Cheering on my SDCC time with Comic-Con@Home

Not even a terrible pandemic can stop the San Diego Comic-Con.

Today, the 51st San Diego Comic Convention begins now, until Sunday. This could set a record for attendance, depending on one’s perspective. Because this year, the whole show is “@Home” and online, as the global-wide pandemic continues to keep large social aspects and gatherings to a minimum.

This pandemic time is difficult for the comic book and related creative industries across all entertainment landscapes. With many shows and events canceling, the news for artists, writers, creators, publishers, distributors has hit hard, especially as venues and storefronts continue to struggle. Yet, many of the same shows reactivate to a virtual, online version with guests, creatives, and a lot of fun people coming together via video conference service and streaming platforms.

The San Diego Comic-Con keeps its grand prestige, with its innovative Comic-Con@Home event. Unlike past cons, this event will be the first 100% free event for all with no registrations, no line, no IDs. Just take a look at what they got, and join in.

I am personally excited, as this will be my 26th year in attendance!

The core of this online event is the many, many discussion panels. Glancing over the many panels, I see the drive that has always made Comic-Con great, with the appeal to inspire and grows its community through discussion and promotion of what’s out there. But, there’s not a lot of A-list celebrity and big studio presence, which feels makes this whole event feel like the old Comic-Con that I came to love in the 1990s. The comic book presence feels strong again too, which I think that industry really needs that attention now.

Here’s my viewing list for the following days:

Thursday, July 23
10:00am-11:00am – P.S. NPC: Storytelling in Video Games
12:00pm-1:00pm – Comics During Clampdown: Creativity In The Time of COVID
2:00pm-3:00pm – SYFY: Untold Tales of Todd McFarlane
3:00pm-4:00pm – Soundtracks to Fandom: Z2 Comics and the Graphic Album
3:00pm-4:00pm – ThunderCats Roar
5:00pm-6:00pm- Breaking Into Comics and Staying In!
Friday, July 24
10:00am-11:00am – “Crazy” Talk: Mental Health, Pop Culture, and the Pandemic
10:00am-11:00am – Pixel Stories – Reimagining Video Game Narrative
12:00pm-1:00pm – Lucasfilm Publishing: Stories From a Galaxy Far, Far Away
4:00pm-5:00pm – VIZ: A Haunting Conversation with Junji Ito
4:00pm-5:00pm – How to Make a Comic From Start to Finish
Saturday, July 25
10:00am-11:00am – UDON Entertainment 20th Anniversary!
10:00am-11:00am – Narrative Design For Computer Games
10:00am-11:00am – Warner Archive’s Secret Origins of Saturday Morning Cartoons
11:00am-12:00pm – From Wakanda to Numbani, Writing the Next Generation of Heroes
2:00pm-3:00pm – IDW in 2020 and Beyond
3:00pm-4:00pm – Authors on the Best Advice I Ever Got
3:00pm-4:00pm – Best and Worst Manga of 2020
5:00pm-6:00pm – What’s New In Small Press Comics
5:00pm-6:00pm – Mexican Lucha Libre: History, Tradition, Legacy
Sunday, July 26
12:00pm-1:00pm – The Craft of Worldbuilding in Comics
1:00pm-2:00pm – Kevin Eastman Panel
1:00pm-2:00pm – Mega64 Panel In These Trying Times
3:00pm-4:00pm – Making A Living Being Creative
3:00pm-4:00pm – The Writer’s Journey: Developing a Producer’s Mentality

For living viewing, I will have to make some tough decisions.

There are also collectible show exclusives again, watch parties, costume contest via Tumblr, virtual art shows, portfolio reviews, the Eisner Industry Awards, the annual Blood Drive, and many more activities. All of which are on the official site.

This Comic-Con has a lot going on.

In addition to official events, we have our Comic-Con involvement with our newly built Stranger Worlds Discord Server, with a special sub-channel for Comic-Con. We will share news from more news from the show in the following days as well. Come and join us!

So dive right in and share in the joy that is the Comic-Con@Home, wherever you are!

San Diego Comic Con 2019, Adventures in the Exhibit Hall

IMG_5126

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.

IMG_5564.JPG

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..

IMG_5567

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.

SDCC 2019

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

IMG_4936

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

IMG_5273

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

IMG_5087

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

IMG_5100

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.

IMG_5127

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

IMG_5183

Here are some pricy things!

IMG_5656

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!

IMG_5610.jpg

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.

IMG_5188

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

20190804_212059.jpg

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

IMG_5569

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

IMG_5540.JPG

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

img_5669.jpg

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

IMG_5579

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!

IMG_5609

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. 

IMG_5596

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

IMG_5600

And that, is how you pronounce Bill Sienkiewicz!

IMG_E5176

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

IMG_5580

Original Peanuts art from Charles Schulz

IMG_5532

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

IMG_5296

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

IMG_5585

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

IMG_5271

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

IMG_5285

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

IMG_5279

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

IMG_5294

A large Gundam presenting its 40th anniversary booth.

IMG_5200

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

IMG_5248

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

IMG_5246

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

IMG_5064

Some Jurassic cosplay here!

20190721_093949

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

IMG_4938

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.

IMG_5217

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

IMG_5182

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

IMG_5082

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

IMG_4996

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

IMG_4922

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

IMG_5424

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

IMG_5112

King of the Hill mashup parody art, from Joel Adams

IMG_5287

Disney fine art from Krystiano DaCosta

IMG_5704

Some pins and stuff I got from the Exhibit Hall.

IMG_5670

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!

IMG_5394

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!

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

img_6530

(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.

img_6440

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

img_6572

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.

img_6666

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

img_6713

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.

img_6389

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).

img_6429

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).

img_6728-1

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 recently announced the winners of for this year’s the prestigious Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards.

Winners were recently announced at the 2018 San Diego Comic-Con convention. 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.

Here below, are the Eisner Comic Awards winners for 2018…

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)

The Strangest, Best SDCC 2018 Exclusives

2018-07-09-e1531713792776

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
Price: $65
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!

Laughing Prince Adam figure

 

An exclusive figure based on the Youtube viral video.

Booth: Super7
Price: #35
Thoughts: Wow!! That’s amazing

Star Trek Cats LE Patches

 

 

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)
Price: $30
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!

Booth: Mondo
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
Price: $50
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.

Booth: Marvel
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
Price: $85
Thoughts: Wow and wtf!! It’s awesome, but a wondrous piece for collectors of two universes.

Patrick Ballesteros “Wakanda King Are You” Black Panther Prints

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.

Booth: Bait
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!”

Booth: Kidrobot
Price: $40
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.

Booth: Viz
Price: $15
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!

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.