Category Archives: Comics

SDCC 2017

SDCC was last month, and despite not getting tickets in the first round, I did manage to get a ticket again this year! I debuted a new full cosplay and a new pseudo-cosplay, which was very fun.

Antonio, gem, and I drove down Wednesday after work and had Berkeley Pizza for dinner. It was a short night, because we didn’t get down there early.

Thursday was the first time I wore my Tamatoa (the crab from Moana) cosplay. It was way too hot for it, but I enjoyed wearing it.

We met up with Tram and her friend Christian, and we spent most of the day with them. Maybe they’re good luck, because we got into Hall H for the first time. For reference, usually people line up overnight to get into Hall H. We heard an announcement that Will Smith would be in Hall H, which I just found silly. So what? It’s too late now. Antonio pointed out that maybe they announced it because it wasn’t full. He was exactly right. We walked right into the Netflix panel about Bright and Death Note. Will Smith was on the first half of the panel for Bright, and the whole thing was moderated by Terry Crews. It was pretty cool to be in there with them!

After Hall H, it was time for the Lick King’s Ice Cream Citadel! We got some tasty ice cream and posed with the Lich King! By then I was tired of my Tamatoa costume, so I changed into normal clothes because it was so hot. We had Greek fusion for dinner at Meze, at which we ate the last two years as well.

On Friday I wore my Magikarp Jump cosplay. It wasn’t 100% authentic at all, but it was fun. gem had the idea to use Boomerang for the video. Nice suggestion! We met up with our friends Krista, Kaitlyn, and David. I always run into Krista and Kaitlyn at the coolest places!

This was a day mostly for panels. I saw Robin Hobb: Beyond the Page first followed by Dare to Be Dynamite: Creative Vision with Pierce Brown, an author that gem loves. In the evening we watched a Mega64 panel and the Super Geeked Up Improv show, which was fun, although I wish there was more improv.

My favorite panel was Superstars in Children’s Fiction with Greg Grunberg, Lucas Turnbloom, R. L. Stine, Jarrett J. Krosocka, Jenni Holm, Matt Holm, and Molly Ostertag. We went because we thought it would be fun to see R. L. Stine, but we had no idea that Greg Grunberg, Parkman from Heroes and Wexley from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, would be there and is now a children’s fiction author. He was super nice! We chatted with him after the panel, and when I asked to take a photo of him and gem, his son (I think) offered to take one of the three of us.

My favorite part of the panel was when Greg asked R. L. Stine about the future of Goosebumps TV shows or films. R. L. Stine said he couldn’t comment. Greg told him that he’d trade him information about the next Star Wars movies. Too awesome.

gem wore her Woody costume, which was modified since last year. Previously she tried to keep it authenticate. This year it was more interpretive with a dress. I think she rocked it!

On Saturday, Antonio and I snuck in as professionals to skip the line. Yay. gem took some cool photos of me by the water in my Tamatoa costume.

I had to fight Maui of course. Why wasn’t he transforming? “Well, well, well. Little Maui’s having trouble with his look…”

There were a lot of great Moana cosplayers! Thanks to gem for taking so many wonderful photographs 🙂 There are more on my cosplay page.

We went to another tokidoki signing as always where Simone signed my tokidoki x Overwatch notebook. We also chatted with Jaycee, who worked for tokidoki. She remembered us from previous years, and we followed each other on Instagram.

Let’s not talk about waiting in line over an hour for a Star Trek panel but not getting inside. At least I got to chat with some cool people in line!

Kaleigh joined us that night, although we split up for a bit. gem and I hung out while Antonio met with her at the train station. We all met up briefly, but then that evening gem, Antonio, and I went to see the best brothers around, the McElroys! We watched My Brother, My Brother, and Me live in San Diego! It was really fun to see them in person. Too bad we didn’t get to talk to them. I had a question ready to ask, but there weren’t microphones on the balcony where we were sitting unfortunately.

On Sunday I wore a tried-and-true cosplay, Fix-it Felix Jr.! During a panel, I ran into Erin, a Vanelope von Schweetz cosplayer! We took some photos together after the panel. Her car was super amazing!

After chatting with her, we went to a Disneybound panel with Leslie Kay, Kit Leitmeyer, Loni Clark, Neil A. Williams II, and Sara Katz-Scher. It was pretty interesting to hear about how they come up with their outfits.

I ended the convention at the Disney group shoot! It was organized by Robert T Photography, who also took the photo above. You can see more of his photos from the event here on Facebook.

One videographer took video of us for the end of his cosplay music video. I’m in it briefly at the end as I dance around 4:51, but I’m right in front so you can see me clearly, haha!

 

Look how amazing this little Dopey cosplayer was! He seemed to have a great time with the other Disney cosplayers.

Antonio took this photo of me and gem in her Steven Universe cosplay! I think she did a great job with this. A lot of Steven Universe cosplayers carry a ukulele just as a prop, but this cosplayer can actually play it! Yeah!

There are plenty more photos of my Fix-it Felix Jr. cosplay here.

On our way out of San Diego, we stopped at Kafe Sobaka Restoran Pomegranate for Russian dinner. This is the khachapuri, which was filled with delicious cheese. Oh my god, I definitely need to eat this again. I also had chanakhi (lamb stew) as my entree.

And for dessert, I had sweet vatrushka with sour cherry and farmer’s cheese. Yum!

Until next year, SDCC!

San Diego Comic-Con 2016

Luke Triton

SDCC 2016 was a blast! I cosplayed as Luke Triton from Professor Layton for the first time while gem cosplayed Professor Layton herself. I also did a quick cosplay of a Team Valor Pokemon trainer as well as my Fix-It Felix, Jr. cosplay from last year. I saw a number of panels, met a lot of cool cosplayers, got some free books, partied, and did a whole lot more. I was also very exhausted 🙂

Luke Triton

I was really happy with my Luke cosplay. gem and I stopped by the Capcom booth and took a photo with this picture of Phoenix Wright. There was a crossover Professor Layton and Phoenix Wright game, so we thought it was appropriate. I was hoping to run into a Phoenix Wright cosplayer, but it never happened.

Layton and Luke

Here’s a promotional picture of Layton and Luke if you’re unfamiliar with them.

We stopped by the Behemoth booth like we do every year. One guy running the booth, Larry, recognized us from last year when gem asked if Hatty was going to be in attendance! He remembered that gem wrote a note and gave it to him to give to Hatty in 2015. He was awesome!

We went to a number of interesting panels starting with “Retellings and Remixes” with Marissa Meyer, Renee Ahdieh, Colleen Houck, Anna Todd, Jodi Meadows, and Colleen Oakes. gem’s a big fan of Marissa Meyer. Although I hadn’t read her works, they sounded interesting, and she was a great speaker. I’m looking forward to reading more of her work in the future. The panel focused on retelling fairy tales and classic novels in a reimagined way.

“Nedist TV: The Boundary-Pushers” featured Bryan Fuller, Michael Green, Steven Moffat, and Alicia Lutes discussing the new acceptance of genre TV with a focus on American Gods and Sherlock. They also went into tangents about accepting all kinds of peoples it definitely went anti-Trump at times.

“A World After Harry: The Changing Genre of YA Fantasy” featured Sarah J. Maas, Jessica Cluess, Gena Showalter, Thomas E. Sniegoski, Soman Chainani, and Tobie Easton discussing how young adult fiction has changed after Harry Potter. It was interesting to hear how authors set themselves apart from J.K. Rowling.

In “Creating Immersive Game Story,” Chris Avellone, Leah Hoyer, and Elbert Perez discussed game narrative, going into how to really engage players well.

J. Jonah Jameson

My favorite panel was “Cosplay as Storytelling” in which Adam Savage, Jay Justice, and Deborah Nadolman Landis discussed cosplay and how it’s a form of storytelling. Adam went into how cosplaying isn’t just wearing a costume, but it’s a type of performance. I definitely know what he means. Look at this awesome J. Jonah Jameson I met. He’s not just in a costume. He’s performing; he’s telling a story. And he’s great!

The last panel I attended was the “Spotlight on Marissa Meyer,” which was interesting. Unfortunately we were a bit late due to an autograph session, but it was still fun.

tokidoki autographed photo

Did you hear about the new tokidoki x Peter Anargirou collaboration? I printed one of my photos and took it to Simone Legno’s autograph session. It’s fascinating how great artists and creative people of all types and collaborate, and I love collaborating with people in small ways. Having him draw on one of my photos was a cool way to collaborate with him, and since gem’s in the photo, she got to be in on it as well! Now it looks like gem is photographing the cute Kaiju!

I also got a copy of Heartless autographed by Marissa Meyer as well as Red Rising autographed by Pierce Brown. I came out of the con with a few other few other free books as well – An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks, and Bombs Away: The Hot War by Harry Turtledove. I wasn’t a fan of the last book by Turtledove, but I’ll give this one a try.

Sonic the Hedgehog 25th Anniversary Party

The three of us attended the Sonic the Hedgehog 25th Anniversary Party at the House of Blues, meeting two new friends and running into an old friend, Pat, as well. It was a ton of fun – a lot more than I expected. It was sponsored by Totino’s, so we got to eat some greasy snacks, but we also took shots and I had a few White Russians. I took a photo with a cool Sonic the Hedgehog cosplayer, we got some swag, and I talked a lot. There were games to be played there too, but I didn’t touch them honestly. At the end of the night, the staff recorded the audience yelling “Sega” to be used as the intro for the next Sonic game. After the party we went back to the hotel for more drinks. There was live music at the bar, and I did a little Balboa swing dancing. It turns out that I’m a decent dancer (to a drunk crowd of SDCC attendees).

Pushkin

gem and I met our friend Mike for dinner at Pushkin Russian Restaurant. It was so delicious! I hadn’t seen Mike since New Year’s Eve, so it was good to see him. Afterward we checked out the Nerd HQ party, but it wasn’t that good honestly.

Pokemon Go

There was a Pokemon Go panel in Hall H, the largest hall at the convention. Previously, you’d need to line up over night to get into Hall H. This year, you could line up for wristbands, given out at 9:00 PM. We checked out the line around 8:30 PM, and it was huge. Absolutely huge. And then we found out from the guy working there and watching the line that the night before the line was that long, but he didn’t know if they got wristbands. He got off work at 1:00 AM, and the wristbands hadn’t reached that far back. Yeah, we decided to skip Hall H. However, there were rumors that Niantic would release something for Pokemon Go in the panel, so a ton of Pokemon Go fans congregated around Hall H or above it. Convention staff started yelling at people to leave. I’d like to add that they never once tried talking like normal, civil people, and they also made up lies to get us to leave. Not cool. What was cool was when people realized that if they line up for the Mrs. Field’s Cookies stand, they were no longer just loitering. Yep, that line pictures above was for cookies – totally not Pokemon Go. And by the way, nothing was released in the panel.

Pokestop

Pokemon Go was extremely popular. Here Professor Layton checks for Pokemon since there’re lures on the Pokestops near her.

Nintendo Lounge

This guy working in the Nintendo Lounge loved gem’s Ariel and asked for a photo with her. Look happy they look! This guy was awesome.

Nintendo Lounge pokeball

Here I’m in my quick Team Valor Pokemon trainer cosplay with a giant pokeball.

Nintendo Lounge pikachu

When meeting pikachu, you need to give him a big hug so that he knows you’re his friend.

Nintendo Lounge pikachu

Once he’s been lulled into a false sense of security, you bust out a pokeball and catch him!

Star Trek

Star Trek was also very popular this year as it’s the 50th anniversary. MAC had a building designed to look like the saucer portion of the Enterprise while they showed off their Star Trek makeup. I didn’t care about the makeup, but we took the opportunity to stand on transporters as Layton and Luke! Plus, Nichelle Nichols, who played Uhura on Star Trek, was there.

Joker and Harley Quinn

I asked these two cosplayers if I could take their photo because I thought they had great costumes. The Harley Quinn cosplayer noted that most people don’t even ask and said they’d be happy to pose.

Joker, Harley, Layton, and Luke

Professor Layton and the Curious Clowns

Actually, the Joker cosplayer recognized gem’s cosplay and asked us for a photo! How cool 🙂

Fix it Felix Jr. and Boo

Here’s a shot of me in my Fix-It Felix, Jr. cosplay along with a Boo cosplay from Monster’s, Inc. How cute is that cosplay?

Akuma

This Akuma cosplay is great too. The cosplayer was nice enough to find a good spot to take the photos. gem noted that you could sense his personality and mannerisms change as he got into character just like Adam Savage said cosplay often does.

Xena and Gabrielle

Last but certainly not least, this is Bernadette Bentley and Cathy Kutz as Xena and Gabrielle respectively. It was awesome to run into them and take their photo because I was already a fan. They were really nice!

Thanks to 2015 and everyone who made it great

Crow on the lake

This was quite the year filled with many fun activities. It seems like a nice time for some reflection. I went to Michigan, which was beautiful, with Duncan. I’d never been that far north or east.

Niagara Falls

On that same trip, I left the country for the first time to visit Niagara Falls.

Lee's Palace

I also visited Toronto! It was an awesome city.

Holland Tayloe Gedney as Elsa

I went to San Diego Comic-Con again. Here I’m dressed as an Aquabat with Holland Tayloe Gedney’s Elsa.

The Aquabats!

It was also my first year cosplaying – not counting the Aquabats costume I’ve worn to SDCC previously for concerts. This is Professor Monty Corndog from the Aquabats (with the Aquabats)!

Snapchat magic by gem

And let’s not forget Fix-It Felix, Jr.

Bay Area friends

I visited friends in the Bay Area when I went to San Francisco for a conference.

SoCal Paddle Yoga

I did a lot of yoga, including paddle yoga. I started practicing yoga in the summer of 2014 and continued in 2014. Starting in June, I did yoga daily, never missing a day. I took over 130 yoga classes in 2015. My wrist is still healing but is feeling much better. I think the glucosamine sulfate (thanks to the pianist from Intergalactic Nemesis for the suggestion) and vertical mouse is helping quite a bit. I also hurt my knee, so for the past few months I’ve only been doing restorative or yin yoga. Honestly, I can see the good in this. I’ve learned to appreciate yin and restorative so much more, which helps give me a deeper understanding to my practice and myself.

dancing

Speaking of hurting my knee, I’ve also been dancing a lot more. I took 40-something dance classes this year. While I tried a lot of different areas, I like Balboa, Argentine tango, and Lindy Hop the most. I’m glad I have fun friends who like to go dancing.

Ooey Gooey Berry PieI baked an ooey gooey berry pie for Anela to celebrate the fact that she passed the bar. I also got to attend her bar admission ceremony and law school graduation. Folly at Dapper Day

gem and I went to the Dapper Day expo at Downtown Disney and to Folly, the afterparty.

gem on stage with Suburban Legends!gem and I were extras during the filming of The Big Day, and gem got this great photo of her with Suburban Legends. Free Comic Book Day and ImprovCity's Comic Book Day show!

I saw so much talent in my friends. This is Free Comic Book Day show at ImprovCity with my friend Alex Bower front and center. Besides some regular shows, I saw him in Scary Pants (which he wrote), Millennial Falcon at Second City, and HIStory/HERstory.

UntitledSpeaking of talented friends named Alex, I saw Alex Foster clowning around and got pulled on stage for more participation (just like the last clown show I saw before this one). Little Jimmy the Robot of the Aquabats

I painted a little Jimmy the Robot.

Adventure Time mug painted at Color Me Mine! Idea by reddit user /u/Just-Another-Teenage in a post by /u/Corrupt_CoreI also painted this Adventure Time mug. Adventure Time mug painted at Color Me Mine! Idea by reddit user /u/Just-Another-Teenage in a post by /u/Corrupt_Core

You have to see both sides.

That’s not to mention the cool Christmas gifts and cards I made this year. I haven’t given them all to their recipients yet, so I don’t want to show anything.

IMG_3833gem took me to a sushi class where we prepared sushi rolls! She’s the best 🙂Coup de Comedy 2015

We also saw Kindred Throats, an amazing musical comedy duo. She liked them so much, she baked them cookies. Twice.

Anela's graduation

I attended Anela’s law school graduation from Chapman.

bar admission ceremony

…and her CA Bar admission ceremony.

Kurios

gem and I saw Cirque du Soleil’s KURIOS! Amazing!

Me and Anela at the Bellydance IDOL presents Om Kalthoum Tribute Show

I saw Anela dance a number of times, including the really fun Bellydance IDOL presents Om Kalthoum Tribute Show.

watson adventures

I helped solve a mystery at the Watson Adventures.

Blacklight Run

I ran (jogged/walked) a Blacklight Run with these two fun people.

Snow photo shoot with gem and Anela

I even got to see snow for the first time.

Heck, the year even started with my friends getting engaged.

I did so many other cool things too such as…

  • Reading all surviving plays by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides that I hadn’t read previously.
  • Having agents draft social media responses for me at work
  • Participating in a behavioral study
  • Becoming friends with Bryan Lackey, awesome ska trumpet player
  • Wakeboarding
  • Watching my brother perform in the Spectacles Improv Engine’s Student Showcase
  • Seeing a meteor shower
  • Attending a sand sculpture festival
  • Jogging/walking a Blacklight Run
  • Running the Walking Dead Experience
  • Seeing bands such as the Aquabats, the Interrupters, Starpool, Suburban Legends, LA Swing Barons, Imagine Dragons, Metric, Halsey, the LA Philharmonic, and Scott Bradlee and the Postmodern Jukebox
  • Vacationing with my roommates and friends in Vegas
  • Swing dancing in Downtown Disney
  • Visiting the OC Fair and OC Night Market
  • Watching Rocky Horror Picture Show
  • Lots of blogging (see my earlier post)

And I’m sure I’m forgetting to mention a thousand things. Thanks to everybody who helped make 2015 such an amazing year.

Michigan Vacation

Cottage trip in MichiganEarlier this month, I spent a little over a week in Michigan with a day in Canada. Duncan visits family there and asked if I wanted to come this year. Of course! We stayed with his dad, Dan, who was incredibly accomdating. I’d met him previously, but it was nice getting to know him as well as Duncan’s brother, Griffin. There’s a sense of humor that runs in his family I think. After a layover in Denver, we arrived in Detroit early Saturday morning, went back to Dan’s house, and slept for a bit. That evening, we spent some time seeing Ann Arbor. Fairy doors of Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor has these little fairy doors scattered around the city. We only saw one, but they seemed pretty interesting to me.

Fairy doors of Ann Arbor

You can read about them at Wikipedia’s Fairy Doors of Ann Arbor. If I went back, I’d spend more time looking for the others. University of Michigan We spent some time walking around the University of Michigan, which was pretty cool. I saw Tau Beta Pi’s Bent and had to get a picture with it! Ann Arbor had a really cool downtown area and was a great city overall. The weather was nice too; it was the first time I had ever been that far north or east, so it was quite a bit different. The day we landed, the high was about 15 degrees lower than Irvine’s low. Cottage trip in Michigan

On Sunday we left for the cottage. We spent a lot of time visiting cities near it, eating, taking in the sights, and playing board games. I like how quickly Dan and Griffin learned our inside jokes. Oh, Loaded Questions’ “Duncan questions.” There’s another picture of the cottage at the top of this post.

Cottage trip in Michigan

I know this isn’t a fantastic shot or anything, but it was cool seeing so much of the night sky there. Crow on the lake The cottage was right on the lake, so it seemed like a beautiful spot for some yoga. Thanks for the photo, Griffin! It was really amazing seeing the changing colors of the trees too even if they weren’t fully changing yet. I felt like every day I’d be amazed all over again. skipping stones One of the highlights (yeah, it was a highlight!) was learning to skip stones on the lake. Simple, yet fun. Mackinac Island

We visited Mackinac Island after driving to the Upper Peninsula, which was pretty cool. It was a fort used in the Revolutionary War (among other wars). It seemed surreal to be thinking about the Revolutionary War.

Mackinac Island

Cars weren’t allowed on the island, but there were plenty of horses. Oh, and there was fudge. I bought two pounds of fudge to take home. Unfortunately, most of it’s gone by now. Mackinac Island

Every fort needs some cannons.

Mackinac Island

Did you know that this region has black squirrels? Black squirrels! Mackinac Island

The island had plenty of trees.

Mackinac Island

Here’s a shot of me while I was there. Thanks, Duncan.

Mackinac Island

Birds totally bore me at zoos, but I learned that I like taking photographs of them. This guy really wanted our fudge. Lighthouse visit

During our mini-vacation to the cottage, we also visited this lighthouse.

Lighthouse visit

It was just a tad foggy but very beautiful.

Jackie and Kenneth

After returning to Ann Arbor, we met with Jackie and Kenneth. I know I should have visited sooner, but at least I did eventually!

Jackie and Kenneth

We all went out to eat at the Jolly Pumpkin, which was amazing, except I ate way too much pizza. It was really wonderful talking with Jackie and Kenneth again. I’m glad it just felt like old times. It’s funny how many nights I spent talking with Jackie back in college. It makes me all nostalgic!

Robot Supply and Repair

Duncan and I had to represent Robot House by doing the robot in front of Robot Supply and Repair.

Graffiti Alley

We also saw a ton of cool street art!

DetroitOn Thursday, Griffin got us lost in the GM Renaissance Center in Detroit. I thought we might have to live there when the elevators wouldn’t let us back out. Detroit

What’s with Detroit and secret places? We walked all around Slows BBQ before realizing this was the door.

DetroitAt the John K. King Used and Rare Books store, I bought a book called The World of Odysseus. I’m excited to read it! White Castle

That night we had White Castle for dinner. Um, you know how frozen White Castle food sucks? The fast food joint is actually pretty tasty! Granted I felt sick the next day (as I was told I might), but I’ve already found myself craving it again.

Niagara FallsIt was time to head to Canada on Friday! I hadn’t left the country before this and was super excited. Even if Canada isn’t that culturally different, it was still thrilling. I rented a car, and we started by going to Niagara Falls. Niagara Falls

See, I guess I like birds now.

Niagara FallsI was surprised that it wasn’t louder. It was breathtaking though. Give California some of that water, jerks. Niagara Falls Here’s me and Duncan courtesy of a friendly stranger. Duncan had been to the US side before and said the view was much better from the Canadian side. Niagara Falls

Before driving to Toronto, I had some coffee and a Canadian Maple donut from Tim Horton’s. I had to be cliche. It was good, and there really are a ton of Tim Horton’s in Canada.

Dr. MarioToronto doesn’t make a big deal about this, but apparently Dr. Mario lives there. Amazing. Lockhart We had dinner and drinks at The Lockhart, a bar inspired by Harry Potter. The food was good, and the cocktails were amazing. I had The Captain Picard, “(2oz)Earl Grey Infused (Bombay) Gin, Agave, Lime, Tonic,” and a Cafe Moscow, “(3oz)Espresso infused Vodka, Baileys, Kahlua, Agave, Choc. Sprinkles (opt.), Coffee Bitters.” Untitled

The next day we spent most of the day looking for sights from Scott Pilgrim, although we also went to the University of Toronto and a few other places.

Sonic Boom

Sonic Boom is a record store at which Scott Pilgrim shops. It was pretty cool, and I bought a shirt.

Toronto Public LibraryHere’s the library at which Scott sees Ramona rollerblade up the counter. Park

This park was used in the movie, although there was a lot of post-production done on the scene.

UntitledWhile not super recognizable, the house with the bit of blue was used at Scott Pilgrim’s place in the film. Casa Loma

Casa Loma was where Lucas Lee was filming in Scott Pilgrim.

Casa LomaThink I could do a grindy thingy on that rail? Pizza Pizza Scott Pilgrim and friends eat at Pizza Pizza, and now I do too. Not bad. Pizza Pizza

Pizza Pizza also served poutine, which killed two birds with one stone.

Lee's Palace

Lee’s Palace is where Sex Bob-omb opens for The Clash at Demonhead. We didn’t go inside, but it sure had an awesome exterior!

Lee's Palace

Here’s one final shot for the vacation, me standing outside Lee’s Palace.

It was such a great trip! I wish I could have done more, but honestly, we really packed a lot into the vacation.

I have plenty more of my photographs posted on Flickr, and I’ll have more up on social media too. Thanks to everybody who made the trip great – Duncan, Dan, Griffin, Jackie, Kenneth, and a lot of others!

San Diego Comic-Con 2015

San Diego Comic-Con 2015 was super awesome! It was my first time cosplaying besides wearing my Aquabats costume one day last year, and it was really fun. My favorite part of these conventions has always been looking at the cosplayers and getting photos with them; it’s interesting to participate now. I attended with gem and Antonio as usual. I cosplayed an Aquabat, Professor Monty Corndog from the Aquabats, and Fix-It Felix, Jr. from Wreck-It Ralph while gem cosplayed Sadness from Inside Out, Woody from Toy Story, and Vanellope Von Schweetz from Wreck-It Ralph. Here are some of the cosplay highlights! Thursday I wore my Aquabats costume. It made the most sense because I was going to their concert later that night. 19679329421_208dc2019a_o The first photo I was asked to join was this one, shot by Kenneth Yeast. They were posing near me actually! The photographer took a photo of my business card and was nice enough to e-mail me the photos. From left to right, that’s me, @freeddc, @kaitlynfreed, and @lilbelle74 from Instagram. I’ve seen them on Instagram through Aquabats tags and concerts for a while, so it was especially cool to get photos with them. Aquabat and Elsa at SDCC 2015

This is @hollandtayloegedney (Instagram) who won an award this year for her Elsa cosplay. She was really nice, and it was fun talking to her.Aquabat, Finn, and Fionna at SDCC 2015

After I posed with Finn and Fionna from Adventure Time, gem worked her Snapchat magic to turn them into Aquabats!Aquabat versus WalkerWalkers can’t stand the might of an Aquabat.Aquabat, Joker, and Harley at SDCC 2015


I wouldn’t want to be hit with that hammer! Aquabat and Dangerous Pixie Harley Quinn at SDCC 2015
*boink* Ow, my head! Edit: When I first posted this, I didn’t even realize that was Dangerous Pixie!Daredevil and Aquabat at SDCC 2015


I also met my favorite hero, Daredevil! Edit: This is Tony Rios, @EL_LOBO209Aquabat headstand at SDCC 2015
I got in some yoga too.Aquabat crow at SDCC 2015


And a little more. On Friday I cosplayed Professor Monty Corndog from the Aquabats.Professor Monty Corndog of the Aquabats
While in line for a panel, some Aquabats lined up behind me.Professor Monty Corndog, Woody, and Minions at SDCC 2015


Woody (gem) and I posed with some minions too!

Clay Carmine of Gears of War chainsawed me in the neck! gem performed some Snapchat witchery again. Professor Monty Corndog of the Aquabats
Professor Monty Corndog of the Aquabats meets Professor Utonium of the Powerpuff Girls!Professor Monty Corndog and Breaking Bad at SDCC 2015


Breaking Despicable? I guess this minion found someone despicable to follow. When I asked for a picture, Jesse said “yeah, bitch.”Professor Monty Corndog of the Aquabats
And here I am with the Aquabats! Professor Monty Corndog is much more obscure than just the Aquabats costume, so I knew no one would really recognize it. Luckily the Bat Commander said, “Professor Monty Corndog… is that you?” It was so worth it to get this photo with them!

My final cosplay was Fix-It Felix, Jr. from Wreck-It Ralph, which I did on Saturday and Sunday.

Fix-It Felix, Jr. at SDCC 2015


More Snapchat voodoo from gem. I really love this.Fix-It Felix, Jr. at SDCC 2015 with Mario Kart
Here I’m fixing up this kart. Awesome Mario Kart cosplays!Fix-It Felix, Jr. at SDCC 2015 with Companion Cube and Chell


I also fixed this adorable Companion Cube while posing with her and Chell.Fix-It Felix, Jr. at SDCC 2015 with Maleficent
Speaking of adorable, isn’t this Maleficent just the cutest? I think this was my favorite cosplay of the con. My heart kind of wants to explode.Fix-It Felix, Jr. at SDCC 2015 with Fix-It Felicia


I high-fived Fix-It Felicia!Fix-It Felix, Jr. at SDCC 2015 with luchadores
Later I got in a wrestling match.Fix-It Felix, Jr. at SDCC 2015 and the Flash


I even tried to fix the Flash right in the head!

I wasn’t in costume for these, but I saw some cool cosplays while I eating dinner too.Seymour Krelborn at SDCC 2015
Feed me, Seymour! Feed me all night long! Check out that Audrey II!Globo-Gym Purple Cobras at SDCC 2015


I couldn’t resist a photo with the Globo-Gym Purple Cobras!

Woody and Dhalsim
gem even did yoga with Dhalsim!

The Aquabats concert was amazing. Here they performed a cover of The Pixies’ Where Is My Mind. They also showed a video they’re going to pitch to TV execs to try to get The Aquabats! Super Show! picked up. It showed the MCBC begging a cloaked wizard to help. He reveals himself to be Jack Black, absorbs the Commander’s powers, and transforms into an Aquabat. He agrees to help and talks about how we’re all Aquabats before using his magic to transform a bunch of celebrities into Aquabats, including Weird Al Yankovic, Tony Hawk, and more. It was very cool.

Aquabats Set List


They even signed my set list!

The MCBC
I also met this guy who isn’t wearing a costume because he’s a regular guy. It couldn’t be the Bat Commander. The Bat Commander doesn’t wear normal shirts like that. He was really nice, and he talked with me about getting more involved with the Aquabats. It probably helped that gem gave him a bunch of snacks! And speaking of gem giving snacks, she gave care packages to other people, such as Todd from Toddland. He was super cool. Technically gem got his number!

gem and Allie Brosh


We saw Allie Brosh of Hyperbole and a Half. Her panel was moderated by Felicia Day, and it was super great. gem gave Allie some cookies and snacks, and Allie was very appreciative and nice. They hugged and took a photo together. We also saw a panel about Jhonen Vasquez, creator of Invader Zim. He was very down to Earth and discussed how scary it is that some people identify with parts of his crazy comics.Aquabat and walkers
We ran the Walking Dead Experience, and I did it in my Aquabats costume. It was really fun.

We arrived in Petco Park as survivors, and someone escorted us inside, claiming it’s safe. Of course, walkers showed up, and we had to run. They’re all played by volunteers who couldn’t really hurt us, but I got into it and definitely ran hard and dodged walkers. Eventually we met a second group of survivors who weren’t as friendly. They killed our leader when they found out we didn’t have supplies. Our talks were cut short when walkers approached, and we all had to run again. At the end, they decided to cull the weak. They chose someone from our group to kill, and it ended up being Antonio. They had him kneel as they raised a club to kill him. Luckily for him, walkers arrived once more, and we ran for it. Antonio said that as the walkers arrived, someone (presumably staff) lifted him to ensure he didn’t get trampled. It was so much fun!19648644496_d9eee621fa_o


Let’s see… what else. We ran into Bryan Lackey, a fantastic trumpet player. I know him from Skapeche Mode and Failed to Victory. He was really friendly and stopped to chat with us for a while before taking a photo and friending us on Facebook!

Spaceship Warlock
We also went to an art exhibit called Super Video Game Land by Anthony Bulcao at the Mission Brewery. He paints scenes from video games and is really talented! He had two painting from Spaceship Warlock, an old adventure game I loved as a kid. I was most excited for those two. He said he wasn’t confident about including them, and that I was the only person who talked to him about them. I’m glad I did!

I also participated (badly) in a kazoo and ukulele play-along, met Rikki Simons, voice of Gir (and more) from Invader Zim, played games at the Nintendo Lounge, and sang along with gem while she played Martian Girl in a line. Such an awesome weekend!

I know they’re not going to read this, but thanks to all the people who asked for photos and appreciated my cosplay – the Aquabats group photo, the jedi, the dude with the swords, and the three or four other people who liked my Aquabats costume, and the Nintendo employee, Quailman, the little Captain America, Ariel (who was excited and wanted a photo after I asked her first), and the other 14 or so people, especially the little kids, who liked my Fix-It Felix, Jr. It made me very happy!

ImprovCity’s Comic Book Day show and Free Comic Book Day

Free Comic Book Day and ImprovCity's Comic Book Day show!

Friday night was ImprovCity’s Comic Book Day Show, and it was a lot of fun. The cast all dressed as comic book characters. There’s Alex in the center in his Rocket Raccoon costume. It’s definitely not Bark.

Free Comic Book Day and ImprovCity's Comic Book Day show!

They gave out free comics too! I got Legendary Star-Lord #5 and Star Wars: Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir #1.

Free Comic Book Day and ImprovCity's Comic Book Day show!

The show was hosted by Lumpy the Space Princess Lumpy Space Princess, and she did a good job as her too!

Free Comic Book Day and ImprovCity's Comic Book Day show!

Here’s another shot of the performers. I wanted to ensure one with Speed Racer’s helmet got posted too. After the show, a lot of us went to BJ’s. I got a nice low calories salad, a martini, and then a delicious and unhealthy pizookie.

Free Comic Book Day and ImprovCity's Comic Book Day show!

Today’s actually Free Comic Book Day, so I headed to Alakazam. I got the Jurassic Strike Force 5 one-shot, Terrible Lizard, Bodie Troll, Fight Club, and BOOM! Studios Ten Year Celebration 2015 Free Comic Book Day Special. I’m excited to sit down with these later, but I have plans tonight. I just finished preparing food for the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight potluck. Hopefully Pacquiao wins!

By the archive, it’s Intergalactic Nemesis: Twin Infinity!

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Sunday afternoon gem and I saw The Intergalactic Nemesis: Twin Infinity at the Segerstrom Center. I saw the first two in 2013 (and wrote about them) and have been eagerly awaiting the third.

The Intergalactic Nemesis is a live-action graphic novel. The panes of the comic, minus the speech bubbles, are projected sequentially on a screen while three voice actors perform all the dialogue live. They’re accompanied by a Foley artist and pianist. The performers are all a little more than their roles as well because they use gestures and facial expressions even though it’s also conveyed through the graphic novel. It’s really fantastic. All three books of Intergalactic Nemesis have audio drama as well as live performances. The first two have graphic novels, while Twin Infinity’s graphic novel isn’t yet released. There’s also a podcast spinoff that’s getting released as a novel soon too.

Book One: Target Earth is available on YouTube. Maybe it’s be easier if you just checked it out. The YouTube videos were produced by KLRU-TV, Austin PBS. I enjoy seeing how the content is adapted into different mediums. While the YouTube videos are recordings of a live performance, it’s still a difference experience in that the video is segmented so you can see multiple things at once. It’s a cool solution.

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After the show, I had the performers sign my ticket so I could put it in my ticket scrapbook with the tickets to the first two shows!

Before the show, they had some fun activities. At the Foley station, gem and I watched a short animated video to get an idea of what was happening and then made the sound effects while they recorded us. We used a wind machine, rain sticks, shoes on a board, and a thunder sheet. After we were recorded, they played the video back again, this time with our sound effects. Being a Foley artist must be really fun!

There was also a voice-acting booth with Jamieson K. Price. He’s a voice-actor with a long list of credits including some Blizzard titles. He was Ga’nar, known to Horde players as a rather important orc in Frostfire Ridge! gem and I took turns reading lines while Jamieson added altered our voices. He was really nice, and I had fun chatting with him. We even got the chance to talk to him after the show, too!

I haven’t yet listened to the audio drama version, but I’ll do that soon, and then I can check out the podcast! Each medium is a bit different, but they’re all excellent. I highly recommend The Intergalactic Nemesis!

First to add Invader Zim to pull list!

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Last month, Oni Press announced that it plans to release Invader Zim comics in collaboration with Jhonen Vasquez and Nickelodeon, which I learned through Kotaku. The first issue releases this July. I’m a big Invader Zim fan, and I’m thrilled that it’s continuing. Yesterday I got around to visiting Alakazam, my local comic shop, and added it to my pull list. I was the first one to do so! That doesn’t really mean much, but it’s kind of neat. Hopefully more people get interested so the comic can be profitable.

Gir! Quickly! Ride the pig!

The Scott Pilgrim Picture Show

The 2nd Scott Pilgrim Picture Show!

Friday night was the 2nd Scott Pilgrim Picture Show, an amazing interactive film screening by CinemAttack at the Frida Cinema in Santa Ana. The idea is similar to screenings of the Rocky Horror – a movie with lots of audience participation. I bought this poster along with a poster representing the original Scott Pilgrim Picture Show from last year too. I didn’t even notice until later that the one for last year was signed by Tyler Jacobs, the creator, and numbered.

Audience participation, a costume contest, garlic bread, a light show, and more. What’s not to love?

Scott Pilgrim Picture Show Marquee

gem and I got there about 45 minutes before the doors opened so we could hang out. I had to get a picture of the marquee!

Bread makes you fat?!

Even though bread makes you fat, they handed out garlic bread to the people waiting in line. Sweet!

Flyers!

The walls were plastered with flyers for the Toronto International Battle of the Bands, the Katayanagi Twins, Sex Bob-omb, the Clash at Demonhead, and more. It was a pretty nice touch.

Scott Pilgrim photo op

There was a photo op with Scott Pilgrim and a photographer. They said they would post all the photos on Facebook and then you could go find and tag yourself and save the photo. However, I’ve yet to see them posted. In addition, only a handful of people got to take pictures with this before everyone filed into the theater. After the screening, it was already gone. They said people could take the flyers, so I suspect someone might have grabbed this early. Oh well.The Scott Pilgrim Picture Show

Edit: They posted them! Here I am chilling with Scott! The photo was taken at the CinemAttack photo booth, so credit goes to their photographer whose name wasn’t mentioned. They encouraged sharing the photos, so I think it’s cool that I’m posting it here.

The Chaos Theater

Overhead, a CinemAttack! banner was hanging. CinemAttack is the events company hosting the Scott Pilgrim Picture Show. It was created by a man named Tyler Jacobs. While I’d been looking forward to the event for some time, I hadn’t realized until the night before the show that Tyler Jacobs is Christian Jacobs’ (the MC Bat Commander, lead singer of the Aquabats) and Parker Jacobs’ (lead singer of GOGO13) brother. The a pretty rad family. I’m also glad I found Tyler Jacobs’ independently of his brothers. I had a moment to stop and say hello to Tyler as well, and he was quite friendly. I’m glad I did.

You’ll also notice the movie was being shown in the Chaos Theater!

Coins for throwing!

With the posters I purchased, I received two bags of “coins for throwing!” When an evil ex is defeated, you’re supposed to toss coins in the air. It was fun and definitely added to the experience.

Scott Pilgrim Cosplay Contest

Yes, yes, this photo is horrible. Anyways, there was a costume contest as well. There were a number of Scotts and Ramonas as expected but also a Gideon and even a Vegan Police! The guy who came as the Vegan Police even had a green laser.

The movie was a lot more fun to watch in this setting. Words on the screen would direct you to yell lines aloud, and during songs, they would progress karaoke-style. There were also instructions sometimes, including high-fiving a neighbor or jumping up to pretend to play DDR along with Scott and Knives. When an evil ex was defeated, they’d remind you to throw your coins in the air. There were also light shows during the scenes with the bands playing, which really added to the awesomeness. When the Vegan Police came to depower Todd, green lasers shot out everywhere. It wasn’t enough for the fans as they began to cry out for our Vegan Police. Luckily our cosplayer saved the day; when we saw his green laser hit the screen and track Todd, everyone cheered!

Scott Pilgrim or gem?

After the movie, gem stopped to pose with her ukulele like Scott does with his guitar. I wasn’t sure it was going to come out, because the lighting wasn’t great, but I’m pretty happy with the photo. gem actually hasn’t seen it yet. Hopefully she likes it too.

There are some more photos in this album.

And now I get to look forward to their next presentation: The Teenage Mutant Pizza Party!

Legendary Star-Lord is Super Rad!

Legendary Star-Lord

I’m not familiar with Legendary Star-Lord at all. I think he might have something to do with Guardians of the Galaxy, but I’m not sure. Nevertheless, I had to pick up this one issue. Check it out.

Legendary Star-Lord

What’s that? Does the ship’s AI want to listen to the Aquabats?

Legendary Star-Lord

Of course it does! When I saw this online, I rushed out to pick up the issue.

Thanks to @Johnny2Tone on Twitter for making me aware!

 

Of course, thanks to the writer, Sam Humphries, as well!

San Diego Comic-Con Day 4: Photo ops, cosplay, and food!

You can check out my previous posts about SDCC 2014 here:

Day 4 – Sunday

On Sunday, we spent our time wandering the Exhibit Hall.

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gem and I stopped at this great Adventure Time photo-op.

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We also saw someone cosplaying as a Sackboy Link.

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We met Dino Andrade, a voice actor. He’s done a bunch of different voices, including some from World of Warcraft like Mimiron and, my favorite, Professor Putricide. He even said some of their lines, which was hilarious.

sdcc falling skies

I’ve never seen Falling Skies, but I had to stop for this photo op too! It seemed fun.

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I know this isn’t super exciting, but check out these Bebop and Rocksteady vinyl toys. I also got a free Hot in Cleveland comic book. It was actually amusing and was about the women from the show surviving a zombie outbreak.

sdcc dr. horrible

This Dr. Horrible cosplayer told us to stay horrible. However, he was actually quite pleasant.

sdcc paperman pixar

At the Behemoth booth, we met a couple cosplaying Pixar‘s Paperman. Amazing! It was such a good idea, and they did a terrific job.

sdcc ramona flowers cosplay

I also saw someone cosplaying Ramona Flowers and knew I had to get a picture with her. She was with someone cosplaying as Jake from Adventure Time, so gem played and sang the Adventure Time theme song for him.

Before leaving, I bought three DIY vinyl toys. They look like little NES cartridges. I’m looking forward to customizing them.

After leaving the convention, we tried to eat at Hash House A Go Go, but the wait was so long that we passed. We ended up eating at El Zarape Mexican Restaurant, at which we’ve eaten in previous years. It was super delicious! Rolled tacos, carne asada fries, burritos, yum yum!

And that was pretty much it! I’m sad it’s over, but I’m also tired. However, I’m already looking forward to next year!

For bonus photos I didn’t include in the blog, check out my Flickr album.

San Diego Comic-Con Day 3: Adult Swim, a 3D printed ukulele, Nintendo, Tazy, and other adventures!

You can check out my previous posts about SDCC 2014 here:

Day 3 – Saturday

We wanted to go to the Adult Swim Fun House again, which meant another line for tickets. The couple in front of me were super awesome, and I had a great time getting to know them.

sdcc leia and han solo cosplay

They cosplayed as Leia and Han Solo. Apparently they had cosplayed as Indiana Jones and the boulder earlier (with the woman cosplaying Indiana Jones). It sounded awesome. She showed us a photo on he iPhone, but it was hard to see. Her cousin is a Master Builder at Legoland! What a cool job, eh?

Tazy Phyllipz shared photos he took at SDCC on Facebook, and I found one of them as Indiana Jones and the boulder! Awesome!

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There was also a Pizza Hut sponsored TMNT Pizza Thrower. I had this toy as a kid and wanted to launch pizzas with it at Comic-Con, but I was second in line when they closed it for lunch. Oh well. I did get some free pizza courtesy of Pizza Hut though.

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There was a booth promoting their 3D printers, and they had a 3D printed ukulele. gem was, as you’d expect, pretty thrilled. We asked a lot of questions, and they talked to us both about 3D printers and the ukulele. I think they got a kick out of gem having her ukulele and being so excited too.

At the Nintendo Lounge, gem and I played Phoenix Wright vs. Professor Layton. I’m looking forward to the game because I love both of those series. It’s pretty amazing that it happened at all!

sdcc rosalina cosplay

I saw a beautiful Rosalina cosplay from Super Mario Galaxy, and the woman agreed to take a photo with me. She looked great!

We were craving pizza, so we ate at Pinzimini in the hotel and got some superhero-themed pizzas.

After dinner, it was back to the Adult Swim Fun House and the Meatwad Full Dome Experience. The staff remembered us again, and we chatted a bit. There was one exit to the fun house we had never used – the karaoke cage. They only let you out if you sing. We aimed for it and managed to get that exit this time. Antonio avoided it and went out the cat butt again. gem and I sang Spice GirlsWannabe to get out. It was fun! We got our free t-shirts again, and the staff member with whom we became friends asked us for a favor: he wanted a t-shirt for his friend. They were out of the exact size he needed, but we still managed to get a t-shirt for him to give to her!

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On our way out, we saw a mooninite! gem asked for a hug, and when she hugged it, she mentioned that she smelled good, causing the actress inside to giggle.

sdcc tazy

On the way back to the hotel, I noticed a Ska Parade t-shirt, and then I noticed that it was actually Tazy Phyllipz! Ska Parade is an Orange County-based ska radio show, and Tazy is the host. He also holds Ska Parade Lounge events once per month at the Slidebar in Fullerton. It was pretty cool to run into him, and I think he was excited to get recognized as well. We talked for a few minutes. I told him about the Aquabats show and even showed him the Martian Girl cosplay, which he enjoyed. It also turned out that he booked the bands for the OC Park Summer Concert Series, and he suggested I come on Thursday. I was already planning on it because I like GOGO 13. He dropped some hints about some other things happening that I’d enjoy too.

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We ended the night with duck rolls and a bacon chicken ranch pizza from The New Yorker. Delicious! While we ate, we watched Adult Swim. I guess their marketing worked. I’m not sure I’d ever seen a full episode of the Boondocks before, and it was hilarious!

And then I slept!

You can also read about the last day here:

San Diego Comic-Con Day 2: Aquabats, cosplay, Adult Swim, and more!

If you missed it, check out my post on Day 0 and Day 1 too, San Diego Comic-Con Day 0 and Day 1: John DiMaggio, Martian Girl, the Aquabats, Geek & Sundry, and more!

Day 2 – Friday

We started Friday by rushing to get tickets for the Aquabats autograph session.

Colossus (the first person to ever ask me for a cosplay photo) and Leeloo

I was wearing my Aquabats costume (which I had to wash because of how sweaty I got at the concert). I was stopped by a couple that wanted a photo with me. It was a bit shocking to me. I ask people to take photos with me; they don’t usually ask me. Of course, I don’t usually wear a cosplay. It was pretty cool! He was cosplaying the X-men, and she was cosplaying the Fifth Element!

We got out tickets and then headed to a Star Wars Origami panel in which we learned to make lightsabers and Boba Fett’s head.

The Headless Horseman

The Headless Horseman

Next we headed to Petco Park to get tickets for the Adult Swim Fun House. There was also some promotion for Sleepy Hollow, so I had to battle the Headless Horseman. While in line for tickets, we got to know some of the staff. They were very cool, and they definitely liked gem and her ukulele. That ukulele makes her friends everywhere.

Little Aquabats!

Little Aquabats!

While getting in line for the Aquabats autographs, I saw these two little Aquacadets and had to get a photo with them. Adorable!

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gem met a guy in line with a small guitar, so they played guitar and ukulele together and even taught each other some songs.

The Aquabats!

The Aquabats!

The MC Bat Commander complimented me on my outfit, and I told him it was of my own design. (I think he bought it!) They autographed by Anti-Negativity Helmet and Power Belt. It’s hard to see, but in this photo, they’re already signed! Super rad!

@destinedsaint (Instagram) as Little Mac

@destinedsaint (Instagram) as Little Mac

After the autograph session, we got in line to get an autograph by Bryan Lee O’Malley (Scott Pilgrim, Seconds). We ended up talking to the guy in front of us in line for a while. He was from Las Vegas, and I enjoyed talking to him quite a bit. He cosplayed as Little Mac from Punch-Out, so we had to get a photo together. I friended him on Instagram!

sdcc aquabat and bryan lee o'malley

Here I am with Bryan Lee O’Malley and Jason Fischer!

At the Tokidoki booth, I bought a Tokidoki puzzle. I’ve had my eye on it for a while and finally caved. They also had tote bags that seemed cool. I wanted one to use for yoga. As it turned out, they were free if you spent $50, but I was spending that much. I asked if they sold the bag, and the guy said “no,” but then he said I could just have it. Yay!

Speaking of goodies, I also got a small pack of free comics – Tesla, The First Daughter, Pandora’s Blogs, and Darchon. I haven’t looked at them yet, but I will.

We had lunch at Hot Papa’s. The food was delicious, and the staff were incredibly friendly, but there were a couple mistakes. Everything was corrected eventually though.

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Then it was time to go back to Petco Park. In addition to the Adult Swim Fun House, there was also the Adult Swim Meatwad Full Dome Experience. We had some scheduling problems, but luckily the staff were helpful and allowed us to change times a bit. They totally remembered gem from earlier in the day, which was cool. We started with the Meatwad Full Dome Experience. You can see a close-up of the outside above.

Inside, you sit in low seats leaning back because the whole roof of the dome is a screen.

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It’s hard to explain the show, because it’s random and weird.

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It was definitely cool though!

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Then we entered the Fun House! For the most part, it was the same as last year. While we in line, we got to know the three guys behind us. They were from San Diego, and they were really funny. It’s great how fun it is to get to know the people near you in lines.

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However, last year we exited through the… well… through the giant vagina as if we were being born. This year we crawled through a washing machine that was being humped by a robot. This was a new exit replacing the one we used last year.

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We came out of a cat’s butt into a litter box.

sdcc serenity cosplay

Afterward you’re allowed to choose a t-shirt, a print, and a location for the print, and they make you a free t-shirt. While I was waiting for mine, I saw a woman who was cosplaying as the Serenity, the ship itself from Firefly/Serenity. It was pretty cool!

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On our way back to the hotel, a guy asked for a song, and when gem started playing and singing, he started dancing!

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We met with Mike since we were in San Diego, and we had sushi and drinks at Full Moon Sushi and Kitchen Bar. Then he took us to Neighborhood, a fun bar. When they closed we headed to The Commons Bar before returning to the hotel to play Cards Against Humanity. It was great to see Mike again!

More adventures coming tomorrow!

Check out the last days:

The Star Wars

The Star Wars

I recently finished reading The Star Wars, the Dark Horse miniseries adapting the original script by George Lucas for Star Wars. There’s a lot to excite Star Wars fans – General Luke Skywalker is an old soldier and veteran of many battles. He sort of takes the place of Obi-wan Kenobi in many ways. Annikin Starkiller is the young Jedi, more like Luke from the movies although more brash. Antagonists include Darth Vader, which is simply the name of an Imperial general, and Prince Valorum, a Knight of the Sith.

As a Star Wars fan, I can understand how it could pique one’s interest, but in actuality, the story seems quite rough. This isn’t surprising given that it’s a comic adaptation of a rough draft of a screenplay, but it’s worth noting. In the movie trilogy, Ewoks fight back on the ground against the Imperials. Something a bit similar happens in the comics with technology-lacking natives, but it’s quite a bit more ridiculous. The relationship between the Jedi and Sith is also unclear. I suppose background on both organizations or beliefs are lacking, but come to think of it, I suppose it was the same in the original trilogy.

I don’t regret reading it, and I do think that fans of Star Wars might get a kick out of seeing a visual depiction of Lucas’ original plan, but that plan was changed for a reason.

Gotham Vixens

Gotham Vixens

Last night I saw Yadi Presents Gotham Vixens at the Yost Theater. It was hilarious and quite entertaining.

Batman (Mr. Snapper) and Alfred (Mr. Buddy) hosted. Poor Batman realized that the birthday card he got in the mail from the Joker poisoned him. The audience joined Batman in asking Alfred to help him find an antidote.

Gotham Vixens

There were many great performers as a variety of Batman characters. One of my favorite Batman characters, Harley Quinn, (played by Dolly Danger, I think) was included in the fun. The effectively had three costumes; she started as a nurse, had a formal red dress underneath, and wore something a bit more fun under that.

I took the photo from a Snapchat. Thanks, friend!

The Joker (Martini Bombshell) threw this!

The Joker, played by Martini Bombshell, threw signed playing cards into the audience. I got this Jack of Hearts. A Jack is almost a Joker, right?

Frankie Sin as the Penguin and Lyra La Belle as Catwoman were both great. Mercury Troy’s played an acurately cold and distant (while still entertaining) Mr. Freeze. The Scarecrow’s (Iza La Vamp) act was interesting because I mostly found myself anxiously awaiting the removal of the sack-like mask!

There was one person Batman knew couldn’t have been the one who did it. He remarked that this person had been in love with him for years.

He was talking about Robin (Tito Bonito), of course! This was easily the most hilarious act of the show, which included Robin seductively running his hands over Batman’s chest.

Gotham Vixens

Once Batman realized he wasn’t poisoned and that it was just from his seven Doritos Locos Tacos he had for lunch from Taco Bell, heroes and villains put aside their differences to say good bye. It was a great evening!

The cast, as best I can determine:

Mr. Snapper Batman
Mr. Buddy Alfred
Frankie Sin Penguin
Drea Dillinger The Riddler
Fever Blister Batgirl
Red Snapper Poison Ivy
Iza La Vamp Scarecrow
Mercury Troy Mr. Freeze
Dolly Danger Harley Quinn
Scarlett DeVille Batwoman?
Lyra La Belle Catwoman
Core D’luxe Scarface
Valentina Azul Twoface?
Martini Bombshell The Joker
Tito Bonito Robin
Vivienne Von Deadly Mad Hatter

I’m not positive about who played Batwoman, and Twoface ended up not being in the show.

Valentine’s Day comics

Happy Valentine’s Day! My Valentine was Alakazam Comics! Okay, it actually had nothing to do with Valentine’s Day, but I went to check if I had anything to pick up. The clerk usually asks for my name, and I just give “A-N-A-R.” One in particular always asks in a way that implies he’s trying to remember even though I never expect them to know my name. However, today he said, “it starts with an ‘A’, right?”

I said, “yeah, and it’s a long one.”

He replied, “right, it’s… A-N-A-R… G-I-R-O-U?”

I was pretty surprised honestly.

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And then I was more surprised because I didn’t realize that Serenity: Leaves on the Wind had released! It’s the first Serenity comic (or any media) to depict the events after the film. Sweet.

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In unrelated news, I also reorganized my bookshelves. They fit a lot more books when the books aren’t placed all haphazardly.

Besides that, I also played some games, watched some TV, and watched Smokin’ Aces. Fun day.

Scalzi’s Redshirts will be an FX limited series

FX Adapting ‘Redshirts’ Scf-Fi Novel As Limited Series, Nellie Andreeva, Deadline, 2/7/14 via John Scalzi’s The Whatever.

Exciting news! John Scalzi’s novel, Redshirts, is set to become a series on FX. Redshirts is about a group of red shirt-wearing people on a spaceship that realize they’re always the ones to die and that their lives follow strange rules. Eventually they realize that a TV show from hundreds of years earlier seems to be ruling their lives. It was a very fun novel, and I’m looking forward to the TV show now!

Scalzi seems to have a lot happening. Old Man’s War, another of his novels, is being made into a movie. In addition, he did the writing for an upcoming iOS first-person shooter called Midnight Star and its interactive graphic novel tie-in, Midnight Rises. And we can’t forget that he’s one of my favorite authors and bloggers. There’re lots of Scalzi-related things about which to be excited!

The Intergalactic Nemesis: Book Two – Robot Planet Rising

intergalactic nemesis

I saw The Intergalactic Nemesis: Book Two – Robot Planet Rising, the live-action, graphic novel, radio drama, today at the Segerstrom Center. It was a ton of fun.

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We got to take some photographs, but that was actually the second thing we did. First, we did some voice-acting.

gem wanted to be an evil dinosaur, and Joe Ochman helped show her how. She was very excited to do her evil laugh!

I played the sidekick. I tried to act like a young, eager guy. It was a lot of fun.

Of course, the show was excellent as well. I love the way the cast interact on a layer above the characters as well. I’m looking forward to reading the graphic novel and listening to the radio drama to see how they differ. Hopefully I get to see Book Three performed eventually as well!

 

Daredevil by Mark Waid Volume 5 is his best yet

Daredevil by Mark Waid Volume 5

While I still love Frank Miller’s runs of Daredevil best, this latest hardcover of Mark Waid’s is the best he’s done. Volume 5 collects Daredevil Volume 3 issues 22 through 27. I didn’t really like the start of Mark Waid’s Daredevil with the Omega Drive. It felt a little too mainstream Marvel, like I was reading the Avengers without most of the Avengers. It got better, but this volume just blew the previous out of the water.

Some things were interesting but minor. It was cool to see Stilt-Man again in a funny way, and there was a little fight with Spider-Man. But there were a few things happening that were absolutely great. First, Ikari is a great villain. I know we don’t know much about his personal motivation. No, he’s not a well-rounded character yet. However, I hope we see more of him in the future. We also got to see Stick in some flashbacks. I kind of thought Waid was going to downplay Stick, but apparently I was wrong.

Daredevil begins to piece together who’s after him and who has been sending people to harm him. It was exactly who I expected, but it doesn’t mean it was any less cool, especially how Foggy figured out who it is before Matt. Speaking of Foggy, it’s great to find their relationship getting repaired. The roles flip back and forth, and we see that maybe they perform the same function for each other. They need each other. While Daredevil might be called the Man Without Fear, we see him incredibly scared in this volume, and Foggy is the one who has to keep him grounded, despite imposing health problems.

While I prefer hardcovers over single issues, it’s going to be extremely hard to stay away from Daredevil until the next volume is released!

The Sentry: Reborn

The Sentry: Reborn

After enjoying the idea of the Sentry, I went back and read his original series and The Sentry: Reborn miniseries. The original The Sentry miniseries has an interesting background story. In the Marvel Universe, the Sentry is supposedly one of the first superheroes, but for some reason, no one remembers him. Over the course of the miniseries, it’s revealed why no one remembers. It also explores his nemesis, the Void, a being of pure evil. What’s especially interesting is that Marvel plays up the idea by acting like they found old sketches and notes about him from 60’s.

The Sentry: Reborn adds a lot more twists to his story. It examines the relationship between Robert Reynolds, his alias as The Sentry, and The Void. Reynolds’ therapist is also a major character as they deal with Reynolds’ schizophrenia. It’s very fascinating. The Sentry is very similar to Superman in that they’re both incredibly powerful “classic” heroes. They’re both forces of pure good. However, out of his costume, Reynolds is highly unstable, suffering from schizophrenia, depression, delusions, agoraphobia, and substance abuse. It’s definitely a different direction than Superman!

I do have to say that the art style in The Sentry: Reborn was rather disappointing. The proportions consistently looked off to me, and faces looked especially bad. John Romita Jr. is a pretty famous comic artist, so I don’t know if he used a different style for this or if I just don’t like his style. Regardless of art problems, I still thought it was a great book!

Will Eisner’s Minor Miracles and A Life Force

At the Syfy Presents the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards I was given copies of Will Eisner’s Minor Miracles and A Life Force. I read Minor Miracles right away but didn’t complete A Life Force until this morning. Both were excellent, but I especially enjoyed A Life Force.

Minor Miracles consists of four stories taking place on Dropsie Avenue in the Bronx. Each is told as a sort of exaggerated legend featuring something miraculous. As I mentioned in a previous entry, they kind of reminded me of Kafka in the sense that they were very entertaining but sort of uncomfortable, causing mild distress. They weren’t full of happy endings, but they didn’t have sad endings either. They just sort of ended with that feeling of having the emotional wind knocked out of you – a numbness, maybe.

A Life Force was absolutely excellent. It focused on many different characters centered around Jacob Shtarkah on Dropsie Avenue. It takes place in the depression and touches on poverty, the economy, racial tensions, organized crime, political systems, anti-semitism, and the life force that drives us. It was a fantastic window to the depression era and shows man’s struggle for survival.

Having read these two graphic novels, I understand why Eisner’s so acclaimed. I highly recommend both these books.

The Disastrous Daredevil

As a Daredevil fan, I figured it was about to time I watch the movie that’s universally despised. Having watched it, I can understand why.

The two biggest problems with the movie are probably Ben Affleck didn’t seem to really care about the role and that Daredevil didn’t seem to be a true hero. The fight scenes weren’t great either. It’s too bad Frank Miller wasn’t directing.

There were some minor differences that didn’t bother me too much. For one thing, I was sad that Matt’s father wasn’t called Battlin’ Jack Murdock, but oh well. The big problem was revealed when we saw Daredevil origin. As he runs away from the reveal that his father’s a thug, he causes an accident that spills radioactive waste in his eyes, blinding him and heightening his other abilities. How heroic. Boy runs away and causes an accident. The hero I know as Daredevil saved an old man from getting his by a truck, thus getting in the accident himself. Speaking of being a hero, in the comics Daredevil chases the man involved in his father’s murder into a subway, but the man has a heart attack. This was transposed onto an unrelated person for the film, but rather than simply having a heart attack, Daredevil leaves him on the train tracks to get by a train. Leaving someone to get killed is not in his character at all. It’s confusing that they would even think to put that in the film.

Elektra enters a coffee shop and sits to drink before even buying anything. There’s a goofy romantically tense fight between Matt and Elektra in a park when they first meet, and no one seems to care. Scenes seem to shift as people fight. The Kingpin isn’t the calculating, brilliant man of the comics. And why was he involved in Jack’s death? They throw Karen Page into the film for no reason. Was it just so fans could recognize a character from the comics? There were no sparks between her and Foggy or her and Matt, leaving her inclusion pointless. It was just sloppy.

There were, however, redeeming qualities. For one thing, Jack Murdock decides to win his fight against John Romita despite being told to throw it. He also learns that many other people he defeated actually threw their fights, including Miller, Mack, Bendis. These are all obvious references to important people involved in the writing of Daredevil comics, which I enjoyed. Michael Clarke Duncan portrayed Kingpin excellently. I also enjoyed Colin Farrell as Bullseye even if I kind of missed his costume. Bullseye is crazy, and this is especially noticeable in his facial expression and eyes. Farrell pulled it off.

While I wouldn’t think about saying the Daredevil film was good, I enjoyed it. However, I’d recommend that if you’re not a fan, stay away. That isn’t because you wouldn’t appreciate it. Rather, it’s because I wouldn’t want to taint your impression of Daredevil before experiencing Frank Miller’s take on the Man Without Fear.

Dr. Horrible And Other Horrible Stories by Zack Whedon

I absolutely love Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, but the graphic novel Dr. Horrible and Other Horrible Stories has been sitting in my room unread for some time now. It consists of Captain Hammer: Be Like Me!Moist: Humidity RisingPenny: Keep Your Head UpThe Evil League of Evil, and the Dr. Horrible one-shot. Sadly, the graphic novel was hit or miss.

Captain Hammer: Be Like Me! was amusing and was basically Captain Hammer telling kids to be like him and look out for potential super-villains, such as a kids who are interested in science. While not seeming to develop plot, it was a fun little story.

Moist: Humidity Rising tells the backstory to Moist, Dr. Horrible’s henchman. Yes, I guess it was plot development, but it wasn’t very interesting.

Penny: Keep Your Head Up shows that Penny has difficulties dating. It was fairly uneventful.

The Evil League of Evil was a bit more interesting. When the heroes are away, the League decides to attack the city. Two small-time heroes get involved, trying to stop them.

Finally, the Dr. Horrible one-shot deals with Dr. Horrible’s origin. This was the most interesting comic in the paperback. In addition to showing what motivates Dr. Horrible, it also ties back into Captain Hammer: Be Like Me!

While it was fun enough to read, the graphic novel sadly didn’t live up to Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. I suspect that will stay alone in its greatness. I realize Whedon has talked about a sequel, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

Marvel’s Siege

I finished Marvel’s Siege recently, which admittedly is three years old. It deals with Norman Osborn’s siege of Asgard and his fall from leading H.A.M.M.E.R. I didn’t read any Dark Reign, so I didn’t see any of the comics that dealt with Osborn being the leader of H.A.M.M.E.R., but it was interesting to see him leading in Siege.

Osborn’s an interesting character, dealing with his own mental instabilities and struggles with the Green Goblin persona. Siege deals heavily with the Sentry who, with The Void, parallels Norman Osborn in many ways. The story makes me wonder about Osborn’s motives and whether there might be good in there, buried by crazy. More than that, it makes me extremely interested in The Sentry. I’ll have to go back and read his mini-series when I can find it.

I really enjoyed Siege despite not knowing some of his Avengers. Seeing Bullseye as Hawkeye was pretty cool too, although I suppose that wouldn’t have been new if I had been reading Dark Reign. After reading Osborn’s rise in The Secret Invasion, it was fitting to see his fall.

San Diego Comic-Con 2013

Hotel roof view

With San Diego Comic-Con 2013 behind me, I better hurry and talk about it before I forget. It was an amazing convention as usual. I had so much fun. SDCC is a great combination of so many forms of popular culture. I’ll be talking about most parts of the convention here, but I’ve already posted about anything related to video games at Polygons and Pixels. You can also view my photo album on Flickr.

We stayed at the San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter very close to the convention center itself. There was a bar on the roof called Altitude Sky Lounge that gave a pretty nice view. The photo above was taken there. The bartender and bouncer were both cool, and I had a John Daly and glass of wine. I’d never heard of a John Daly before, and it was delicious. I’ll definitely order them in the future. We enjoyed some conversation, a view of San Diego, and the fire before going downstairs to meet with our friend Mike.

Mike lives in San Diego, and we wanted to make sure to hang out with him, choosing to do so on the very first night. He took us to University Heights, which is the area in which he lives. He pointed out a great Mexican restaurant to us, El Zarape. As it turns out, we ate there before leaving Comic-Con last year! Anyways, that’s not where we ate. We went to the Soda & Swine, a fantastic meatball restaurant. It’s connected to Polite Provisions, a bar next door, so I took my meatball sub there to eat. I also had another glass of wine, and then I couldn’t resist an order of more meatballs à la carte as well as a delicious slice of pie. Next Mike took us to a local bar, Small Bar, that’s very popular. It seemed like a cool enough place and definitely more of a dive bar. I didn’t order anything because apparently three drinks is more than enough for me now.

After hanging out at Small Bar for a while, we walked back to Mike’s apartment. We hung out a little bit, and he showed gem his drums. I think I just slept on his couch. After a little bit, and I can’t specify exactly how long, he drove us back to our hotel.

Thursday!

What's on her head?!

The first thing we did on Thursday was head to the exhibit hall, going up and down the aisles to look at everything offered. gem found this nice octopus that was definitely not a hat, but that didn’t stop her. I bought a book called Home for a Bunny. I’m a sucker for children’s books. (Interesting fact: That was the only thing I purchased besides food and drinks at SDCC!)

Bump it!

gem stopped by Kid Robot to work her chalk magic on a huge Dunny!

The first panel we attended was Ode to Nerds, which was about science fiction authors and their relationship to geek and nerd culture. It featured io9’s Charlie Jane Anders as the moderator eith Cory Doctorow, Chuck Palahniuk, Patrick Rothfuss, Austin Grossman, D.C. Pierson, and Robyn Schneider. While I hadn’t heard of most of these people, I definitely knew Chuck Palahniuk. While he was most assuredly interesting, he was also surprisingly reserved. I also didn’t realize at first that Patrick Rothfuss was the moderator of the Spotlight on John Scalzi panel last year. There was mention of the idea of branding yourself online as a writer, and he even mentioned something like, “well we can’t all be John Scalzi.” They discussed the kinds of things you’d expect: you shouldn’t try to brand yourself in a certain way. You should write what you like. You shouldn’t write under the assumption that Hollywood will make a movie of your book.

For lunch we ate at Royal Thai, also in the Gaslamp District. The food was delicious! However, the service wasn’t stellar. They didn’t bring us utensils with our food, and despite asking for it spicy and being told they’d bring us extra hot sauce, we didn’t get any. Regardless, I’d still eat there again. The food was very tasty. I love tom kha kai so very much! Wow, I really want some now. (Spoiler: I’m writing this hungry.)

We also checked out the Goorin Bros. Hat Shop in the Gaslamp District. Apparently it’s a well-known hat shop that gem was excited to visit. Besides a large assortment of hats, they also sold an “official collector’s edition Heisenberg hat & box set.” In other words, Heisenberg’s hat from Breaking Bad. It came in a yellow box with a certificate, Breaking Bad packing paper, and a picture of Heisenberg’s face on the box. It also came with a $200 price tag. Their site states that only 1,895 were created. The store said they had limited quantities and that it was only going to be sold at Comic-Con, but I highly doubt they sold anywhere near that many. It was a cool idea, but I bet it flopped. If it was significantly cheaper, I’d be interested. Or I’d jump at the chance if actor Bryan Cranston, who portrays Walter White, actually wore it!

Soon it was time for another panel, Not Guilty Due to Zombification! Law and Forensic Psychiatry in a Zombie Apocalypse. It featured the forensic psychiatrists of Broadcast Thought, H. Eric Bender, M.D., Praveen R. Kambam, M.D., and Vasilis K. Pozios, M.D., as well as attorney James Daily of Law and the Multiverse and attorney and professor Jeff Trexler. I saw Broadcast Thought last year doing a panel about the Joker and whether he should be accountable for his actions. This panel was similar. They imagined a universe in which a person would begin to show symptoms of becoming a zombie three to five days after being bitten. The symptoms would be minor at first, but after a few hours they’d become a zombie. In this universe, zombification was also curable if treated quickly enough. They discussed the idea of a man who killed the guy with whom his wife was cheating. However, there was reason to believe he was a zombie at the time. Should he be held accountable? He showed some signs earlier, such as being cold, but he walked home, which meant he was coherent. He broke into his home despite having a key, found the man, and killed him.

It was pretty interesting. They discussed a lot of details that I don’t remember now, but the idea was to show how small facts can become the major focus that determines a man innocence or guilt. When the man was cold in the bar, was that because he was cold or was that because was showing early symptoms of becoming a zombie? He was a full zombie when the police arrived, but was he a full zombie when he killed the man? It sounds silly talking about it now, but it was very fascinating and fun.

And then! Dinner! Dinner was so good! It was late, but I wanted to eat anywhere. We found a place called Bolillo Tortas. I ate a milanesa de res torta. Only too late did I realize they also had horchata, the most delicious drink to grace dinner tables anywhere.

Friday!

On Friday we headed back to the exhibit hall to see the rest of the hall. One interesting thing I saw was a booth showing off Two-Headed Cop! There was an interesting clip playing a noir film with a style I liked about a two-headed cop. They didn’t really say anything about it, but I looked it up online later. It appears to be a short film about a half-asian, half-caucasian two-headed cop. I don’t know too much about it, but I’d like to check it out more in the future.

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We reached the video game section, which included the Ace Attorney photo-op shown above! We also headed to the Nintendo Game Lounge. I won’t talk about the video game things I saw here because I already talked about them at Polygons and Pixels. Check it out there if you’re interesting in the games I played or cosplay I saw.

After hanging out in the fantastic Nintendo Game Lounge we headed to Petco Park to try to get tickets for the Adult Swim Fun House. We waited in line, having a nice chat with the person in line in front of us. We sampled some free coffee drinks, and the line moved quickly. After getting our tickets, we decided to check out what else was happening there at Petco Park.

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At that point I ran into the Man Without Fear himself, Daredevil! I couldn’t find any Daredevil merchandise, but at least I found a sweet cosplayer! I love Daredevil, so that was exciting.

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That wasn’t the only interesting person in a costume. Outside the Fun House, I ran into Robot Chicken! It was time for lunch after that. Antonio ordered a burger and an ice cream sandwich, and we split some deep-fried Oreos. gem had crab cakes, and I had a huge, delicious burger.

It was back to the Convention Center after eating for Syfy Presents the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards. We could only stay for part of it because we wanted to go to the fun house, but it was very interesting. They gave out copies of A Life Force and Minor Miracles both by Will Eisner. I read Minor Miracles, which was a collection of four short graphic novels. All four were interesting but strange at the same time. They reminded me of Kafka’s literature a bit. I haven’t yet read the other book, but I plan to do so soon.

Adult Swim Fun House

The Adult Swim Fun House was fun as you’d expect. There were a decent number of strange rooms. One room contained a masked performer who required us to reach into one of the many holes in the room before we could leave. They were filled with slime and goo of course. In another room there was a sleeping Santa Claus in a chair next to a box full of gifts. I actually wasn’t sure if he was real. We all took gifts, but then Santa suddenly woke up and jumped at us, startling some people. By the way, my gift was a thermos. In one room a masked performer wordlessly mimed to us to reach into the box he was holding and draw one ticket. Some were blank indicating losers while others indicated that the person won a poster. Antonio and gem each won a poster, but I didn’t.

Another room had a hole in the wall through which we were required to crawl to proceed. It led onto a giant crib in which lied a hairy man dressed only in a diaper shaking a rattle and crying out for his daddy. It was eerie, but I told him it was the best moment of my life. He shook his rattle at me.

I took a photo of my favorite room above. I’d like to say I imagined those cords were deadly lasers, but if that was the case, I would so be dead. That room led to a hall of mirrors which led to three different exits.

Adult Swim Fun House

One exit mimicked being born! Another led to a cage in which you’d need to sing before being allowed to leave. I found my way a steep incline and a rope. After climbing, I was at the top of a big slide. I decided to roll down it. Funny? No, stupid. I scraped my arm and didn’t notice until a few minutes later that I was bleeding. Sucks for me, but also gross for the people who came down after me when there was a bit of my blood on the slide. Now that we were done, Antonio and gem collected their posters from a man who decided to give me one too. I’d be more excited, but they were actually kind of lame. Still, I put it up in my cubicle. It has a picture of a weird man in front of a bunch of stars with the words “Adult Swim Fun House.”

Saturday!

We started off Saturday by heading back to the Nintendo Game Lounge in an effort to earn Mario and Luigi hats. You got them for playing Super Mario 3D World, but they were out the previous day. Having earned them (and playing Just Dance 2014 again), we went to breakfast. We ate an amazing breakfast buffet at Marina Kitchen. I had an omelette, multiple kinds of bacon, sausage, half of a waffle, oatmeal, and half of a bagel. As you might conclude, it wasn’t a good weekend of my diet, but the breakfast was delicious. The omelette maker also mentioned in Spanish that white people can’t decide and are too picky about food. Thanks to Antonio for translating. Of note, some other Spanish speaking staff at another location made fun of white people because only white people cosplay.

The Scarlet Witch

At Comic-Con I saw someone dressed as the Scarlet Witch. It was a good costume, but every time she posed, one particular photographer got in the way.

Inspector Gadget

I also ran into Inspector Gadget! If you don’t Inspector Gadget, you’re a fool!

I wanted to see the Star Wars vs. Serenity panel so lined up early. Antonio and gem went to the bathroom, so I waited in line. Right after they left, the line moved, and I found myself in the preceding panel, We Are BOOM! BOOM! Studios is a comics publisher, and their panel consisted of founder and CEO Ross Richie, editor-in-chief Matt Gagnon, and vice president of publishing and marketing Filip Sablik. It wasn’t very interesting, and sadly hardly anyone left after the panel. I’m pretty sure everyone was in that panel just to see Star Wars vs. Serenity.

The Star Wars vs. Serenity panel was about Dark Horse comics, and it wasn’t really versus. However, it was incredibly interesting! Luckily Antonio and gem made it into the panel, and while we sat in the back, at least we were there. The panel consisted (according to the programming guide) of PR director Jeremy Atkins, editor-in-chief Scott Allie, “Dark Horse resident Jedi” Randy Stradley, and others. I really enjoyed the panel. There were two main things they discussed, one related to each intellectual property.

First, they pitched Whedon the idea of a monthly Serenity comic, but he thought it would water down the property. He wants to continue building that universe, but he only wants to create graphic novels when there’s a good story to tell. That’s a fantastic idea, and I commend him for it. There are more graphic novels planned, and Whedon just gave the go-ahead to create a story taking place after the film. They weren’t giving out many details about the graphic novel, but it will take place very shortly after the film. It sounds like Zoe will still be pregnant, and it’ll be dealing with the fact that the crew of the Serenity are now very highly wanted criminals.

The other interesting announcement was regarding Star Wars. There’s a new graphic novel titled The Star Wars based on George Lucas’ original script for the first movie. While it’s true that it must have had problems because it was changed drastically before filming, the graphic novel still sounds incredibly exciting and interesting. It’ll be a fascinating look at Star Wars history. Anakin and Leia appear to be nearly the same age. As far as I can tell, Darth Vader and Anakin are different people. In place of a Death Star is a Space Fortress. Star Destroyers still look the same but are far smaller; they’re two person fighters. The capital of the Empire is Alderaan. R2-D2 talks. I think the aspect about which I’m most excited is that in place of Obi-wan Kenobi’s role, Luke is actually a Jedi general who is rumored to be over two years old and is a veteran of many battles. It’s comes out in September, and I’m very excited to read it.

We stayed for the next panel as well – How to Get a Job in the Video Game Industry. I’m not particularly looking to do that, but it was still interesting. The panel consisted of Capcom senior director of creative services Francis Mao with a group of people in a variety of roles at Capcom. I thought Mao’s story of breaking into the industry was pretty funny. When he was a teenager he bought a game and received a free issue of Game Pro. The magazine advertised a contest to draw your favorite video game character. He created what he considered a really awesome air-brushed graphic involving multiple characters. He sent it to the magazine and promptly forgot about it. A few weeks later he received a call from the magazine. He was excited and asked, “did I win?” They replied, at least according to him, “no, you idiot. It was a contest for kids, you know, with crayons. But we did love your artwork and were wondering if you’d like to do some paid work for us.” Now keep in mind that I’m paraphrasing here, and he’s probably embellished the story. However, I’m sure he used the phrase “no, you idiot,” and he definitely mentioned the crayons.

They gave a few general tips that I think can apply to many things. Be willing to work for free for the experience and contacts. Network as much as possible. Don’t be afraid to try. Say you can do it, and then work to learn it, even if you’re not sure you can do it.

I think the thing people forget about industries that are idolized like the games industry is that they usually don’t pay as well as comparable jobs. I want to do something I really enjoy and make a difference, yes. But I also care about my well-being and the well-being of my future family. Salary, benefits, 401k all matter. I love video games, and I can purchase them thanks to my nice salary. I really wish one of these panels would tell us how much these people make!

We killed a little time after the panel before gem asked us to go watch a movie they were screening called Warm Bodies, apparently a zombie romance flick. I didn’t expect much out of it but thought it’d be fun. I absolutely loved it. Some of the effects were a little less than totally realistic, and it was definitely corny, but it was great, a ten out of ten. Without giving too much of the story away, the film takes place in a universe in which there’s one known human city left. It’s surrounded by a large wall, and life inside is generally decent. They have electronics, power, plumbing, and a clean environment. Outside the wall are hordes of zombies. Warm Bodies is narrated by a zombie that seems to be cognizant of what he is. It opens with him thinking about his life, complaining about how he moves so slow, and mentioning that his best friend is a guy that sits next to him while they groan back and forth. When he meets a young girl named Juliet he falls in love with her and slowly becomes more human. If you like zombies at all, I’d really recommend watching it!

Delicious Ice Cream Sandwich

What’s next after a great zombie movie? A delicious ice cream sandwich from Crunch Time, right across the street from our hotel. We had no idea it was going to be so huge. You could choose from a variety of ice cream flavors layered between two cookies, either chocolate chip or brownie. We chose one brownie cookie and one chocolate chip cookie with butter pecan ice cream. We even had a heath bar chopped into the ice cream. We split it three ways, and it was super tasty. Another unhealthy treat!

At some point I picked up two free, promotional comics. I don’t remember exactly when, but I’ll just mention them now. One was Ip Man: The Grandmaster of Kung Fu, apparently based on a movie of the same (or similar) name. I didn’t care for it. It wasn’t interesting, the art wasn’t particularly great, and the plot kept changing suddenly. The other was Vikings, published by Zenescope and created in conjunction with the History Channel. I think it’s promoting a new TV show about vikings. It suffered from the same problems as the other comic. I guess that’s why they were free.

It was beginning to get late, but it was also the last night at Comic-Con, so we headed back to the Convention Center to watch anime. First, we saw most of an episode of Mayo Chiki. Okay, this is sound weird, but it is anime. It’s about a young man who is afraid of girls and gets nose bleeds whenever a girl touches him. He accidentally discovers that a butler he knows is actually a girl pretending to be a man. Somehow he gets entangled in the personal lives of Subaru, the butler, and Kanade, her mistress. In this particular episode there was some sort of crazy hoax kidnapping. It was odd.

Next we caught the ending of an episode of Dirty Pair Flash. The two women are police officers or detectives or something, and they deal with criminals. Maybe. The art is terrible, and I think the show is mostly an excuse to show off their breasts. I didn’t care for it.

Finally, we watched Needless Shorts. At least, that’s what the programming guide called it, but I was an am kind of confused. I saw an anime that didn’t include “Shorts” in the title screens at all but were short, five minute (or so) episodes. It was about a young man named Cruz Schild who transfers to an all girls school to try to find his sister. To do so, he has to pretend to be a girl. There’s a lot of hilarity and a bit of fanservice. When I tried to look up the anime later, I could only find mention that Needless is an anime set in the future after World War III. Tokyo is destroyed, and people who live in the crater have gained powers. At this point, I’m thinking I’m reading about the wrong anime. But then I see the name “Cruz Schild.” Antonio mentioned that before the show actually started, he saw someone go into the extras menu. He thought that maybe we were watching an extra. This made me realize that Needless Shorts was probably referring to short episodes based on Needless and not needing to wear less shorts like we originally thought. It wasn’t until just now (as I was writing this post) that I found a page at Anime Planet that mentions an anime related to Needless, Needless: The Secret of Saint Lily Academy (DVD Special). It all makes sense, and I’m actually interested in watching it now!

Sunday!

Pirate Ship

Sunday was the last day of Comic-Con. We started the day by getting in line for Hall H where there was to be a Breaking Bad panel. I grabbed this photo of a pirate ship while in line. Antonio’s not up-to-date on the show, so we suggested he leave so as to not spoil it for himself. We had a good time talking to the person in line behind us, Adam. He mentioned that while he was trying to find the end of the line, the line was also moving, and it would have been easy for him to sneak and cut in line. He said he realized later, “if you want to see Walter White, you have to be Walter White.” I reminded him that bad things happen when you decide to break bad. We also discussed food quite a bit. His girlfriend managed a restaurant called Sea and Smoke that sounded good. He also mentioned two other restaurants he recommended, Barley Mash and Urban Solace, as well as a restaurant in Orange County he recommended called Mr. A’s. Sadly, we didn’t end up eating at any of them. We also mentioned Soda & Swine and Small Bar, and he was familiar with both!

While we were in line, there were people standing near the lines with signs declaring us sinners and telling us to save ourselves through Jesus. I’m never quite sure why those people believe Comic-Con attendees to be sinners. Anyways, two interesting things happened. First, someone took it upon himself to lead us in song to drown them out. This included the Pokemon theme song. A girl continued the idea with some Journey. We sang Queen as well! Second, some people cosplayed as the people with signs. However, these signs said a variety of things such as “Bring back that show I like” and “Galactus is nigh!” They were pretty funny, and they followed around the other people with signs, driving them away. That was nice!

The time the panel was supposed to start came and went, and we were still in line. However, they also told us that the panel was delayed. We weren’t sure how long to stay. A half hour after the scheduled start time, gem and I decided to leave. Just as we were leaving they came out to announce that the hall was full and that the panel had started. We walked near the front of the line anyways to ask how long the people at the front, who still weren’t inside mind you, had been in line. It was 11:45 or so at the time, and they had been in line since 6:30 AM. That’s crazy.

After finding Antonio, we went back to Bolillo Tortas for lunch again. This time I actually got horchata, oh, and a torta too. I had a decent torta ahogada, but I actually liked the milanesa de res torta more. However, gem got an order of chilaquiles that we all shared, and that was absolutely amazing. So good!

sdcc 2013

The Nintendo Game Lounge was going to do a group photo of fans at 2:00, so we thought we might be able to make it over there. We were just slightly too late, but I did run into Quail Man and Woody! Totally worth it. After that, we decided to try to see Neil Gaiman at a panel. We waited in line for 45 minutes or so, but we didn’t make it into the panel. At that point we decided to call it a day and head home.

Duck Dynasty

As we were walking down the sidewalk outside the Convention Center, I saw this group of people – Duck Dynasty cosplayers! I don’t watch the show, but my stepdad does, so I had to grab a photo! It’s amazing to think that such a wide variety of interests are represented at Comic-Con! Finding interesting cosplay that was so different than most of the other things I saw over the convention was the perfect way to end the convention. With that, our vacation ended!

Dared to read Daredevil Yellow

Daredevil Yellow

Daredevil Yellow is Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s retelling of Daredevil’s origins. In an effort to deal with the loss of Karen Page, Matt writes a letter to her as a way of dealing with his feelings. Through these letters, we see his past.

It was an entertaining story as a Daredevil fan, but I’m not sure it would work as a good introduction to the hero for people who weren’t familiar with him already. Then again, maybe an origin story isn’t always written for newcomers. Can’t a fan enjoy a retelling of an origin?

The story centers on Karen Page. In addition, it covers the death of Matt’s father, Battling Jack Murdock, fairly well and gives a new (to me at least) reason for his costume being yellow; he made it out of his father’s robe. Loeb also gives motivation for Matt changing his costume to red based on feedback from Karen. That’s not exactly how I remember it from issue seven in which he mentions in passing redesigning his costume to make it “more comfortable” and “more distinctive.” User Aristocles on Answerbag wrote that the artist, Wally Wood, didn’t want the Man Without Fear to wear yellow because it’s the color of fear. Is it true? I don’t know, and I’m not researching. It sounds plausible though.

The art style in Daredevil Yellow is a bit odd. It’s a bit deformed or grotesque. I don’t mean that in a bad way, but it’s just skewed. Usually this just seems like a stylistic choice, and it looks good on some characters. Matt looked good usually, for example. However, Karen looks like some sort of demon at times! I didn’t care for her look in most panels.

Daredevil Yellow was entertaining but not superb. It worked at retelling parts of Matt’s origins but only parts. If you’re new to Daredevil, I wouldn’t recommend it.

Man of Steel

Note: There aren’t really any huge plot twists to spoil in the movie, but I’ll be talking about the plot!

I had a good time watching Man of Steel last week, but it wasn’t up to the quality of some other superhero movies. I enjoyed the Dark Knight trilogy and films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (except Hulk) more. My exposure to Superman is limited primarily to the first season of Smallville, Superman for all Seasons, and the novel It’s Superman!

First, there were many things I did like. Seeing Krypton was very interesting, and I’d love to see more of it in the future. I haven’t read much Superman, but I’m under the impression that not much is shown of Krypton in general. Just like my feelings about Asgard in Thor, I’d like to see a movie solely focused on Krypton.

I also enjoyed seeing Clark Kent come to terms with his powers and who he is. His inner-conflict and relationships to other people were far more interesting that his battles. Everyone expects superhero stories to be full of fighting and action, and Man of Steel delivers that. However, they seem to go for too long. There are so many related conflicts back-to-back that it feels like a cliche RPG. After the last stage, you fight the boss, but then you fight the true boss. And then you fight the final form and then the hyper-final form. It wasn’t exactly like there, and there aren’t any huge twists; however there are a string of conflicts.

My biggest problem with Man of Steel is that of Clark Kent’s secret identity. Multiple people know that Clark Kent is Superman and not people who are particularly close to him either. How could he keep his identity as Superman a secret? In addition, and here’s a bit of a spoiler, the military uses the ship in which he came to Earth near the end of the movie yet they don’t know who Superman is. How did they go to his house and pick it up while not knowing his identity? It seems silly.

I’d also like to see him use his powers more. He uses x-ray vision and heightened senses as a child when he’s coming to terms with his powers, but he doesn’t use them during fights. He rarely even uses the heat vision. In fact, the abilities he uses in combat are limited to his super-strength, his ability to fly, and his invulnerability. It appears Superman deals with threats by throwing himself at them.

I saw Man of Steel in 3D, although that was only because the 2D showing was a half hour later in the day. The film used 3D very well. It was never too “in-my-face,” and I use that term both figuratively and literally. It was subtle yet useful. Given that tickets for 3D films cost $4 more at the theater I attended, two tickets in 3D were $22 rather than the $14 they would have been in 2D. That’s not insignificant. The glasses are always a little annoying, sitting low on my nose in order to be worn with normal glasses, but I was glad they came in plastic and weren’t scratched.

Despite some drawbacks, I enjoyed the movie. I’d watch a sequel and would particularly like to see a DC Cinematic Universe like Marvel’s. Given how this movie already goes through his origin story and made me excited about Superman, I think I should go watch Smallville instead of waiting for another movie!

A boxing penguin who loves a high school girl: Tuxedo Gin

Tuxedo Gin

How could you go wrong with a manga about a boxing penguin who’s in love with a high school girl? You can’t of course. I’m pretty sure I picked up Tuxedo Gin Vol. 1 years ago at Anime Expo. I bought a bunch of volumes 1 of things so I could try different mangas. My logic was a little peculiar I suppose. However, I just got around to reading this.

Ginji, a young man just breaking into professional boxing meets a girl, Minako, falls in love with her, and then gets killed – a tale as old as time. A guardian angel gives him a chance to be put back into his body, but he has to first live through a reincarnation as a penguin, Gin, and he can’t try to kill himself as a penguin either. Luckily for him, he winds up with Minako, and she loves penguins.

From there it pans out like you’d expect if you read manga or watch anime: there are some awkward scenes as she reveals herself in front of the Gin. Better yet, Gin puts his boxing skills to the test as a penguin. It’s funny in a stereotypical way, although usually in this type of story there’s the lingering chance that the girl will reciprocate feelings. That can’t really happen with Gin a penguin. In addition, some of the panels are a little hard to understand graphically. I’ll be reading a little more I think but won’t make it a priority.

The difficulties of giving away tickets to Man of Steel

Man of Steel Tickets

I received tickets to Man of Steel because of a partnership with Norton for last Wednesday night, two days before the movie was actually was released. I had plans that night, but I figured that they’d be easy to give away, right? Not so much.

My friends who really love Superman wouldn’t be off work in time. My co-worker whose birthday was the same day had plans despite wanting to see it. My step-dad didn’t want them with my mom out of town. In all, I asked ten people (counting a couple as one) before I found someone who wanted them. It was short notice, which is what made it difficult. I know a lot of people would have been interested if I had received the tickets and started looking earlier.

Eventually I found that my friend Mario wanted tickets. Giving them to him would ensure they get used, make me a good friend, and get me some cred with my DM, right? He took them, but as it turns out, he couldn’t go. However, everything ends well. His wife and daughter took advantage of them! I guess she’s a big fan of Superman, so I’m glad she enjoyed the tickets. Mario said that she said there were aspects of the movie that disappointed her, but I’m not sure what those are. That’s too bad, but it also seems normal given that she’s a fan.

Daredevil by Waid volume 4 brings headless DD and more

The fourth trade collection of Waid’s Daredevil got rather weird in parts despite making some interesting progress. When Foggy discovers something shocking that Matt’s done, he dissolves their partnership. However, Matt doesn’t remember doing it. It gets weirder from there as his sanity slowly seems to unravel.

While I’d expect some weird things to be happening if Matt’s indeed going crazy, there are also some weird inclusions in these issues. For one, Stilt Man is back. In the earlier days of Marvel, there were a lot of heroes and villains with weird powers. Hydraulic stilts is one of those, and it seems lame to reintroduce Stilt Man. However, at least Daredevil sort of comes to my same conclusion. There’s also an enemy that separates heads from bodies, which seemed odd to me.

By the end of the collection, we do learn what’s happening with Matt’s sanity, but there are still some escalated plot threads. His relationship with Foggy is no where near fixed, his romantic relationship is shaky, and there’s an interesting villain out to get him named Coyote. It was compelling despite being odd in places.