Treasures of the Portland Retro Gaming Expos, Part 2 (Nintendo Power!)

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(Continued from Part 1 of my adventures through the annual Portland Retro Gaming Expo, 2019)

This next part is dedicated to an awesome featured part of the PRGE, its video game history room. This mini-museum is presented by the Video Game History Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to preserving interactive entertainment’s past. Their focus for this show was the 30th anniversary year of Nintendo’s Game Boy handheld, and Nintendo’s pre-Internet game counselor service. 

So, many amazing treasures on display here, I took some pictures, of which I am proud to share below…

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A display of company jackets worn by the Nintendo Game counselors…

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Just who were these Game Counselors? Well, back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, players could call via their telephone, and speak to a human being on getting through the hardest part of their video games.

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The game counselors had a variety of aids, handbooks, demo copies, whatever it took to deliver that awesome service with a smile.

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And more interesting Nintendo treasures from within

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An example of a game counselor station, which in its prime had over 400 ready to take calls.

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One of many subtle touches to build company pride, among the service.

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Many counselors had their own maps, some hand-drawn and their own notes to help callers

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And there is the Game Boy portion of the PRGE history museum. Lots of ads and posters, showcasing its past aesthetic.

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More past relics, and merch tie-ins

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And of course Tetris, which helped make the Game Boy a smashing success.  it’s main launch title which initially came with the Game Boy.

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But before the Game Boy, Nintendo had other handheld products which helped paved the way for company success.

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The Nintendo Game Boy had more than just games!

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Including a sewing machine peripheral.

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Overall, this was an awesome experience for fans of Nintendo and game history. Check out www.gamehistory.org for more on the Video Game History Foundation.

Treasures of the Portland Retro Gaming Expo, Part 1

Last weekend, I attended the 2019 Portland Retro Gaming Expo. I had an awesome time there.

The Portland Retro Gaming Expo. remains a show, taking heart in the Pacific Northwest US for its 14th year now. The cultural event grows a little more every year, celebrating older video and electronic games for their history, aesthetic, social aspects, and cultural impact. Vintage games include pinball, arcade machines, console setups, handheld devices, and other related oddities, Throughout many treasures to be appreciated, purchased, played, and discovered.

Here are some pictures and notes to share of my PRGE experience, showing small parts of this grand show…

Many merchants here, with the best colors of our classy consoles on the table!

On one table, a small sampling of rare imports at this PRGE

Some cool rare oddities, including TOPO, the programmable robot from the early 1980s

Playable Atari games at one booth, with old school TVs to match

Another interesting find, an extra violent edition of the original Resident Evil for the PC!

A few cheap treasures from dealers I purchased, with my guide

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Also at PRGE, many creative artists and developers. Some with their own homebrew games, which I sadly overlooked in pictures. But also many just selling print or promoting webcomics and other creative work influenced by retro games. Here’s Spicy (Twitter @SpicySpaceDragn), one of many artists here.

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More merch!

James Rolfe, AKA the Angry Video Game Nerd was a special guest this year. Sorry for the bad picture.

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Also here…console gaming playable for every generation

Arcade gaming all day,, free to play!

Nights into Dreams, an underrated Sega Saturn classic. This beautiful lenticular poster brings back precious memories.

Many, many pinball machines here, both vintage and the newest available for free play/

The music in the free play area was off the hook, and set the mood there to an awesome 80’s arcade glory that made the show more worthwhile

The best panel I went to, a reunion of Nintendo Game Counselors who worked the glory days of Nintendo HQ’s call center. Lots of fun stories, insider tidbits, and history told. Enjoyed every minute.

At that same panel, a surprise guest in the audience… Alexey Pajitnov, the creator of Tetris!

Briefly meeting Alexey Pajitnov was a big joy for me. He also signed my show pass.

Another awesome guest at PRGE at a panel, Howard Phillips, a main spokesman and producer of Nintendo of America throughout the 8-bit era. You may remember him in cartoon form from the Howard and Nester comic strips in the early Nintendo Power magazines.

Among the best of the show, this gaming history exhibit showcasing Nintendo history focused on the anniversary of the Game Boy and Nintendo Game Counselor service. I will share more pictures on that experience, in part 2 of my PRGE adventure (posting soon!).

….

2019’s Con Season Begins at Wondercon

Last weekend, comic book fans and cosplayers took over Anaheim, California to celebrate Wondercon, now in its 32nd year.  The sold-out show brought an estimated 66,000 attendees, making it now half the size of San Diego Comic Con.  Con season has officially begun, and here are some of our favorite moments….

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Wondercon made a return to Anaheim this year. A giant Bumblebee guarded the entrance by Harbor.

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The vendor hall was bustling on Saturday, but fairly empty Friday. DC’s booth featured Shazam costumes and Batman cowls throughout the year.

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Greg Capullo greets fans at the DC booth.

Exploding Kittens was a popular booth this year, with a puppet-based interactive game where you could buy random objects for a dollar. I watched someone walk away with an eggplant.

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Wondercon always attracts fun cosplayers and pushes the envelope for creativity.

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Just your local robots out for an evening stroll after spa day at the hotel.

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Hey look, we found her!

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Venom gets a classy tux treatment in this handcrafted creation.

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We wrapped our day at the Unnecessary Debates panel, moderated by Grand Geek Gathering’s Tyler McPhail. Our favorite part was Olivia singing as Groot.

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Jenny Jaffe (writer, Big Hero Six TV series), Tyler McPhail (host of The Grand Geek Gathering), Genevieve Cosplay, Abed Gheith (writer, Rick and Morty), and Olivia Olson (Marceline from Adventure Time)

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Wondercon is always a favorite because it has that oldschool SDCC feel to us. There’s a good balance of comics, games, sci-fi, and cosplay, and many of our favorite guests and creators. The panels are creative and thoughtful, but also full of exciting announcements. We can’t wait to go back – Wondercon 2020 will be held Easter weekend, April 10-12 at the Anaheim Convention Center.

San Diego Comic Con 2018 Notes and Commentary, Part 3/5 – Cosplay Everywhere

(Continued from my last entry, San Diego Comic Con 2018 Notes and Commentary, Part 1)

At times, the cosplay at the San Diego Comic Con is the best part of the whole show.

The display of costumed participation has been a cornerstone of con participation among attendees. The prominent among them craft their costumes from scratch, with hard work and dedication. The results bring to life, something awesomely different and familiar. Over the years, I see more body/face paint used, practically effects, LED light use, and clever additions.

Often the choice of cosplay defines the popularity by its growing fandom. This year we got more Steven Universe, Teen Titans, and recent Marvel Cinematic Universe films take the lead. And, more Deadpools, Batmans, Harley Quinns, and Boba Fetts can be spotted from every corner.

So here below, are choice costumes catching my eye. All awesome, and well represented here at the SDCC 2018. Take a look:

That’s enough for now for the cosplay. There’s more from the San Diego Comic Con 2018, coming soon.

San Diego Comic Con 2018 Notes and Commentary, Part 2/5 – Interesting Persons

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(Continued from my last entry, San Diego Comic Con 2018 Notes and Commentary, Part 1)

And now, my continued chronicles of the greatest comics show on Earth, the 49th Annual San Diego Comic Con, 2018.

My next set of pics and notes are dedicated to a very important part of any con; the guests, promoters, and creative people who are the prime reasons are fandom passions develop. At the show, attendees can meet, observe, sample work from, and learn of the talented people who put a lot of passion into their work. Such interaction is on the grandest scale for concentrated fandom at the San Diego Comic Con. And 2018, was especially specially and further wondrous.

So, here are my pictures and notes within, featuring my notable people seen for this 2018 run…

Tom King, award-winning author, comic book writer, and ex-CIA officer. Recent notable work includes the ongoing Batman run, and the Mister Miracle series. My favorite work of his, and a must read is the Vision 2016 mini-series from Marvel Comics.

Longtime artist Randy Martinez, working on new work in the Artist Alley area of the Exhibit floor. We had an awesome chat about artistic drives, following through on work, and having fun along the way. Much of this I have recorded, and plan to share in the near future.

Classic Disney duck artist Patrick Block, chilled out in the artist alley.  We had a fun talk, and an interesting surprise among his original art pages for sale (best to visit him at a show and see for yourself).

Harry Potter book Illustrators Kazu Kibuishi (15th anniversary edition cover artist), Jim Kay, and David Saylor.

Elliot S. Maggin, an American writer of comic books, film, television, and novels. He was a main writer for DC Comics during the Bronze and early Modern ages of comics in the 1970s and 1980s. Kingdom Come (with artist Alex Ross) is his best work, in my opinion.

Yoshitaka Amano, famed Japanese artist, character designer, illustrator and a theatre and film scenic designer and costume designer. His work includes the original concept art for the most iconic Final Fantasy characters and games, the Vampire Hunter D book series, Neil Gaiman’s Sandman: Dream Hunters series, and so much more. Here, Amano does live work at his SDCC panel.

Yoshitaka Amano, later signing and greeting fans with his finished work from earlier. I got a big Final Fantasy retrospect book signed with a little sketch by him on the inside.

David W. Miller, longtime comics ant fantasy artist. Very passionate about this work, and doesn’t mind chatting about it.

Away from SDCC floor, at the Nerdeis House special event. Here, with voice actors Gary Paulsen and Maurice LaMarshe (Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain, many more) as they meet and greet fans.

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Adam Savage, from Mythbusters greeted lucky lottery ticket winners to meet and sign pictures. He said I had a kickass name!

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Three actors from the Amazon Prime show, Man in the High Castle. I honestly have not watched yet. I was here with a friend, a big fan of the show. There were other cast members out of frame here.

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Fabian Rangel Jr. proudly presents his trade paperback volume of ‘Namwolf, a highly recommended comics story about a werewolf stuck in the Vietnam War.

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Famed cover artist Artgerm Lau. He hosted a great a panel earlier, sharing much about himself, and the lifestyle of doing art for a living.

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Afro-Futurism panel with Reggie Hudlin (Milestone Media, Black Panther), Denys Cowan (Milestone Media, The Boondocks), Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek, Heroes), Tim Russ (Star Trek: Voyager, Spaceballs), Kevin Grevioux (Underworld, I, Frankenstein), Professor Adilifu Nama (San Diego State University, Superheroes Decoded), Professor Ajani Brown (San Diego State University), and La Quia Howard (Kemet, I Choose 2 Be Me). Moderated by Jimmy Diggs (Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Deep Space 9).

Nichelle Nichols gives a quick Vulcan salute to room attendees (just missed with my camera).

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The Writer’s Journey: Maximizing Your Potential in the New Marketplace: an awesome panel for writers hosted by Brandon Easton (Vampire Hunter D: The Series, Marvel’s Agent Carter), and others sharing advice and answering questions.

Marv Wolfman, long-time comics and TV writer, creator of the Starfire, Cyborg, Raven, Nightwing, Tim Drake, Blade, and many more comic heroes and villians. At times, he could be found in the Artist Alley area, or at one his multiple panels giving great advice on writing.

Doctor Who panel in Hall H, featuring the latest person to portray the time-traveler from Gallifrey; Jodie Whitaker, in her first convention appearance with

The Predator panel in Hall H, promoting the new movie, with Shane Black, Sterling K. Brown, Olivia Munn, Keegan Michael Key, Trevante Rhodes, Thomas Jane, Augusta Aguilera, and Jake Busey.

Predator panel – Olivia Munn on the left, and Thomas Jane on the right. Both whom I have seen at many con panels over the years.

Suddenly another aisle jammed and blocked by the WB booth, as the cast of Supernatural greets lucky fans (obtained through an online lottery system).

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That’s enough for now. More SDCC show coverage is coming in part 3. Stay tuned to the SW, and look forward!

San Diego Comic Con 2018 Notes and Commentary, Part 1/5 – Exhibit Hall Madness

This 49th Annual San Diego Comic Con for the 2018 year ended a week ago, but the memories will last.

Those among us, being the 135,000 in attendance and at least double that for the outside events, would find plenty to muse over the endless ridiculousness of corporate promotions, self-promoting indie projects, gatherings of fandoms and geekery of all mediums and platforms. The San Diego city location remains a perfect place for such things, with its spacious convention center, Gaslamp district, surrounding hotels, and gorgeous waterfronts for its annual mecca of devoted attendees.

My time spent of my 24th year in attendance was the best I had for delving into the overall creative, fandom drenched, collectible hunting, and so much more. But it was also the busiest for me, with more networking, panel attending, interviews, and greeting of friends old and new. Little time was left for resting, organizing, ruminations.

Meanwhile, I did take many pictures and notes within, for which I will share now. The following is my series of results, starting with the grand Exhibit Hall of the SDCC…

The Exhibit Hall area is 460,000 square feet, and your feet will hate you if you explore every inch of it.

The Image Booth gives a beastly view this year, casting aside the usual Walking Dead/Saga and presenting something fresh and new…something always welcome for this comic book reader.

The DC Comics booth this year has given Superman/Batman/Wonder Woman a break this year for its center of attention. Now, it’s the 2nd tier heroes time to shine with promotions of the upcoming Shazam and Aquaman movies, with the Teen Titan cartoon movie and live action TV series to come.

The best way to booth market, is to become the product..as best presented by this talking frog ambassador to the CFX booth for Silicone masks.

The Funko Toys booth is still the biggest catch for dedicated collectors of weird vinyl Funko Pop figures…still a thing with at least 50 exclusives again this year. But this time, an online lottery system has brought the line-waiting to sane levels for the lucky ones who obtained an early ticket for each day.

Do you like spending a lot of money on expensive dolls/statues? The SDCC has you covered. I’m not sure what stand this is. That Khan figure is a sexy thing.

Favorite things I enjoy looking at for the Exhibit Hall, are the many original art pages.

Among them, I enjoy the more underappreciated pieces of forgotten comics history.

meanwhile, a plush Purrmaid demands your attention!

Because Deadpool doesn’t get enough fan attention, here’s a animated puppet show to promote the second movie for home release!

It’s Bumblebee’s time to shine at the Hasbro booth, coming to a theater near you (I hope it’s good).

Line up and spin the wheel for maybe something you might want from the USApoly booth.

What’s that? Comic books at a Comic Con? There’s plenty of those here too. Though cheap thrills are hard to find, but look well, and you will find some great printed treasure…

My guilty pleasure is visible in the dealer table areas..action figures!!

Sure, let’s take our nostalgia of childish joys and so weird things to them. This I think is from one of the Mattel booth displays.

It’s a Puglie Pug, ready for pick up!

The Cinema Makeup School continues to impress and freakout with it’s astounding practical effects, carefully applied to the human body.

And, there are plenty of artists here to sketch on whatever paper you may have for them. A purchase is encouraged.

The DKE Booth, a favorite for the strangest artist renditions of figurine pop culture..

The Lego Booth, has never disappointing me with its awesome life-sized blocky renditions of relevant pop-culture licensed icons.

The Cartoon Network booth reminds me I should eventually watch Steven Universe.

That’s enough for now, covering a tiny fraction of the overall finest smorgasbord of creative arts that is the San Diego Comic Con. See Part 2, coming up for more coverage!

A Seasonal Visit to the Harry Potter themed Gingerbread Village…

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This year’s (24th) Gingerbread Village at the Sheraton Hotel in Downtown Seattle, is a most magical one. This new theme is all in on the world of Harry Potter.

Last year’s Gingerbread Village theme was all about the Star Wars. Now, it’s gone full Hogwarts with displayed exteriors made mostly out of reinforced gingerbread, frosting, candy bits, lots of jellybeans and other sugary snacks best used for such display. Each display developed from the work of an architecture firm and lead “chef.” Also involved were children (aka “Elves”) dealing with Type 1 Diabetes, promoting the cause of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) for treatments and research.

For those who wish to visit, the Sheraton is located near the Washington State Convention Center in Downtown Seattle, in their lobby. The Gingerbread Village is now free to the public until January 1, 2017. You are encouraged to also give a monetary amount to the JDRF Northwest Chapter. For more site and event information including info on the chefs and elves who created these masterpieces (and to donate directly), click here.

Below are my pics of each display, based on the first six books by J.K Rowling, and the movies based upon such. Click on each for the impressive details…

“Book 1” (The Sorcerer’s Stone)

“Book 2” (Chamber of Secrets)

“Book 3” (Prisoner of Azkeban)

“Book 4” (Goblet of Fire)

“Book 5” (Order of the Phoenix)

“Book 6” (Half-Blood Prince)

– Orion T
Photo credits: Orion Tippens, December 2017

San Diego Comic Con 2016 in Pictures and Notes – Part 4 , (just the cosplay)

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(continued from Part 3, Part 2 and  Part 1)

Finally, we comic con and geek gathering lovers come to the cosplay. Look everywhere and you’ll see a great part of attendees willing to brave the crowds in full costume gear. This in popularity were the sights of Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad movie attire, Star Wars, and the usual Marvel movie fanfare. Always welcome, such elements have been a part of the comic convention circuits for decades, with roots going back to the old days of Ren Faires and Star Trek conventions. So here goes, the latest in cosplay trends and thrills which gather my attention, in my featured pics below with more notes and commentary.

Click on each to enlarge with more info…

That’s all for the cosplay, but not for my Comic Con coverage. The last installment will be on the SW site soon, with a mix of leftovers and wonders that made the 2016 a memorable year. Look forward!

– Orion T , Stranger Worlds captain and convention enthusiast

San Diego Comic Con in Pictures and Notes – Part 2

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(continued from Part 1)

Take a closer look at the great San Diego Comic Con, and you will see more of its heart and soul within the booth displays. Within the Exhibit Hall, are the people and subjects that make such the event long worth going to, before the glam of celebs and pricy exclusives.

Below are my notes on why, and what has changed for this year. Let’s go for a walk…

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The Marvel Comics Booth, constantly crowded with heavy push for the Marvel Cinematic Universe  movies. Aside from freebies, I didnt notice much of the monthly comics being promoted. I think there is another reboot of sorts called Marvel Now, which I have withheld my excitement for. The strength of Marvel Comics at retail racks has been with well-written books including Marvel Girl, Moon Girl, Vision, Totally Awesome Hulk. I wish it was more that, and not the movies.

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The Nickelodeon always puts much thought in their booth designs. This year showed expression, with throwbacks to the their golden 90’s era.

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So much nostalgia, so much love…Legends of the Hidden Temple, Ren and Stmpy, Rocko, Rugrats never die!

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In the corner, vinyl and designer figures still make their impression on collectors. I see their stands rising in size, and exclusives for attendees to hunt down. Funko still being the most massive and ridiculous.. Here, I know not of the company, but love the giant Kobe and Astro Boy.

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The Lego booth never disappoints with their display craft. I wonder how many blocks it took for Captain America to make his stand here.

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And Wonder Woman!

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Meanwhile late night talk show host Conan O’Brien was quite the strange self promoting icon. I feel conflicted about this odd presence here at the con. I think from watching, he could be one of us..but not so much as it’s just he’s becoming a pop-culture icon as well, complete with exclusive con collectibles also at the show.

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Booth signings are a bigger deal with year, with studios giving the fans a chance to meet entire casts, with the luck of a raffle hours before. Here, the cast of Supergirl greets a long and very eager line.

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One booth shows off some rare and cool Japanese import figures.

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The Symbiote Studios stand I think is a newcomer to the designer figure corner of the Exhibit Hall, or at least new to me.

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Another booth, I did not get info on. But they sell cosplay clothes for pets, I think..

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The typical awesomeness of the Artist Alley section, where the small booths are just as grand as the huge companies ones. Here you need no lottery ticket to meet the extraordinary people who also make a substantial impact on the fandom.

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Of the Artist Alley and Small Press areas, some creatives have much fun and leave a memorable impression. Here is artist Joe Phillips (I think on the left) promoting his new comic, a Midsummer’s Knight..a fantastical take on the Shakespeare classic.

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The Hasbro booth barely changes every year, but always nice to see the latest in new Transformers toys that appeal to my nostalgic soul, like the new Fortress Maximus on display.

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The Ugly Dolls booth cheers me again with its huggable plush monsters..

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The Dark Horse booth stands proud and tall once again, with much on the new reads and the better array of guest artists and writer signings..

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An overhead shot of the comics area, which with little emphasis on exclusives or swag, has a less claustrophobic crowd. That is until, Sunday where less panels happen and last-minute shopping kicks in..

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The Sideshow Collectibles booth, a constant at the SDCC for many years, where high-end figurines are showcased and presented for attendees to at least appreciate.

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Back at the Dark Horse booth, an awesome mural behind the booth showcasing its 30 year history. Cheers to “Building Characters!”

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The DC Comics booth, which I love for still reminding all of its other awesome licenses, including Spy vs. Spy..

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This year at he Star Wars booth, costumes from the upcoming Rogue One movie are on display..a definite treat for the fans attending.

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A favorite booth on recent years at the show, DKE toys; an awesome array of artist designed figures and packages.  Many are on sale, at extremely limited quantities.

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Back at the DC Comics booth, original costumes on display; featuring the new and upcoming Wonder Woman movie, Suicide Squad, and the classic Wonder Woman TV series (with a costume work by Lynda Carter herself!)

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My current favorite comics publisher, Image Comics has the usual awesome booth.

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The Cartoon Network booth, featuring the return of the Power Puff Girls..

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The Super 7 booth, featuring a reissue classics large Alien movie figure.

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The Square Enix booth, though not as visually impressive from afar, got a much larger crowd coming in for a chance to play the upcoming Final Fantasy XV game, and get a very exclusive T-Shirt!

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More artist alley impressions!

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Many booths also showed upcoming products, like the DC Bombshells figurine line at the Diamond comics booth. More, on featured  products in an upcoming post..

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Sometimes, one good draw is all one needs to make a great impression. The Hermes publishing booth brought in Garfield creator, Jim Davis!

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That’s all for part 2, with my personal highlights of the Exhibit Room displays and presentations, with much thanks to the many involved. Come back to strangerworlds.com for part 3, with a zoomed look at the exciting people of Comic Con, with a focus on its creative talent.

– Orion T

A Holiday Season Visit to the Star Wars Gingerbread Village

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The Force is strong with this year’s (23rd) Gingerbread Village at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel. It’s all Star Wars!

Pictured below, are huge Star Wars movie themed displays with exteriors made mostly out of reinforced gingerbread, frostings, candy bits, lots gummies, and a gazillion other sugary bits and bites. Each display developed from the work of an architecture firm and lead “chef.” Also involved were children (aka “Elves”) dealing with Type 1 Diabetes, promoting the cause of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) for treatments and research.

For those who wish to visit, it’s located near the Washington State Convention Center in Downtown Seattle, the Sheraton hotel. The Gingerbread Village is free to the public until January 3rd, 2016. You may also donate money to the (JDRF) Northwest Chapter. For more site and event information (and donation info), click here.

Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

Episode IV: A New Hope

Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Episode II: Attack of the Clones

Episode I: The Phantom Menace

– Orion T
Photo credits: Orion Tippens, December 2015