So yea, here are two more, first up today’s offering
The family that fight Thanos together…
We geeks love to play dress up, as NYCC proves. Halloween ComicFest want to give you another chance to don your geek duds and get in the Halloween spirit while competing for some pretty great prizes!
“The Greatest Halloween Costume Contest Ever” Returns!
Enter the costume contest for a chance to win a $500 shopping spree to your local comic shop and additional prizes!
(Baltimore, MD) – (October 21, 2014)- Halloween ComicFest is conducting “The Greatest Halloween Costume Contest Ever”, where participants take a picture in costume showcasing one of the 19 free Halloween ComicFest full-size or mini-comics and then upload their costume photos to be entered to win great prizes, including a Grand Prize of a $500 shopping spree at their local comic shop!
Starting October 25th through November 9th contestants can upload their photos and choose one of the five costume categories— Superhero/Comics, TV/Movie, Gamer, Horror and Original to enter.
How To Enter:
From Sunday, November 2nd until Sunday November 9th at 11:59PM, fans will be able to vote on their favorite entries featured on the HCF website, ultimately helping decide a category winner. In addition to the category prize winners, two Grand Prize winners will be picked at random to receive a $500 shopping spree to their local comic shop and one adult and one child from each category will receive a $100 shopping spree. The adult and child who earn the most votes in their respective categories will receive a prize pack containing a variety of items from contest sponsors which include DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Archie Comics, IDW Publishing, BOOM! Studios, Diamond Select Toys, Zenescope, Oni Press, Abstract, Funko, Giant Microbes, Funimation, Tweeterhead, and Bandai.
“This year, it’s easier to enter the costume contest, as anyone who receives at least one of the free Halloween ComicFest comics and has a costume is eligible to enter,” said Halloween ComicFest spokesperson Deborah Moreland. “Comic shops are packed with great comics, graphic novels and other pop-culture merchandise and on Oct. 25th they’ll be packed with customers picking up the Halloween ComicFest full-size and mini-comics for free in addition to having a fun experience all-around at their local participating comic shop.” “We expect some friendly competition to take place once the voting begins and look forward to seeing what people wear to win.”
To enter the contest and view other participants photos, go to www.halloweencomicfest.com/costumecontest. For more information about the free full-size and mini-comics and to find a participating comic shop, go to www.halloweencomicfest.com.
One of the things that I was really heartened to see at NYCC this year was the abundance of panels on and about women. “Women of Color in Comics,” “Women in Queer Comics,” “#yesallgeeks,” “Women in Geek Media”…the list goes on and on, those panels were just the four I attended. It’s awesome that the programmers have gotten the message that Geek Girls exist and we should be a target demographic. Along with the “Cosplay Is Not Consent” signs displayed prominently throughout Javits, the numerous panels for women went a long way toward making me feel like my thoughts and opinions about comics and geek culture mattered to the powers that be.
So what were the panels like? Well, as I’ve said before, many of the panels that I attended were stacked back to back, so I didn’t get to stay for the Q&As because I had to queue for the next panel. I know that some people aren’t fans of the Q&As, and I’ve witnessed a few painful ones myself, but sometimes great stuff comes out during them and I’m sorry I had to miss these.
The first panel I attended, “Women of Color in Comics,” made me give a little inward cheer when I sat down and realized there was not a single white face on the panel. You might be thinking “of course there were no white people,” to which I would reply “how many panels have you been to?” Our own Nancy Joyce was at a panel that was ostensibly about diversity at NYCC that featured only one person who wasn’t white. Panels are hard to put together, I’m not saying they’re not, but all too often the only perspective onstage is the white one. To have a completely non-white panel was a refreshing change of pace, especially when the comic-creating world is “white guy, white guy, white guy, maybe Jim Lee” as one of the panelists said. When asked if they were ever made to feel smaller because they were women of color, Alitha Martinez mentioned that she was never credited as an artist for Iron Man, which shocked everyone in the room. Another panelist pointed out that if comics are supposed to be stories about the future, women of color have to make sure they’re in it because they were already written out of the past and can’t afford to be written out of the future. There was some difference of opinion in how this should be done, with some advocating for aspiring comic artists to submit to the big publishers and change the business from within while others believed they should grow their audiences within their cultures and attack it from outside. They hadn’t come to a consensus by the time I left this panel, but I felt really energized by the discussion and ready to take on the world. I hope others in attendance felt the same.
Then I headed to the “Women in Queer Comics” panel down the hall. Some of these panelists were older and colored in some of the history of the genre, which I thought was great. There is such an emphasis on the future in comics that we often forget who and what came before the present generation. One of the biggest topics of conversation was the connection between the creator of a piece and their audience, and many panel members spoke about how important the internet was in helping them make this connection and retain it as they moved from project to project. Some of the veterans had started out writing only for LGBTQ communities but had found themselves unwittingly in the role of educators to larger straight audiences over the years. They stressed that their works are not to be taken as a textbook on being LGBTQ, but seemed pleased that the work connected with people on multiple levels. I would love to see more of these comics hit the mainstream for a reason that was cited in the “Women of Color” panel: it would be opening them to a new way of life and a new way of looking at the world, which could in turn make a change in society’s attitudes towards the LGBTQ community.
On Saturday, I was very excited to hit the “#yesallgeeks” panel about harassment in fandoms. While harassment is not limited to women, it often happens to us, particularly in traditionally masculine spaces. While all the panels I attended had a diverse group of panelists, I really appreciated the presence of a nurse practitioner on this panel because he provided a medical standpoint on the issue and contextualized it as a public health issue. I also liked the way numerous panel members stressed that the victim should always be believed, as there is way too much victim blaming in our culture. There were good suggestions made about how to help victims and how to eliminate harassment from cons, and it was clear that NYCC is following many of them. I hope that as it becomes more clear that there’s a zero tolerance policy for harassment at these events that we see fewer incidences.
I loved every one of these panels, and I’m hoping that NYCC will continue to expand their offerings for next year. Every one of the “women’s” panels I went to was well-attended, so there is a demand for this kind of programming. I feel like I’m beating a dead horse here, but I would like it if they were a little more spread out next year so I didn’t have to hop around so much and could see the entire panel. And because so many of the panels ended up going right to the buzzer or over, it might be an idea for NYCC to think about longer panels: maybe a solid hour instead of forty-five minutes. But these are minor details. The important thing is that there were some really great panels about issues near and dear to Geek Girl hearts this year, which means that someone is listening to what we ask for. Keep it up, NYCC. Keep it up.
As with most freshman shows, they need time to grow legs. “Gotham“, FOX’s new drama based on characters appearing in DC Comics, is no different. With the airing of tonight’s fifth episode entitled “Viper”, it’s safe to say that it grew wings!
While “Gotham” has been off to a solid start, most hardcore fans have been on the fence regarding this series. Unlike the series “Smallville” where we had 10 seasons of a young Clark Kent, exhibiting his powers from the pilot, “Gotham” focuses less on Bruce Wayne and more so on the fight for a dying city’s soul. With that said, over the past few episodes the character development of Bruce Wayne and his butler, Alfred has hit its stride. As promised by David Mazouz (Bruce Wayne) when What’cha Reading sat down with him, “You’ll see that they really start working together. He’ll start helping him with research. Alfred is going to help him with that and they are really going to work as one.” (Gotham’s David Mazouz Talks To What’cha Reading! October 6, 2014) In tonight’s episode, young Wayne develops a keen interest in the inner workings of his family’s company, Wayne Enterprises. Interested, bordering on obsession, Wayne goes to great lengths to learn of his family’s connections to the Arkham project. As seen in last week’s episode “Arkham”, the mob families of Falcone and Maroni are battling over the development of Arkham City. Those most powerful and with ties to Gotham City’s elite are seemingly prospering while the rest of the city is in a state of decay. A highlight for certainly many viewers is undoubtedly the beginning of young Bruce Wayne’s “good detective work” as noticed by Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee). Over the course of the first five episodes we are starting to see traces of the development of young Bruce to the world’s greatest detective we all know and love from DC Comics. By no means are we close to the cape and cowl; however, we are getting a worthy tease of one of comic’s greatest of characters. It is through the relationship that Bruce shares with Alfred that we are also treated to the dynamic acting flair that runs in the Pertwee family. Sean Pertwee as Alfred is consistently on point and a constant reminder that this is a version we have not seen before.
The plot of the episode is handled well and is promising enough for fans and newcomers as it revolves around the release of a drug on the streets called “Viper.” While Viper eats away at the calcium in your body, it temporarily grants the user a fantastical amount of strength. *SPOILER* We learn through a standard scene of exposition that Viper is an early form of the drug Venom. For those unfamiliar with the drug, Venom, it is the steroid Bane uses to enhance himself. And from what I understand an early form of the Joker’s laughing gas.
For many that are watching “Gotham”, episode five – “Viper”, could be the turning point that many were hoping for. It is the episode that reveals all it’s cards and tells you right from the start the kind of show it is. “Gotham” is a series based on a comic book; it’s depiction of the city is hyper stylized and for a series that is shot in New York City, it hardly bears any resemblance to those that know it well. With the great talent of Ben McKenzie (Gordon), the always welcome, Donal Logue (Bullock), and the firecracker appeal of Jada Pinkett-Smith (Fish Mooney) “Gotham” remains a show that people should be watching for the rest of this season!
Bat-Signal Moment of the episode: The intensity of all actors in the scene between Maroni (David Zayas), Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor), and Gordon (McKenzie) brings to mind the heyday of pushing the envelope television FOX is known for. The threat of violence is real enough to intimidate without showing. The setup revolves around Gordon sitting down with Maroni and being asked to “tell a story.” The story Maroni wants to hear is of Cobblepot’s betrayal of Fish Mooney, and of Falcone’s orders to kill Cobbepot. If Gordon’s story differentiates from that of Cobblepot, then off to the meat grinders for both of them.
“Gotham” airs Monday nights on Fox at 8pm. Check your local listings.
C’mon you knew there’d be a preview of this book here. How could we not with all What’cha Reading’s fangirl/fanboy love we show for this series. And really, check out the talent in this volume!
Red Sonja Vol. 2
Gail Simone (w)
Walter Geovani (a)
Jenny Frison (c)
FC • 208 pages • $19.99 • Teen+
A dying emperor has a last request of Sonja. He is throwing the ultimate send-off party, and needs the six greatest artisans from all the known lands: the greatest chef, swordsman, courtesan, and more. If Sonja brings them in time, he will free a thousand slaves…but if she fails, they will be buried alive right next to his coffin!
• Issues 7-12 and 0 of the critically-acclaimed series by GAIL SIMONE (BATGIRL, BIRDS OF PREY), WALTER GEOVANI and NOAH SALONGA.
• Gail Simone’s original script to RED SONJA #0
• All of the beautiful covers by some of the top artists in the comic book industry including: JENNY FRISON, STEPHANIE BUSCEMA, JOYCE CHIN, NEI RUFFINO, AMY REEDER, STEPHANIE HANS, ALLISON SOHN, EMANUELA LUPACCHINO, and MORE!
Here’s the preview!
I have no details about this book save this, it’s coming from Kel Symons, whose “Mercenary Sea” is a great book. That alone is reason to give this a shot. We get more will tell you more. Check out the press release.
FANTASY ADVENTURE HAS FULL REYN
This January, Kel Symons and Nathan Stockman
kick off an all-new sword & sorcery epic
Press Release Image Comics:
Fan favorite Kel Symons (THE MERCENARY SEA, I LOVE TROUBLE) teams up with Nathan Stockman (I LOVE TROUBLE) for an all new series in REYN, a sweeping fantasy following two unlikely adventurers on the path to uncovering the mysteries that surround their destinies.
REYN #1 introduces the main character of the same name, Reyn, a freelance swordsman and monster hunter who also might be the last of the legendary “Wardens” of the land of Fate, whose ranks long since faded into myth. Haunted and driven by visions from a “guiding angel,” Reyn sets out on a great quest—though he’s hardly the errant knight-type. Along the way he’ll rescue and partner with the sorceress Seph, a member of a coven known as the Followers of Tek, hunted as heretics for their beliefs, but who may also know what secrets Fate holds…
Symons wanted to do something that was inspired by his love of reading fantasy and science fiction growing up. “Reyn pays tribute to adventures that dazzled my imagination,” explained Symons. “Fantasy tales, particularly Dungeons and Dragons, was a huge part of my formative years. I doubt I was the first kid who wanted to live in epic worlds like Middle Earth, Greyhawk or Hyboria. Tolkien and Howard created remarkably timeless worlds and practically invented the language of modern fantasy. Honestly, it’s hard to believe they were created in the 1930s.”
The main character, Reyn, Symons envisioned as a sort of reluctant Joan-of-Arc-type. “His guiding angel is hardly a blessing, because it’s just not in his nature to be a do-gooder—he’s too unprincipled for that,” said Symons. “I imagined some of Clint Eastwood’s Man with No Name from the Dollars trilogy in Reyn. In fact, when I pitched this to Image, I said the vibe for the series should be ‘What if Frazetta painted spaghetti westerns?’ His traveling companion, the witch Seph, provides a nice emotional counterpoint to Reyn’s moral ambiguity. She was born to a cause and brings passion where Reyn lacks an emotional connection to the destiny that’s been forced upon him.”
The journey begins with REYN #1 (Diamond Code NOV140564), in stores on 1/21
Spinning out of the events of CHAOS, the Chosen are a group of monster teens who travel the world with one agenda – hunting other monsters! In this double-shot of horror, action, and humor, the Chosen team up with the powerful witch Suspira to take down Epitaph, a force of evil bent on using three co-eds to help him return from the dead. Then, the Chosen travel to an east coast hamlet to do battle against a strange, ancient monster! Two terrifying tales that explore the darkest corners of the Chaos universe!
I caught Bedbugs!!! the Musical as part of Super Week, so I’ve been sitting on this review longer than I should have—I blame NYCC. However the good news is that there is still time to catch Bedbugs!!! before its run ends on November 2, and yes, you want to do exactly that.
You might not think that bedbugs are a good subject for musical comedy. In fact, I’m guessing that the more times I say “bedbug,” the more you’re trying to suppress the urge to scratch. You’re not alone: I spent part of the performance scratching at the suggestion of bugs, and I wasn’t the only one in the audience with that problem. But from the opening scene featuring a young Carly (Grace McLean) watching her favorite singer, Dionne Salon (yes, that’s a deliberately over-the-top parody of Celine Dion, played by Brian Charles Rooney), on the TV and thus entirely missing the fact that bedbugs are killing her mother in the next room, you know you’re in for something fun. When Carly’s vendetta against the bugs unwittingly mutates them into giant man-eaters led by a strutting rock god of a bedbug king named Cimex (Chris Hall), you know you’re watching something awesome. It is a brilliantly campy sci-fi rock musical, and I can’t remember when I’ve laughed harder in a theater (“Silent Spring,” featuring a singing portrait of Rachel Carson in a giant copy of her environmental science manifesto Silent Spring, had me in tears). The bedbug costumes alone were masterpieces, but combined with a fantastic set, talented actors with great voices, direction that takes in every square inch of space in the basement theater, and choreography that involves scratching and aerosol sprays? Brilliant. I give it 4.5 out of 5 Lightning Bolts.
Now, full disclosure, I’ve known one of the show’s actors for a few years: Brian Charles Rooney (Dionne Salon) and I “met” over the internet when I reviewed the Roundabout Theater Company’s production of Threepenny Opera several years back. We’ve never actually met in person (which is odd, considering we have mutual friends) and still haven’t—the night of the performance I had a family emergency, so I couldn’t even stay to chat. However, he graciously agreed to be interviewed via email about Bedbugs!!!, Super Week, and NYCC, so I owe him a drink in person sometime. Thanks, Brian!
You’ve been with Bedbugs!!! since 2008 when it appeared at the New York Musical Theater Festival (NYMF). This is a long incubation period (I am so sorry for that pun) even by NYC theater standards–how much has the show changed since then, and how involved were the actors in shaping the script?
The show has evolved quite a bit, actually! Songs have been added, songs have been deleted. Scenes have changed, and, as a result, characters have changed. My character’s arc through the show has grown, and it has become more substantial than when we first did the reading in 2007. That has been a thrill, because it is allowed me, the writers, and the director, to give Dionne what she deserves, in terms of great character development. Everyone has been so collaborative, and I’ve certainly been allowed to have a lot of influence over how Dionne has come to life over the years. I greatly appreciate that, as that’s not a commonly granted opportunity.
Bedbugs!!! was part of Super Week this year. Whose idea was that, and why do you think it’s a good fit?
There were a few people involved in the production who thought doing something with NYCC would be a good idea. I’ve been to the con many many times; I’ve been to SDCC many times as well… And to Power Con (the Masters of the Universe / Princess of Power Fan convention); so I’m aware that con culture offers anyone, looking to peddle his or her wares, the chance to do so in front of a large audience. Jamie Leo, who created all of the promotional design for our show, also thought it would be a good idea to get involved with the Con. Our collaboration with Ripley’s Believe It or Not, on West 42nd St., opened the door to that. They were involved with Super Week as well, and they’ve been incredibly supportive of our show in a cross-promotional way!
The show is such a great mix of camp and sci-fi traditions, but at its heart is more than that. What do you want audience members to take away when they leave the theater?
I want audiences to laugh, and to enjoy the music, the design, the costuming, the performances, etc…. all the typical hopes a theatrical artist has! Beyond that though, I hope they remember the story as one that explores a universal theme: self-worth. We all have our down moments; We all have our insecurities. The show, at its heart, addresses how its main characters go from being broken, unhappy, unloved, and insecure to successfully self-appreciative… The two protagonists triumph in the end because they find what they’d been missing all along: self-esteem. How they do that is the fun part… And I won’t spoil that here!
What is your favorite number or part of the show (whether you’re on stage or not)?
There are many I could mention; I’ll keep myself out of it for this one! When Cimex, played by Chris Hall, introduces himself to Carly (Grace McLean), the main character, I’m always delighted and full of smiles backstage. I’ve heard that scene countless times, for years, but it ALWAYS thrills me. It’s magical.
I know that this is the first NYCC that you haven’t attended in 6 years. What will you miss the most about it?
I actually was able to attend (if only for two hours)! My schedule this year has been rather intense; Bedbugs!!! isn’t the only theatrical work I’ve been doing, so my days were not free this year. It was the first NYCC in 6 years that I thought was going to miss. However, I had purchased tickets for Thursday & Friday ahead of time. I wasn’t able to use my Thursday badge, but on Friday, my schedule allowed for 2 hours of con fun… So I went shopping! I ended up getting great deals on a Marvel Legends Thor figure, and a replacement Kayo figure from the early ’90s Mattel “New Adventures of He-Man” line!
Do you think there’s more opportunity for theater/NYCC/Super Week overlap in the future? If so, what would you most want to see?
I do. I wish the Con were even more supportive of shows that have cross-over appeal. The con takes place in a city where the American Theater is rooted, and there is much fun to be had by employing even more cross-promotion. I am super grateful to Ripley’s Believe It Or Not for being so supportive!
And finally, What’cha Reading?
The new Marvel Captain Marvel (so excited for her upcoming Marvel Legends figure!); and DC’s He-Man & The Masters of the Universe (which has been chock full of Adora / She-Ra and the Horde!!!).
Seriously, go see “Bedbugs!!!” right now. It’s been extended through November 2nd at the ArcLight Theater, 152 West 71st Street, Manhattan; and you can get tix by calling 866-811-4111, or via www.ovationtix.com.
Des Taylor, a U.K. based artist, well-known for his DesPop brand (design meets pop) was the highlight of New York Comic Con for me; possibly one of the best kept secrets. His work which is a direct homage to pop art of the 60’s, and influenced by animation, truly has a life of its own. For lack of a better word, his art pops! According to Taylor, “When people walk into a room and see my art, I want them to stop and say “What’s that?” Art should stop people in a room and lead them directly to it.” With the worldwide following Des Taylor has attracted, and client base of FHM, Cosmopolitan, LA PERLA, and more, it’s pretty obvious that his work lives up to his ideas on the eye-capturing appeal and power of good art.
While not just a freelance illustrator, specializing in unique, retro infused artwork that is distinctly his own, he’s also a massive comic book fan. Developing his own comic book series under the DesPop brand, and being featured by Madefire at SDCC and NYCC, he has developed stories and characters that pay great tribute to strong, female protagonists. According to Des Taylor, “In a world of male dominated comics, we thought it would be pertinent to show what the ladies are capable of with a different approach to story-telling through our pictures and prose type story books as well as our comic book projects.”
While his books went fast, two of the main staples at the Madefire booth were Des Taylor’s “The Trouble With Katie Rogers” and “Bad Girls: A Collection of Vicious Vixens and Femme Fatales.” I was eager to read “The Trouble With Katie Rogers” and enjoyed it very much, despite certain reservations concerning the material.
“Katie Rogers” is an East End London-er, living in New York City, as a top publicist for Hot Profile (a brand new fashion media company based in SoHo, NYC.) She is described as “headstrong, cunning and driven to save the day.” The punch line is “Katie’s only trouble lies in her personal life where she has a habit of falling in bed with her ex-boyfriend, Byrnes Fitzpatrick. It’s complicated.” The characters that populate the world of “Katie Rogers” are all so very colorful, cartoony, ripe for a CW television adaptation, yet very real. The lifestyle and New York minute pacing of the story could be relatable to the many that work hard and play harder, yet alienating to the good ‘ol boys and girls that go to church, say their prayers, eat their vegetables, and help hold the door open for others.
The artwork in the book, every panel and page illustrated and colored by Des Taylor simply pops, and is gorgeous to look at. An in-house wink towards Taylor, as said by Katie Rogers in a scene during the book, describes the art as “comicpop.” What stands out, just as much as the artwork, is Taylor’s fast paced, pop-culture filled dialogue, that would make any comic art fan blush. In a monologue Katie has with a journalist at an art gallery, she goes on to say “Ditko, Kubert, Romita, Kirby, Steranko, Adams, Colan, and Buscema. They are the original pioneers of comicpop!”
While the material is definitely for mature readers, as the content is highly suggestive at times, and there are elements that aren’t suited for the prudish; Des Taylor’s work is too appealing to pass up for anyone the loves art (particularly pop art.) It’s also well-suited for those that are looking for an interesting alternative to the Marvel, DC, and other publications that fill the shelves. Katie Rogers is a very strong and independent character. She is somewhere on the lines of Charles Soule’s characterization of She-Hulk; just not green and muscular.
Des Taylor is an artist that needs to be checked out. He’s onto something very unique. Be it his own renditions of Superman or Dick Tracy – to his creations of Katie Rogers, Vesha Valentine and others – I personally cannot wait to see what else he has in store for fans of one of the greatest of American art mediums – comic books.
*For more information, here are the links to find more about “Katie Rogers.”