San Diego Comic Con 2019, Adventures in the Exhibit Hall

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Over 1000 miles away, I look back to the San Diego Comic Convention of 2019. I wave slowly for my 25th visit to this annual pop-culture extravaganza of the universe.

Thank you for another exciting run, to the organizers and all involved with this 2019 SDCC. It’s all been wild, jumbled together joys and madness sorted through organized chaos and a maze of thing-doing and epic quests, glory for treasure and the meeting and greeting of friends old and anew along the way.

Did I have a great time? Oh yes, I did!

But this Comic-Con is never simple and no year is the same as others. One has to fight and plan and struggle and walk and rise with short hours of sleep with hard choices to truly appreciate the subtleties of this great show. Never expect anything to go smooth, and have contingencies for whatever does not happen..

Don’t overplan. Try and leave as much room as possible for the unexpected. Your entire plan can go out the window for some greater opportunity…for example, a shortcut into the Hall H line before the Marvel Comics panel, or a sudden chance to meet an admired person of creative or celebrity status, perhaps an easy way into a very exclusive friend, or running into a long-time friend.

The greater occurrence of sudden surprises at the SDCC is at the Exhibit Hall, where you you can enter empty-handed and  leave with something of value. That could be rare treasure, a one-of-a-kind custom creation, an experience unlike no other, or a new friend or history making connection.

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A small portion of the football-field sized Exhibit Hall

Navigating the convention floor is a skill mastered best by memories and past trips to this show. Have a map otherwise if you feeling unguided through this colorful, weird jungle. For this year, the usual large displays propagated by large media and collectible production companies, with those focused on show exclusives and celeb hosting being the most attracting.  Pre-show lotteries to such helped bring some of those lines down, leaving those not lucky enough, to remain hopeless or persistent enough to take part.

For the Exhibit Hall, I spent most of this Comic-Con time. Here below, are some moments and notes of my crazy adventures of treasure hunts, side-quests, joining friends and braving the crowds and potential chaos of the this wonderful show..

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just mentioning again, the Hall was very crowded. But, that’s a good thing I believe. That more interesting things can happen, and more fun is shared.

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Some random awesome in the vinyl area, now moved away from the corner and into the center.

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Sith Troopers, the main feature among the Star Wars cluster of booths, promoting the upcoming Star Wars: Episode XI.

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The Steven Universe featured at the Cartoon Network booth, with encouraged karaoke below.

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The Lego booth again impresses with life-sized Lego displays.

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The DC booth this year was sadly missed from the front and center spot, now moved to the corner back next to the Warner Studios booth. Here, booth reps offer Todd McFarlane prints in exchange for signing up for a credit card. I refused and spent little time at the DC booth this year, because of that.

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I kind of forgot which booth this was, but love the use of dinosaurs

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Here are some pricy things!

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But,  I like cheap stuff. Here is my Q-Pop Pinky and the Brain figurine. Only 15.00 and I think exclusive to the show. I dont remember, but I loved it so much that I took it out of the package!

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A much better breathe of fresh air, to one of many small press tables now in in place of where the DC booth once stood.

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Still, plenty of comic books here! I love seeing stacks of comics on back issue bins!

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Some awesome magazines I picked up, from Warren Publishing in the late 70s, early 80s.

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This is our first SDCC without Stan Lee sharing the same mortal realm. But his legacy and spirit live on. Excelsior!

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Awesome Japanese classic style art from the Ukiyo-e Heroes booth. Check out their sight at www.ukiyoeheroes.com

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Chrono Trigger artwork from the Ukiyo-e Heroes above booth.

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The Porcupine Cat, one of the GMO animal hybrid guardians o the Genesis II graphic novel, feature at this booth. Check out their graphic novel at genesisiicomics.com, where the first chapter is free to download!

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And here is Troma Entertainment President & Co-Founder, Director, Producer, Genius. Lloyd Kaufman and his long-time friend, Toxie the Toxic Avenger! I have seen them both many times here in the Exhibit Hall over three decades. 

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The Dark Horse booth saves its best space for coloring adventures!

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And that, is how you pronounce Bill Sienkiewicz!

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My favorite piece of original comic art found from Marvel Comics Journey into Mystery #99. Price is $6000, of which I could not afford.

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Original Peanuts art from Charles Schulz

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At the Udon booth (sorry, I missed the name of the artist).

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The two prize Funko pops, exclusive to the this year’s 50th show.

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Emmalee Pearson presents her comic, the Avengables..a very silly comic about evil fighting vegetables! Find out more at www.avengables.com.

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At the Toynami booth, where the Golden Girls and Robotech share the same universe!

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After 20 years later, the Matrix inspires this great group cosplay!

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The Warner Brothers booth, where fans meet those Legends of Tommorrow.

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A large Gundam presenting its 40th anniversary booth.

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The Image Comics booth, as usually impossible to capture all in one shot, so you have to pick an angle.

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Not sure where what series or movie this figure is from, but I love it!

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A vintage shirt from the 1992 San Diego Comic Con, still fraggin fresh!

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Some Jurassic cosplay here!

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Yeah, there is lots of cosplay on the floor. I will share more on that in a separate post, soon

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Unicorn on display, summons your wallet here for a purpose!  This two foot-tall Transformer is part of Hasbro’s third crowd-funding production project.

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Ghostbusters and WWE, a strange toy crossover by Mattel coming, along with the Master of the Universe and WWE, also announced during the show.

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Love the latest cartoon classic TMNT figures on display at the NECA booth.

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Peanuts figures on display at the Super & booth….good grief!

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Michael Golden, artist and co-creator of X-Men’s Rogue. Also, co-creator of Bucky O’Hare!

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Weirdly fun, very short produced artist-made figures at the DKE booth

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Inside the Dark Crystal, Age of Resistance booth, for the upcoming Netflix show.

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King of the Hill mashup parody art, from Joel Adams

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Disney fine art from Krystiano DaCosta

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Some pins and stuff I got from the Exhibit Hall.

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I met World Wrestling Entertainment RAW Women’s champion, Becky Lynch. Also, WWE legend Rey Mysterio, and current WWE World Champion, Kofi Kingston (got a cookbook signed by him, lol). All awesome in person, indeed!

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And a shot of the Artists Alley from the corner exit of the Exhibit Hall, which is a good spot to leave off. I hope you enjoyed checking out these random joys of this year’s Exhibit Hall adventure.

Check back on strangerworlds.com for more late coverage of this year’s 50th San Diego Comic-Con!

My early years of the San Diego Comic-Con, 1994-1999

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The San Diego Comic-Con will reach its golden 50th year anniversary, this year. I am super excited, not just for being the surely amazing extravaganza of this yearly event…

2019 is personally exciting for marking my silver 25th anniversary in attendance for the annual Comic-Con, since 1994.

I proudly think back to each wonderful year being special and well worth the travel costs (with setbacks at times). I always look forward to the SDCC, being my shared megacenter on converged passions in creative print and digital media routed in deep, imaginary levels of far-out storytelling. Thus, I share many personal moments with friends, interact with and cheer on creative talent, embark on crazy treasure hunts, panel-hop, discover new properties, promote my projects, do a lot of presswork, help retailers, and much more.

The SDCC is now more important to me than all the holidays, and birthday. I love this show, with all that connects to it. And with all that, comes the growth and constant changes it brings. Now that means lotteries everywhere, more outside events, grander cosplay meetups, more art commissions, creator interactions, celebs, and the chance for comic companies to really stand out (getting more difficult now).

But it wasn’t always that way. Comic-Con had its simple carefree years slowly escalating to its maxed-out frenzy now. You could walk in, buy a ticket, and do regular convention things like shop and meet some artistic creators or B-tier celebs, admiring the cosplay in between. San Diego Comic Con just offered more of it, which was my impression between 1994-1999, my first five years in attendance.

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The Exhibit Hall in 1998, picture credit – the 1999  San Diego Comic-Con Souvenir Guide

Conventions focusing on collectibles and fandom would become my jam throughout the 90s, starting with my first Star Trek convention in 1991, then a few small local comic conventions in San Francisco. I regularly attended a quasi-convention that occurred twice-a-week, east of Los Angeles (Frank and Sons). My euphoria bloomed from treasure hunts among dealer tables, usually obtaining cheap comics, anime VHS tapes, odd trinkets, and cards.

On with the show!

I would learn of the San Diego Comic-Con through early comic book mags including Wizard, Comics Buyers Guide, and similar zines. It seemed like an important big deal and bigger than anything I attended before. Eventually, my time to see for myself would come for the first time in 1994, with a ride offered to San Diego along with an extra ticket, by a very good friend.

My time there was short, and my wallet small. I purchased a stack worth of bargain comics adding to a pile of promo freebies (lots of ashcans) from the various booths. I also missed out on a lot of great programming…

 

Above: The Friday and Saturday Schedule from the 1994 Comic-Con Event Guide.

I would return to buy my own ticket for 1995 and 1996, but only a day for each. For 1997, I would buy a full pass but only attend three days. Then for 1998-1999, I come as a retailer representing my comic book store worked in Diamond Bar, California (Comics and Stuff), to engage on the more business side of the industry.

Comic books, everywhere!

Comic books were my main focus in attending, branching off as a buyer and having an interest in meeting creators or listening to them talk. Throughout the 90s, comic books and graphic novels were the center focus of the show for most attendees. Bargain bins were everywhere, vintage and rare books were plenty, and all the main companies were present.

The crazes were a mixed bag. Indie comics were on the rise, with Image taking the lead (but then Wildstorm, Top Cow sub-publishers beginning to splinter off). The bad girl craze was in full effect, where scantily clad warrior women would take charge with Lady Death, Vampirella, Shi, Witchblade, Fathom in the lead. Marvel Comics presence weakened a little since their record-breaking boost in the early ’90s, but still showing strength with its many X-Men and Spider-man titles,. DC Comics also hit some trouble spots but grabbed new attention with some very different series including JLA, Kingdom ComePreacher. 

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Page clip from the 1999  San Diego Comic-Con Souvenir Guide

Plentiful presence of creative talent!

Best of all at the SDCC, nearly all the creators of the popular books were there. If there was someone you admired, just bring your books or buy some at a booth, then find out which spot that person was at for a good signing. Neil Gaiman, Garth Ennis, Grant Morrison, Jim Lee, Todd McFarlane, J. Scott Campbell, Mike Turner with many more were around!

Sketchbooks were a common thing to bring, and essential for the best personal interaction with artists. Many artists were often happy to provide a little doodle or something grand for commission price. I would just pull out a backboard from a bagged comic. I would go for pretty much anyone, but finding someone I admired by chance.

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Six-Pack from the Hitman series by John McCrea…not exactly the late 90s, but definitely a favorite artist of the time.

There’s more than comics at Comic-Con, right?!

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1995 San Diego Comic-Con event guide

Right, and plenty around. But, not front and center.

The Hollywood presence was small, using the Comic-Con to promote with some grand display or large props including the train from Mystery Men or the Time Machine from The Time Machine. Such things were visually cool but wouldn’t attract much in lines unless there was signing or swag (usually a poster) given out. When there were movie panels promoting wide-release, usually the director, some staff, and some co-stars would show up. The top-billed cast to a major film would be unheard at this con, at the time.

Pop-culture presence outside of comic books was dependant on fan and cult popularity. Xena, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Babylon 5, X-Files were often discussed and sought in collectible merch, plentiful on the Exhibit floor. The Star Trek franchise remained strong, with plenty of fans dressed as Klingons and Starfleet crew proud to represent.

1999 was a killer year for movies among the geek culture, with Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, The Matrix, Austin Powers IIBlade, Blair Witch; all bringing new talk and buzz among attendees to help to promote and buy the fresh merch. Movie marketers were definitely taking notes, for the next decade to come.

Meanwhile, I would find a growing love for Japanimation, or as it was growing to be called…anime. The SDCC was a place for such fans to gather and appreciate the growing fandom of Dragonball Z, Sailor Moon, and many new imports on their way. Cosplay was well represented, as the anime conventions would raise that craft to new levels.

Indie film companies also had their presence at the SDCC, most notably The Troma booth, where Lloyd Kaufman himself would greet fans and recommend a VHS tape or something called a DVD.

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A two-page sampling of events from the 1995 SDCC Event Guide

Social interaction!

The show would grow from 34,000-42,000, keeping steady and never selling quite out. The lines to enter first on Wednesday and Thursday morning were absurdly long, leading to bigger crowds and forcing the SDCC organizers to adapt and grow for the coming years.

Throughout the day, one could easily make friends sharing a large table, waiting for a panel to start, or waiting in line; sometimes sharing in treasures gained, or overhearing a discussion of who would win in a with a fight of who, discussing latest storylines in comics. Such social interaction of Comic-Con would remain a cornerstone of its success for every year.

Cosplay was growing, though we referred to that scene as “people dressing up” and less of the sub-culture it’s become today. Craftmanship was appreciated as a surprise, though effort and tribute were worthy enough of a point and shoot of our very limited 35mm cameras.

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The Comic-Con nightlife was small, yet available for those willing to stay up. The Saturday night Masquerade and after party at the convention center was the best bonus for attendees there for that night. For many others on Thursday to Saturday, catching a movie in one of many rooms through the late night remained plentiful. I could always count on some random anime or goofy indie film to watch with a few strangers and be very much entertained. Afterward, some fun chit chat among strangers and looking to see what else left for us night owls.

The Exhibit Hall at Comic-Con, a growing thing…

Only a fraction then of what it is now. Here is the layout for 1996:

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I recall a giant life-sized Alien queen at the Dark Horse booth, something I wish would come back rebuilt. All the big comic book companies had large signs with big tables of freebies. Next up from comics were toys as McFarlane Toys were highly visible, setting a new standard for other companies to catch up. Moore Creations was popular for a while, taking some daring steps with collectible female-oriented figures…especially Lady Death, Witchblade, then Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Some variant colors of figures were around, sometimes con-exclusive. That trend was just beginning.

Overall, the Exhibit Hall had something for everyone, with surprises sometimes. I remember one time waiting in line, and suddenly I met Renee O Conner (Gabrielle from Xena the Warrior Princess). I smile and she smiled back while signing autographs for others, then a security man motioned me to get to the back of a very long line, which I had no time for.

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Panels, panels, panels!

Another essential part of a great con is always the panels of presentations, Q and A sessions, and helpful info. The first panel I went to was in 1996, ” Spotlight on Evan Dorkin,” whose cartoonist work I enjoyed in both Dork and Milk & Cheese. I enjoyed every minute of his personal humor, poking fun at audience members. I recall an awesome panel from Troma Studios (not sure on the year), where Lloyd Kaufman enacted a cheap special effect of a head squishing, very inspiring! I would also join Stan Lee briefly in a room showcasing with a short preview, the movie Blade in 1998. No Wesley Snipes present, but I was happy to see Stan Lee in person for the first of many times.

The more time I spent at Comic-Con over the years, the more exploring open rooms, sit down and see what was talked about, then move to another room..sometimes watch a movie. Such great times, that would grow!

Only a small percent of a small percent!

There are more bit to share about the SDCC in its growth throughout its 50 years, from many attendees with varied memorable, often wonderful experiences. Publishers and creatives would come and go, some keep it real, a new trend practically every year. The late 90s’s set many new roots for the next two decades, raising the experiences and possibilities of the show to its grander heights.

Here is the programming in the 1998 event guide for Friday and Saturday, which you can see from the earlier picture, just how much it has grown in that short time…

 

 

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What I miss, are the carefree moments of less pressure in making plans. There was definitely less of the exclusives frenzy and nearly no clamoring for celebrities. Though some lesser famous actors, directors would grow from the fandom interaction, including those notable…Bruce Campbell, Kevin Smith, Seth Green, Lucy Lawless. Comic book creators (especially popular artists including Todd McFarlane, J. Scott Campbell, Michael Turner, Jim Lee, Joe Madureira) of the best-selling books were the biggest draws of the show, for this time.

But for me, the experiences of those early SDCC years were enough to set my dedication in attending for many years forward, into the tradition I would hold, and share in many more write-ups. I would think sometimes if there was a better show for comics and related fandoms out there. Will I ever stop going to this thing? Will the show I have barely known in those old magazines, raise the pop culture of geek entertainment to mainstream status, spreading from comics to other media formats. I won’t wait long to find out, just a lot more lines with fun people.

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My only remaining picture of those late 90 years, done from a point and shoot. The rest are lost, probably forever. And yes, that’s me next to Harley Quinn..either 1998 or 1999.

Casual adventuring through the 2019 Emerald City Comic Con

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Last weekend, was another wonderful time at the annual Emerald City Comic Con for 2019, here in Seattle.

For me, it was my sixth year in attendance, still being easily accessible to my local home area. But, I wasn’t able to attend the full show, with just the weekend available for me. I kept my time simple to casual shopping, small panels, chatting with old and new friends. My con time was chill, and that was enough for now.

Here are some pictures, with notes:

ECCC was as usual, very family friendly. Getting in the spirit sometimes could just be putting on a mask while still being yourself.

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I spent the most time on the main Exhibit Floor. While there was a presence of comic indie publishers, I noticed a larger rise in art sold as prints of all sizes, ranging from postcards to large posters. A wide range of styles, through traditional paints to sophisticated digital art. There was something for everyone to purchase or just admire.

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Artist alley was full of awesome artists; many ready to meet, greet, buy prints for sale, and set up commissions (the best you can really get from an admired artist).  My first purchase from ECCC was a few stickers from Ian Flynn, Mega Man and Sonic the Hedgehog comics artist.

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Tim Sale, legendary artist best known in my opinion for Batman: The Long Halloween.

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Terry Huddleston, a proud and awesome artist presenting his work on the Exhibit Floor.  You can see more at thuddleston.deviantart.com.

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Artist Brianna Garcia poses with an awesome commission original piece of Captain Marvel and Goose… beautiful work! check out more of her work at www.deviantart.com/briannacherrygarcia.

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A new favorite painter, whose stunning work I admired and purchased. She is super awesome to talk to as well. Check out the work of Mia Araujo at http://www.art-by-mia.com. She is also working on an interesting take on Alice in Wonderland illustrative book, that you can follow and support through Patreon at patreon.com/miaaraujo

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I just really like this attendees Star Wars shirt, with art by Shag.

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A convention is nothing without its silly stuff to purchase, and maybe add unusual character in your life.

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Really awesome classic Planet of the Apes pro-makeup work and prosthetic, as the mouth moves. I was told this work took many hours, and I like the result.

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The ECCC has a huge amount of space for tabletop gaming, with something for everyone whether into quick card battles or large elaborate scenarios. Here is just a small portion of a display set up for Forgotten Fortress, miniatures RPG game.

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Later on, Saturday after the lines died down for exclusives, the Funko booth had some of their artists do some Pop sketches for fans of their work.

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Funko Pops as still popular, and plentiful on the showroom floor. Some still command some crazy prices.

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But the best collectibles I feel are those that hold or will hold some sentimental value. Getting something signed, with something more like a picture or a sketch makes the whole show worthwhile.

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ECCC is still a great place for geek attire. I was really tempted to buy one of these awesomely silly Pokemon shirts…

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The Dark Horse Comics booth had a cool wall for attendees to color…

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And the main event of ECCC, the Western Championships of cosplay on Saturday showed off the best craftsmanship in several categories.

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Regarding cosplay, there was plenty of dress-up fandom representation everywhere. I will share more in another post soon.

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And, that’s enough for this year. Overall, a great time but not entirely epic because I didn’t go out of my way for big experiences or crazy goals in mind. Sometimes, you just have to take that con time easy, and naturally mix in.

 

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!

The 2018 Eisner Comic Industry Award Winners are..

Comic-Con International at the 2018 San Diego Comic-Con convention, recently announced the winners of for this year’s prestigious Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards.

The nominees were chosen by a blue-ribbon panel of judges, reflecting a wide range of material currently published in comics and graphic novel form, from around the world. For more information on the awards, visit comic-con.org.

And the Eisner Comic Awards winners for 2018 are…

Best Short Story

”A Life in Comics: The Graphic Adventures of Karen Green,” by Nick Sousanis, in Columbia Magazine(Summer 201

Best Single Issue/One-Shot

Hellboy: Krampusnacht, by Mike Mignola and Adam Hughes (Dark Horse)

Best Continuing Series

Monstress, by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda (Image)

Best Limited Series

Black Panther: World of Wakanda, by Roxane Gay, Ta-Nehisi Coates and Alitha E. Martinez (Marvel)

Best New Series

Black Bolt, by Saladin Ahmed and Christian Ward (Marvel)

Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 8)

Good Night, Planet, by Liniers (Toon Books)

Best Publication for Kids (ages 9-12)

The Tea Dragon Society, by Katie O’Neill (Oni)

Best Publication for Teens (ages 13-17)

Monstress, by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda (Image)

Best Humor Publication

Baking With Kafka, by Tom Gauld (Drawn & Quarterly)

Best Anthology

Elements: Fire, A Comic Anthology by Creators of Color, edited by Taneka Stotts (Beyond Press)

Best Reality-Based Work

Spinning, by Tillie Walden (First Second)

Best Graphic Album—New

My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, by Emil Ferris (Fantagraphics)

Best Graphic Album—Reprint

Boundless, by Jillian Tamaki (Drawn & Quarterly)

Best Adaptation From Another Medium

Kindred, by Octavia Butler, adapted by Damian Duffy and John Jennings (Abrams ComicArts)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material

Run for It: Stories of Slaves Who Fought for the Freedom, by Marcelo D’Salete, translated by Andrea Rosenberg (Fantagraphics)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia

My Brother’s Husband, Vol. 1, by Gengoroh Tagame, translated by Anne Ishii (Pantheon)

Best Archival Collection/Project—Strips

Celebrating Snoopy, by Charles M. Schulz, edited by Alexis E. Fajardo and Dorothy O’Brien (Andrews McMeel)

Best Archival Collection/Project—Comic Books

Akira 35th Anniversary Edition, by Katsuhiro Otomo, edited by Haruko Hashimoto, Ajani Oloye and Lauren Scanlan (Kodansha)

Best Writer

Tom King, Batman, Batman Annual No. 2, Batman/Elmer Fudd Special No. 1, Mister Miracle (DC)
Marjorie Liu, Monstress (Image)

Best Writer/Artist

Emil Ferris, My Favorite Thing Is Monsters (Fantagraphics)

Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team

Mitch Gerads, Mister Miracle (DC)

Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art)

Sana Takeda, Monstress (Image)

Best Cover Artist

Sana Takeda, Monstress (Image)

Best Coloring

Emil Ferris, My Favorite Thing Is Monsters (Fantagraphics)

Best Lettering

Stan Sakai, Usagi Yojimbo, Groo: Slay of the Gods (Dark Horse)

Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism

The Comics Journal, edited by Dan Nadel, Timothy Hodler and Tucker Stone, tcj.com (Fantagraphics)

Best Comics-Related Book

How to Read Nancy: The Elements of Comics in Three Easy Panels, by Paul Karasik and Mark Newgarden (Fantagraphics)

Best Academic/Scholarly Work

Latinx Superheroes in Mainstream Comics, by Frederick Luis Aldama (University of Arizona Press)

Best Publication Design

Akira 35th Anniversary Edition, designed by Phil Balsman, Akira Saito (Veia), NORMA Editorial, and MASH•ROOM (Kodansha)

Best Digital Comic

Harvey Kurtzman’s Marley’s Ghost, by Harvey Kurtzman, Josh O’Neill, Shannon Wheeler and Gideon Kendall (comiXology Originals/Kitchen, Lind & Associates)

Best Webcomic

The Tea Dragon Society, by Katie O’Neill, teadragonsociety.com (Oni Press)

The Bill Finger Excellence in Comics Writing Award

Joye Murchison Kelly, Dorothy Woolfolk

The Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award

Frederick Joseph, Comics4Kids

The Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award

Norma Comics, Barcelona, Spain

The Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award

Hamish Steele, Pantheon (Nobrow)

Pablo Tunica, TMNT Universe (IDW)

Hall of Fame

Carol Kalish, Jackie Ormes, Charles Addams, Karen Berger, Dave Gibbons, Rumiko Takahashi

Feature cover art by Sada Kaneda, from this year’s multiple Eisner award-winning hit, Monstess (published by Image Comics)

San Diego Comic Con 2018: Looking forward

SDCC 2017 (203)

In just a few weeks, the annual San Diego Comic Con will happen again for the 51st time, since 1970.

The large event for geekish fandom is not the largest of its kind for population attendance, but I think the most well-known gathering of pop-culture fandoms, studio and publisher promotions, celebrities, creatives, and show exclusives. I think this, from the worldwide reactions people give and get from it, the frenzy for tickets and overall planning that goes into it. The spot where the big announcements are made, and smaller companies have a chance to grow. And the lines, bring them on.

I will be ready.

For me, it’s still an important mecca for my creative soul. I have spent over two decades, never missing a show as I filled in for press, volunteer work, exhibitor help, and as an attendant. No two years are the same, as I have crazy plans that may or may not work.

Of this year, I am a little extra excited..as a collector, a press person, a writer, observer, and more. I have some goals and plans, of which I would like to share here in my list of ten.

  1. Attend the Comic Creator Connection, a sub-event where writers and artist briefly talk to each in short sessions. I will pitch some scripts I have in mind.
  2. Avoid Hall H over-hype, and attend many small panels involving creator driven content across printed and digital platforms. Get inspired!
  3. Ask for critique from some writers on short scripts, and learn to pitch my work.
  4. Get some collectible show exclusives on my list. Dark Horse, Funko, DKE Toys, NECA, Super7 are tops on my list so far.
  5. Yoshitaka Amano (Final Fantasy, Vampire Hunter D, Sandman: Dream Hunters artist) will be a guest of honor for this year. I hope to meet him again (last time was in 2008) and hopefully get something signed, sketched if possible.
  6. Break into a couple good parties with friends attending the SDCC. Talk, drink and geek out. Maybe, make new friends too.
  7. Treasure hunt for deals on some out print trade paperbacks/graphic novels, and strange oddities for cheap. I am a sucker for loose, weird toys too.
  8. Give blood for the  Robert A. Heinlein Blood Drive, of which I get some cool stuff for doing, and meet some people every time.
  9. Purchase some original comic page art. Something cool and frameable, yet not too pricy. Or, pay for a really good commission sketch.
  10. Seek out new reads, and converse with creative talent.

That’s all my planning for now with more goals to add soon, including interviews and ideas on growing this Stranger Worlds site.  With that, the possibilities are endless for the San Diego Comic Con.

So, forward on!

SDCC 2017 Recap, Part 4 – More Exhibit Hall Fun

Here are more sights from the 2017 San Diego Comic Con, showing some interesting finds at the Exhibit Hall.

The Exhibit Hall is my favorite area in all of this Comic Con. Most of my time at this SDCC was well spent among the many here. The gigantic area holds over 460,000 square feet of open space for the attendees and booth merchants and exhibitors. Some recent observations are covered in Part 1 and Part 3 of our SDCC recaps. Here and below, I have more pics and notes focusing on the items observed during this wonderful show. Enjoy!

A glimpse of the Exhibition Floor. Up close is the small press area, and further away are the big Exhibit booths (Sideshow, DC Comics in view).

Original page art for sale. At the SDCC, I find more original page art (and very high end) pieces for sale than any other convention.

One of my favorite booths of recent SDCCs, DKE Toys. Strange, wonderful designer toys made in extremely limited quantities.

A life-sized model of a Gremlin, at the Elite Creatures booth.

Comic Con remains a great source for fan art.,,

The Gentle Giant Booth, showing off its collection of large scale replicas of vintage Star Wars figures.

The NECA Toys Booth, showing yet released baby Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle figures.

More upcoming TMNT turtles figures at the NECA Booth.

The NECA booth again, with previews of new Aliens figures based on the classic Aliens vs. Predator arcade game.

NECA Booth again, checking out the upcoming Blade Runner figures.

Back in the merchant area, some very rare and pricy vintage Star Wars figures mint on card.

I think this is from the Bluefin booth, exhibiting an awesome Wonder Woman movie statue.

Another merchant table, with many purchase choices.

The Square Enix booth hasn’t changed its appearance in years. Here, are prototypes for figures based on the game, Nier: Automata.

Strange Nicolas Cage art, because there is something for everyone here…

A close up of a prop of the recent Ghost in the Shell movie, at the Weta booth.

A center display at the Debbie Reynolds, Carry Fisher Personal Collection booth

Some interesting items on display and up for auction in December, at the Debbie Reynolds, Carry Fisher Personal Collection booth

At the DC booth, a preview of future items for sale via DC Direct. These being Artist Alley PVC figures.

More Artist Alley PVC figures..

And more DC Artist Alley PVC figures.

New Lord of the Rings designer figures, or “Mini-Epics.” At the Weta Booth

Another merchant showing off some custom made figures…

The DC booth, with a large wall of some coming comic happenings.

Cyborg original costume prop for the upcoming Justice League movie, at the DC booth

Batman, Flash original costume props for the upcoming Justice League movie

Wonder Woman, Aquaman original costume props for the upcoming Justice League movie

original costume prop for the upcoming Star Trek Discovery series

Skottie young art based Groot and Rocket Raccoon statues, at the Gentle Giant booth.

the Mega Bloks booth, showing some block-built Pokemons…

A life-sized K-2SO statue greets visitors at the Sideshow Collectibles booth.

Some older vintage comics with covers I found amusing…

And that’s all for this portion. stay tuned for the next portion focusing back on the cosplay element…

Look forward!!

 

SDCC 2017 Recap, Part 3 – Creative Persons at Comic Con

 

Every year, I look far more forward to seeing and meeting the people who most matter at these comic conventions, the creators. These creators matter, who bring characters and their world to life; they who write, script, draw, ink, color, plan and build the works many have come to immerse themselves.

The San Diego Comic Con delivers their presence well and throughout the Exhibit Floor and various panels. Here, they are a cornerstone of the show’s current success, present since the start.

Below, are some select pics of many creators, who range from well-known to just starting out. Some are personal favorites, while some are here to make themselves and their work known. Seeing and meeting such people are a favorite part of the show, especially on the Exhibit Floor.

Colorist and inker Peter Steigerwald, at the Aspen Comics booth

At the Heavy Metal booth, Erika Lewis (writer, artist, creator) pitched me her magical graphic novel series, The 49th Key.  You can preview it here.

Writer David M. Booher and artist Nathan C. Gooden after pitching their proud work Powerless at the Vault Comics booth. Inside the series is a world where everyone has superpowers until a virus eats them away. You check out more on the series and Vault Comics here.

The creator of Sam and Max: Freelance Detectives, Steve Purcell at his own booth in Artist Alley.  He talked a bit, and he signed my season one DVD of the Sam and Max TV show.

My favorite Transformers comics artist Livio Ramondelli, at work.

In the Small Press area at the Warhead K. E. K. booth. On the right is Katrina E. Kunstmann, artist. Check out her work here and her Warhead webcomic here.

Artist Sean Forney, at his own booth in Artist Alley

Legendary artist and storyteller Mike Grell, best known for his run on Green Arrow. We talked much about life in Seattle and that influence on the Green Arrow comics lore.

Longtime writer Marv Wolfman, hosting a classroom style panel at Comic Con. Didn’t have a better camera, but a real joy to hear him talk about his craft and give great advice to the crowd.

Artist, writer Scottie Young greeting and signing for fans, as Gert, star of his acclaimed Image comics series I Hate Fairyland looks on.

Artist Ken Mayer Jr, at work in Artist Alley.

Bill Maus, long time comic artist in the comics alley, living his craft.

Liam Sharp, live sketching a headshot of Ares, the God of War (of recent Wonder Woman comics).

Andrew Anderson and Osvaldo Montpeller present Gears and Bones, from Guardian Knight Comics. They tell me of this fantasy comic series of pirates, dragons, and other awesome things that interest me. I look forward towards checking my purchase from them soon.

Artist Paolo Pantalena, at the Aspen Comics booth.

Isaac Goodhart, artist on Postal (from Image Comics). He promotes his work well at the Top Cow booth.

Awesome and very funny cartoonist Shannon Wheeler, best known for his Too Much Coffee Man work. Now, he proudly presents his latest work, Sh*t My President Says, The Illustrated Tweets of Donald J. Trump.

Kevin Eastman, co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, drawing his Heroes in a Half Shell for a fan.

Kevin Eastman and Ben Bishop. together for signings and people greet. Also, promoting a new Kickstarter project both are working on together Drawing Blood, coming soon.

And, that’s all for now for Part 3. Come back to strangerworlds.com, for Comic Con recaps.