Tag Archives: comic con

When the Anti-Harassment Bodyguard is the Harasser

One of the most omnipresent images of this year’s San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) wasn’t a big comic book announcement or a still from a movie trailer. It was the fact that Eisner Award winning Batman writer Tom King needed a bodyguard because of death threats about his handling of the wedding between Batman and Catwoman in the recently published Batman #50. This bodyguard was David Wray, who has provided security for Stan Lee in the past. Wray became somewhat of an Internet darling during SDCC posing for pictures with King and other creators, and some fans even wanted his autograph or for him to have a cameo in Batman or another Tom King comic.

Wray has been a managing partner at the Cincinnati Comic Expo since 2013. According to Expo administrator, Matt Bredestege, he also has had the position of Comics Guest liaison and travels to conventions to personally invite guests to Cincinnati Comic Expo. This role gives him a good deal of authority in choosing guests for the Expo.

However, Wray has exhibited behavior towards women online that could be considered harassment and allegedly refused to invite a prominent female comic book creator to the Cincinnati Comic Expo because she was a “feminist.” He has also made a homophobic joke about Tom Hiddleston at an Expo executive committee meeting implying that he was gay because of the way he looked.

I spoke with Megan Goodier on the phone about David Wray’s actions and her interactions with him both online and offline. Goodier was a volunteer at Cincinnati Comic Expo from 2011-2015 and a member of its executive committee in 2015 until she stepped down because of health reasons. She has known Wray since 2013 and worked closely with him on the executive committee.

At an executive committee meeting, Goodier brought up the fact that the Expo had not invited many female comics creators as guests. Guests are paid an appearance fee and have their travel and lodging covered by the Expo whereas artist alley creators pay for their tables/exhibition space at the convention. She brought up writer Gail Simone (Batgirl, Wonder Woman) as a possible guest, but this was immediately shot down because she talked about being a feminist a lot. Goodier mentioned that she self-identified as a feminist, and Wray responded by saying, “I will never book her for my show.”

In response to the claim of not booking Gail Simone because she self-identifies as a feminist, Matt Bredestege stated that:

We have never disqualified any guest for their personal beliefs or ideals… No one’s thoughts and opinions on sexuality, religion, politics, science, or whatever has ever been a factor in having them appear or not appear at the Cincinnati Comic Expo.

He followed up by saying that Simone had been invited as a guest to the Expo on “several occasions” and that would he “would provide copies of the communications of the communications between (them).” However, when I asked for these emails, my request for comment was not returned. We followed up with Gail Simone’s agent, Ari Lubet, and asked if she had ever attended or been invited to Cincinnati Comic Expo, but did not get a response.

In 2016, the Cincinnati Comic Expo booked actor Adam Baldwin (Firefly, Chuck) as a media guest even after, in 2014, he helped popularize the phrase and Twitter hashtag “Gamergate” and participated in the harassment of female game developers Zoe Quinn and Brianna Wu and journalist Anita Sarkeesian. Baldwin’s actions and the mobilization of his large Twitter following to attack these women definitely went against the Cincinnati Comic Expo’s conduct policy of “providing a safe and harassment-free experience for everyone regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age, or religion“.

According to Matt Bredestege, the Cincinnati Comic Expo organizers were “not aware” of Adam Baldwin’s connection to Gamergate and booked him in “late 2015/early 2016” because fans wanted actors from the popular 2002 science fiction show Firefly to attend the show. After the announcement, a fan did bring “the allegations to [the Expo organizers’] attention” online, but they “….already had a binding legal agreement with [Baldwin] and his agency” and kept him as a guest.

As well as booking a known enabler of online harassment towards women and saying he would not book a prominent comics creator because she was too feminist, David Wray has also made unwanted advances toward multiple women over Facebook Messenger. (See below image gallery.) In a 2015 Facebook conversation, Wray told Megan Goodier that he “would do everything I can” to get comics creators Matt Fraction (Hawkeye) and Chip Zdarsky (Jughead) to attend Cincinnati Comic Expo if she got him a date with a woman on her Facebook friends list that was much younger than him.

Goodier said that she had not contacted the woman in years and told Wray to back off, but he still messaged the woman even though he admitted that it made Goodier “uncomfortable.” He even mentioned Goodier to the woman although they hadn’t talked in a while. Along with admitting he messaged the woman after Goodier told him not to, Wray threw in some additional creepy comments about the “crazy/hot scale” and turning down strippers.

Following this up, Wray contacted another woman on Goodier’s friends list, who she had volunteered with at Free Comic Book Day and whose picture he had found on her Facebook profile. Again, Goodier told him to back off and even mentioned that “she is even more feminist than me”. This led to a rant a rant criticizing “radicals” and “shit stirrers”, including those who protested Rafael Albuquerque’s 2015 Batgirl variant cover, which was an homage to Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s The Killing Joke where Barbara Gordon was crippled and sexually assaulted by the Joker. Albuquerque later requested that the cover be cancelled because those protested it were getting “threats of violence and harassment”.

Even though Cincinnati Comic Expo has a strict anti-harassment policy, its own managing partner David Wray harasses women online. Megan Goodier also states:

There are other women in the area who have had bad experiences with him, who have chosen not to step forward or say anything. I don’t have receipts. These women don’t want to publicly step out  about what happened to them. I know of them, but I cannot prove it. You mention the name David Wray to women who have worked, especially in the convention industry or even in the comics shops in town, they know exactly who you mean. And he does not have a good reputation.

Matt Bredestege, an administrator at Cincinnati Comic Expo, responded to these accusations towards David Wray via email by saying:

We have no comment on these allegations at this time. The allegations are new to our attention. We have reached out to see the alleged messages and no copies have been provided to us.

However, Megan Goodier provided another Facebook Messenger conversation from July 26, 2018 where Cincinnati Comic Expo founder and director Andrew Satterfield and “marketing partner” Jackie Reau offered to talk with her either in person or over the phone about David Wray’s actions. Goodier said she was “not comfortable having any meeting that would create further my word against his situations…” and offered to send screenshots of her chats with Wray that are in this article. Both Satterfield and Reau read her message and didn’t respond.

Defending the Night, One Beer at a Time.

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Write drunk, edit sober was never a truer statement. With New York Comic Con less than a month away, this past Thursday I journeyed to the far away land of Brooklyn (not really) for the sixth annual launch of the Brooklyn Defender.

Not a comic or Netflix spinoff, the Brooklyn Defender is a specially crafted beer made by Brooklyn Brewery for New York Comic Con and ReedPOP, the organizers behind Comic Con.

For the past few years Brooklyn Brewery and ReedPOP have collaborated on this beer, designing the bottles label by recruiting comic book artists like Cliff Chang, Khary Randolph and Jamal Igle to help create the look of that years Defender. According to the ReedPOP representative Fallon Prinzivalli, this year was a “special year as it’s the sixth time or 6-pack” Defender team-up with Brooklyn Brewery. This year had a departure from previous years as it looks like the art chores were handled in house by Brooklyn Brewery with a retro silver age style, cape, underwear on the outside, and even emphasizing the four color spot process of making comics. As a beer drinker, I love the Brooklyn Brewery brand and I’m generally ok with the Defender beers, I found this year’s crisp, flavorful and light, a definite step up from a solid beer, the Brooklyn Defender gets 4 capes.

Ms. Prinzivalli also told me that “for the first time ever we have a couple of backdrops and props that people are going to be creating their own story of them defending beer with their friends. So then we’ll have a giant fan going that you can stand in front of and you can pretend that you’re flying through the clouds of New York City.” In addition to the Instagram contest, there was also a raffle and cosplay contest, with winners taking home 3 day passes to Comic Con.

Fans who were lucky enough to make it onto the rsvp list were also treated to free pizza from local pizzeria Sizzle Pizza, cake, and of course a bottle of the latest batch of the Defender beer.

Brooklyn Defender can be found all around New York Comic Con which runs October 5-8th, but will still be available well after.

MegaCon: A Trip of Errors Part One

Arrival and Forgetting

May 25-28, MegaCon was hosted in Orlando, Florida in the Orange County Convention Center. It’s the state’s largest annual convention, covering comics, scifi/fantasy, horror, animation, and video games. Despite the main focus of this year on the guest appearances of Tim Curry and many other cast members of Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), there was a strong presence of the comics due to the attendance of industry superstars like Tom King, Jason Aaron, Skottie Young, Dan Slott, Amanda Conner, Gail Simone, etc. Also, the sponsorship of the Eisner-nominated Love is Love, an anthology in honor of the victims of the anti-LGBT shooting at the Pulse nightclub. For me, a comics journalist, this seemed like an opportunity to go check out. The adventure was interesting with a mixture of highs and lows, and most of all learning from quite a few mistakes I made.

It all started Thursday, May 25th. My good friends Sean Mckenzie, Matt Oldham, and Jeff Gwinnup (a writer for The Outhousers, a site I have written about MegaCon previously) joined me on this journey.

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With all our stuff packed and snacks at the ready, we drove off to Orlando. Jeff and Matt were in one car, Sean and I in another. All things considered, it was a pleasant trip that only got tricky when we made it to our destination. See, I had booked two rooms at the Rosen hotel where we stayed at last time. However, I made a mistake. There are two Rosen hotels. The one closest to the Orange County Convention Center, literally just a walk across a skyline to, was the Plaza. I booked us at the Center, at least a 15 minute walk or so from our destination. Not all bad, given there were free shuttles, but I still felt like an idiot not booking the right hotel. This proved a bit of a hassle when Sean and I arrived at the Center and had to wait for Jeff and Matt who ended up at the Plaza. This was my first mistake, and the lesson I learned from it was to make sure that the hotel you check into is EXACTLY the correct one you’re supposed to be at.

We checked into the hotel only to discover that the two rooms booked would be more expensive than everyone in the party could afford, so we bumped down to one, forcing Sean and I to share a bed while Matt and Jeff shared another. Mistake #2 and the lesson learned: Be exact with the price of the rooms and make sure it’s affordable for all parties. When we set up in our room, I discovered that my obsession of bringing the right comic books to get signed led to forgetting toothpaste, dental floss, and, more importantly, multiple pairs of underwear. Yep, that’s right I attended all four days of Megacon with only one pair of drawers. I washed it in the sink, but still. Bad on me to fall into the stereotype of a geek that can’t maintain proper hygiene. Mistake #3 and lesson learned: Make sure you have necessities packed correctly before the superficial crap.

The walk to the Orange County Convention Center wasn’t so bad, although in the summer heat, we sweated quite a bit. The convention center itself is a wonderful piece of architecture. While the interior was typical of convention centers I’ve been to, the exterior had some spectacular design to it.

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I like how the windows are large and sea shell-shaped. The interior, for all it’s blandness, is large and has plenty of space to move around in. Actually, this photo is just part of the entire center. There are many more sections, so huge it took up almost the entire chunk of land that we were on. I won’t bother to try and give you measurements. Take my word for how huge this place is.

We didn’t get to the center as a group. Jeff and I searched for the area to receive our press passes. Sean and Matt went their individual ways to get a scope of the convention. Jeff and I struggled to find our destination due to conflicting information from staff. I remember in the email I got from MegaCon that we were supposed to go to a room and pick up our passes. That’s how it worked when I attended last year, but this time we headed to the vast space where people lined up to pick up tickets. Imagine it like a Home Depot, made of gray concrete, big enough to contain a football stadium, and that’s pretty much what we were dealing with. It meant us walking a good distance to the booth, picking up our press passes, and trudging to the entrance. In total, it half an hour or so. I didn’t mind the walking, but confusion from the staff was bothersome. I will say that the booth attendants were friendly and helpful. They even gave us cookies.

The con floor consisted of sections separated by red and yellow curtains. One section dedicated to the media guests (anime, movies, animation, etc.) with a photo op next door. Beyond that was the main floor that squished retailers and artist alley together, and half a square for comic guests separating artist alley from the food court. I found this layout good but flawed. I appreciate that separation of areas were so heavily focused on. It forced a certain amount of crowd control, meaning that people had to funnel through openings into lanes designed for them. Most of the the time, it worked. However, for the alley containing artist’s alley, comic guests, and retailers, there were issues. Walkways for artist alley booths were narrow, making movement tricky. Another issue is that it became hard to find an artist’s booth you wanted to see because both the crowding and sensory overload of the experience made missing one easy, even if you walked right past them. Mind you, this is a large convention. No matter what you do, traffic is going to be difficult. Still, artist alley could have used more breathing room.

This day for me was all about scoping the area and pre-planning. I walked around the con, making sure I knew exactly where each creator I wanted to see would be and vendors selling cool stuff I wanted. I managed to meet familiar faces, including Sorah Suhng, Larry E. Watts, Walter Oslie, Roland Mann, Deonna Herrold, Caleb King, Carla Wyzgala, Gail Simone, and Rick Shea of Famous Faces and Funnies. It was fantastic seeing them again and catching up. I also got to meet new people, most notably Steve Horton and Tee Franklin, both of whom I only knew online at that point. I also got autographs from creators I wanted to meet. In fact, I believe that blind-sided me from other opportunities I could’ve taken at the con. Mistake #4 and lesson: Autographs aren’t everything. Diversify your experience.

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Me with Tee Franklin

There honestly wasn’t much else done or accomplished that day. Books were bought from the amazing people I mentioned above, but no panels or special events I wanted to attend. That is until my buddy Jeff informed me of a Q&A with Stan Lee. I remembered seeing him at a panel last year and how much fun it was. Given this would be Stan’s last MegaCon (allegedly), I sure as hell was going to be there.

Just like last year, Stan Lee’s Q&A was full of cheer and goodwill. The difference this time is that he ran late for 15 minutes. I would learn later from staff that Stan got lost for a bit, apparently misdirected to where he had to go. Well, that and he’s actually something of a troublemaker. Apparently, he likes to get away when he can and mess around on those wheel things you stand on and drive, whatever they’re called. Honestly, that made me smile because I can see why he would do it. Stan Lee is 90-something. He probably thinks “Screw it. I’m gonna have fun before I kick the bucket.”

When the Q&A finally started, it took off with a blast. Stan Lee’s personality boomed with joy and appreciation of his fans. He answered questions eagerly and honestly. The only issue was his hearing and each question had to be asked to him multiple times, mostly his handler Max repeating in closer range. Lee seemed particularly feisty this year, sometimes taking good-hearted jabs at fans. With asking questions, he asked them to keep it simple. If you can’t ask it in one sentence, make it simpler. There were times where I felt Stan Lee was a little too mean, but overall he kept it friendly.

Stan Lee’s handler brought up a story that was hilarious. Apparently, before going to the con, Stan really wanted to visit the Marvel section of Universal Studios. Mike made the call that he would be visiting, and everyone at the Marvel area freaked out, rushing to get things ready and keep it on the down low who was visiting. They arrived before the park opened, and a kid working inside where the comics are got a surprise.

Kid: “Oh my god! You’re–”

Mike: “Shh!”

After walking around and greeting everyone, Stan said he wanted to go on a ride.

Mike: “Which one?”

Stan: “The Hulk.”

Mike: “Stan, are you crazy?! You’re too old.”

Stan: “I want to!”

I don’t remember the rest of the story, but watching Stan and Mike exchange back and forth showed me that they had quite the camaraderie. Another anecdote I liked was Stan Lee’s talk of Jack Kirby’s art prowess, how he was the kind of artist that when working on a page, he didn’t need to do an outline. Just sat down, drew an image once then immediately inked it without a second thought. And it would always come out perfect.

The panel was running late and had to be wrapped up. Before leaving, Stan Lee thanked everyone for coming and stated earnestly how much he enjoyed being at the con, blown away that Marvel has become a cultural icon like he never dreamed of and had the fans to thank for that.

One last question was asked:

“Is this your last Megacon?”

Stan: “Oh, hell no.”

One can hope.

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Sorry about the fuzziness. Had to shoot a photo of a projection screen.

Around the Tubes

It’s a new week and we’re getting closer to the end of the year. We’re thinking about what should be on our best of lists, how about you?

While you contemplate that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Around the Tubes

KMTR – Comic Con celebrities pay pediatric patients a surprise visit – This is awesome. It’d be great for all cons to help celebrities and creators visit local hospitals to help kids.

CBR – British Comic Awards announces 2015 winners – Congrats to the winners.

Kotaku – Custom Transformers Devastation Optimus Prime Figure Imitates Art – Beautiful.

GamePolitics – SXSW online harassment summit expanded – Good to see.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

CBR – The Divine

Talking Comics – The Goddamned #1

CBR – Miss: Better Living Through Crime

ICv2 – Strike the Blood Vol. 1

CBR – Tim Ginger

CBR – Web Warriors #1

Around the Tubes

We’re getting settled after a weekend at Boston Comic Con and Gen Con. While we go over all the awesome that was the two conventions (as well as SDCC and Otakon), here’s some news to keep you busy this morning.

Around the Tubes

Boston.com – Mayor Walsh declares August 1 Stan Lee Day – Pretty awesome!

TechDirt – And Now Here Comes Every Other Comic Convention With Trademark Apps For The Generic ‘Comic Con’ – Not shocking at all.

Kotaku – Batman: Arkham Knight Dropped the Ball On One Major Character: Batman – Still not sure if I should play this.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

Nothing But Comics – Zodiac Starforce #1

SDCC 2015: Conan Recap 7/9/15

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“Everyone needs an origin sometime.”

We open up the show in a galaxy very very near. Coming to you from on location in San Diego, from deep in the heart of Comic Con it’s … Conan O’ Brien!! Conan opens with very loud reaction from the crowd to which he jokes is that a cheer or vote from them to kill him in the next installment of The Hunger Games. (Ahh forshadowing the guests, clap clap)

The rest of the monologue is rounded out with a fun not so well known fact that Comic Con has actually been around in one form or another for the past 46 years. (That is some really wild stuff, I did not know that.) He peppers in a joke about people in costume during Comic Con such as waiting in line for coffee being flanked by Darth Vader and taking a pot shot at fellow fans of The Walking Dead, by saying some could be retitled as “The Dead Who Could Stand to Do a Little More Walking”.  (Meh) The segment concludes with a weird creepy nod to Japanese Anime in which both Conan and Andy sport huge watery eyes and speak in girlish geisha voices. (ummmm. Take a look for yourself.)

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(Thanks Andy for opening up some brand new nightmares)

Conan then attempts to get serious for a moment and regale us with the awe inspiring tale (picture this said in the best Stan Lee voice) of his Origin. This was actually the best part of the show as he cleverly cherry picks from all time favorite comic origins and puts his Conan spin on it.

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First up is a poke at Green Lantern’s classic origin with Abin Sur crash landing in the site of Brookline, MA in 1972. However it is not a young Hal Jordan whom stumbles upon the ring, but rather a boyhood Conan who forsakes the most powerful weapon in the universe for the shiny allure of a single quarter. (Guess he just wasn’t a jewelry person then.)

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Next stop is 1973 New York, in the recesses of a back alley where a mugger waits in the dark. He asks the couple and their son if they are the famous wealthy industrialists, Thomas and Martha Wayne. The man simple states “No we’re the O’Briens.” The young boy points the mugger in the direction of the next alley over. (Thanks Conan, you just gave us Batman!) As we pan out we can hear the famous two gun shots that would start the single greatest comic book legend EVER. I thought this was great.

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Lastly we find ourselves transported to a remote desert in Nevada the year of 1992. On a secret base a Top Secret Government group is looking to detonate a bomb. Conan is carefree as he rides his bicycle down the path, unaware that any moment the horrible fate he’s about to confront. Poking fun at the Incredible Hulk of course, the bomb detonates and Conan wakes up in the hospital as the doctor explains he was exposed to large doses of “humor waves” and “chortle beams” in the blast. The doctor then informs Conan due to a side effect of the calamity, he is now 5,000 times funnier than Louis C.K. and Amy Schumer combined (Sure I’ll go for that) It’s at this point the skit is stopped dead in it’s tracks as Andy states to the audience that this is all b.s. and back in the day he was working on as a writer of The Simpsons and David Letterman was standing down and he just took the job. The end. Origin over. (Still better than the Ben Affleck Daredevil movie I say.)

Conan brings the audience back by saying he has an exclusive look at the new Batman vs. Superman movie which is highly anticipated next year. Let’s see..

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Once I saw this all I could picture was Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor in Superman Returns saying “WROOOONNNGGG!” This was truly dreadful. Maybe it was because I was a little bit bitter and expected an actual trailer with new footage being shown (This is Comic Con after all) but the cast of Saturday Night Live on their worst day couldn’t conjure up this poop fest. It was a skit of Batman vs. Superman in small claims court. The only watchable part was when they called Bane to the witness stand and you couldn’t understand what he was saying at all. Otherwise this was a fail of epic proportions.

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We take a quick break and we are back with the cast of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2. Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth (Or as I call him Thor Jr.) Conan asks them what is the craziest fan experience they’ve had so far and Josh points out a time where they were in Rome, they were behind four armed military guards and fans broke down a barrier. (Wow I hate to see what fans would do to the cast of new Fantastic Four movie then.) Josh accidentally dishes that there might be some future installments of the Hunger Games franchise and you can hear a pin drop on the internet. Conan also points out that there are rumblings of how Jennifer has quite the potty mouth and he pulls out a “Swearing is caring” jar that he will fill with one hundread dollars cash each time a swear shall fall out of her mouth. (Here I will take the time to point out that both my gf and I said watching this that Ms. Lawrence looked way too plastic. I have to say it was weird stuff.) Before they make their exit the cast assures us that the final movie will not disappoint. (Never heard that before) Bit of a long interview for my taste but I guess it gets the job done and the fanboys and gals can sigh dreamily for a moment.

Quick commercial break and we are brought our second Conan PoP! toy giveaway and tonight’s is Conan as Batman. (I am not ashamed to say that I entered twice. If a family member gets a mysterious package from PoP Vinyl he will be surprised. Even Ms. B entered.) Just very cool indeed. Crossing fingers…

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(na na na na na na na na I want one!)

Finally to close out the show Conan re-introduces a concept that he came up with legendary Warner Bros. Animator (as well as a personal hero of mine) Bruce Timm. That’s right the guy who made Batman so cool in the 90’s and gave us in my opinion the best animated TV show of all time: Batman: the animated series. Timm and Conan cooked up an idea for a superhero and thus they gave birth to The Flaming C.

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Flaming C’s adventures contain slapstick, action and literally toilet humor. His arch nemesis Anton Piss is trying to rule the world with technologically advanced toilets. Flaming C is able to light his left hand on fire while it is covered with an oven mitt. He can fly and has super strength. He is aided in his journeys by Intern Rachel who is a techno geek and drives a magical mini van. It’s obviously a wacky concept but it’s Conan and damn it all, it works.

Overall: While I found this episode not as enticing as the first salvo, Conan shows us his resolve runs deep. Hopefully the injection of casts of both The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones tomorrow night hit a home run. A couple bits and the long cast interview slowed it down. So while I can’t call it “Must see TV” it’s still worth a “see”. A Flaming C…

Till Tomorrow night True Believers!

SDCC 2015: Conan recap 7/8/15

 

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“Let’s go to Comic Con!”

Ahhh the words we all long to utter. The pinnacle of any geek’s existence, we dream to one day gaze upon the holy grail of all things comic and entertainment related. Make no mistake, to do so is quite an honor. Those who wield this responsibility (cough cough Brett) must do so wisely.

We open up the show with an homage to the Mad Max films with Conan playing a flaming guitar and Andy riding a hellacious rig towards San Diego creating some hijinks along the way. Solid opener and shows that the writing staff know their stuff well. It’s flashy, funny, corny and just a bit of everything.

We get to Comic Con for the show and the set is just EPIC. I can’t say enough about it. This guy gets it.

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After a booming ovation, he dives right into the typical Conan opening monologue with some pretty funny  observations and jokes. The one that definitely stuck out to me was a jab at George Lucas selling out to Disney. (Ouch) I’m sure George is wiping his eyes with a couple of billions. Tragic I know.

Conan proceeds to thank the audience for being amazing (Who doesn’t like praise?) and asks if he can take a selfie with them but he is having a slight problem fitting them all into frame with him. So he wisely enlists the help of a Cosplay Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic) in which I thought was a really cool bit. (Better than having Michael B. Jordan set off the sprinklers, face it the blogs burned intensely enough this season. Flame off please.)

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Next he provides us with a little bit of slapstick by announcing that a whale has escaped his near by Sea World enclosure and all of a sudden a very suspicious looking Yoda arrives that is well over 15 feet tall. (Hey we are not Airboy, we have no room for discrimination here, not even giant creepy costumed mammals.) Following the tail end (swear I didn’t mean to) of this bit we are announced the guests for this evening: Elijah Wood (Frodo! Frodo!) and Chris Hardwick (Nerdist and Talking Dead). Also we are told in the days to follow we indeed will see the stars of franchise super giants: The Hunger Games and The Walking Dead as well as the cast of an unrevealed movie. Since I am a betting man I’m going to go with either the cast of Marvel’s Ant-Man or Warner Bros: Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Either or I’m sure my  big screen LED TV screen will go Boom.

After the previous announcement, we dive right in with confirmation that after the next installment of the Wolverine movie franchise Hugh Jackman will be stepping down (Not a sharp decision per my point of view) so we are shown auditionees that attempt to fill Hugh’s mutant mutton chops. Among the celebrity cast of caring citizens are Patton Oswalt, Larry King, Michael Sheen and Betty White. My opinion? Take Larry. Out of all the rest at least you know you will get like ten movies for the franchise out of him.

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After a quick product shill for the Conan 360 cam, the curtain calls upon its first guest hailing from the Shire himself: Frodo (Elijah Wood) Elijah gives us some insight on how hard it is to be a pop icon at Comic Con, even telling us that he needs to don a mask to avoid notoriety. A celeb being one of us. How Cool. He even goes so far to say that other members of the cast including Peter Jackson must resort to this same tactic sometimes to get to enjoy the festivities properly. (I wonder if GP press staff have the same issue?) Then in a very cool moment, Elijah whips out one of the replica prop rings from The Lord of the Rings movies to a frenzy of crowd approval. I couldn’t help but be recalled to the episode of The Big Bang Theory when they are all fighting over who gets custody of one of Peter Jackson’s fabled pieces of memorabilia. As we are drooling over the tiny golden circle, an unlikely tall Sméagol snatches the ring from our hero Hobbit and exits stage left.

A quick commercial break and we are back with Elijah explaining what it was like to revisit the character of Frodo Baggins for the Hobbit Trilogy. He states it was “A combination of going back in time, and no time passing at all.” (A perfectly good convoluted answer for a comic book crowd) Before he leaves the set he informs us that his show Wilfred on FXX has come to a close and Conan shows a clip of the new movie Cooties. It’s a movie about a zombie like plague spreading via tainted chicken nuggets (for those who thought Super Size Me, was a deterrent) through children. It also stars Rainn Wilson. Might be worth a look when it hits on Demand on September 18th.

We take another quick break, and return with a promotion for Funko POP Conan SDCC 2015 figurines. One version of the figurine will be given away over the course of all four shows at San Diego. We have Regular Conan, Batman Conan, Zombie Conan and Conan Monster. These are all pretty cool and you can enter to win at teamcoco.com/pop (I’ve already entered mine. Fingers crossed for the Batman one)

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Finally we are greated by a familiar face, Chris Hardwick in a very traditional Spider-Man costume. He informs us of some little known fopauxs when cosplaying, such as room temperature and “dong placement.” (I’m certainly choosing my spandex wisely now)

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Chris then proceeds to give Conan the “Comic Con Citizens Test” which contains a speed round of questions to prove his geek mettle. I found this entertaining besides the obvious questions like “What metal is Wolverine’s bones made out of?” (Adamantium) There was some funny ones like “If Caitlyn Jenner was on a Superhero team, what would it be called?” (The X-Men) “Who shot first? Han or Greedo?” (He said neither, it was a Jawa on the Grassy Knoll) and word association “Cosplay is not..” (Drinks with Bill Cosby, never too soon I guess) Finally he asks “What would you do if Seth Green was on the show and he attacked you with a toy lightsaber?” So of course, ask and you shall receive…

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This should happen more on talk shows, (imho) it would truly make for “Must See TV”.

We close out the final moments of the show with Chris and Conan pontificating about how there is such hatred these days when it comes to spoilers. I couldn’t agree more with their points. We are all nerds, we will see it either way. So true. So true.

Overall: This was a whole hour of network tv that whisked by quicker than a coffee travelling in Barry Allen’s digestive system. I thoroughly enjoyed it. You can tell that Conan doesn’t just pay lip service and he respects the source material. In a world where it’s cool to like anything that’s Pop Culture or trendy, it’s refreshing to see someone not afraid to wear their underwear outside their clothes to support the cause.

Till tomorrow night. Same Conan time, can’t wait to see what’s on the channel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bruce Campbell, Adam Baldwin, Pam Grier, Vivica A. Fox Among Headliners at Philadelphia Comic Con

Official Press Release

Bruce Campbell, Adam Baldwin, Pam Grier, Vivica A. Fox, Julie Benz, Billy Dee Williams Among Headliners At Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con, June 17-18-19 At Pennsylvania Convention Center

Michael Biehn, Alaina Huffman, Julia Benson, Adam West, Burt Ward, John Schneider, Richard Roundtree, Mimi Rogers Among 500+ Celebrity Guests, Leading Comics Artists, Creative Directors

NEW YORK and PHILADELPHIA, April 25, 2011 – North America’s largest pop-culture tour continues as the 11th annual Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con returns to the Pennsylvania Convention Center, June 17-19, with superstar guests Bruce Campbell, Adam Baldwin, Pam Grier, Vivica A. Fox, Julie Benz and Billy Dee Williams headlining the list of celebrity attendees.  The event will bring together thousands of fans of all ages and dozens of celebrities and industry professionals to celebrate the best in pop culture, movies, comics, toys, video gaming, television, gaming, original art, collectibles, contests and more.

Campbell (“Burn Notice,” ARMY OF DARKNESS) was a huge hit at last year’s event, and will be appearing only on Saturday, June 18.  Grier (“Smallville,” “The L Word”), Fox (KILL BILL VOL. 1 and VOL. 2, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”), Benz (“Buffy: The Vampire Slayer,” “Desperate Housewives”) and Williams (STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, BATMAN) have also been popular guests at Wizard World events.  Baldwin (FULL METAL JACKET, SERENITY) will be making his first appearance.

“The city and surrounding area have embraced Philadelphia Comic Con in a big way the first 10 years of the event, and last year’s was the most attended ever,” said Gareb Shamus, Wizard World CEO.  “We have an even larger and more prestigious lineup of stars and creators and more in store for 2011.”

Other popular Philadelphia Comic Con celebrity guests include Michael Biehn (TERMINATOR, ALIENS), Alaina Huffman (“Smallville,” “SGU Stargate Universe”), Julia Benson (“SGU Stargate Universe, ROAD TO VICTORY), Adam West (“Batman,” “The Family Guy”), Burt Ward (“Batman”), John Schneider (“Smallville,” “Dukes of Hazzard”), Richard Roundtree (SHAFT, “Heroes), Barbara Nedeljáková (HOSTEL, SHANGHAI KNIGHTS), Mimi Rogers (AUSTIN POWERS, “The X-Files”), Lou Ferrigno (“The Incredible Hulk”), Margot Kidder (SUPERMAN, “Smallville”) and Peter Mayhew (STAR WARS).  BOONDOCK SAINTS co-stars Norman Reedus and Sean Patrick Flanery will also reunite at the event.

Fans can also meet their favorite comic creators and artists, including Humberto Ramos (“Amazing Spider-Man,” “The Spectacular Spider-Man”), Carlos Pacheco (“X-Men,” “Green Lantern”), Doug Braithwaite (“Heroes for Hire,” “Chaos War: X-Men”), Jim Cheung (“Avengers,” “Uncanny X-Men”), Bill Sienkiewicz (“Elektra,” “Assassin”), Arthur Suydam (“Marvel Zombies,” “Army of Darkness”), Minck Oosterveer (“Zombie Tales,” “The Unknown”), Greg Horn (“Spider-Man,” “Turn off the Dark”), J.G. Jones (“Final Crisis,” “Wanted”), Phil Jimenez (“Amazing Spider-Man,” “Astonishing X-Men”), Ethan Van Sciver (“Green Lantern,” “Superman/Batman”), Mike Grell (“Green Arrow,” “Green Lantern”), Tom Raney (“Avengers Academy,” “Incredible Hulks”) and Shane Davis (“Bruce Wayne – The Road Home,” “JLA”)

The convention center floor will also feature several famous TV and movie vehicles for fans to pose with, including the DeLorean Time Machine (BACK TO THE FUTURE), General Lee (“Dukes of Hazzard”), The Mystery Machine (SCOOBY DOO), Hazzard County Patrol Car (“Dukes of Hazzard”) and Starsky and Hutch Torino.

Children and adult attendees are encouraged to come dressed as their favorite villain, superhero or pop culture personality for the chance to win special prizes in costume contests.  Event-goers may also try their hand interactive product exhibits and shop for collectible comics, movie and television memorabilia, toys and games at more than 200 dealer booths.

Special events at Philadelphia Comic Con include the “Magic: The Gathering” card game tournament, professional photo opportunities (Photo Ops) and others.

Philadelphia Comic Con is the sixth stop on Wizard World’s 2011 North American tour, which to date has 13 events scheduled.  Hours are Friday, June 17, noon – 8 p.m., Saturday, June 18, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., and Sunday, June 19, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.  Tickets are available in advance online at http://www.wizardworld.com/philadelphia.html at a savings over tickets purchased at the door.  Advance adult single-day tickets are priced at $25 ($35 on site); three-day weekend tickets are $45 ($55 on site), and tickets are free for children age 10 and under when accompanied by a paid adult (limit two children per adult).  VIP packages with special entry and exclusive items are also available on a limited basis.

About Wizard World:
Wizard World is a producer of pop culture and multimedia conventions across North America that markets movies, TV shows, video games, technology, toys, social networking/gaming platforms, comic books and graphic novels. It has the rights to the names, marks, domains, customer lists and production rights for a portfolio of pop culture and multimedia conventions.

For the most recent event information please visit www.wizardworld.com and become a Philadelphia Comic Con Fan on Facebook.

200+ Comic Creators Scheduled at Anaheim Comic Con

Official Press Release

Judd Winick, William Stout, Mike Grell, Bill Sienkiewicz, Arthur Suydam Among 200+ Top Comic Creators At Wizard World Anaheim Comic Con, April 29-30-May 1 At Anaheim Convention Center

Other Headliners Include Nathan Edmonson, Ethan Van Sciver, Rob Liefeld, Whilce Portacio, Dustin Nguyen, Phil Jimenez, Mark Texeira, Michael Golden, Greg Horn, Plus Eight “World Of Warcraft” Artists

NEW YORK and ANAHEIM, Calif., April 11, 2011 – More than 200 leading comic artists, writers and producers will be on hand as North America’s largest pop-culture tour continues at Wizard World Anaheim Comic Con at the Anaheim Convention Center, April 29 through May 1.  Huge industry names like Judd Winick, William Stout, Mike Grell, Bill Sienkiewicz, and Arthur Suydam will be joined by other comic superstars at the second annual event, which will bring together thousands of fans of all ages and dozens of celebrities and industry professionals to celebrate the best in pop culture, movies, comics, toys, video gaming, television, gaming, original art, collectibles, contests and more.

Headliners Winick (“Power Girl, Justice League), Stout (“The Dinosaurs”), Grell (“Green Arrow,” “Green Lantern”), Sienkiewicz (“Elektra,” “Assassin”) and Suydam (“Marvel Zombies,” “Army of Darkness”) will be complemented by Nathan Edmonson (“Who is Jake Ellis?” “The Light), Ethan Van Sciver (“Green Lantern,” “Superman/Batman”), Rob Liefeld (“Deadpool,” “Youngblood”), Whilce Portacio (“Artifacts,” “Uncanny X-Men”), Dustin Nguyen (“Justice League: Generation Lost,” “Batman: Streets Of Gotham”), Phil Jimenez (“Amazing Spider-Man,” “Astonishing X-Men”), Mark Texeira (“Wolverine,” “Moon Night”), Michael Golden (“Batman,” “Hulk”) and Greg Horn (“Spider-Man,” “Turn off the Dark”).

In addition, eight artists from the popular “World of Warcraft” adventures by Blizzard Entertainment will be on hand.  Fans can interact with Thomas Denmark, Cole Eastburn, Lucas Graciano, Mike “Daarken” Lim, Glenn Rane, Tony Washington, Michael C. Hayes and Trent Kaniuga.

“Fans will appreciate the depth and breadth of comics talent assembled at Anaheim Comic Con,” said Gareb Shamus, Wizard World CEO.  “With more than 200 local, national and international creators, including some of the biggest names in the industry, there’s something for fans of all comics styles.”

Anaheim Comic Con is the fourth stop on Wizard World’s 2011 North American tour, which to date has 13 events scheduled.  Hours are Friday, March 29, 5-9 p.m., Saturday, March 30, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., and Sunday, April 1, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.  Tickets are available in advance online at www.wizardworld.com/anaheim.html at a savings over tickets purchased at the door.  Advance adult single-day tickets are $25 ($30 on site); three-day weekend tickets are $45 ($50 on site), and tickets are free for children age 10 and under when accompanied by a paid adult (limit two children per adult).  VIP packages with special entry and exclusive items are also available.

About Wizard World:
Wizard World is a producer of pop culture and multimedia conventions across North America that markets movies, TV shows, video games, technology, toys, social networking/gaming platforms, comic books and graphic novels. It has the rights to the names, marks, domains, customer lists and production rights for a portfolio of pop culture and multimedia conventions.

For the most recent event information please visit www.wizardworld.com and become an Anaheim Comic Con Fan on Facebook.

Felton, Baccarin, Loken Among Headliners at Wizard World Big Apple Comic Con “Spring Edition”

Official Press Release

Tom Felton, Morena Baccarin, Kristanna Loken Among Headliners At Wizard World Big Apple Comic Con ‘Spring Edition,’ May 21-22 At Manhattan’s Penn Plaza Pavilion

Mike Grell, Arthur Suydam, Jerry Robinson, Greg Horn, Jim Cheung, Kaare Andrews, Christos Gage, Phil Ortiz, Ryan Ottley Among Leading Comics Creators To Attend

NEW YORK – Wizard World Big Apple Comic Con ‘Spring Edition,’ part of North America’s largest pop-culture tour, is set for Saturday and Sunday, May 21-22, at the Penn Plaza Pavilion in Manhattan.  The event, the largest and longest-running Comic Con in New York, will bring together thousands of fans of all ages and plenty of celebrities and industry professionals to celebrate the best in pop culture: movies, comics, toys, video gaming, television, gaming, original art, collectibles, contests and more.

Tom Felton, best known for playing the role of “Draco Malfoy” in the HARRY POTTER film series, Morena Baccarin, who starred as “Inara Serra” in the sci-fi television series “Firefly,” “Adria” in “Stargate SG-1,” and as “Anna” in “V,” and Kristanna Loken, whose credits include TERMINATOR 3, “Painkiller Jane,” and “The L Word,” are the headline celebrities scheduled to attend.

“Response to the Big Apple Comic Con shows the past two years was so strong that we had to add the Spring event,” said Gareb Shamus, CEO, Wizard World.  “Everyone – the celebrities, the fans, the dealers, manufacturers, artists, and the entire community we deal with was begging us to bring a huge Spring Comic Con to New York.”

Fans can also meet their favorite comic creators and artists, including Arthur Suydam (“Marvel Zombies,” “Batman”), Greg Horn (“Blackest Night,” “Elektra,” “Ms. Marvel”), Mike Grell (“Green Arrow,” “Green Lantern”), Jerry Robinson (“The Joker,” “Robin”), Matt Kindt (“Revolver,” “Pistolwhip”), Jim Cheung (“Avengers,” “Uncanny X-Men”), Kaare Andrews (Astonishing X-Men,” “Iron Man”), Christos Gage (“X-Men,” “Spider-Man”), Phil Ortiz (“The Simpsons,” “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe”), Ryan Ottley (“Invincible,” “The Walking Dead”) and many other national and local creators.  There will also be a special appearance all the way from Brazil, making a rare U.S. appearance, by Luke Ross (“Captain America,” “Amazing Spider-Man”).

Other celebrities setto be on hand include Tony Award winner Dan Fogler (“Balls of Fury,” “Good Luck Chuck”), Bonnie Piesse (STAR WARS: EPISODE III – REVENGE OF THE SITH, STAR WARS: EPISODE II – ATTACK OF THE CLONES) and Chandler Riggs (“The Walking Dead”).

Children and adult attendees are encouraged to come dressed as their favorite villain, superhero or pop culture personality for the chance to win special prizes in costume contests.  Event-goers may also try their hand interactive product exhibits and shop for collectible comics, movie and television memorabilia, toys and games at more than 200 dealer booths.

Special events at Big Apple Comic Con include the TCG Gaming tournament, professional photo opportunities (Photo Ops) with celebrities and others to be announced.

The Penn Plaza Pavilion is located at 401 Seventh Avenue at 33rd St., in the historic Hotel Pennsylvania.  Big Apple Comic Con Spring Edition is the fifth stop on Wizard World’s 13-city 2011 North American tour.  Hours are Saturday, May 21, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.; and Sunday, May 22, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.  Tickets are available in advance or by calling 1-866-882-5860 and online at http://www.wizardworld.com/newyorkcity.html at up to a 15% savings over tickets purchased at the door.  Advance adult single-day tickets are $20; two-day weekend tickets are $35, and tickets are free for children age 10 and under when accompanied by a paid adult (limit two children per adult).  VIP packages with special entry and exclusive items are also available.

About Wizard World:
Wizard World is a producer of pop culture and multimedia conventions across North America that markets movies, TV shows, video games, technology, toys, social networking/gaming platforms, comic books and graphic novels. It has the rights to the names, marks, domains, customer lists and production rights for a portfolio of pop culture and multimedia conventions.

For the most recent event information please visit www.wizardworld.com and become Big Apple Comic Con Fan on Facebook.

Big Apple Spring

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