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Sad Fat Dragon With No Friends Con

Or, Phoenix Comic Con 2017

Or, Sad Fat Asshole with No Friends Who Ruined An Entire Convention Con

Warning: This is just going to be a long rant. Enjoy!

This year’s Phoenix Comic Con kind of sucked a fat one. The first dead giveaway that this con was going to be lackluster was the announcement of their big guest, Dick Van Dyke!

Seriously? Dick Van Dyke?

I mean, sure. Yeah. Mary Poppins was all right. His old TV show where he would fall on the coffee table was amusing. But a guest at comic con? Pass.

Matt Murdock, or whoever plays him, cancelled his appearance. That wasn’t a good sign. At least the Green Ranger was there, guys! Not that pussy, the Red Ranger, but the Green fuckin’ Ranger!

I don’t really care about any of those people anyway. You wait in line for hours just to maybe speak briefly with these pseudo celebrities and get them to pretend they care you’re a fan and scribble on whatever you brought to them for some ridiculous amount of cash, and that’s it. And that’s all these cons are, really. Lines. Waiting In Lines Con. You rush to wait in line to get your pass. Then you rush to wait in line to get inside the convention center. Then you rush to wait in line to see some celebrity/artist/writer. And that’s not even the basic stuff, like waiting in line to use the bathroom, or use the escalator, or grab a bite to eat at the food truck.

We all love it though, we attendees. We wait all year and save up some spending cash to go see our favorite artists/writers/celebrities, and we put up with the crowds and the lines and the security to hang out with our best friends to people-watch and buy some cool shit. That’s why it sucks when a sad, fat asshole ruins it for everybody. Some psychopathic, pathetic piece of shit has to say he’s the Punisher and bring real firearms, knives, and throwing stars to the con claiming he must kill the Green Ranger and bad police officers on day 1 of the con, thus setting in motion a pretty inconvenient and annoying, and almost infuriating weekend. (The details of that last sentence may be skewed, depending on which source I got them from, because they were all different. For example; ABC said he claimed to be Rambo, other sources said Punisher. Some said he brought swords, others knives. Some say he’s 30 years old, others 29. Yay, journalism!)

I guess this little incident with the sad, fat, asshole, psychopath, douchebag happened earlier that afternoon, approximately an hour or so before I got there. I was wearing a backpack and was able to walk right into the convention center. No one stopped me and asked to check my bag. At previous cons, there was always someone checking at the doors. This time, no one. I even walked up to a table where two of the convention security run by Contemporary Services Corporation were standing and asked them for directions where to get my badge. They answered my questions, but did not check my bag. Instead they were busy pointing and amused by all the costumed folk. Good thing that weirdo’s friend notified the police about his intentions and they were able to apprehend him without incident, because CSC would have been like, “Look at that sad, fat, weirdo! His guns look so real!”Ā (You might think I’m being mean, but look at this fucking guy.)

Well, they made up for it the next day. Came back with a vengeance, they did. No props! Period! Convention Director, Matt Solberg, Phoenix PD, and CSC had a knee-jerk reaction of banning all costume props from Comic Con.

All. Costume. Props. From. Comic. Con.

“Hey, adorable 6-year-old Jedi, get that lightsaber out of here!”

“Hey, 40-something grown-ass man dressed as a Stormtrooper, get that blaster out of here!”

“Hey, teenage Anime something, get that… whatever it is… What is that? What are you!”

A bit of an overreaction, really, and the initial result was having to wait up to 3 hours in security lines to get in, and a whole bunch of upset attendees. Probably a whole bunch of people who just went home for the weekend, and probably won’t come back next year. Not to mention, all the vendors in the exhibitor hall who sell all that crap to people had to jump through some extra precautionary measure hoops and probably lost business. One vendor, Ultra Sabers, left the convention. Because, as security knows, any dangerous person’s first weapon of choice is a plastic light saber.

I’ll be curious to see what the final number of attendees were this year compared to previous years. There were definitely far fewer people this time around. Which was kind of nice, really. Gave you some elbow room, compared to previous years where you were packed in like sardines and breathed in the vaporized sweat, body odor, and farts of tens of thousands of nerds. Let that permeate.

At one point, a CSC security guy was circling me and following me as I was minding my own goddamn business. He followed me to the food court area and became very anxious as I set my backpack down on the table and opened it. I just shook my head at him as I produced a carrying case and put a piece of artwork away. I mean, I know my beard may resemble someone from ISIS, but good guys have beards too. Ulysses S. Grant. John Muir. Early Jimmy Page. Gandalf. Zeus.

I am so sick of being profiled because of my sexy ass beard.

It wasn’t as bad as I’m bitching about. I did get to meet author Timothy Zahn again and he signed my new copy of Thrawn. Also spoke with author Kevin J. Anderson after I went to his panel. Very interesting hearing him talk about how he became a writer. Got my Generation X #1 signed by artist Chris Bachalo, which I had to wait in line for a very long time! And more importantly, I had a lot of fun hanging out with my friends and family and seeing all the glory of the nerds.

Despite the weekend setting off on a very awkward note, and there being extremely awkward security measures, attendees took it in stride and made the most of it. Stormtroopers carried baguettes instead of blasters. Westworld cowboys carried bananas instead of six-shooters. Wolverines carried nothing instead of claws. And one very brave man took it upon himself to dress as an extremely drug addicted and stoned towel to put smiles back on the sad faces of all attendees.

Here’s a bunch of pictures of my friend Chris dressed as Towelie from South Park, and some other malarkey from the con.

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Phoenix Comic Con ’13: A Wretched Hive Of Scum and Villainy

Phoenix Comic Con was upon us again this past Memorial Day weekend. A four day event of wacky misadventures, cracking wise, and reTARDIS behavior. I was accompanied this year by my usual (or unusual, however you want to look at them) good friends Chris and Curtis, and a noob, Jason.

Quote of the weekend:Ā “Now if the drummer from Def Lepard had NO arms,Ā then I’d be impressed.” – Chris

Let’s get started.

Day 1

Preview day was a great start to the weekend. Much more elbow room and laid back. We got to roam the exhibit hall and search for good deals on comics. Also got a preview of what the costumes were going to be this year. Doctor Who. So much Doctor Who stuff. I also saw the actual Comic Book Guy. Weird ponytail skullet, goatee and everything. Not a costume. Actual person.

Chris picked out the first panel we went to. Something called Avengers Assemble! Sounded promising. Turned out to be fans of the Avengers movie dressed as the Avengers answering questions as if they were the Avengers. Chris lost his panel picking privileges after that. The next panel we went to was the best one of the whole weekend. It was a panel on SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) and habitable planets with Paul Davies and other professors from ASU who were experts in Astrobiology. One of the best panels I’ve been to, it was very educational and cool. The last panel we went to was something called Ultimate Nerd Smackdown where fans debate one another on something like, who is the better team: Justice League or Avengers. It was completely ridiculous and very entertaining. We did get to see a guy (champion from last year’s debate) use the panel to propose to his girlfriend, which was cool to witness her awkward acceptance.

Day 2

Since when do you need a wrist band to see Wil Wheaton’s Awesome Hour? Maybe since always, I don’t know. This was the first time, and last, I tried to go to his panel.

We went through a zombie obstacle course on this day. Sounded cool. We waited in line for almost two hours just to run a few loops through a big ball room at the Renaissance Hotel that took about a minute. So, a group of you would walk through the course of chairs and boxes while zombies (theatre students with makeup) would come after you and try to scare you. Luckily, we the helpless were escorted by the D.O.Z.D. (Department of Zombie Defense) to make it through alive as they would shoot the zombies dead with their orange tipped, plastic guns before they could get to us. Thank God. I’m pretty sure the lady protecting me shot me point blank in the temple. Twice. Chris too. Ā I lost my event picking privileges after that.

Our Zombie fun wasn’t over yet. Later that night was the Zombie Walk. It reminded me of the parade at Dragon Con, but just zombies and the D.O.Z.D. So a bunch of people got painted up like zombies, clothes covered in blood, gory gashes in their faces, white faces, etc. They all gathered out in the street in a horde and then set off around a few blocks groaning and limping. Sounds cool, except that a bunch of moms with strollers walked among them unscathed. Photographers kept getting into the crowd to take pictures. And a lot of zombies just weren’t in character. Just didn’t feel like they were the walking dead.

We went to another panel that day called the Science of Drinking. I think Chris picked that one, and totally redeemed himself! It was these two guys who came up with a bunch of drinks that were sci-fi related and provided the recipes. They have a blog. Check it out. Anyway, at this panel they mentioned a few of the drinks (Vulcan Mind Meld, Romulan Ale and Sonic Screwdriver) would be served at an after-party called The Captain’s Cantina Party. They didn’t mention the drinks would be overpriced. $9 for a glass filled with too much ice. The party itself was… sobering. Especially the young lady on an acoustic who took the beat poet route to making us feel uncomfortable.

Day 3

Here’s a Con tip: When you go to a Jewel Staite panel and line up to say what you’ve been dying to say, don’t start off with, “I’ve been TV stalking you since you were a little girl.” Especially if you’re a really creepy looking dude. And don’t leave off with, “The Child of Darkness still wishes to see tomorrow.” Or some such nonsense. You tend to come off a bit psychotic. (creepiness at 12:09)Ā She handled it well, though.

Always a pleasure seeing Jewel Staite. You can tell she really enjoys going to these things and talking to her fans. Even The Child of Darkness. I learned at this panel that she has a food blog called Happy Opu. It’s pretty cool. Check it out.

Once we got back from lunch at a great little pizza place called Pizzeria Bianco, we walked the exhibit hall some more looking at art work. Later we went to another panel Chris had picked out about Star Wars, which was run by a group of teenagers who were not creative experts on the subject at all. Just really intense fans. Chris lost his panel picking privileges again.

But then he totally redeemed himself, again, by picking a panel about upcoming movies for the next two years so that I can be prepared not to pay money to see any of them. Basically, everything scheduled to come out in theaters for the next two years is a sequel, reboot, Ā rehash, unoriginal idea. All of Disney’s plans for Star Wars alone made me sick. Like, seven more movies, an animated series, a live action series, stupid shit like this. Watch that. Let it sink in. Try to keep your lunch down.

Ended the night seeing the first part of the costume masquerade, which was a bunch kids dressed in anime costumes standing awkwardly on stage with some epic TV theme song playing, or a group of kids dressed like the Justice League and for some reason started pretend-fighting each other. Why would members of the Justice League fight each other? Followed that up with Comedy Hour, which was hilarious, and way better than last year.

Day 4

Some yahoo thought it would be a good idea to pull the fire alarm. We had left the con for a bit to get lunch at the Rose and Crown and when we got back everyone was outside. Fortunately, we didn’t have to bare that very long, because they let us all back inside shortly after we returned. Missed all the excitement. As a result, they extended the con hours. Unfortunately, half the vendors left along with a lot of the crowd. The Cosplay girls dressed down (or covered up) and it just wasn’t the same.

I did buy some new artwork. A hauntingly and heartfelt Ā piece of Mr. Freeze looking on a music box ballerina by Livio Ramondelli.

At the end of it all, we bought alcohol, went back to my place and made our own Sonic Screwdrivers and watched new episodes of Arrested Development. A great end to a great weekend.

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Amazing Arizona Comic Con Review

My good friend, Chris, and I were at it again. We geared up and set out for the first comic con of the year: The Amazing Arizona Comic Con. Held at the Phoenix Convention Center and only covering one room, this little convention that started in Mesa many years ago really brought out the big names and packed in the vendors. Well, maybe only the one big name.

Stan ‘The Man’ Lee was scheduled to be there, but he cancelled a few days before. He is getting up there in age, so hopefully there wasn’t some sort of health issue and he is doing fine. Although, at this point, if there was a health issue it would have been all over nerd news and I would have heard by now.

Legendary comic book artist Jim Lee was present. The one big name who showed up. I got him to sign volumes 1 and 2 of Superman: For Tomorrow, which I also had signed by writer Brian Azzarello at the Emerald City Comic Con a few years back. Now those graphic novels are complete and fully operational. We also got the chance to see Jim Lee do a live sketch panel where he walked through the steps he takes when he draws some of the more popular comic book characters, like Joker, Catwoman and Deadpool. It was amazing.

I always keep an eye out for great artwork at these things. I like to look for stuff that I find exceptional and would want to hang on my wall as per my tastes. I found such an artist with work that immediately caught my eye. Her name is Sasha Yosselani and her work can be seen here. I found her art to be beautiful with hints of loss and tragedy, yet hopeful. Her paintings have a touch of darkness to them, but are not overly macabre like a lot of the artists’ work I would see at the Emerald City Con a year ago.

We went to another DC panel at this con. It covered the Death of the Family story arch with creators Scott Lobdell, John Layman, and Kyle Higgins. I had no idea what they were talking about. Basically what this panel taught me was that I am way behind on reading comics.

Other thanĀ perusingĀ the main hall trying to find great deals on graphic novels, we did a lot of people watching. Saw a few familiar faces, like local artist Shelby Robertson. And there was a whole lot of people in costumes. A lot of cosplayer girls. They came out in force for this thing.

This con really gave off the feeling that it was trying to be a big San Diego Comic Con, but fell very short. It was probably the lack of has-been TV stars. Scantily clad women were paid to hangout at merchandisers’ booths to draw in the nerds with their nerdy money. They had the one big name there, like I said, Jim Lee, but executed very poorly on organizing the signings and panel. They even had a hard time getting people in the door. People with Groupons, people who paid ahead, people buying that day. It was kind of a mess.

But overall, it was still fun. And the best part of all, I learned how to execute the best raffle prize give-away method there is:

  • First, you bring in as many people as possible to a panel and show them a bunch of movie trailers off of IMDB.
  • Second, you have all those people take a raffle ticket for the big prize give-away at the end.
  • And third, call out the winning numbers, but the numbers don’t match up at all with the tickets handed out earlier. So nobody wins anything and they sit there waiting in anticipation until the realization of what’s happening sinks in and they leave! It’s Great!

Enjoy the pics!