Comic Con

Image Courtesy of http://justjennrecipes.com/

Making Comic Conventions Your Own: Food and Geekdom!

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Image Courtesy of http://justjennrecipes.com/

Image Courtesy of http://justjennrecipes.com/

This is a follow-up post about how female geeks are making comic conventions their own in different ways.  Obviously SDCC has been over for awhile, but there are still plenty of other conventions coming up this year (NYCC!) and these women can serve as inspirations for what can be done within geek and pop culture by individuals.  In this post I talk with Jenn from justJENN Designs & Recipes.  If you haven’t had the pleasure of visiting her table at SDCC or don’t follow her on twitter, you should!… but in the meantime the links to her websites are listed below.

Jenn has been blogging about her family’s adventures in Los Angeles for 10 years, creating unique family dinners and geeky baking for her food blog www.justjennrecipes.com. She recently launched www.homegeekonomics.com where she features crafters and creators, bringing the best of geek to home and everyday life. She was Her Universe’s fangirl of the day and her award winning recipes have been featured on StarWars.com, LATimes online, The Today Show blog and most recently the cover of Food Network Magazine.

A contributor for Geek Mom, King’s Hawaiian and First5LA, she also has been a guest panelist at San Diego Comic Con, WonderCon and Geek Girl Con.

1) First thing’s first, tell me about JustJenn Designs and JustJenn Recipes and your career in the geek world.

I started justJENN designs on the side when I was working at an architecture firm. I was working 60-80 hour weeks and while it was killing me I still wanted something that was all my own. So I thought an online business was a good idea because then I could just fill orders from home.Years later I had my kids and I was suddenly compelled to make sure they only ate healthy food and I wanted to make everything from scratch. I started creating recipes and putting them online so that I could access them at all times without dragging recipes with me or having to turn my computer on. Smart phones and my own website made keeping track of my recipes much easier.

Tardis Cookies

Tardis Cookies

2) The combination of foodies and geek culture makes perfect sense and you do an amazing job combining the two.  I love your Ultimate Star Wars party!  Where did get your initial inspiration to combine the two?

Food and geek recipes came together again, because of my kids. As they grew up they started having fandom fascinations with things that I loved as well. Everything old was new again…to them! So Star Wars, Transformers all the things I grew up with and loved they were taking an interest in and I love the idea of encouraging fandom in kids. I think it opens them up to creative thinking. I decided to incorporate that into our meals just for fun. When I posted the party and recipes I didn’t think anything of it until I started getting a lot of adults saying how great it was and then I realized it wasn’t just me that loved all that geek culture reinterpreted, everyone wanted to recreate their childhood fandom in an updated way!

3) When was your first SDCC? Can you tell me a bit about your history with the convention (ie did you start off in Small Press or as an attendee, etc)?

My first SDCC was a long time ago as an attendee. I can’t even remember the year but I can tell you I got into Hall H easily if that means anything. Years later when I had the online stationery biz I thought, ‘how great would it be to be here as a fan, but also sell my creations to people as well?’ Small Press seemed like a good first step and I honestly haven’t moved from there in the past 6 years.

4) This year you were able to participate in the first major panel for foodies at SDCC, ”A Feast For Your Eyes: Creativity In Comics and Cuisine.”  What was that panel like? What were some of the highlights?

I was very excited to participate in the ‘food and comics’ panel since they are two things that I love and incorporate into my art as well. It was great to see a whole room filled with people who love those things too. Food and comics are very connected and we talked a lot about our inspiration and how we came into fields that we made uniquely our own through food.

The highlight of the panel for me was the other panelists! Everyone had unique food stories. I am a big fan of Food TV and watched both Brian Malarkey (@BrianMalarkey) and Justin Warner (@eatfellowhumans) on their shows. I have been ‘twitter friends’ with C.B. Cebulski for a long time and his posts about food and travels always make my day. I learned a lot from Amy Chu (@AmyChu) and Nacho Cervantes (@pizzaportbeer) about their inspirations. And I felt like Rosanna Pansino (@RosannaPansino) had a real geek girl connection, which is always cool when you meet someone who had the same interests as you and is a great person.

5) Do you think this panel signals the growth of foodie-related geekdom at SDCC? Other than the panel, what were some other geeky food-related fun stuff that you saw at SDCC this year (including your own activities)?

I think food and geekdom go hand in hand, both can be creative and inspirational. There is definitely a growth in this field, you can see it in the new food centric graphic novels that are coming out, but honestly it’s been around for a long time. As a kid I always felt connected to the comics I read that featured families cooking, or food somewhere in the comic. It made it relative and made me happy. I think that’s why food tv and food graphic novels are so popular now, because people like that familiar connection that food gives them.

Hello Kitty Oreos

Hello Kitty Oreos

6) I know you recently published a Mochi cookbook.  I just got my copy and I’m really excited to try making some! What are some future projects you have coming up?

The mochi cookbook was fun because it updated old traditional recipes that didn’t think it was possible to modernize. My comic cookbook that I drew about my Grandma’s family recipes is still popular and I would like to do another one of those and delve into more of our family recipes, with humor of course.

7) Finally, silly question. I know you’re a huge Wolverine fan.  If you had unlimited resources and were hired to throw a surprise party for Wolvie himself, what would some of the dishes be?

If could throw a Wolverine party I would make a lot of things on skewers and probably incorporate Canadian Bacon and Maple syrup to give props to his homeland. Basically whatever you ate would make you live forever, obvs.

recipe blog: justJENN recipes
stationery: justJENN designs
twitter: @justjenndesigns
facebook fan page: justJENN designs

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Steampunk 101 Panelists

Making Comic Con Your Own – Steampunk Style

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San Diego Comic Con International 2013 has been over for a few weeks now.  Attendees have finally recuperated from the chaos and excitement that is SDCC.  As exhausting and chaotic as the pop culture convention is, the experience is also an extremely rewarding one for many.  One of my favorite aspects of SDCC is the sense that not only are you part of a massive geek/nerd community, but you can also create your own world within that community.  Whether you love steampunk cosplay or consider yourself the ultimate TV geek, there are different experiences for any fan at SDCC, you just have to make it.  This is the first post in what I hope to be a couple of interviews with women who helped create their own personalized mini-universe within the zeitgeist that is SDCC.

Dina as Steampunk Malificent at WonderCon 2013

Dina as Steampunk Malificent at WonderCon 2013

Lady Steam (aka Dina Kampmeyer) is a co-founder of the League of Extraordinary Ladies and a self-described steampunk aficionado.  This year Dina moderated two panels on steampunk at SDCC, The Witty Women of Steampunk and Steampunk 101in addition to cosplaying as a steampunk Luke Skywalker.  If you are interested in hearing more about Dina’s involvement with the League of Extraordinary Ladies, you can read her thoughts in a previous interview NiB had with her (and other LxLers).

1)  How did you first get interested/involved in steampunk?

Dina Kampmeyer (DK): I started dating someone that was a steampunk and I had absolutely no idea what it is, but I was instantly drawn to the aesthetic. I jumped in with both feet and wanted to meet other people in LA that were into the same thing. The community was a bit disorganized, so I started volunteering my time to start planning occasional events and moderate the two FB pages that were already up and running.

2)     What was your first steampunk costume?

DK: It was a pseudo-military look. I bought this great jacket online and went crazy modifying it. I cut off the sleeves, laced up the sides and added a ton of trim, buttons, epilets, etc. Then I added a bunch of ruching to this old skirt I had from college. Added a straw hat from the Renaissance Faire and boom, (not so) instant steampunk.

3)     One thing I particularly love about SDCC is the feeling of belonging while at the same time creating your own reality/dream. Steampunk seems to fit into this idea perfectly. Why do you think steampunk has gained so much interest/traction at SDCC and other conventions?

DK: I think there are a lot of reasons why steampunk has become so popular in general, but in terms of conventions, I would say people just love the aesthetic. It’s so playful and it really allows costumers and cosplays a degree of freedom that they don’t usually have in other areas. Most cosplayers are looking to recreate an exact costume, but with steampunk, you don’t do that. You’re not dressing up as someone else’s character (in general), but rather creating a brand-new work of art. I think more people are getting into the genre now through this new trend of steampunking out existing pop culture characters. This is an easier way for them to explore steampunk while working with an existing product, but with an amazing degree of
creativity and freedom.

Steampunk Star Wars at SDCC 2013

Steampunk Star Wars at SDCC 2013

4)     What kind of advice can you give someone who is looking to create their first steampunk cosplay costume?

DK: Try not to be intimidated. I hear so many people who are interested in steampunk worry that they don’t have the “right”
clothing or accessories. There is very little right and wrong in steampunk and we LOVE to help out new people, give them advice and heck, even loan them clothes. Come to steampunk events even if you’re just starting out, take a look at outfits that you like, and ask people how they created things. Go to local thriftshops and try and use your imagination. You’ll be surprised at how much you can create with an old dress and a sewing machine (or some safety pins and tape if you don’t sew).

5)     You recently moderated a panel at SDCC called “The Witty Women of Steampunk.”  Can you give a general synopsis of the panel for those who were unable to attend SDCC (or the panel)?  What was your favorite moment of the panel?

DK: I was very lucky to have this panel accepted by the lovely folks at SDCC for the 2nd year in a row. Basically, I put together an incredible group of female creators and just let them talk about why they love steampunk and what about the genre appeals to them as a creator. We talked comics, alternate history, video games, costuming, multiculturalism and more.

6)     Why “Witty Women” of Steampunk?

DK: Part of what is so appealing about steampunk is a return to the Victorian ideals of the pursuit of knowledge and civility. People were very interested in improving both themselves and the world around them. I think we all long to return to a time when wit was a prized possession and my panelists all fit that bill.

Steampunk 101 Panelists

Steampunk 101 Panelists

7)     You also moderated a panel entitled, “Steampunk 101.” Based on discussions at that panel (and of course your own thoughts), what do see for the future of steampunk in popular culture?

DK: Excellent question. The popularity of steampunk has positively exploded over the past couple of years and we expect to see more and more of it in popular culture. It’s been huge amongst the convention crowd for a long time, but Hollywood is slowly starting to take notice. Fox just gleenlit a League of Extraordinary Gentlemen TV-pilot, so we’ll see if we finally get a big steampunk series. There has yet to be a big steampunk movie and the panelists (and audience) were all interested in seeing one. Steampunk-literature is popping up all over the NY Times bestseller chart, so I think it’s only a matter of time before we see a big film coming out. Until then, we can keep ourselves occupied with all the fantastic literature and webseries that have directly explored the genre.

8)     This year you cosplayed as Steampunk Luke Skywalker.  What prompted you to do a gender-swap steampunk cosplay?

DK: Well, I have wanted to do a steampunk Star Wars group for several years and I finally managed to do it. I always intended to be R2D2, but time snuck up on me and we were missing a Luke from our core group, so I thought, why not? He was quite a challenge to find a way to make him distinctive since his outfit isn’t that unique and I was already going to confuse people by crossplaying. I hope that I succeeded and we’ll be building up this group for future conventions and adding some new characters.

 

Photo by Mike Rollerson

Photo by Mike Rollerson

Chrissy Lynn is a CA native who began costuming at a very young age. With a major interest in comics and scifi growing up she attended her first comic convention in 2004. She’s always had a passion for the arts; be it charcoal, make-up, costume design or music. She’s used her talents and skills to help fundraise for many non-profit charity organizations and enjoys cosplaying, especially her signature cosplay, Catwoman. Since her first Cosplay at Comicon in 2010 she’s been involved in 6 Cosplay groups, two of which she organized including the DC Steampunk group which debuted at SDCC in 2012. She was introduced to Steampunk in 2007, being a fan of HG Wells, Jules Verne and other scifi authors during the turn of the century she adopted the Victorian science fiction motif and made it apart of her daily style and Cosplay medium of choice. This year at San Diego Comicon she was invited by a good friend to join a Steampunk Star Wars group which turned out to be a hit and will be back at this year’s Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo.

1) Your DC Steampunk cosplay group is amazing! How did that come together?

Chrissy Lynn (CL): It all started with having a passion for both the DC Comics universe and Steampunk Culture. I simply started piecing together the idea shortly after Comicon 2011 and thats when I called upon my very good friend Johnny Bias (Steampunk Riddler), from there we reached out to our close friends who we knew would be interested,and could all work together to make these costumes cohesive and photograph well. We all have a hand in something on everyone’s costumes, it’s a team effort that has grown into a family, some cosplayers retire their character and are replaced with other awesome cosplayers. I couldn’t be more proud of this group, we all did this together.

SDCC 2012 DC Steampunk Group - Photo by Mike Rollerson

SDCC 2012 DC Steampunk Group – Photo by Mike Rollerson

2) Did you all work together on your costumes? If so, which costume did you find the most challenging to put together?

CL: We all came from different skill sets, some of us are tailors and seamstresses, leather workers and some of us are FX and prop fabricators, or geniuses with industrial glue guns. So far what characters you haven’t seen in the group yet are our most challenging. But I’d say, my occasional challenge is doing our Two Face’s makeup because he is unfortunately allergic to latex, so next time I may need to work with silicone!

3) If you had unlimited resources, what would be your ultimate steampunk cosplay (group or individual)?

CL: I’ve been in talks with several individuals who want to do Disney Steampunk, I was honored to recently be a part of this year’s Star Wars Steampunk group with Dina, and I have to say I’d stick with the DC group, only make it BIGGER. ;) However I wouldn’t mind doing a Steampunk X-men group, just sayin’!

4) Any advice to anyone else trying to put together a cosplay group (steampunk or otherwise) for a convention?

CL: YouTube is filled to the brim on HOW-TO’s and DIY videos, if you are a visual learner check those out, otherwise do what we all have done, trial and error. If I knew 5 years ago what I know now with today’s skill set I would have made ALL the things, at least better. But like any other trade it can take years to master, you don’t always need a sewing machine or unlimited funds, I have a gift for deconstructing pre-existing materials into other objects to fit my cosplay needs. So I encourage everyone to try and remember cosplay is just that, it’s costume play, so play and have fun no matter what!

 

DC Steampunk Photos by Mike Rollerson

Star Wars Steampunk Photo by Jerry Abuan

Steampunk Malificent Photo by Justin Davidson

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Guest Post: San Diego Comic Con 2013

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IMAG1043-1I just got back from the busy, insane, stressful, mind blowing, amazing, expensive anti-vacation that is San Diego Comic Con International and it was absolutely wonderful. Since coming back from my trip, a lot of people have asked me, “How was Comic Con?”. It’s almost impossible to answer that in short form. My initial response is usually either a one-worded “amazing” or “tiring”, but then throughout the day, I’ll supplement that with “Oh, I saw so-and-so. S/he was RIGHT NEXT TO ME OH MY GOD”. That’s kind of how it is: it all happens so fast and then you gradually process how awesome it was. In a week’s time you can turn to your friend and say something like, “remember that time we saw Spiderman and Deadpool talking smack about Superman’s costumes in the middle of the DC booth?” and then your friend will go, “Yeah,” and then with satisfied grins you will both kick off your shoes and enjoy a couple of cold ones.

There were panels and lines and celebrities. Panels full of celebrities and lines for the panels. Exclusive parties, impromptu parties, line parties, and booth parties. There were toys, games, cards, prints, t-shirts, and of course: costumes. There were plenty of polished costumes that clearly cost a lot of time and money. I have a thing for the costumes made of bed sheets and duct tape, the costumes that announce, “I don’t really art, but I just really love this character and I’m super excited to be here.” Walking around on the convention floor, I heard nothing but positive comments from con-goers to cosplayers. I love watching a cosplayer strike a pose when asked for a photo. That’s when the costume turns into a persona and it’s fascinating. I wanted to make it to the Masquerade this year, but like a lot of the plans I made prior to getting to SDCC this year, that fell through. Plans have a way of doing that at SDCC, but between backup plans and spur-of-the-moment adventures, fun has a way of happening anyway. I was thrilled to meet the well-known cosplayer Yaya Han (http://www.yayahan.com/), who was very friendly and gracious about signing prints and posing for photos. She was excited to talk about the upcoming SyFy series “Heroes of Cosplay” in which she is one of the judges. I got the chance to talk to reps from the Star Wars Rebel Legion (http://www.rebellegion.com/and MadalorianIMAG1040 Mercs (http://mercs.firespray.net/forum/index.php) and the 501st (http://www.501st.com/costumer guilds. They came to SDCC with binders full of photos and information for aspiring costumers and potential members. All of these organizations are very involved in charity appearances and eager to talk to people about their work and appearances. Whether you’re a beginner or a skilled costumer, there’s a place for your in the Star Wars costuming ‘verse. I tried to keep it together when I was chatting up the 501st, but I think I still fangirled all over them. It happens.

I’m still getting the hang of panels. This is my second SDCC, and my first year with a 4-day pass. It’s easy to get intimidated by the sheer volume of people and the ever-present long lines. It’s like Disneyland for nerds, but without the rides. Unless you count the shuttles from the convention center to the hotels. My friends and I put together the most intense, detailed, hour-by-hour spreadsheet of all the panels and events we were interested in doing. I think I actually got to maybe 10% of them. We didn’t factor in the travel time, which turns out is a factor even when the panels are on the same side of the convention center. We had this idea that we would get in the famed and feared Hall H line on Saturday at 3am to see the back-to-back Supernatural, Breaking Bad, Doctor Who, and Community panels. That idea seems more adorable than practical now. I talked to someone in the Hall H line who said they lined up for Sunday’s Hall H programs at 1:30pm on Saturday. I stumbled into a panel discussing the upcoming Ray Bradbury documentary “Live Forever.” The clips from the film and the crew’s experiences with Ray Bradbury were great to hear, and bonus: Edward James Olmos walked in right behind me and I totally played it cool. I saw the first US screening of an upcoming anime series called Star Blazers 2199. I am new to the world of anime, but this show was hitting all the right notes for me: spaceships, alien war, and apocalyptic science fiction. The Nerd HQ is a great alternative option for panels. Organized by Zachary Zevi (the star of Chuck), Nerd HQ sports a lounge full of game demos, couches, phone chargers, and an intimate 250 person panel space. I attended the “Mystery Panel” which included Zachary Levi, Rob Kazinsky (Pacific Rim), Nathan Fillion (Dracula 2000) and Alan Tudyk (A Knight’s Tale). This year’s lineup also boasted Joss Whedon, Doctor Who, Supernatural, Sherlock, and Tom Hiddleston among others. This year the “Conversations for a Cause” cost $22, all of which goes to help Operation Smile: a charity that provides surgeries to children suffering from cleft palates.

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Celebrities are everywhere at Comic Con. Like, you really don’t need to worry about whether or not you’ll see anyone famous, because while you’re worrying about that, Nathan Fillion will make out with Zachary Levi and then hand him a $50 bill when you’re not looking (true story). I suppose there are varying degrees of “celebrity,” but I find it thrilling to see the people whose work I enjoy on a daily basis nerding out about the same things I do. I saw Steven Moffatt walking the exhibit hall floor and then I proceeded to flip out. Adam Savage is known to walk the exhibit hall floor in full costume, giving out prizes to those who guess his identity. Comic book and webcomic authors and artists were abound, signing prints and merch. I love seeing my favorite web artists booths get busy. It’s like, yeah, the big movie panels are pretty cool, but I just talked to Brandon Bird (http://brandonbird.com/) about his artistic process, so I win. At one point I looked to my left and I saw Edward James Olmos for a second time and still totally kept it together, by the way. Then, I walked around the Quantum Mechanix booth, looked again, and I saw John Barrowman. That’s when I totally lost it. Oh, the best thing that’s ever happened to me happened this weekend at Wil Wheaton’s w00tstock. I walked in expecting the usual lineup of Wil Wheaton, Adam Savage, and Paul and Storm with maybe some special guests thrown in because we were at SDCC. Honestly, I was expecting Felicia Day and that’s pretty much it. Well, Felicia didn’t turn up, but while I was waiting in line, George R.R. Martin passed directly in front of me, which caused me to simultaneously squeal and spurt things like “THAT’S THE GUY” and “THRONES” until my friends understood what I was talking about. Once the show started, this happened: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5vw9RTVky4&feature=youtu.be) And that’s the story of how I died. Seriously, I doubt my voice will ever sound the same again. Once Neil Gaiman showed up, I screamed like a teenage banshee at a One Direction concert. You probably can’t hear just my screaming voice in the video, but I bet your dogs can.

I’m already planning for next year. SDCC is a thing I simply have to go to now every year for the forseeable future. It’s like a condition. It’s why the convention gets bigger every year. Sure, the crowds can be a pain, but it’s an amazing feeling to be among literally hundreds of thousands of people who have at least one thing in common with me. It’s a rare thing for us nerds/geeks/whatevers to have an in-person community, and I think that’s a big part of the magic of the con. The rest of the magic comes from booze-filled Camelbacks. See you next year at SDCC!

Jenn Marshall

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Comikaze 2013? Yes, Please! (psst – there’s a sale on tickets!)

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Planning on hitting up Stan Lee’s Comikaze this year? You should be. This year looks like it’s going to be spectacular. Just the comic, scifi, gaming, fantasy, anime, and horror expo you’d expect to see from Stan Lee. Take a look into what’s in store for this year:

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I love that Dot Com will be there. I hope he gets plenty of “No one can hear you, Dot Com!” jokes.

All in all, it looks like a fantastic lineup, and tickets are now on sale. Beyond that, we have some insider info that they’re having a 72-hour sale on tickets right now. So if you’re planning on going, now’s the time to check out your options – weekend passes, in particular, are a great deal today.

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Adventures at NYCC

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Last year I did this really extensive 3-day coverage where I shared the experience of my first con with everyone. Unfortunately I didn’t do nearly as in-depth an overview of this year’s (nor did I go to nearly as many things as I did last year). Still, I will try to make you feel like I earned my press pass for this year’s New York Comic Con. Today is a brief overview of my weekend. Sometime this week I should be doing one or two photo posts to make you feel like you were really there with me. Explanations out of the way, let’s begin…

The con started a day early this year for press, pros, and those dedicated enough to buy the special 4-day passes that were offered. I went to pick up my press pass and walked around for a bit to get a lay of the land, as it were. The floor didn’t open til 4pm on that day, and since it would be there all weekend I decided not to stick around too long.

Friday was the real start of the con. I started my day by meeting friends briefly before going to Felicia Day’s Spotlight. This was moderated by Chris Hardwick and almost felt like a scaled-down version of his podcast. I actually really hope one or more of the panels he moderated were recorded and are eventually shared. It’s not like this is a concept that is totally unheard of for Nerdist listeners…

 

Felicia was joined by fellow Guild cohort Sandeep Pariikh. For those who are not familiar with his work, Sandeep plays Zaboo on the web series “The Guild” and also is the creator of Legend of Neil. He and Felicia have great chemistry together, most likely because of their friendship outside of The Guild. This friendship was also cited during the panel as the reason it would be super awkward if Zaboo and Codex ever dated or had to kiss again, so don’t expect too much romantic happenings between their characters anytime soon. Other things discussed at their panel included Dragon Age and what it’s like creating your own web series. The panel ended with questions from the audience, my favorite of which was the very first one – essentially asking what shows past or present the participants wished they could work on. Felicia said Game of Thrones (even though she’s not British so it’s never going to happen), Fringe, and Big Bang Theory. Personally I would love to see one or both of the last two become a reality. I think she could be excellent in either show, but especially Big Bang Theory. Her awkward, nerdy, adorableness would fit right in with the rest of the cast. Chris Hardwick answered the question by saying “The Walking Dead,” which is another thing I would love to see happen. He has such a love for that show, I think he would make an excellent guest. Even if he’s just painted up as a zombie…

 

The other panel I went to on Friday was “Inner Light,” which was a behind-the-scenes look at the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode with writer Morgan Gendel. He told the story of what it was like pitching the story as an outsider of the ST team and eventually collaborating with everyone. The rest of the panel was clips from the episode with live commentary from Gendel as we went through everything. It was a very cool experience to get inside the head of the writer and see what the whole process was like.

 

I left the con early that day to get a double dose of Nerdist podcast live. I’ll probably write about that at some point either here or on my other blog, News on Shuffle. Moving on to Day 2…

 

Saturday for me was a lot of missed connections (trying to meet fellow Nerds in Babeland-ers and members of Ghost This) and one panel – Dark Shadows. For those unaware, Dark Shadows was a television series that ran from 1966-1971. It also had 2 films and spawned a comic series. There is a new movie due out May 11, 2012 that is directed by Tim Burton and stars Johnny Depp. This movie takes place in 1972, a year after the original series ended. The panel was mostly Q&A with Lara Parker and Kathryn Leigh Scott, two of the actors from the original series who also have cameos in the upcoming film. Lara could not make it to New York because of her schedule, but was able to Skype with the audience for her portion of the Q&A. They couldn’t share much, due to confidentiality clauses, but they were able to describe the sets in some detail and tell us that the movie will be a new interpretation of the old series and films. They added the new movie was still very well-done and they were both excited to be involved in the project.

Unfortunately I had to leave early on Saturday as well, so I didn’t make it to The Walking Dead or Avengers panels like I wanted to…

 

The final day of the con I spent mostly wandering the floor and trying to get as many pictures as possible of cosplay and such. I felt like there weren’t as many good costumes as last year, but still managed to get a few good shots. The highlight of the day for me was meeting Dave Marquez in Artist Alley and getting him to sign my copy of Days Missing. We also chatted a lot about the difference between NY and SD Comic Con, which was cool. He really is a genuinely nice guy, as well as an amazing artist. If you’re not familiar with his work, then please go pick up a copy of Days Missing. Not only is his artwork fantastic, but it’s also an interesting and unique story that I think will really get you thinking. Marquez won’t be doing the art for Days Missing 3, unfortunately, but he will be working on Fantastic Four next, so you can check that out as well.

That about wraps up my NYCC coverage for this year. To be honest, I think last year was overall a better experience for me because it was my first con and I spent most of it with a very good friend. I didn’t get to see as many people this year, which dampened my experience a bit. I still had a great time though and enjoyed the things I did manage to see. Plus it was all worth it just to be a fangirl for 5 minutes with one of my favorite artists. Seeing Chris Hardwick and Felicia Day in the same room didn’t hurt either…

*All photos taken by Christine Wagenheim.

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2nd Annual Geek Girls Network (@geekgirls) #NYCC Geek-Out!

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If you’re headed to NYC (or there already) for NYCC, there is still time to buy tickets for the 2nd Annual GGN #NYCC Geek-Out!

From the website

New York Comic Con is around the corner and GGN invites you to join us for the 2nd Annual GGN #NYCC Geek-Out!

Many of those that attended last year’s event remember what an amazing time we all had …finally having a place to sit and mingle with friends, meet some new ones, and win lots of great swag. This year is no different.

Join GGN on Saturday October 15th from 7pm to close for a night of nerds, tunes and prizes at the outstanding Stitch Bar & Lounge.

Tickets are on sale now!!! http://geekoutnyc.eventbrite.com/

And this year’s party has a theme – ZOMBIES!! That’s right folks, come dressed or not, enjoy discussions and debates on the best weapons, or just hang out among other nerds away from the craziness of the convention. And GGN is doing our part to make sure you all survive with Zombie Preparedness Swag Bags! These one of a kind bag contain necessary survival geer and awesome geek prizes.

We are excited to announce that ThinkGeek & Wicked Skatewear are once again sponsoring our event! Seriously, we heart these shops so much and so should you! And adding to the party are these fantastic sponsors: Insert Geek HereAdult Swim CentralSpandexlessThe Atomic Geeks, andPaper Keg.

So how do you make sure you don’t miss the biggest party of the year? First, RSVP on our Facebook page to let GGN know you want to come and to keep up with all the latest news on the event. Then, we will have ticket sales online (a mere $5) on a first-come first-serve basis. Since we can’t fit everyone we love in the same room on the same night *sad panda* make sure to get your tickets as soon as they’re released!

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Dark Horse Digital Makes a Big Splash at New York Comic Con!

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Official Press Release

MILWAUKIE, OR, OCTOBER 5—Last year’s New York Comic Con saw the announcement of Dark Horse’s digital store. This year, we’re celebrating that anniversary in style with special-edition comics, in-booth events, and giveaways, as well as prizes for attendees of New York’s premier convention.

First of all, leading into the convention, Dark Horse will release a special three-part digital preview comic, showcasing eight pages of each of our new fall titles! Check out Tom Morello’s Orchid, P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast’s House of Night, and of course, Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s The Strain! This special preview comic will be available at Digital.DarkHorse.com on October 12.

That same day, Dark Horse will also release a special sixteen-page Mass Effect digital comic, featuring the previously released “Incursion” story from MySpace Dark Horse Presents as well as the “Inquisition” story originally featured on USAToday.com for 99 cents. Visit Digital.DarkHorse.com TODAY for an exclusive eight-page preview of the highly anticipated Mass Effect: Invasion series!

Spin the Dark Horse Digital prize wheel and win free digital comics! That’s right, show attendees can step up, spin our wheel, and win a fortune in credit in the Dark Horse Digital Store. One chance per customer per day, with the opportunity to win more than once throughout the show!

If that’s not enough, we will be giving away t-shirts all weekend long “tagged” with additional chances to win Dark Horse digital store credit!

Stay tuned for more news on Dark Horse’s New York Comic Con announcements and events daily!

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Geek Girls Invade The Big Apple

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Official Press Release

October 5, 2011 – One of the fastest growing demographics in the Science Fiction world today is the female audience, sometimes referred to as “Geek Girls.” They will be in full force at this year’s New York Comic Con October 13th-16th at the Javits Center.

Recognizing and embracing this incredibly important and increasing segment of the sci-fi audience, Ashley Eckstein, the voice of Ahsoka Tano on the television series, Star WarsTM : The Clone Wars, is bringing to New York Comic Con her new line of sci-fi fashion apparel and merchandise, titled Her UniverseTM (www.heruniverse.com), designed exclusively for women who want to show their geeky pride and love of Science Fiction. Ashley has now become one of the leading voices for Geek Girls.

Married to former Major League Baseball player, two-time World Series Champion and World Series MVP, David Eckstein, Ashley has made a career of fighting for the underdog, of leading the charge to create a place for female fans in a pop culture community typically dominated by men. In addition to fighting alongside the male heroes in The Clone Wars, Ashley aims to help her fellow female fans find their rightful place in the pop culture community. Her Universe is a “geek chic” line featuring fashionable, female–focused apparel and accessories based on such high-profile entertainment properties as the beloved Star Wars franchise and Syfy’s most popular shows such as Battlestar Galactica, Warehouse 13 and more.

“Most people do not realize that close to half of all sci-fi fans are women,” said Ashley. “This all started when, selfishly, I wanted more Star Wars merchandise made for fangirls. I love sci-fi and I quickly found out that I wasn’t alone. I found scores of other fangirls online and at conventions who just wanted to be recognized and accepted in this unique genre. I felt that someone had to step up and give a voice to all of these passionate women, and that’s when I founded Her Universe.”

Fans attending New York Comic Con will find two convention-exclusive items from Her Universe – a Star Wars Naboo charm for the new Star Wars Charm Bracelet and a 100% sterling silver Battlestar Galactica Cylon Toaster Necklace. Plus, just in time for Halloween and available this year only at New York Comic Con, Ashley will be offering 100 Star Wars Halloween-themed earth friendly tote bags featuring the art of popular Star Wars illustrator Katie Cook – the perfect trick or treating bag for fans of all ages.

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SDCC ’11: 3D Done Right, Wrong, and In-Between

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Francis Ford Coppola is a living legend, and this year he is taking a leap into the unknown with his latest film, Twixt, starring Val Kilmer, Elle Fanning, Bruce Dern and Ben Chaplin.

The premise of the film is intriguing. A burned-out writer stumbles upon a murdery mystery in a small town, led by (maybe) the ghost of Poe and a girl on the cusp of puberty who may or may not be a vampire or ghost.

The initial footage gives a sense of the film as quirky-verging-on-weird. There were moments of humor; Bruce Dern is genuinely creepy and Val Kilmer plays dissipated talent all too well. What surprised me, even in the early moments of the teaser, is that Coppola has chosen to use 3D, but in an effective and restrained way. We usually see 3D attached to over-the-top films that are already visual spectacles. Here, we have a quiet little film that uses it to ratchet up the claustrophobic tension of a dusty and socially insular town that may be a haven for the supernatural or simply for human beings who are obsessed with causing death.

Coppola is going out on a limb both creatively and in how he’s presenting the work. Rather than attempt a wide, or even art-house release, he’s planning on a roadshow presentation in 30 cities. (Kevin Smith did this very effectively with Red State, which will be going into wide release in October.) Taking it a step further, Francis Ford Coppola is reaching back to the origins of cinema and is bringing live elements to the showings. Composer Dan Deacon will be creating the score live for every screening. During the panel, Deacon and Coppola demonstrated that not only the score, but the film itself, can be edited on the fly. 30 screenings could result in 30 different versions of the film and score. There was even an indication that if cast members like Kilmer participate in the screenings, dialogue may be performed live. There’s no denying that Twixt is an incredibly risky venture, both creatively and fiscally, but with the rash of reboots, remakes, and reimaginings on the horizon, these are risks that ought to be taken.

Glee. Glee in 3D. Glee the Concert Movie in 3D with a lot of fan footage. Hardcore Gleeks may be overjoyed by the prospect, but I was left cold. A concert film should be a concert film, and making it half performance-half fandom documentary seems like the producers were trying to do too much. Add in the exploitative use of 3D, which felt like a money grab more than a way to bring the audience into the experience, and I’m forced to say this should be direct-to-video. The performances were energetic and professional, and the members of the production team and cast on the panel were lively and engaging, but I don’t see this translating well to the big screen.

Tarsem Singh is a visual filmmaker. This seems obvious, given that film is a visual medium. We’ve all seen talky films, some of which work, and some don’t. Those are not the films Singh makes. The Cell and The Fall utilize the technical craft and creative eye of the filmmaker in ways that make dialogue superfluous. (Yes, many of us who love The Cell wish there hadn’t been any dialogue at all.) Immortals, in telling the myth of Theseus, has the potential to be just as visually arresting as The Cell, and to make us wish there were no dialogue. The use of 3D is justified, and seems to be used to enhance rather than cover the flaws of the film. It’s difficult to tell how flawed the film may be. The panel, moderated by Geoff Boucher, did not leave me with the impression that the cast was 100% on board with Immortals. While Singh, Stephen Dorff, Luke Evans and Frida Pinto all spoke eloquently, (Dorff and Evans in particular seem to relish alternating between small films and blockbusters,) Henry Cavill seemed uncomfortable and reticent, and Kellan Lutz came off as either snarky or flat-out dumb. Lutz repetitively referred to Poseidon as, “The god of wetness. . . and saltiness.” The teaser was shown in both 3- and 2D, and in my opinion, the 3D is unnecessary.

It’s likely that Immortals will perform well at the box office, with audiences drawn in by the vivid visuals as well as interest in seeing Cavill prior to his role as Superman.

I think we’ve reached a tipping point with mass use of 3D when it’s being used in a concert film. That we’re seeing a move away from conversion 3D is encouraging. Perhaps, moving forward, we’ll see more filmmakers using the technology in creative ways. Twixt represents an experiment on many levels, while Immortals is a big-budget film with a director that understands that what the audience sees can have more impact than what’s said. The next step in 3D will be Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit, beginning in 2013. Jackson is shooting at 48fps, which may alleviate the eye-brain lag for audiences who experience headaches and nausea when watching 3D. If so, perhaps there’s hope for the technology. In the meantime, we’re still watching studios put out films in 3D when it’s not merited and doesn’t add anything to the experience. As for me, I’m mostly sticking with 2D.

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My First Year At San Diego Comic-Con

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Before last month I had never been to San Diego Comic-Con. I have been to WonderCon many times over the years but never made the trek down south. That has all changed. No longer am I a SDCC virgin. I had a general idea of what to expect from it, having attended WonderCon, only not really. The crowds are bigger, the panels more surprising and the after-parties more insane.

Long lines

I had a general plan of which panels I HAD to see and those I would like to. I didn’t realize that Ballroom 20 meant a line outside, down the stairs “you better get there at 5am” kind of situation. I didn’t do that, but did find a friend who had so, yes, I got into the Game of Thrones panel. AWESOME! I was far far faaaar in the back but that doesn’t matter I got to hear the answers and dialogue before those of you who saw it online. SWEET!

I wanted to make sure I supported my friends who were on panels more so than see celebrities, because I am of the opinion that Friends are better than celebrities. In waiting for the Archaia Immortals panel I saw on the schedule that Dark Horse had something going on in the same room, and the door guards were letting people in mid-session. So I popped in with my friend Dina and, oh look, Guillermo Del Torro was on the panel; in a room with maybe 60 people in it. I was blown away; I didn’t see his name on the schedule he was just… there. He was, by the way, cracking jokes and cursing up a storm. That was probably my biggest, “HOLY CRAP” moment; mostly because it was so unexpected.

As anyone who knows me is aware I’m a huge Star Wars fan so of course I attended the Star Wars Lego panel. Where they showed clips from the new Lego Star Wars cartoon that aired that night (thank you Xfinity iPhone app! I was able to set my DVR to record it at home, from the panel; WE ARE IN THE FUTURE!). They also revealed a few new toys and a Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar. This is probably the coolest thing ever. Every year I get Seth an advent calendar, and every year it has crappy old chocolate. This year we will have the Star Wars Lego one for sure. They go on sale in October if you were unable to purchase it at the Con.

I also attended Bonnie Burton’s Star Wars craft panel on Sunday instead of waiting in the crazy person line for the Doctor Who panel (see again Friends are better than Celebrities, but I still love you crazy people I call friends who stood in that line!). She was hilarious as usual and entertained the crowd with stories about condiment googly eye murder scenes in the fridge and sparkly doggie poop with eyes. We made felt Yoda puppets from her Star Wars Craft Book. I own the book and it was on my list of projects so getting to make it with a bunch of other people was a lot of fun!

Cosplay Fun: Daenerys (aka The Nerdy Bird) and the Tardis (aka me)

On Thursday morning I attended the much talked about “Oh, You Sexy Geek” panel. Kristen McHugh goes into the panel in detail here, so I will only touch on a few of my own personal observations and thoughts.

The fact that I am friends with and/or know ½ of the panelists and where they stand on the issue of sexy cosplay I was expecting a good back-and-forth. I was a little disappointed that the self-described “humorless feminists” did not make a larger effort to speak and get their points across. And I was even more disappointed when one panelist said to another “Well would you wear a Slave Leia costume?” This was said to someone who has never been seen in a Slave Leia costume, so from an audience member’s point-of-view it appeared to be an attack on her personally and not a legitimate attempt at furthering the conversation. On the specific topic of “Slave Leia” there is a post over at FanGirlBlog that makes the points I would love to, in a much more eloquent way than I ever could.

I have never identified as a “feminist” mostly because the feminists I had been exposed to were very much of the “This penis party’s got to go hey-HEY ho-HO” ilk and that is not a world view I agree with or wish to spread. I am also not one who enjoys looking at the world though one very specifically colored pair of glasses, always looking for a reason to get angry about things. However, recently I have been exposed to a much different flavor of feminism that falls more in line with my personal beliefs and view on things.

Which, in a much condensed and quickie version, are this: We are responsible for our actions and how we react to and feel about ourselves and the world we live in. We have no right to dictate what another individual does, says, wears, etc. unless that person is causing direct harm to us or another individual whose care is our responsibility. I do not believe that a girl walking around in a metal bikini is causing anyone any harm, so let her have her fun and who gives a damn if she is doing it to be “empowered” or just to be “sexy” or “cute” what matters is if she is having fun while doing it. And if she isn’t having fun doing it, then it is on her to make the necessary change.

One more thing I would like to talk about before we resume our regularly scheduled programming is the Chris Gore comment and subsequent fall out. Yes, Chris was late to the panel, bad on him; yes he made a bad joke, some of us speak before thinking perhaps he should look into that. I personally was not offended by it, mostly because it was not directed AT me, but also because I tend to have the sense of humor of a teenage boy (farts are HILARIOUS, so are poop jokes). The only individuals who truly have a right to be offended are the ladies on the panel; the comment was directed AT THEM and no one else. If they have a problem with it, it is their responsibility to address it with Chris. People seem to be forgetting that Kat asked him immediately after he said it if he was trying to get kicked off the panel, the moderator DID address it immediately. I was horrified when I saw this post online. It is one thing to be upset by a comment someone makes on a panel, to blog about it and discuss it with the person who said it if possible; it is another thing entirely to try and negatively impact their livelihood because of your upset feelings. That is taking your personal beliefs and feelings too far. It wasn’t as if he said he was GOING TO, or would do so against their will. He simply said he would be willing to. It was in poor taste, especially considering the content of the panel, but it certainly wasn’t a punishable offense to the extent of his livelihood being threatened.

Haunted San Diego: Ghost Tours

I had an excellent time all around, my cosplays were well received, and I got to see friends old and new. Met some of my twitter friends in person for the first time and got some awesome graphic novels from the Archaia booth. Wednesday night I went on a Haunted Tour of San Diego with my friends Matt & AJ and had a BLAST! We didn’t see any ghosts but that’s ok, it was still fun and I found the “haunted” hotel where I hope to be able to stay next year. All in all it was an awesome 5 day vacation. It had its ups and downs, I had a few moments where my anxiety kicked into high gear and I needed time to myself. But the good far outweighed the bad and I cannot wait till next time!

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