Ah, the show exclusives, the finest badges of geeky nonsense for the spendy collector connoisseur.
For the great annual San Diego Comic Con, these are among my favorite things on the Exhibit Floor. These special items, for which attendees can buy direct at various booths, sometimes from an artist or creator involved. Since the early 2000s, these sought attention-getters remain a central goal of consumer gratification at the show, and online usually at greater prices to the private re-seller market. The traditional hunt grows a little more each year, with more weird and unusual aspects thrown in. If you can afford and have room for such things, than resistance is futile.
I took a good look at many though the various press releases and some new sites, then handpicked some favorites. Take a look:
Hot Wheels Thanos Copter
The die-cast helicopter, featuring the evil Thanos at the controls, comes packaged in its own Cosmic Cube. Modeled after the hilarious 1979 opening pages of Super Spidey Stories #39 comics story.
Booth: Mattel, Price: $15
Thoughts: I love everything about this, especially the packaging. It’s also a reminder that many within the toy industry has a sense of humor, and big fans of comics obscurity,
No Toys 4 Us by Mr Blank Toys
We’ve all be grieving the loss of Toys R Us, but no one as much as poor, sad, out of work Geoffrey the Giraffe. Mr Blank Toys in his SDCC debut brings No Toys 4 Us. Hand cast and painted 3.75” scale carded figure. Numbered edition of 40 pieces.
Booth: DKE Toys
Thoughts: Yes, that’s a sculpt of the head of Watto from Star Wars: Episode 1. The paint job is awesome. DKE Toys has many other wonderfully weird artist-created pieces as good as this one (with another on this list down further). Definitely worth a look!
One of two limited edition patches base don artwork from the officially licensed Star Trek The Next Generation Cats book.
Booth: Chronicle Books
Price: $5 each
Thoughts: Adorable, and cheap!!
Ian Malcolm giclée print
11″x17″ giclée print on by artist Justin Harder. He has other prints exclusive prints for the show
Booth: CLAUS Studio (Table #O-08 in Small Press)
Thoughts: Seems like the perfect work of art to frame and center in the living room.
Adventure Time 7″ Vinyl
Adventure Time 7″ Vinyl, which will feature tracks “Friends Don’t Fight” (both with vocals and instrumental) and “Manlorette Party.” The vinyl cover art work is custom created by artist JJ Harrison. Supply is limited, so make sure to get them before they’re gone!
Price: $12 plus tax
Thoughts: I love the art, but have never watched a full episode of the show. With that in mind, how many Adventure Time vinyl fans are out there? It’s cool, though.
Poop & Throne and Zombies Plush Set
The King of the Throne has come! Removable Magnetic poop king plush with a toilet that makes a flushing sound with a press of a button. Includes the 2 variant of the poopie zombies
Booth: Furry Feline Creatives
Thoughts: All right!!!
Funko Pop: Masters of the Universe: Stinkor
Shared exclusive from Funko. The only true to the show part aside is that it debuts here with a special SDCC sticker. But still, really something because it stinks..literally. It emits an oder, just like the original action figure of the 80s MOTU line..
Booth: DKE Funko
Price: $10-12 (not sure, that’s a guess based on the last time I went to a Funko booth to buy Pops).
Thoughts: Wow, big ups to Funko to what I think is the only smell-bad figure of its kind.
Marvel Exclusive 2018 Pin Backs
Metal backed pins of Marvel Comics characters with artwork by Skottie Young, 4 packs (different themes, but I like the above Fantastic Four one the best). To see the rest, click here.
Price: $15 plus tax for blind packs of 2, $25 for themed sets of 4.
Thoughts: I love Skottie Young’s art, and The Fantastic Four set is a must have for me.
Two-Bad: Crust-Man Bart-Off
Very limited custom figure that’s definitely not licenses, and part of the other weird and wonderful artworks at the DKE booth. Only 20 produced!
Booth: DKE Toys
Thoughts: Wow and wtf!! It’s awesome, but a wondrous piece for collectors of two universes.
WonderCon/San Diego Comic-Con exclusive “25-Cent Wonders” Black Panther collection called, “WAKANDA KING ARE YOU”
The collection features 6″x8″ four prints, which combine to create a continuous image featuring his rendition of the movie cast.
Booth: Patrick Ballesteros
Price: $10 each of $30 for the set of 4
Thoughts: That’s the best, most adorable work ever for my favorite big of this year. The Killmonger one is my favorite.
BAIT x Wu-Tang Clan x Transformers
Transformers aint nothing to fuck with, for these 4.5 Inch special edition figures, Megatron, Soundwave, Bumblee, and Optimus Prime.
Price: $30 Each, or $100 for the set
Thoughts: Why?!!! But love the paint jobs on these, but would have made more sense to have all Autobots or all Decepticons.
FARMHAND #1 by Rob Guillory
Variant cover comic book by Rob Guillory to the awesome new series by the artist of Chew.
Booth: Image Comics
Price: $10 +tax
Thoughts: Just finished the finished the first issue, and got a feeling the fist issue is going to be much more highly appreciated with the series progression. I love this spooky cover, and will be picking this up.
Kidrobot x Jeremyville Let Love Grow Dunny
“This one-of-a-kind SDCC exclusive Dunny collectible let’s you and grow some foliage into your urban jungle. Renowned artist Jeremyville’s take on the Chia Dunny features flower eyes straight from the 60s, a colorful, warm glaze and a message of positivity: Grow Love Daily. Like any Chia pet, it’s up to you to care for this collectible and help him grow his ‘do. Cha-cha-cha- CHIA!”
Thoughts: Finally, a vinyl figurine made for my kitchen window!
Sailor Moon SuperS T-Shirt
Exclusive teal t-shirt featuring Helios from Sailor Moon SuperS. Shirts are available in Ladies’ and Unisex styles.
Thoughts: This shirt sends a powerful message for these difficult times.
25th Anniversary Hellboy Print
25th Anniversary Hellboy Print, signed by both Dave Stewart and Mike Mignola. Limited edition of 200
Booth: Mike Mignola SDCC 4901
Price: Unknown right now, but probably reasonable
Thoughts: That’s some of the best work I have seen from the legendary artist. Everything about it…colors, shading, composition, details is perfect. I want it!
Well, that’s all for now. There are many more SDCC exclusives out there, which I probably overlooked. If hunting these down at the show, by safe and plan ahead!
The 2017 San Diego Comic Con held much action involving the interaction of fandoms.
A large part of fan participation includes the cosplay, shown in Part 2 of our SDCC Recaps. In that posting, we showed many pics but not all. The rest are below, check them out!
But, our restricted and could not capture more. Much was observed in this trip, including trends. Stronger in the fan costuming for this year were the representations of Wonder Woman (movie and comics), Doctor Strange, Thor, Spider-man, Deadpool, Harley Quinn…much on the superheroes gaining popular movie attention. Not so much, I think are the Star Wars variety. Doctor Who and Game of Thrones are still out there, along with the various anime and video games (Overwatch a growing presence). Next year, I hope to see some great Black Panthers, Thanos, and Star Wars: Last Jedi representations.
Overall, there was not as much cosplay as the more focused conventions of genres and particular fandoms I have attended such as Anime Expo, Blizzcon, Sakura Con, Emerald City Con. I think the frequency was down this year, compared to earlier years. I didn’t see as much. Reasons for this, I think included the increased amount of activity in events and purchases on the lists of attendees, and the further apart of walking and traveling to be done for attendees. The con feels busier, with less time for casual socialization and constant photo-snapping. I heard the Masquerade event was great, of which I sadly missed.
So, here are the rest of the cosplayers in our views at this year’s San Diego Comic Con. Click on each pic for more detail and character info…
That’s all for now. I have one more Recap to share soon, concluding this year’s coverage. For that, will contain personal insight and opinions of the show and happenings within, with thoughts on the SDCC’s future. Look forward!
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
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…
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.
The Nickelodeon always puts much thought in their booth designs. This year showed expression, with throwbacks to the their golden 90’s era.
So much nostalgia, so much love…Legends of the Hidden Temple, Ren and Stmpy, Rocko, Rugrats never die!
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.
The Lego booth never disappoints with their display craft. I wonder how many blocks it took for Captain America to make his stand here.
And Wonder Woman!
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.
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.
One booth shows off some rare and cool Japanese import figures.
The Symbiote Studios stand I think is a newcomer to the designer figure corner of the Exhibit Hall, or at least new to me.
Another booth, I did not get info on. But they sell cosplay clothes for pets, I think..
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.
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.
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.
The Ugly Dolls booth cheers me again with its huggable plush monsters..
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..
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..
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.
Back at the Dark Horse booth, an awesome mural behind the booth showcasing its 30 year history. Cheers to “Building Characters!”
The DC Comics booth, which I love for still reminding all of its other awesome licenses, including Spy vs. Spy..
This year at he Star Wars booth, costumes from the upcoming Rogue One movie are on display..a definite treat for the fans attending.
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.
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!)
My current favorite comics publisher, Image Comics has the usual awesome booth.
The Cartoon Network booth, featuring the return of the Power Puff Girls..
The Super 7 booth, featuring a reissue classics large Alien movie figure.
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!
More artist alley impressions!
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..
Sometimes, one good draw is all one needs to make a great impression. The Hermes publishing booth brought in Garfield creator, Jim Davis!
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.
Last week we got online, the official nominee list (below the article) for the 2016 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, a most prestigious pickings on the best picked sequential work in 2015. Winners are due announced at the 2016 San Diego Comic Con International.
For the most parts, I see this list as better covered than last year with a mix of diversity on mainstream and creative independant work. There are some favorites of late I enjoyed, most notably Paper Girls, Bandette, Invincible, The Spire. I love David Aja’s cover art, especially on the new Scarlet Witch mini series, so pleased to see that recognition. Silver Surfer #11 of the new series is some especially mind-blowing work deserving of notoriety. Some nominees I think I will have to give a fresh reading chance as I felt a bit resistant in checking out for whatever reasons, Southern Bastards, UnbeatableSquirrel Girl, Bitch Planet, Giant Days.
There are some surprises on the list. Most in particular, I noticed Matthew Inman’s “It’s Going to be Okay” from the popular Oatmeal comic. Much about this is interesting for multiple reasons. The first being that it’s a web-comic entry, and such (and Cyanide and Happiness for best humor publication) is a sign that this medium is getting more respectful notice in other categories besides “best web-comic.” Another being the reason that Mathew Inman reinvented the concept of single-panel scrolling to tell the story, through his online work. The effectiveness makes me wish for more web-comics and digital comics to try this method. Lastly, it’s an interesting story that concluded with a message as being more important than the subject, being of its own importance.
There are some disappointments to the lack of comic work, which I wish had nominee love. Sadly overlooked is a new favorite; The Vision by Tom King is a magnificent new series that started in late 2015, and released at the same time as the nominated Monstress. Tom King’s work also in Omega Men and Grayson also I think earns him more credit somewhere as a best writer of 2015. I feel the He-man and the Masters of the Universe mini-comic collection was an incredible feat with incredible extras, but also overlooked. Missing this year is Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, perhaps for being consistent with award-winning work and having enough recognition from prior years.
And now, cheers to all the nominees below..
Best Short Story
• “Black Death in America,” by Tom King and John Paul Leon, in Vertigo Quarterly: Black (Vertigo/DC)
• “Hand Me Down,” by Kristyna Baczynski, in 24 x 7 (Fanfare Presents)
• “It’s Going to Be Okay,” by Matthew Inman, in The Oatmeal, theoatmeal.com/comics/plane
• “Killing and Dying,” by Adrian Tomine, in Optic Nerve #14 (Drawn & Quarterly)
• “Lion and Mouse,” by R. Sikoryak, in Fable Comics (First Second)
Best Single Issue/One-Shot
• A Blanket of Butterflies, by Richard Van Camp and Scott B. Henderson (HighWater Press)
• I Love This Part, by Tillie Walden (Avery Hill)
• Mowgli’s Mirror, by Olivier Schrauwen (Retrofit/Big Planet)
• Pope Hats #4, by Ethan Rilly (AdHouse)
• Silver Surfer #11: “Never After,” by Dan Slott and Michael Allred (Marvel)
Best Continuing Series
• Bandette, by Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover (Monkeybrain)
• Giant Days, by John Allison, Lissa Treiman, and Max Sarin (BOOM! Studios/BOOM! Box)
• Invincible, by Robert Kirkman, Ryan Ottley, and Cliff Rathburn (Image/Skybound)
• Silver Surfer, by Dan Slott and Michael Allred (Marvel)
• Southern Bastards, by Jason Aaron and Jason Latour (Image)
Best Limited Series
• Chrononauts, by Mark Millar and Sean Murphy (Image)
• The Fade Out, by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (Image)
• Lady Killer, by Joëlle Jones and Jamie S. Rich (Dark Horse)
• Minimum Wage: So Many Bad Decisions, by Bob Fingerman (Image)
• The Spire, by Simon Spurrier and Jeff Stokely (BOOM! Studios)
Best New Series
• Bitch Planet, by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro (Image)
• Harrow County, by Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook (Dark Horse)
• Kaijumax, by Zander Cannon (Oni)
• Monstress, by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda (Image)
• Paper Girls, by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang (Image)
• The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, by Ryan North and Erica Henderson (Marvel)
Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 8)
• Anna Banana and the Chocolate Explosion, by Dominque Roques and Alexis Dormal (First Second)
• Little Robot, by Ben Hatke (First Second)
• The Only Child, by Guojing (Schwartz & Wade)
• SheHeWe, by Lee Nordling and Meritxell Bosch (Lerner Graphic Universe)
• Written and Drawn by Henrietta, by Liniers (TOON Books)
Best Publication for Kids (ages 9-12)
• Baba Yaga’s Assistant, by Marika McCoola and Emily Carroll (Candlewick)
• Child Soldier: When Boys and Girls Are Used in War, by Jessica Dee Humphreys, Michel Chikwanine, and Claudia Devila (Kids Can Press)
• Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: The Underground Abductor, by Nathan Hale (Abrams Amulet)
• Over the Garden Wall, by Pat McHale, Amalia Levari, and Jim Campbell (BOOM! Studios/KaBOOM!)
• Roller Girl, by Victoria Jamieson (Dial Books)
• Sunny Side Up, by Jennifer Holm and Matthew Holm (Scholastic Graphix)
Best Publication for Teens (ages 13-17)
• Awkward, by Svetlana Chmakova (Yen Press)
• Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans, by Don Brown (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
• March: Book Two, by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell (Top Shelf/IDW)
• Moose, by Max de Radiguès (Conundrum)
• Oyster War, by Ben Towle (Oni)
• SuperMutant Magic Academy, by Jillian Tamaki (Drawn & Quarterly)
Best Humor Publication
• Cyanide & Happiness: Stab Factory, by Kris Wilson, Rob DenBleyker, and Dave McElfatrick (BOOM! Studios/BOOM! Box)
• Deep Dark Fears, by Fran Krause (Ten Speed Press)
• Sexcastle, by Kyle Starks (Image)
• Step Aside, Pops: A Hark! A Vagrant Collection, by Kate Beaton (Drawn & Quarterly)
• UR, by Eric Haven (AdHouse)
• Bandette, by Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover (Monkeybrain/comiXology)
• Fresh Romance, edited by Janelle Asselin (Rosy Press/comiXology)
• The Legend of Wonder Woman, by Renae De Liz (DC Digital)
• Lighten Up, by Ronald Wimberly (The Nib), thenib.com/lighten-up-4f7f96ca8a7e#.u45ffr3l1
• These Memories Won’t Last, by Stu Campbell, memories.sutueatsflies.com/
• Drawn & Quarterly, Twenty-Five Years of Contemporary, Cartooning, Comics, and Graphic Novels, edited by Tom Devlin (Drawn & Quarterly)
• Eat More Comics: The Best of the Nib, edited by Matt Bors (The Nib)
• 24 x 7, edited by Dan Berry (Fanfare Presents)
• Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard, vol. 3, edited by David Petersen (BOOM! Studios/Archaia)
• Peanuts: A Tribute to Charles M. Schulz, edited by Shannon Watters (BOOM! Studios/KaBOOM!)
Best Reality-Based Work
• The Arab of the Future: A Childhood in the Middle East, 1978–1984, by Riad Sattouf (Metropolitan Books)
• Displacement: A Travelogue, by Lucy Knisley (Fantagraphics)
• Hip Hop Family Tree, Book 3: 1983–1984, by Ed Piskor (Fantagraphics)
• Invisible Ink: My Mother’s Secret Love Affair with a Famous Cartoonist, by Bill Griffith (Fantagraphics)
• March: Book Two, by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell (Top Shelf/IDW)
• The Story of My Tits, by Jennifer Hayden (Top Shelf/IDW)
Best Graphic Album—New
• Long Walk to Valhalla, by Adam Smith and Matthew Fox (BOOM! Studios/Archaia)
• Nanjing: The Burning City, by Ethan Young (Dark Horse)
• Ruins, by Peter Kuper (SelfMadeHero)
• Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen, by Dylan Horrocks (Fantagraphics)
• The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage, by Sydney Padua (Pantheon)
Best Graphic Album—Reprint
• Angry Youth Comics, by Johnny Ryan (Fantagraphics)
• Roses in December: A Story of Love and Alzheimer’s, by Tom Batiuk and Chuck Ayers (Kent State University Press)
• The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal Omnibus, by E. K. Weaver (Iron Circus Comics)
• Nimona, by Noelle Stevenson (Harper Teen)
• Soldier’s Heart: The Campaign to Understand My WWII Veteran Father, by Carol Tyler (Fantagraphics)
Best Adaptation from Another Medium
• Captive of Friendly Cove: Based on the Secret Journals of John Jewitt, by Rebecca Goldfield, Mike Short, and Matt Dembicki (Fulcrum)
• City of Clowns, by Daniel Alarcón and Sheila Alvarado (Riverhead Books)
• Ghetto Clown, by John Leguizamo, Christa Cassano, and Shamus Beyale (Abrams ComicArts)
• Lafcadio Hearn’s “The Faceless Ghost” and Other Macabre Tales from Japan, adapted by Sean Michael Wilson and Michiru Morikawa (Shambhala)
• Two Brothers, by Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá (Dark Horse)
Best U.S. Edition of International Material
• Alpha . . . Directions, by Jens Harder (Knockabout/Fanfare)
• The Eternaut, by Héctor Germán Oesterheld and Francisco Solano Lòpez (Fantagraphics)
• A Glance Backward by Pierre Paquet and Tony Sandoval (Magnetic Press)
• The March of the Crabs, by Arthur de Pins (BOOM! Studios/Archaia)
• The Realist, by Asaf Hanuka (BOOM! Studios/Archaia)
Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia
• Assassination Classroom, vols. 2–7, by Yusei Matsui (VIZ)
• A Bride’s Story, vol. 7, by Kaoru Mori (Yen Press)
• Master Keaton, vols. 2–4, by Naoki Urasawa, Hokusei Katsushika, and Takashi Nagasaki (VIZ)
• Showa, 1953–1989: A History of Japan, by Shigeru Mizuki (Drawn & Quarterly)
• A Silent Voice, by Yoshitoki Oima (Kodansha)
• Sunny, vol. 5, by Taiyo Matsumoto (VIZ)
Best Archival Collection/Project—Strips
• Beyond Mars, by Jack Williamson and Lee Elias, edited by Dean Mullaney (IDW/LOAC)
• Cartoons for Victory, by Warren Bernard (Fantagraphics)
• The Complete Funky Winkerbean, vol. 4, by Tom Batiuk, edited by Mary Young (Black Squirrel Books)
• The Eternaut, by Héctor Germán Oesterheld and Francisco Solano Lòpez, edited by Gary Groth and Kristy Valenti (Fantagraphics)
• Kremos: The Lost Art of Niso Ramponi, vols. 1 and 2, edited by Joseph V. Procopio (Picture This Press/Lost Art Books)
• White Boy in Skull Valley, by Garrett Price, edited by Peter Maresca (Sunday Press)
Best Archival Collection/Project—Comic Books
• Frank Miller’s Ronin Gallery Edition, edited by Bob Chapman (Graphitti Designs/DC)
• P. Craig Russell’s Murder Mystery and Other Stories Gallery Edition, edited by Daniel Chabon (Dark Horse)
• The Puma Blues: The Complete Saga, by Stephen Murphy, Alan Moore, Michael Zulli, Stephen R. Bissette, and Dave Sim, edited by Drew Ford (Dover)
• Walt Disney’s Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck: The Don Rosa Library, vols. 3–4, edited by David Gerstein (Fantagraphics)
• Walt Kelly’s Fairy Tales, edited by Craig Yoe (IDW)
• Jason Aaron, Southern Bastards (Image), Men of Wrath (Marvel Icon), Doctor Strange, Star Wars, Thor (Marvel)
• John Allison, Giant Days (BOOM Studios!/BOOM! Box)
• Ed Brubaker, The Fade Out, Velvet, Criminal Special Edition (Image)
• Marjorie Liu, Monstress (Image)
• G. Willow Wilson, Ms. Marvel (Marvel)
• Bill Griffith, Invisible Ink: My Mother’s Secret Love Affair with a Famous Cartoonist (Fantagraphics)
• Nathan Hale, Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: The Underground Abductor (Abrams)
• Sydney Padua, The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage (Pantheon)
• Ed Piskor, Hip-Hop Family Tree, vol. 3 (Fantagraphics)
• Noah Van Sciver, Fante Bukowski, Saint Cole (Fantagraphics)
Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team
• Michael Allred, Silver Surfer (Marvel); Art Ops (Vertigo/DC)
• Cliff Chiang, Paper Girls (Image)
• Erica Henderson, Jughead (Archie), Unbeatable Squirrel Girl (Marvel)
• Joëlle Jones, Lady Killer (Dark Horse), Brides of Helheim (Oni)
• Nate Powell, March, Book Two (Top Shelf/IDW)
Best Painter/Multimedia Artist
• Federico Bertolucci, Love: The Tiger and Love: The Fox (Magnetic Press)
• Colleen Coover, Bandette (Monkeybrain)
• Carita Lupattelli, Izuna (Humanoids)
• Dustin Nguyen, Descender (Image)
• Tony Sandoval, A Glance Backward (Magnetic Press)
Best Cover Artist
• David Aja, Hawkeye, Karnak, Scarlet Witch (Marvel)
• Rafael Albuquerque, Ei8ht (Dark Horse), Huck (Image)
• Amanda Conner, Harley Quinn (DC)
• Joëlle Jones, Lady Killer (Dark Horse), Brides of Helheim (Oni)
• Ed Piskor, Hip-Hop Family Tree (Fantagraphics)
• Laura Allred, Lady Killer (Dark Horse); Silver Surfer (Marvel); Art OPS (Vertigo/DC)
• Jordie Bellaire, The Autumnlands, Injection, Plutona, Pretty Deadly, The Surface, They’re Not Like Us, Zero (Image); The X-Files (IDW); The Massive (Dark Horse); Magneto, Vision (Marvel)
• Elizabeth Breitwiser, The Fade Out, Criminal Magazine, Outcast, Velvet (Image)
• John Rauch, The Beauty (Image); Batman: Arkham Knight, Earth 2: Society (DC); Runaways (Marvel)
• Dave Stewart, Abe Sapien, BPRD Hell on Earth, Fight Club 2, Frankenstein Underground, Hellboy in Hell, Hellboy and the BPRD, (Dark Horse); Sandman: Overture, Twilight Children (Vertigo/DC), Captain America: White (Marvel), Space Dumplins (Scholastic Graphix)
• Derf Backderf, Trashed (Abrams)
• Steve Dutro, Blood-C, Midnight Society, Plants vs Zombies (Dark Horse)
• Lucy Knisley, Displacement (Fantagraphics)
• Troy Little, Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (Top Shelf/IDW)
• Kevin McCloskey, We Dig Worms! (TOON Books)
Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism
• Alter Ego, edited by Roy Thomas (TwoMorrows)
• Back Issue, edited by Michael Eury (TwoMorrows)
• Comic Riffs blog by Michael Cavna, washingtonpost.com/news/comic-riffs/
• Hogan’s Alley, edited by Tom Heintjes (Hogan’s Alley)
• Jack Kirby Collector, edited by John Morrow (TwoMorrows)
Best Comics-Related Book
• Harvey Kurtzman: The Man Who Created Mad and Revolutionized Humor in America, by Bill Schelly (Fantagraphics)
• King of the Comics: One Hundred Years of King Features Syndicate, edited by Dean Mullaney (IDW/LOAC)
• Only What’s Necessary: Charles M. Schulz and the Art of Peanuts, by Chip Kidd and Geoff Spear (Abrams ComicArts)
• Out of Line: The Art of Jules Feiffer, by Martha Fay (Abrams ComicArts)
• Will Eisner: Champion of the Graphic Novel, by Paul Levitz (Abrams ComicArts)
Best Academic/Scholarly Work
• The Blacker the Ink: Constructions of Black Identity in Comics and Sequential Art, edited by Frances Gateward and John Jennings (Rutgers)
• Boys Love Manga and Beyond: History, Culture, and Community in Japan, edited by Mark McLelland et al. (University Press of Mississippi)
• Graphic Medicine Manifesto, by M. K. Czerwiec et al. (Penn State University Press)
• Superheroes on World Screens, edited by Rayna Denison and Rachel Mizsei-Ward (University Press of Mississippi)
• Unflattening, by Nick Sousanis (Harvard University Press)
Best Publication Design
• Beyond the Surface, designed by Nicolas André, Sam Arthur, Alex Spiro, and Camille Pichon (Nobrow)
• The Eternaut, designed by Tony Ong (Fantagraphics)
• Eventually Everything Connects, designed by Loris Lora, Sam Arthur, Alex Spiro, and Camille Pichon (Nobrow)
• King of the Comics: One Hundred Years of King Features Syndicate, designed by Dean Mullaney (IDW/LOAC)
• Only What’s Necessary: Charles M. Schulz and the Art of Peanuts, designed by Chip Kidd (Abrams ComicArts)
• Sandman Gallery Edition, designed by Josh Beatman/Brainchild Studios (Graphitti Designs/DC)
– Orion T – captain of the Stranger Worlds exploratory vessel and comic book/storytelling enthusiast.
Much of the 2016 Emerald City Comic Convention in Seattle was about the fans.
Such was a great time for people taking their fandom to a higher level. The best colors one could take in for a comics convention, is to appreciate the best icons our modern pop-culture brings out by the fans in costume. But also, there is joy in seeing the obscure, the almost forgotten, the alternate interpretations surprise suddenly appear as cosplay. The ECCC had some great variety all around from all entertainment mediums, with the latest rising popularity in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
I took some pictures, displayed below (click on each pic for costume identification)…
That’s all for this year at the ECCC. I look forward to next year!
– Orion T
(photo credits – taken March 2016 by Orion T for strangerworlds.com..please ask permission and credit the site if sharing elsewhere)
Writer Tim Seeley, of the Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (now on shelves from Dark Horse Comics).
By the Power of Grayskull..
Those words forever echo in the minds through fandom, for over three decades. These words of Prince Adam would begin the transformation from mild-mannered prince of Eternia into the muscle-bound hero, He-Man. Now he and and the Masters of the Universe have an acclaimed 320-page full-color book detailing the art, history, and fantastic insight into this ever-expanding iconic franchise.
The hardcover book was made possible through the dedicated work of writer/artist Tim Seeley (Hack/Slash, G.I. Joe vs. Transformers), and his brother Steve Seeley. Together, they assembled most of the content and notations for this tribute.
At the 2015 San Diego Comic Con, I met Tim Seeley as we discussed The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. We also chatted a bit about his favorite He-Man toys and thoughts on this Eternian pop-culture powerhouse..
From your perspective, tell us about the Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe book, and how you got involved?
Tim Seeley: I’ve worked for Dark Horse for a number of years, on some horror comics, and they got the deal with Mattel to do the mini-comics that were packed with the figures. They knew I was a big fan of MOTU as I talked to my editors and they were sick of me hearing and talking about it,…so when the possibility came up do to an art book, they asked me if I can do it. I was a little busy at the time but I wasn’t going to turn it down. So, what if I work on this with my brother (Steve), who is also an artist and a writer. He and I can get together and be like when we were kids playing with He-Man toys, except we would be writing a book about the art.
So, we got together. Mattel had a bunch of art for us to choose from and they also asked us if there was anything that we thought should be in the book. We picked up a bunch of art and sent it to them. With a group of fans, who curated and preserved MOTU art, called the Power and Honor Foundation and we worked with them to get some of the art. They helped us write some of the sections of the book that were there areas of expertise and in the end we put together this amazing collection of MOTU art covering the toys, the packaging, the cartoon, the comics, the movie, the magazine, and some weird products and cool into one big, massive tome.
Tell us about your own connection to He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. How long you have been a fan?
Tim Seeley: So, I grew up in the country. I didn’t have a lot of neighbors when I was a kid. When I was five years old, my grandma got me the He-Man and Battle Cat set. For some reason it clicked with me on the box art, with a sort of lava spewing out of a volcano and some barbarian dude with a giant tiger, and I liked tigers as a kid. And it was the perfect thing for me, and I begged my parents to buy me the toys. The comic that came with the toy was the first comic I ever read and loved it so many times it just fell apart and it put me on the path of comics after that. The cartoon came about 6 months after I got that toy..and it was such a part of me and my brothers playtime. As we were little kids in the country with not a lot of neighbor kids, the collecting of the MOTU of the toys and playing with them, the comics, and cartoon where a huge part of our childhood.
When I was 13 as 13-year-olds are, I sold my MOTU toys at a rummage sale for $30, all of them. I used the money so I can hang out with my friends at a Brewers game or something. As a 20-year-old I realized, o-crap I miss my He-Man guys! So at 20, I started to collect them again. Between 20-35 years I collected the figures. I had mostly everything except for some European exclusives. But, I have lots of He-Man guys, lots of knock-offs, almost all the She-Ra figures, and that became my passion. I decided I needed a hobby, as He-Man became my hobby.
Which MOTU figures are your personal favorites?
Tim Seeley: Teela is my favorite. As I a kid, I had weird crush on that figure. And then, Faker, the blue He-Man. For some reason on the color scheme of that toy, me and my brother just loved it. To this day we had this weird affection for that combination of orange and blue..just from that toy. Dragon Blast Skeletor, as a kid I loved with the squirting. Sy-Clone was also a favorite as a kid..really cool. The thing is when we were kids, as my parents were nice and bought us all these toys. What we would do is we would try and split them up into factions. We would try for the entire line, but with three brothers. For example, I get King Hiss, you get Tongue Lasher, you get Rattler, and cover all the Snake Men this way. That was a big deal in my house.
In putting together this book, was there anything in particular that surprised or found especially interesting you in discovery?
Tim Seeley: Well, as me and my brother discovered the internet in 1996 or whatever..we already begun collecting information for years..with pictures, anything we could find, we have putting on our discs and hard drives for the past 15-20 years almost. So most of the you’re stuff familiar with, a lot of it on the account of the popular website He-Man.org run by Val Staples, and Emiliano Santalucia who runs the Power and Honor Foundation..we knew a lot of stuff from that. Mostly the fun things we have not seen that were surprises to us were the original marking documents that Mattel had done and they had. It was really entertaining to see how they came up with the boys toy line, and what they thought would make a good boys toy line, which was pretty amazing.
And also, a segment of the MOTU movie script which was really violent, and had all these notes from the executives that was like..no, it’s a kids show, no severed heads.” We love that stuff and it was something we never seen and that was something Mattel had.. and it was great to just see the screenwriters trying to get away with anything they could and Mattel would be like no, we need to sell these to 10-year-olds..not give them terrible nightmares.
Is any of that in book?
Tim Seeley: Oh yeah, those pages are in the book..the original marking documents and the script page.
Yes! Are there any favorite artists of He-Man your favorite in this book, past and present?
Tim Seeley: Earl Norem is my favorite past Universe artist. Earl Norem did all the posters that came with the magazine, he recently passed away but he had a long career in illustration. When he took on He-Man he became one of the defining artists on it. William George was also the painter and did a lot of the original packaging art, beautiful stuff. Whenever I saw He-Man, it was his packaging art. Alfredo Alcala drew the original mini-comics, continued to draw some of the main comics, an amazing artist who worked on Conan, was from the Philippines. With fantastic stuff, beautiful art; he really defined what I choose as my art style to this day.
After so many decades of He-Man being a part of pop culture, what is about He-Man and the world of Eternia do you feel kept such a large fan base for so long?
Tim Seeley: My theory is that is that the toys came first. It was all about the toys, and the selling of the toys and the toys looked cool. They didn’t need a justification. This guy is called Blast Attack and he blows apart, there ya go..that’s the story. And over time, people added to the mythos and there is different conflicted origins for the characters. But the thing is the toys are so flexible that you can add your own story to it. You can choose what to go with one story, any iteration with them could be a different take on the characters.. It’s the flexibility of the figures that I think is very inviting to fans. You can have a favorite character because they are cool. In your head they can have a different story that was in the mini-comic, or the cartoon, or in the DC comic, it didn’t matter. Zodac the Cosmic Enforcer.. he was a bad guy in some iterations. He was a watcher in the distance for some. It didn’t matter. He just looked cool. So, I think that idea allowed MOTU to be flexible, to able to change to fit and fit the audience. Also, to be very inviting and allow the audience to come in and add their own tale to it.
So what’s next from Eternia for you? Will there be more MOTU projects for you coming?
Tim Seeley: Dark horse is doing an edition, collecting all the mini-comics (from the toys) with the entire history of the Masters of the Universe, which is about 1000 pages. It comes out in November. I have an interviews in that, as I am working on it. It is a great book, with Val Staples (He-Man.org) who is putting that together..beautiful.
For the future, I got to do my Masters of the Universe thing. I was certainly well to write for it at some point with part of my interaction of this as a fan. I feel good about not circumposing my will on it. But if a comic came up, I would certainly like to do a cover or draw an issue. I’m just happy I got to do this art book, and the mini-comics. Now I get to watch the next generation enjoy the Masters of the Universe like I did.
The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is out in stores now in hardcover (released in mid-spring) Look for it at all the great comic book shops and retail book stores in your area or online.
– Orion T, (personal favorite MOTU toys are Cy-Clone, Modulok, Tongue-Lasher and Moss-Man.)
Writer Paul Cornell andArtist Tony Parker, on their new comic book mini-series, This Damned Band (starting this August from Dark Horse Comics).
(Tony Parker, Paul Cornell)
We had fun at the 2015 San Diego Comic Con in chatting with Paul Cornell; award-winning writer of comics, novels, short stories and television screenplays (his Doctor Who episodes “Family of Blood/Human Nature” and “Father’s Day” being among my personal favorites).
To my surprise and an awesome bonus, we were joined by Eisner-nominated artist, Tony Parker. Parker has published work with pretty much all the main comic book publishers over the recent years including Marvel, DC, IDW, Image, IDW, Boom!, Dark Horse.
And now, they unite to form this dark comedy mini-series published by Dark Horse, This Damned Band – a tale of rock n’ roll and occult devilry. In person at the Dark Horse booth, they shares with us more on this project of which we asked questions and got some intriguing answers…
From your own introductory perspective, share with us whatyour new series This Damned Band is all about..
Paul Cornell: This Damned Band is about the biggest rock band in 1974. We like to say in a pretentious British way that they worship the devil only to discover that to their surprise and horror that actually, they worship the devil. It’s a Ghostbusters style horror comedy. It’s told straight to camera like The Office. There are all sorts of different levels to it, as we have people saying one thing and doing another.
Interesting. How did this idea come together for Dark Horse to publish?
Paul Cornell: We came together as I pitched it to Dark Horse, and they gave me a choice of artists. Tony’s work is incredible,
Tony Parker: I was very lucky.
What were your personal inspirations in bringing together This Damned Band?
Paul Cornell: I really like stories where people are very good at one thing, and blindsided by something completely different. Because in this case, they are insisting all the time they know all about better the thing…there is a certain deliciousness to that, I think..
The timing of the early 70s, where the idea of rock music being fresh is an interesting era and a turning point for pop-culture. Then along comes the devil and the idea of this being his music by some religious groups? What was it for these bands, do you think made this connection as “devil music”?
Paul Cornell: Well, there was a point in the 70s where occultism is much more pop than it is now and it’s a really interesting time. Dennis Wheatley is suddenly becoming popular again even before the Exorcist, and the Stones recording, “Sympathy for the Devil.” I think there is a part of the counter-culture also seemed to be against organized religion. And that went quite a lot into what a lot of musicians talked about at the time. I’m sure a lot of it was sheer pretense, and that really intrigues me. I think there is something about people pretending to believe stuff which is really interesting.
Tony Parker: That combined with conservatives saying “that’s devil music!” Okay for devil music we will bring it, in fact well make money off it. So with a big counter-culture, we get all the teen money, therefore it adds into it.
Did either of you listen to any music that were frowned upon by the elders, considered perhaps to be that “devil music?”
Tony Parker: All music of the youth..that’s one thing about it.
Paul Cornell: That’s what music is for when your 14. But you know, I’m slightly the wrong generation for that, as I was born in 1967..so I was out of my age precisely for the teenage audience, so I missed. But one of my earliest memories is with my brother who is a lot older than me who lived in a squat in London, and I remember going down a flight of stairs and seeing a mural painted on the wall of a cellar which was an enormous devil. I suspect that buried memory has resurfaced for This Damned Band.
I would love to see that turn up somehow in this book, perhaps.
Tony Parker: We shall find out.
Tony Parker: For me ..I lived in a very conservative area so that was anything that wasn’t soft mellow 70s gold. Even though that wasn’t the 70s, it was after the 70s so that was still the devil music. In the 80s and 90s, we had the metal bands, the hair bands, thrash bands, punk bands were all. The only thing that isn’t, (and I love Barry Manilow) that wasn’t Barry Manilow was a tool of the devil.
With your fictional band, Motherfather.. I’m sensing an amalgam of different bands here and there but are there any in particular pop bands for you that eclipsed the others in the bringing to fictional life, this band?
Paul Cornell: I think there is satire and certain tropes that recur, so in Motherfather we certainly have the Who, the Stones, Led Zeppelin in there..certainly lead as Tony draws them to be absolutely perfect amalgam of them.,, Robert Palmer, Roger Daltrey and Mick Jagger…
Tony Parker: And that’s why we did it..part of it was because I wanted to people think..I really love Mick Jagger or I really hate Mick Jagger..so that’s going to affect the story..with more nuances of its got hints of this, or that as a measure of tropes a bit and play with that so they can enjoy the concepts of the character versus the logging in of the specific creator.
As the series progresses, what can us readers expect to absorb of this strange world of occultism and rock music?
Paul Cornell: One of the joys of this is because it’s all meant to be filmed, there are certain sequences where they couldn’t film it.. So like the road trip in the first issue is related to a local artist who than has to draw it..like when a court reporter has to draw for television on the news. So in Issue 1, the local artist is Japanese..so Tony had the idea of doing it in a manga style.
Tony Parker: Which I never drawn manga before..but I love manga. I am a huge Otomo fan and Matsumoto Shiro, and we are trying to find a manga style that was 1972, 73,74 so that we can fit into that as well..and treat it with respect.
Paul Cornell: In later issues we go to France so we get some Tintin, and some Windsor McCay in there..
In your plans, is This Damned Band a limited series or are there plans for a continuation for years ahead?
Tony Parker: It’s a finite series, and a complete story. I think a lot of people will appreciate that. It’s not a volume 1, with a trailer for 500 issues. You have the whole thing alone which you can enjoy by itself.
After this, are there any future projects to your fans and followers of this work to look forward to?
Paul Cornell: Coming up in September..I have a novella coming up from Tor.com called called Witches of Lychford, which is about 3 women who are brought together to fight the supernatural evil of a new supermarket chain.
What?! (laughing with interest)
Paul Cornell: And, I got a collection of short stories coming out in September called A Better Way to Die.
Tony Parker: I can’t say right now but I got a project set up right after this..but I got to say, its got a long history to it..and I’m real excited about it!
My curiosity senses are tingling. I look forward to all that and This Damned Band. Thanks for sharing!
This first issue of This Damned Band is scheduled to come out on August 5th, 2015 and continue monthly for a limited time. Look for it at all the great comic book shops, stands, and digital apps that carry current Dark Horse published titles.
All together, a favorite aspect of the San Diego Comic Con show I love to explore inside its gigantic Exhibit Hall. This year was no different, as the variety to collectors appeared wide and wonderful. Though, I felt personally disappointing with the lack of loose action figures among dealers this year. But, they got a spread on plenty of the usual cheap trade paperbacks, geek apparel, vintage comics, packaged popular toys, and popular culture merch for all attendants.
Below, are some notable favorites to my eye for this year…
Vintage comics books look beautiful when freed from their protective sleeves, dont they?
A favorite find another attendee picked up..described on wikipedia as “a disco album by Meco released in 1977. The album uses various musical themes from the Star Wars soundtrack arranged as instrumental disco music. A single from the album, “Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band”, reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on October 1, 1977″
Moss Man is a personal favorite from the classic He-Man toys. Now, you can keep your window and other tacky nerd items of choice company.
From the Super 7 booth, a rerelease of the original classic Alien figure with metal jaws. The metal jaws somehow makes the awesome Giger creation even scarier..
On action, the original cover to one of my favorite classic Star Wars covers, which somehow reminds me a similiar scene with Dark Helmet in Spaceballs..
An odd artpiece from one of the custom art booths..
Best comic book boxes art ever!
The Chessex booth rocked my tabletop gamer senses..
From the Square Enix booth, this Play Arts Steampunk Batman figure is a bit ridiculous, but I do love..
(DKE Booth) Love this custom Bart, figure and package…
(DKE Booth) Tusken Jones..
(DKE Booth) Pity the Foot!
Gentle Giant booth reps play with a giant replica of the Grunt figure from the early 80s Gi-Joe age!!
The “Blade Fighter” because I love ridiculous vehicles and playsets to our popular figures, and the packaging to..
The silly transport vehicle of the classic Kenner Star Wars line, lives again!
I love looking through original art, and the Exhibition Hall has plenty..
“Can you BEAR it?”
Love that Harlock pistol!
Nice, but I wish I could buy just the Sisko..
That’s all just a small taste of the Exhibit Hall fun for 2015. Next up, to conclude my Comic Con tour will be some personal closing thoughts. Look forward to them!
Characters from our fictional fandoms come alive, through the fans and their cosplay representations. Such has been a tradition for decades, through the term of cosplay has been more widely used through modern times. Now, the scope of popularity can be measured through the presence of those “dressing up.” For 2015, Harley Quinn, Batman, Deadpool, Spider-man, Wolverine, various Jedi Knights, Guardians of the Galaxy, Aquaman (!) remain constant among con-goers.
I was happy to see some attendees have a go at more recent and upcoming characters from films, including Harley Quinn from the Suicide Squad, the Dark Jedi from Star Wars ep. VII: the Force Awakens. I love the throwbacks that appeal to my love for pop-culture nostalgia, including those from GI Joe, Back to the Future, Mighty Mouse. I also enjoy the more obscure characters that get some cosplay love among the attendees including the monster from Five Nights at Freddy’s, the Borg Queen, Union Jack, Devestator.
Below, enjoy some pictures I took, featuring my favorites for this 2015 show..