isolation that you kind of felt as a sci-fi fan in the pre-Internet days. I’d kind of forgotten, and perhaps it wasn’t really true in my time, how sci-fi used to have a sort of “renegade “or “rebellious “reputation to it. I’m Pre-Internet 1557519_1134584003252688_4520742300568146200_nas well, and I empathize with the writer who mentioned she didn’t know what it would’ve been like, how she would’ve handled it if she hadn’t had access to the online community when she was growing up as a sci-fi fan. It’s a fascinating perspective. I was blessed to have found friends in both school and Church who shared my passions and gave me an outlet for them. Equally fascinating was the writer who described reading the Star Trek novels long before they were ever able to see an episode of the TV series. This is fundamentally my story on how I experienced Captain Video and I totally get what you’re saying. I love seeing that idea overlayed on another series.

12799270_1134584123252676_3852451897015572495_nThe comic book collecting panel, hosted by Ed Gosney, was little bit more familiar territory, though still very much more a discussion then a lecture. people talked about characters and earth that they loved. One of the Writers from the previous panel was there discussing how there are a number of comics in his collection where it was the art, the imagery itself rather than the story that captivated him. To the point where he eventually scanned those images into his computer, so he’d have the art without having to carry around the baggage of the books themselves. We talked about great finds, and the one that got away… One of the attendees told a story about a day out garaged saleing. He was with his mother but only had about three dollars to his name at the moment. In the back of this person’s garage he saw boxes, and boxes of comics. Longboxes full of rare stuff, seminal stories, important comics. The owner told him he could have the whole lot for $50. His mother of course, wasn’t loaning him the money no way no-how, so he grabbed a handfull of choice issues and ran out to the flea market.  On the way there he called one of his buddies to let him know about the stash that was at this grudge sale – “if I don’t get out there, you need to “. He managed to raise the necessary $50 on those special issus he had snagged, and arrived back at the garage sale just in time to see his buddy loading that collection into his truck. Still from then on, every con that friend put on, he had his admission comped and a $15 credit at his booth.

12821477_10208888702279257_8522430331028457468_n“A borg is walking away with a signed copy of my book ‘Prometheus Stumbles’. There’s something you don’t see every day….”

1918241_1134584379919317_8384069525695507069_n10401215_1692907380925919_1112321460170093922_nI’m going on and on about the programming. I know. While I usually say that programming is the lifeblood of a con, it’s really true here. The vendors area is divided into three sections, an artist room, an authors alley and a proper dealers room. All three are about the size of my living room. Maybe a touch bigger. This is not Wizard World where you walk into a room the size of an airplane hanger packed full of vendors and scalper selling the latest things that Hot Topic has sold out of. The dealers here 12814043_1692907334259257_7187117035295895702_nare artists and craftsmen, gamers and cosplayers.

You’ll find jewelry and puppets and dice and leather here. I saw custom fan neckties and mopey robots and strange flowers (I bought the girls wooden roses). It’s interesting stuff, more like the sort of thing you’d see at a Renaissance fair, not so much like what you may be used to seeing at a comic con.  You can pretty much get through the dealers room in ten to fifteen minuets, so honestly, that better not be what you’re coming for.

1914248_1134584469919308_6566962078602034097_nThere are a few more tables upstairs along the mezzanine. It’s a stunning view and a really cool space. It’s also out of the way and easy to neglect. The cosplayers are up there, and I made sure to get into a quick scuffle with Knightmage’s Darth Maul as we overlooked the balcony.

1934177_1134584076586014_2004702050444750437_nIn addition to the cosplayers, there were a couple other concoction groups set up there as well as the Federation booth and the band.

Oh yes. The band.

10488369_1134580496586372_3858482629432149360_nFive Year Mission is the collaboration of five Star Trek fans who endeavor to write and record a song for each of the episodes of the 12832488_1134583703252718_5751622523088986578_noriginal Star Trek series from the 1960s. One of my friends is certain the bass player is going to drop dead after each show and have to be replaced because of the red shirt. It’s a remarkably good band with clever songs and good hooks. The band switches up instruments after almost every song which makes for an interesting dynamic – we get to hear just about every sing at one point and the songs honestly do get stuck in your head.

Five Year Mission did two sets on Saturday, one full electric set as well as a smaller acoustic set – “storytellers” style, where they laid 12809655_10100264656957521_6018051804594040867_nout the idea behind each song they played.

They weren’t the only musical act though. As I mentioned earlier, Pete Mako was here as well to do his set (which they scheduled during the costume contest! Come on! What’s up with that???). I caught his act at ZipCon and was really excited that he was going to be playing ConCoction. Pete was around all weekend helping out with bits here and there.

943827_10205463303814341_1761433482646886302_nCosplay is interesting at ConCotion. You don’t have the throngs of cosplayers swarming all around the joint like you do at an Anime convention, but a you have way more than the few dribs and drabs that filter into a Horror con.  It’s a fascinating mix as well. There are 10533812_1134580626586359_444356057891803547_na few superheros around, I saw a ninja Deadpool to die for. But there’s also fantasy, anime characters, steampunk folks, monsters and film characters.

There’s more puppets walking around than you’d expect.

It’s this fantastic variety that makes cosplay at ConCoction really something to see. There’s some innovation in a lot of these outfits I couldn;t have begun to imagine and I was always delighted to discover what new character was right around each corner.

They run the costume contest a little diffrently here. You sign up in the 10:00 hour, and are assigned a slot for pre-judging (mine was 1:45-2:00). You then sit down with the judges and talk out you costume. What it is, what it’s made of, how you did it, anything you really want to say. 1930802_10205399581619124_4712447231621981179_nThe masquerade is around 6. This is the stage show, MCed by Moxie Magnus, the chief cosmetologist on the USS Enterprise under Captain under James T Kirk, and the comedy (drag) queen of outer space. I had fun bantering with Moxie pointing out that my designation was 7 of 5 – none of the other Borg want to hang out with me and then sent me to ConCoction alone to assimilate the show.

1921957_10205463301334279_2095796481302015485_n“And you WILL be assimilated! Resistance is useless!”
“Oh, I’m not resisting…”
“You COULD resist a little you know….”

10628478_1134581023252986_6515379055405091959_nThe winner of the contest was this beautifully made Kaylee from Firefly, and I love this. It shows just how well they understand it. This wasn’t the flashiest costume, it’s not the trendiest. But it’s the most impressive because of the massive amount of work here. This dress is handmade, she did it all and it’s perfect. I’ve seen commissioned ones before and this is dead-on, a masterpiece of stitching. A great, well-earned win.

It’s pretty well known that I’m not a Star Wars fanatic (casual fan at best) so Dak wasn’t a big deal for me, but I was really interested in 1384339_1134584226585999_679050314139320533_nmeeting Santiago Cirilo.

Santiago has been on hit TV Shows and Films on TNT, Lifetime, Investigation Discovery, Oxygen, USA Network, Fox, and of course on AMC as Julio in Season 4 of The Walking Dead.He’s the first person from the Walking Dead in fact, that I’ve met or gotten an autograph on that poster of mine in person from.

Santiago is a native of Lorain, which is a neighboring suburb to my own Elyria. We discussed the Lorain Palace and growing up in the area. The thing on his resume that I was honestly the most fascinated by was how he had done episodes of America’s Most 5839_10208889933430035_4749321152107822448_nWanted. You never think about where they get the actors for the reenactments on those shows and I was surprised at how straightforward it is, casting calls the agent and an audition. For some reason I always imagined those shows casting differently. I only caught the tail end of his panel, but Santiago was around for after parties as well, in his Superman leather jacket and shirts. You can see he’s a fan at heart and fits well into this show.

After 11, the barfleet party happens. Drinks and dancing and socializing. The dance floor there is a smaller more intimate setting that the No Strings Attached Ball that happens around 8 in one of the main programming rooms, but still pumping the music with lights in the air and drinks in hand.

Honestly, there’s far more going on at ConCoction than I can cover. There’s always a couple things happening at the same time and I didn’t even begin to hit them all. I barely spent any time in the game room. There were always things going especially for kids in one room. There were music acts that I just couldn’t catch. I’m already registered for next year and if you can stash away a few extra pennies it’s definitely worth checking out.

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Last week

tvTheWalkingDeadPosterMild spoilers.

The walking dead returned last night with a bang.

Did I just make a pun? I really didn’t mean to​.

We got a pretty full resolution of the cliffhanger from the mid season finale, and a lot of what we expected to happen did – there are certain people we didn’t think were going to make it through that zombie horde, and sure enough, they got eaten right up! I’ll admit to one death that I didn’t quite see coming, but probably should have in retrospect.

We got some Carl action straight out of the comics this week as well, and my wife freaked out. I knew what was coming from reading ahead, but man did she lose her mind. I’m glad though, glad that they didn’t shy away from this – Rick still has his hand in the TV show and certain things haven’t happened, I’m hoping that this is a return to form – a return to peril.

That really seemed to be the point of this episode, to try and make us feel that fear again, that peril. The truth is, there is a specific established cast on the show now, and they are far less willing to kill these people off. I’ve said it before, this is a problem – it was that feeling that no one will safe, that everyone was in danger and anyone could die at any time, that really build this series up. There’s too many safe characters now .

They played with that at the very beginning of the episode, you didn’t know how our heroes were going to get out of their dilemma and it looked pretty clear that a couple Supergirlof them were about to die… But even the supporting cast seems a little too safe in this brave new world of walking dead. It’s time to up the stakes, and we have a perfect opportunity to do that with the incoming villains – I hope they take advantage of it, but of course that means some people are going to have to die.

I also wanted to talk about Supergirl last week. Let’s face it, last week’s episode was nothing but fan service. I’m not complaining mind you, I feel quite serviced.

“For the Man Who has Everything” (which this story is loosely based) is one of my favortie Superman stories ever. It’s one of Alan Moore’s finest hours and it stands alone as the single silver age Krypton story that actually makes me interested in Superman’s Homeworld. The parisitic Black Mercy featured in this episode is dead on. It look EXACTLY like it does in the comics, and in fact it’s abillity to move a bit on leafy tentacles is a brilliant enhancement. I love this.

When Kal-El showed up, my girls were questioning why Kara had a little brother. I explained to them that it was her cousin. That it was Superman. Their jaws dropped.

mmI love seeing this Krypton. It’s a beautiful design. I saw familiar kryptonian writing in this episode, something I’m glad they are borrowing from Smallville. I love seeing the relationships Kara had. I love seeing Astra in this context as opposed to being a villian.

The biggest treat here though was to finally see Martian Manhunter flex his muscles. I think we’ve all been waiting for this since the big reveal that Henshaw was the Manhunter. Seeing both his true form in combat and his shifted form standing in for Kara was marvelous. I want to see more of it, but I suppose I get the wisdom is minimizing his exposure.

There was one thing that bothered me about this story though. It’s Kara’s speech at the end. I know, no one pressured her or questioned her, but it had to come from somewhere. Someone had to make her feel this guilty about her dreaming of Krypton instead of earth.

Supergirl is not Superman – she spent half her life on Krypton. Can you imagine that?

homePerhaps this will put it in better context. I can never go back to my childhood home.

My parents sold their house when I was about 14 – we moved to a smaller place, and eventually I grew up and moved out. The house I grew up in, doesn’t exist anymore. Oh the front facade is still there, though even that looks diffrent, now sillouetted by the atrocious small barn/shed that the next owner put up on the property. I checked the ads a couple years ago – the owners were selling it again. The pool is gone, the overgrown wooded area in the back yard – across the bridge over the ditch and just past the garden was cleared out into a wide open space with just a few trees left. They cut down the tree in the front – the one I used to climb and pretend was my fort or base. The bushes in front of the house are gone. My mother was always so proud of those hedge bushes right under the bay window. Inside the house, The spare bedroom that my father kept his music and instruments in, the one tThe Flashhat I used to play video games on an old Atari 2600 hooked up to an old black and white TV- that room is gone, the wall torn down to extend the kitchen.

When I dream of home, it’s that house – the one I grew up and as a child. The magic woods in the back that I played in, where it could become anything I imagined. It’s all a place I can never go back to.It no longer exists and I will miss it forever. If someone made me feel like I needed to apologize for that, that someone would no longer be in my life. Kara has nothing to be ashamed off and I resent that someone made her feel like she does. I really do.

Looking forward to her team up with the Flash though. I can’t tell you how excited the glimpse of her (and of the John Wesley Shipp Flash!) in the dimensional tunnel last week made me. The Flash continues to impress and I can’t believe this crossover is actually happening.

It was good to see Ronnie back last week by the way, even if it is a doppelganger. I actually mentioned to him that I’ve been waiting all season to see him come back, and here he is! Also digging that they are making use of the name “Deathstorm” even if it isn’t the FirestormBlackest Night version.

The other thing I’ve been waiting all season to see was Killer Frost. Ever since we got that brief glimpse of her at the end of last year I’ve been eagerly awaiting her arrival. It’s a good look, understated, but definitely Killer Frost. I actually hope to see a bit more of her, perhaps crossing over to our earth and making trouble. I like Kaitlyn and don’t want to see her go bad, but man, that Killer frost is dope.

That’s it for today. Tomorrow maybe we’ll talk some Deadpool.