Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sunday Fly-By to the Emerald City Comicon 2015--Cosplayer "Quotes"

(Image:  Emerald City Comicon Banner)


Here's my "Cosplayer Finale" to this year's Emerald City Comicon (ECCC)!

I decided to have a little fun and "put words" in the mouths of the cosplayers my stepson and I met.  I'll start off this narrative by "discussing"...

The Reasons for Cosplay

Why do people get involved in cosplay?

This Timelord may have one answer, to this mulit-faceted question:

(Quote attributed to:  Doctor Who--the Fourth Doctor)

Hmm.  Possibly.

But whether one's a grown-up, or child; lots of people like to portray their favorite heroes, even if they don't have super powers.

(Quote attributed to:  Phil Coulson in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the episode The Beginning of the End)
Though not many people can change the world single-handedly, so teaming-up requires...

Interacting With Others 

One of the great aspects of conventions, like ECCC, is that it gives us nerds a chance to leave our hovels and interact, face-to-face, with our fellow fans.

Although, some folks find attending crowded events to be a bit outside their comfort zone.

(Quote attributed to:  Londo Mollari in Babylon 5, in the episode The War Prayer)

(Quote attributed to: Gamora in the movie Guardians of the Galaxy)

Fortunately, dancing isn't a mandatory activity at ECCC, so there are other ways to interact with your fellow con-goers...

(Dialogue attributed to the 2003 movie Peter Pan)

Okay, maybe this is pushing "interaction" too far, so maybe some notes on proper manners are in order.

Convention Etiquette

People attend the ECCC to escape from the troubles plaguing the real world for a weekend.  So leave the hot-button topics outside the convention center.
(Quote attributed to:  Londo Mollari in Babylon 5 in the episode The Gathering)
(Quote attributed to:  Londo Mollari in Babylon 5, in the episode Point of No Return)

Whether you cosplay or not, when attending any convention, it pays to always be on your best behavior.

(Quote attributed to:  Jack Skellington in The Nightmare Before Christmas)

If you can't say anything nice about a cosplayer's costume, then don't say anything at all. 

(Quote attributed to Han Solo in The Empire Strikes Back)

Cosplayers appreciate compliments.  But even if their outfits don't fit canon (the show's "reality")...

(Quote attributed to:  The EMH/Doctor in Star Trek: Voyager, in the episode Life Line)

...and they seem to be able to handle themselves...

(Quote attributed to:  The EMH/Doctor in Star Trek: Voyager in the episode Message in a Bottle)

...or they don't seem all that approachable in the first place...

(Quote attributed to:  Gamora in the movie Guardians of the Galaxy)
...it's no excuse for being rude.  

So that means no hitting on the pretty women (or guys for that matter), just because they're wearing pretty (handsome) outfits.

(Quote attributed to:  Belle in Disney's 1991 film, Beauty and the Beast)

And leave a cosplayer's props alone! 

(Image derived from:  The Wizard of Oz)

Attending Next Year's ECCC?

My stepson and I enjoyed this year's convention, and everyone we talked told us they were having a good time.  Most, if not all of us, would like to make this an annual event.

However, as is often said, "Life gets in the way," which can make regular attendance problematic at best.

Some folks may have a rigid work schedule and will be unable to take the time off.

(Quote attributed to:  Phil Coulson in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in episode Heavy is the Head)

While for others, the odds of attending each year may seem too daunting. 

(Quote attributed to:  Han Solo in The Empire Strikes Back)

If however, an opportunity arises, but you feel like you're at a virtual crossroad, an outside voice may ask...

(Quote attributed to:  Merida in Brave)

Although, keep in mind:

(Quote attributed to:  Doctor Who--The Fourth Doctor)

But when you do return to the ECCC, you just might feel like this:

(Quote attributed to:  Han Solo in Teaser Trailer #2 for Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
Author's Notes:

I used the ink sketch tool on my Paint.Net program to make it look like I actually drew these pictures.  Then I utilized Comic Life to create the word balloons and the occasional sound effect, while the one visual effect was made with the Windows Paint Program.  The words "spoken" by the cosplayers I encountered are derived from actual quotes made by the characters in their respective movies, or TV shows.


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Friday, April 17, 2015

Watch Mojo's Top 10 Fantasy Movie Cliches



I've loved fantasy ever since I started reading Conan the Barbarian comics as a teenager.

However, as with every genre, fantasy literature is loaded with clichés.

Watch Mojo gives us the Top 10 tropes found in our favorite fantasy stories.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Watch Mojo's Top 10 Worst Movie Plot Twists



Plot twists are an awesome tool to keep your readers & viewers engaged in your story.

However, some plot twists fall flat.

Watch Mojo has come up with the Top 10 flat-line plot twists in movies.

After watching this video I'm thankful I haven't seen most of the films that "made the cut."  Especially The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 and Savages.

The climax to both movies turned out to be "it-was-all-a-dream" scene.

In the writer's workshops I've attended, I learned this was the #1 way to tick-off your readers & viewers.  I'm surprised the producers of Breaking Dawn and Savages thought the viewers would be okay with the "oh-never-mind-the-cool-finale-that-didn't-really-happen."

But then again, I never read either of the books the movies were based on.

While I hated the 2005 version of War of the Worlds, I'm more forgiving of the plot twist, because I did read the original source material (now 107 years old).

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Watch Mojo's Top 10 Typical Movie Character Stereotypes



Stereotypes are a quick & easy way to define characters for readers & viewers.

However, they're often overdone, to say the least.

Watch Mojo identifies the (debatable) Top 10 Typical Movie Character Stereotypes.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Sunday Fly-by to the Emerald City Comicon-2015--Encounters with Cosplayers


(Image:  Emerald City Comicon Banner)

Comicons are events where writers, artists and fans gather and express their love for comics, graphic novels and their TV shows and movies.  

Cosplayers are a special group of people that don't just admire their favorite characters from afar.

No, they immerse themselves in the roles, often to the same degree as professional actors.  Some are even considered professional cosplayers, such as AZ Powergirl and Ivy Doomkitty, both of whom attended this year's ECCC.

While Alex and I didn't meet either of the pros, we were impressed with the "rank-and-file" cosplayers, starting off with...

...The Men:

The first guy we ran into was distinguished Ambassador Londo Mollari from the show Babylon 5.


Londo walked with Alex & I for a few moments and he confided with us about the one difficulty he had with his otherwise elegant costume:  His head-piece didn't allow him to tilt his head back to drink.  So he had to drink fluids through a straw.  In fact, Londo was holding his left hand behind him not only to strike a regal Centauri-like pose, but to hide the soda bottle--with straw--he was drinking from.

After Alex & I parted ways with Londo, we encountered an other-worldy ambassador:  Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas


I have to admit that my "geek credit" is a bit anemic in some areas, especially with computer, or on-line games.  

So I'm not sure who this guy is...


...or this guy, although I at least recognize the Ghostbusters arm patch and lapel pin.  


Now here's a guy anyone with low geek-cred can identify:


Alex and I ended up running into Han Solo a few times during our walkabout.  As it turned out, Han is an actor currently performing with the USO.

Not every costume needs to be elaborate, "scruffy-looking," or otherwise. 

Sometimes all you need is a suit and badge, like S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Phil Coulson demonstrated:


Formal attire wasn't limited to civilians.  There was the pre-red-white-and-blue Captain America in his Eisenhower Jacket...


...and his trusty Vibranium Shield

And speaking of trusty companions, there was at least one "doctor in the house" Alex & I encountered.  In this case it was the Time Lord Doctor Who in his fourth regeneration...


...and his faithful K9.


The Women: 

The good doctor wasn't the only Whovian Alex & I met.  By my count, there were two Weeping Angels, and I managed to snap a picture of one of them in her Quantum Locking Defense


I'm embarrassed to admit that I haven't seen the movie Guardians of the Galaxy yet.  But at least I recognized Gamora.


Another space-traveler, was Officer Ripley...


... from the Alien Films and her Chestburster "pet."

Sometimes it was hard to tell who was the pet...


...and who was the owner.  Or maybe dinner, in the case of this Graboid costume from Tremors

Alex & I spotted several cosplayers in various Star Trek uniforms, but only one...


...in vinyl.  (Maybe she was posing as Holodeck program?)

Coming back from "the final frontier," where "no one can hear you scream," there were Disney princesses a-plenty.

I managed to get pictures of some Disney Princesses, from bow-wielding Merida...


...from Brave, and Belle...


...from Beauty and the Beast wearing her ball gown and a Mona Lisa Smile.

Couples & Pairs: 

Cosplaying doesn't have to be a solo endeavor either.  It's even more fun to have a friend or partner with you.

But sometimes two cosplayers can be twice as confusing.  I'm guessing these women were dressed...



...as their versions of Harley Quinn

Fortunately, even in the dark there was no guess-work about Dark Phoenix...


...and Wolverine.  (I think having Cyclops around would have made things awkward for these two).

Love triangles aside, some cosplayers put on a micro-performance.  Outside the Show Floor, the Wicked Witch of the West...


...tried to remove the Ruby Slippers from Dorothy Gale's feet.

Meanwhile, Wendy Darling...



...admonished Peter Pan about it being time he grew up.

Cosplay Team:

There were more than just pairs of cosplayers at this year's ECCC.  Alex's eagle eyes spotted this pack of Minions behind us...


...and I managed to snap a picture before they set out on their mission of mayhem. 

Now as this Cosplayer Encounter post draws to a close, I'd like to thank the folks who helped make this year's convention a success...

(Image from: Archie McPhee's Flickr Page from ECCC-2012)

...the Emerald City Comicon Minions!

Note:

If you're interested in being on the Minion Team next year, log on to the ECCC Minion Application Page as the event draws near.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Sunday Fly-By to Emerald City Comicon 2015--The Shopping Spree

(Image:  Emerald City Comicon 2015 Banner)

After our Jimmy Johns lunch break, Alex & I returned to The Show Floor for our shopping spree.  We revisited booths that interested us during our initial walkabout.  Alex bought a T-shirt and several postcards and prints.

Meanwhile, I blew my budget on a bunch of books, games and artwork.

Books:

(Image:  New books!)

The first author I revisited was Brad Guigar.  I was hoping to start off my Evil Inc collection with a signed copy of his Annual Report (Vol 1).  But no such luck.  Volumes 1 & 2 of were sold out and Brad said he'll be compiling the first three Annual Reports into an omnibus.  So I picked up Vol 3, pictured above, which Brad not only signed, but drew a quick sketch for me.  (As I wrote this I got on Amazon.com and ordered Annual Report Volumes 1 & 2).

One author/artist team Alex & I stumbled across during our initial walk-through was Ben Thompson and Manny Vega creators of Badass of the Week.  

I've loved reading military history since I was a pre-teen.  However, even books about bloody battles can be boring to read.  Not to mention how history is taught in our K-12 education system.

From my preliminary inspection, Ben Thompson dispels the doldrums with a pulp-fiction style of narrative, while Manny Vega's art adds comic book-style action.  So I bought two books:  Badass and Badass: Ultimate Deathmatch

Games: 

As a wargamer, and a role-player, I found several items that I immediately put on my Must Buy List.  

(Image:  Game supplements and a Badass card game!)

The first item was the Badass Team's card game Spades & Grenades, which came complete with a Badass Handbook. (Ben & Manny signed all my books and the handbook).

I was happy to see a Flying Frog Productions booth in the Gaming Area on Level 2.  Copies of all their games were available for sale including their new one--Shadows of Brimstone: City of the Ancients.  Not only that, but they had a plethora of convention-exclusive/mail-order-only supplements for the following games I just happen to own:  Last Night on EarthA Touch of Evil and Fortune and Glory.  

There were five scenario supplements for Last Night on Earth, along with a campaign deck and a pack of radioactive zombies.  I bought all the supplements available for A Touch of Evil, and Fortune and Glory (two each).  However, I only bought one of the Last Night on Earth scenario supplements, along with the campaign deck and radioactive zombies.

Which scenario to buy wasn't a hard choice for me.  As a retired TACP member, there was no way I was going to pass up the new Airstrike Supplement:

(Image:  A closer look at LNoE's Airstrike Supplement)

Artwork: 

There were plenty of books I wanted to buy, but shelf space in our house is becoming a rare commodity.  There is however, a lot of empty areas on our walls.  So I figured some additional artwork was just décor our home needed:

(Image:  Various prints & things)

Starting with the top-right section of the above photo, I revisited Ron Randall and bought a large print of Mercy St. Clair (aka Trekker).  Ron also gave me a signed Trekker post card.  Right below the Trekker prints is a Player vs. Player (PvP) game mat/large mouse pad, I bought during my revisit to Scott Kurtz's booth.

As to the two Firefly postcards to the right of the game mat, I'm afraid I can't remember who I bought them from.  Alex & I were hustling alone, when I spotted them, grabbed a copy of each one and paid cash.  Despite my haste, I did notice this booth sold Claddagh Rings and showed the cashier my own Claddagh wedding ring.

Even though my entertainment focus is predominantly military/action/adventure, I've found myself enjoying some of the slice-of-life stories out there.

One of the first I stumbled across was Girls With Slingshots, by Danielle Corsetto.  Sadly Danielle ended "GWS," to take an art class, but I told Danielle I liked how she concluded the series.  She's now re-posting the early strips in full color.

Reading webcomics can truly be a trip down the rabbit hole.  Once I got hooked on GWS, I was then introduced to another slice-of-life comic Questionable Content (QC), by Jeph Jacques. I complimented Jeph on his work and explained to Alex that often ventures into near-future sci-fi, which feature some android characters and a space station. 

My wife and I seem to live by dry-erase boards.  So I thought Jeph's "Angry Bird Board" would be a great addition to our collection:

(Image:  Jeph Jacques' Angry Bird as a dry erase board)

"Angry Bird" makes his (her?) appearance with snarky comments on Holidays, or when Jeph is travelling, ill or somehow indisposed to post a comic. 

The Angry Bird Board came with a marker and magnets.  However, our refrigerator already has a dry-erase board, and besides, I had other plans for Angry Bird.  I tried sticking it the door to my studio with double-sided tape.  Either the tape was too old, or wimpy and the board dropped after a few minutes.  So I'm hoping the heavy-duty double-sided tape I just bought will do the trick.

I'll also be on a quest to find suitable frames for the prints I bought--not only from this year's ECCC--but from the 2013 convention that I just re-discovered in a storage box.  (After I attended the 2013 ECCC, my wife and I got married and then we moved).

Meanwhile, I've had no problem finding a spot for the PvP giant mouse pad...

(Image:  My new PvP mouse pad)

...along with a final word from Jeph's Angry Bird: