Preview/Review Cloaks #1 – BOOM! Studios

Preview/Review Cloaks #1 - BOOM! Studios

Adam D’Aquino is an amazing up-close magician, parkour expert, and con-man. Seems he’s a bit of a Robin Hood as well. All his scams benefit the orphanage that treated him right, and his marks are always deserving. One slip however has dropped him into the hands of some cops, well if they are cops they’re not showing any badges. Now an offer is on the table, from a surprising source. Will Adam take them up on it?

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I love up-close magic, an uncle of mine had an amazing performer at a party one night. I was blown away at how effortlessly he did tricks with everyone watching, I consider myself fairly savvy and someone with a keen eye (modest ain’t I?) and I was completely baffled by what I saw.

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Cloaks definitely conveys that same sense of wonder and magic you experience when near a really top-notch magician. My only knock would be the unbelievably good anti-hero. Adam is a thief, a con-man, but they are really selling the idea that he’s a really good person, you know, at heart. I wonder if he were just an excellent pick pocket and second story man would he be as sympathetic a hero? I guess we’ll see how far they take it in this very cool 4 issue mini series. I hope the Adam has more layers than he did is issue one though.

3 out of 5 – Beautifully drawn, great concept. Let’s see more depth to Adam.

Cloaks #1 (of 4)
Writers: David Henrie, Caleb Monroe
Artist: Mariano Navarro
Cover Artist: Forbes, W. Scott
On Sale September 03, 2014
Publisher BOOM! Studios
Diamond Id: JUL140963
Price: $3.99
UPC: 84428400407700100

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Titan Comics Hates Mondays but You’ll Love ‘Em with Carpe Diem!

Titan Comics Hates Mondays but You'll Love 'Em with Carpe Diem!

When Titan Comics released the A1 anthology series in June 2013 I was an immediate fan. Each issue contained 3 stories, totally different styles of art and storytelling, all good. Carpe Diem was definitely the strangest of the three. Billed as “The world’s 7 greatest assassins, one for each day of the week.” it was visually assaulting, with lots of action, quick panel transitions, and witty banter. A perfect comic for an action junkie like myself. Here, have a look.

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Along with the actiony goodness the absurdity of the characters and the quick pun-filled writing made this a great read. Since the anthology format coupled Carpe with “Weirding Willows” (a fantasy story with anthropomorphic animals and classic literature characters) and “Odyssey” (a Captain America like character going through a crisis of conscience) I wondered how it would stand up in a volume on its own. I was just as impressed and enthralled the second time around. All three storylines were great, I can definitely recommend picking up the standalone arc of Carpe Deim, whether you read it the first time or not.

4 out of 5 stars (where’s the next chapter!)

A1 Presents Carpe Diem Vol. 1: I Hate Mondays HC
Writer: Rauf, W.H.
Artist: Marcellius, Rhoald
Cover Artist: Marcellius, Rhoald
Pages: 104
Diamond Id: APR141369
Format: HARD COVER
Price: $19.99
ISBN: 978178276083251999
On sale: September 3

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Preview/Review – God Hates Astronauts #1!

Preview/Review - God Hates Astronauts #1!

The highly anticipated God Hates Astronauts #1 is finally here! If you’ve never read the webcomic, missed the kickstarter, (or been living under a rock?) you should probably pick up issue one.

A completely psychotic take on superheroes, aliens, and the nature of man (no really it is! ok maybe not, no it really is!) this series follows the exploits of a “super team” the likes of which you’ve never seen. A ghost cow headed super being, an impossible upside-down faced girl, and a Chicago cop with robot arms. And they have a platoon (at least) of magic space bears (meh doesn’t everybody?) I’d love to give you a plot synopsis but it would be futile, this book is going wherever it wants, whenever it wants.

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Terms like “irreverent” and “Crosses more lines than Lenny Bruce under the influence” get bandied about often but this time they are totally deserved. An f-bomb loaded, violent, damn well drawn and well written book. If you think The Manhattan Projects or Bedlam were just a touch too tame then this is definitely the book for you. Ryan Browne knocks it out of the park with a 4.5 out of 5!

Comes out tomorrow (09-03), get it at your local comic shop!

God Hates Astronauts #1
Writer: Browne, Ryan
Artist: Browne, Ryan
Cover Artist: Browne, Ryan
Price: $3.50
On Sale September 03, 2014
Publisher Image
Diamond Id: JUL140440
UPC: 70985301706600100

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Jaybird Gives Readers A Dark Look At A Sheltered Life

A sequestered little jaybird cares for his bedridden mother. He’s clearly terrified of his own shadow, but he’s a gentle soul; he hasn’t the heart to kill a spider he encounters in his home. The spider becomes a companion of sorts to the jaybird as he goes about his days at home – cleaning, dusting, taking care of his mother, and wondering why the windows are boarded up in his home.

Jaybird Gives Readers A Dark Look At A Sheltered Life

He walks the halls of his obviously grand home, staring at the portraits of his ancestors, decorated military, and stares at his own empty, stained, shirt. One day, he asks his mother about the windows and what lies beyond; she tells him a story of war, and “bad birds” who would do them harm. They live quietly and cleanly to avoid the bad birds, and that’s the end of the discussion.

But one day, there’s a knock on the door. How will the little Jay deal with this intrusion of the outside world into his life?

Jaybird is an original graphic novel by Finnish siblings Lauri and Jaakko Ahonen, and it is fantastic. Fans of dark fantasy will be drawn in right away, and I’d recommend this to tweens and teens as well. The subject matter and some images may be too intense for younger readers.

The art is just breathtaking. The main character has the most beautifully expressive eyes; indeed, his whole face and body language communicates his every mood, fear, and thought. The images of war are gripping and stark, as is the moment when Jaybird confronts his fear on the other side of the door. I went through the book twice, just to look at the art a second time. Each page is a painting on its own; put together, this book is a gallery with a story. Just take a look at this artwork:

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The story is sad, twisted, and at the end, communicates a sadness and a sense of loss – of childhood, of potential, of friendship. It’s a powerful book, and I want this one on my shelf next to my Fables and my Gaiman graphic novels.

Jaybird comes out this Wednesday. PLEASE pick this book up. You will not regret it. 5 out of 5 jaybirds.

JAYBIRD
Writer: Jaakko Ahonen
Artist:Lauri Ahonen
Publication Date: 9/3/2014
Price: $19.99
ISBN: 978-1-61655-469-9

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This Is Abigail? BOOM! Studios Teaser…

So A quick search of the internet yielded no results. Do this look familiar to anyone out there? Give us your best guesses!

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Preview Ex-Con #1 – Dynamite Entertainment!

Love Duane Swierczynski (Bloodshot, Godzilla, Birds of Prey), Love Keith Burns (ReIncarnate), and Tim Bradstreet’s done some amazing covers! So I’m guessing this is a slam dunk?

Preview Ex-Con #1 - Dynamite Entertainment!EX-CON #1
Duane Swierczynski (w)
Keith Burns (a)
Tim Bradstreet (c)
FC • 32 pages • $2.99 • Mature  
Dynamite is proud to present Ex-Con, the next book in a series of creator driven comics – with The Creators Unleashed, featuring all new concepts and characters from the industry’s best and brightest! This month, we present Ex-Con, written by Duane Swierczynski (Cable/Deadpool. Judge Dredd)! 1985: L.A. con artist Cody Pomeray had a gift for looking inside a mark’s soul with just a glance. But one fateful night, he targeted the wrong man — and was sentenced to the most savage prison in California. Pomeray would have been beaten to death on his first day if not for the intervention of Barnaby Creed, the most powerful crime lord in the Southland… 1989: Now Pomeray’s out on parole, robbed of his special ability and tasked with doing Creed “a little favor.” He has no idea he’s just stepped into a long con, and this time, *he’s* the mark…
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Grimm Tales of Terror #2 – Fantastically Creepy Tales!

Grimm Tales of Terror is Zenoscope’s new anthology horror series, serving up spooky stories, Tales of the Crypt-style.

Grimm Tales of Terror #2 - Fantastically Creepy Tales!

The format is familiar and intuitive to horror readers. We get a sub-story that features our narrator: a nameless red-headed female that I’m going to assume, from the cover of Issue 2, is a grim reaper of sorts. Her appearances bookend the comic as she serves comeuppance to deserving souls and give us readers the little fist bump we need as we see justice served.

Then, we have the story. In this issue, Web of Deceit, we get an interesting one about greed and the lengths people will go to serve it. Two brothers join forces with a man who appears to bankroll treasure hunters, to locate their father, who disappeared on an expedition two years ago. Who’s deceiving whom here? That’s the gist of the story, and it’s a good one.

It’s a Zenescope book, so you’re getting a sexy chick somewhere in the story - the grim reaper, in this case, featured on the cover and in the issue itself. Unlike some Zenescope books, though, this book is focused on telling some good stories. Out of all the Zenescope I’ve read so far, this is the title I’ll put on my pull list. I enjoy good, scary storytelling, and I love a good anthology series. Grimm Tales of Terror has the chance to be both.

Grimm Tales of Terror #2: Web of Deceit hits shelves this Wednesday, with variant covers by Eric J and Sean Ellery, and Michael Dooney and Sanju Nivangune. Check it out!

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GRIMM TALES OF TERROR #2
Story by Joe Brusha, Ralph Tedesco, and Shane McKenzie
Written by Shane McKenzie
Artwork by Przemyslaw Klosin
Cover A – Abhishek Malsuni and Neeraj Menon
Cover B – Eric J and Sean Ellery
Cover C – Michael Dooney and Sanju Nivangune
Price: $3.99
Publisher: Zenescope
On-Sale: Sept. 3, 2014
Diamond ID: JUN141602

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DayBlack – A Vampire Tattoo Artist Tries to Remember How to Live

Tattoo art is one of the most meaningful types of art. For people who decide to decorate their skin it is rarely done without deep thought as to what it will say, look like and what the meaning behind it truly is. There’s often two meanings, the ones we share with the random stranger who can’t resist asking and the one we hold closer to our hearts that only we and maybe our nearest and dearest know. Finding an artist to help make both meanings clear and the way you see the image in your head is a difficult thing. While I’ve not met many artists who aren’t talented there has to be an understanding between artist and subject that is harder to measure. I depend on my artist to visually speak my thoughts with his art. My artist depends on me for his livelihood. In DayBlack, Merce, a 400 year old, former slave, tattoo artist, vampire depends on his clients for more than just his livelihood.

DayBlack - A Vampire Tattoo Artist Tries to Remember How to Live

Merce lives in the town of DayBlack. A town where the pollution is so bad that you never see the sun. A perfect place for a vampire. Merce has lived quite a life, or death as the case may be, in his 400 years but now he’s pretty much settled down. He’s trying to lay low and not draw attention to himself or his undead status. He wants to remember what it’s like to live, not just survive. No more killing for food, at least for the most part, it gets too messy and draws too much attention. Instead he’s found a unique way of keeping his appetites fed. In his quiet world some wind blows, first as haunting dreams that strike without warning and then in the form of his son, who is a vampire hunter. He brings warnings of trouble brewing.

I loved the first three issues of DayBlack. Merce is a captivating character. He lulls you a bit at first into thinking he’s the kind, gentle sort but then you remember the predator that he is. Which makes him all the more enticing. I’ve read a lot of vampire tales, as it’s a bit of a fetish for me, and this one still stands out as something new and different. The art is beautifully unique and brings real atmosphere to the story. It also made me want to run down to Georgia to get inked by the writer/artist Keef Cross. His style is so original that it greatly enhanced my enjoyment of the tale being told.

I’m giving DayBlack five out of five stars. I was greatly disappointed when I reached the end of issue 3. I want to know where this all leads and to join Merce on this fascinating journey through his undead life.

Here’s a peak at the amazing artwork:

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 Buy DayBlack directly from Rosarium Publishing here!

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The Quest For Comissioned Art Reveals A Talented Average Joe!

Over the course of the past year, I have watched my fascination, interest, and love of art grow. I have to immediately thank Kyle Petznick for encouraging me to pursue it as a collector and for teaching me of the importance of owning original and custom art. Since October of 2013, I had seriously begun contemplating getting a commission done, yet was unsure how to go about it and of who I’d get to do a custom piece unique to my interests. One thing was certain, it would be of Superman. And it would blend my two favorite incarnations of The Last Son of Krypton. First, it would need to reflect the style of the Bruce Timm animated Superman series and second, it would have to be of the Superman seen in “Man of Steel” and played by Henry Cavill.

The Quest For Comissioned Art Reveals A Talented Average Joe!As I spent countless hours scouring the internet, I was slowly building my Instagram account. I never had any interest in this picture sharing site until learning of it’s value AND of how fun a social media tool it could be through my friends. Insert credit to Diane and Michelle Giordano during the week of New York Comic-Con. I don’t quite remember specifically how I came across Orange County, California based artist Joe Romero of @averagejoeart on Instagram, but remember seeing his art, ranging from Batman to Superman, sports icon to sports icon, and thinking that there’s something really unique going on with his work. Once I saw his two art pieces for “Man of Steel”, I was sold. This was the artist I would use. Initially, my idea was to have him do a commission of Henry Cavill and Christopher Reeve standing next to each other. An idea based on seeing the art he had previously done of both actors as Superman. Then it struck me that it would be even better to blend my favorite versions of Superman together. Something special that addresses my likes and reflects what I collect. I reached out to him at his e-mail, listed openly on his account and on many of his art commission advertisements, and was greeted promptly with an infectious enthusiasm for the idea and a more than reasonable price.

20140806_165750Before I knew it, an Joe “Average Joe Art” Romero piece was hanging on my wall and I couldn’t be more happy. It is now the crown jewel of all my prints and happens to be my first commission. After all, it was custom tailored to fit what pleases me about “Man of Steel” and of artist Bruce Timm. But, even better, it was the simple yet grand gesture of an artist taking an idea and transforming it into a reality even better than I could have possibly imagined!

The beauty of owning original art is that it’s one of a kind and brings you into the circle of life of the given piece. Art, in many ways, is both a very private and intimate act, yet a very open and open to critiquing performance. To have a page from a comic book or a commission is something to truly cherish. And this is exactly why the field is so inviting to everyone. Be it someone like myself, or any of the staff at What’cha Reading that are regular comic book devotees, to a complete neophyte, there will always be something out there for you. Something that moves you. Something that challenges you. An image that inspires and possibly invites you to dream. And with every artwork that is currently out there, or something yet to be made that one day will catch your eye, there is an artist out there to match. Some that are exceptional animators and illustrators like Bruce Timm or Jack Kirby. Some that border more on the surreal photo realistic quality like David Stoupakis. And others like Joe Romero, who can do it all!

2014-08-31 20.20.03Joe Romero, of Average Joe Art, has been drawing for as long as he could hold a pencil or crayon. He’s a 100% self-taught and combines the technique of a comic artist with the mentality of a painter (layering, using colors to accent his work). While it would be hard to narrow down a specific art style for him since he has done everything from characters such as the Ninja Turtles, to character studies of such as AMC’s The Walking Dead’s fan favorite, Michonne, in his own words he would say that “I’ve heard a lot of people refer to [my art] as “pen & ink.” While quite humble when in regards to his art style and drawing process, especially for someone who has cultivated years of drawing experience beginning at around 3 to 4 years old, he could easily be incorporated into the great pantheon of artists such as Jim Lee, Humberto Ramos, and Leinil Yu. All of which are some of his favorites; Jim Lee being his favorite and others like Sara Pichelli, Alex Ross, and “of course “the king” Jack Kirby.”

Taking a look through Mr. Romero’s Instagram feed or online site, you could see how masterful an artist he is. He has the grand ability to weave in and out of styles, all while being unique to his own drawing ability. His work speaks volumes and it would have to, especially since he has cultivated a massive online presence and has garnered “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s attention and, most recently Dana White, president of the UFC. After a friendship that began through Twitter and a phone call that led to him working on a number of projects with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, projects that include designing his WrestleMania 30 t-shirt and Broken Skull Challenge apparel, he has more lined up (some of which he is working on now). All while working on a faux fight poster design for UFC president, Dana White and maintaining his ever open commissions list.

Joe Romero is one busy artist. And he should be. He’s self-employed, growing his averagejoeart brand, and cultivating important relationships. He is certainly someone to keep an eye out for. Especially in the ever-growing age of making a name for yourself and self promotion through social media, it’s easy to get lost in wave after wave of any average joe picking up a pencil or paint brush and trying to stand out. The difference is that, Joe Romero, while his moniker is Average Joe, is anything but. An all around great person, artist, innovator, and creator, now is the time to take advantage of his accessibility. And the more than generous sales and offers he constantly has set up. Be it a $25 sketch commission or collectible trade offers, make sure to check him out at the links provided below and do yourself a favor by beginning your original art collection today with a commission or print from Joe Romero.

And just one more thing I had to ask, “So, whatcha reading?” to which he responded “A comic I would recommend to other people? I’m a big Superman fan so I always recommend “Birthright” to those people who are looking to familiarize themselves with the character, but don’t necessarily want to go back to the 30’s to read his origin. Being a big Jim Lee fan, I’ve always got to go with “Hush” as well. In my opinion, that’s probably Lee’s finest work as an artist, and Loeb’s finest work as a writer. It was like a good ol’ fashioned “who done it?” with a superhero vibe.”

I knew I loved him.

2014-08-31 20.12.47To follow Joe Romero (and possibly inquire about purchasing original art or having a commission done) you could reach him at the following:

www.averagejoeart.storenvy.com

www.nerdfashion.storenvy.com

Instagram: averagejoeart & nerdfashions

Twitter: @AverageJoeArt

 

 

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Here’s Your Friday Baltimore Comic Con Schedule!

Here's Your Friday Baltimore Comic Con Schedule!

I’ve been looking over the schedule and WOW is this con chock full of stuff to do and see! We’ve got to make it next year! Some of Friday’s highlights? Greg Capullo Spotlight! Walter & Louise Simonson Spotlight! And Paul Levitz moderates a panel on the female hero “sexy or Sexulized”!

Friday

Room 347-348:

2:00-3:00Cosplay & Photography Etiquitte
Ever wonder how to navigate a crowd in that bulky costume, or the best way to interact with and take photos of costumed fans? Cosplayers Lucid, Greyloch, and Han Pan are here to help you learn tips, tricks, and general rules for wearing that awesome costume and interacting with cosplayers!

3:00-4:00Let’s Talk Comics with RAYTIMandROB!
Please join RAYTIMandROB as the CRAZY comic book guys go over how to create a comic from start to finish and everything in between! From thought to finished product and marketing and self-publishing. From creative to business to how to break into the great industry of comics, come talk shop with RAYTIMandROB!

4:00-5:00Cosplay 101
So, what the heck IS cosplay? How do you do it? This crash course on cosplay from cosplayers Lucid, Han Pan, and SunsetDragon will give you tons of information on what cosplay is, as well as provide you with some tools to help guide you through your own costume creations!

5:00-6:00CBLDF: History of the Comics Code
60 years ago, comics were put on trial in a nationally televised Senate subcommittee hearing that had shattering repercussions for this great American artform. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund presents the shocking history of moral panic that led to this historic hearing and the birth of the Comics Code Authority, which regulated the medium’s content for more than 50 years. CBLDF executive director Charles Brownstein tells the tale at this CBLDF presentation.
Room 339-242

2:00-3:00Hermes Press: A Celebration of The Phantom – The First Masked Hero
Be the first to see the premiere, concept, and design of Peter David and Sal Velluto’s New Phantom comic book series, together with a multimedia presentation about the history of the The Ghost Who Walks. Sal Velluto (The Phantom, Flash, Justice League Task Force, Black Panther), artist for the new series, will discuss the direction and philosophy of the book and show off artwork from issue #1. Join Velluto, Daniel Herman (Publisher, Hermes Press), Pete Klaus (noted Phantom historian), and some surprise guests (who have written and illustrated the Phantom over the years), all of whom will discuss the history of the character, the classic strip and comic books, and the all-new version (which brings back the classic Phantom) of this iconic character, along with a Q and A session! A free poster will be given out at the panel showing off Velluto’s variant cover for issue #1.

3:00-4:00Sexy or Sexualized
When does the depiction of a heroine stop being sexy and become sexualized? Where is the line? Join moderator Paul Levitz and guests Marguerite Bennett (Batgirl), Christina Blanch (The Damnation of Charlie Wormwood), Dave Gibbons (The Secret Service), Adam Hughes (Fairest), Gail Simone (Red Sonja), and Thom Zahler (Love & Capes) as they look at this difficult subject.

4:00-5:00Walter & Louise Simonson Spotlight
Walter and Louise Simonson have chronicled the adventures of heroes including Thor, Power Pack, Manhunter, Superman, X-Factor, Wolverine, and many more. Their adventures in comics continue with Walter on Ragnarok and Louise on Super Secret Crisis War! Join them for a lively look at their careers in comics.

5:00-6:00Favorite Comics
Every comics fan has favorite comics, and so do the pros! Join moderator Bob Greenberger along with Alan Davis (Savage Hulk), Denis Kitchen (Kitchen Sink Press), Ron Marz (Witchblade), Allison Sohn (Red Sonja), and Jim Starlin (Thanos: The Infinity Revelation) as they look at the comics they love and have had an impact on them.

Room 349-350

2:00-3:00Thrillbent Comics
Take a look inside the digital world of Thrillbent! Creators Christina Blanch, Barry Kitson, Ron Randall, and Mark Waid discuss their work at Thrillbent and where they’re headed in the future.

3:00-4:00Teaching with Comics
A panel discussion with three graphic illustrators and writers exploring the benefits of teaching with comics. The panelists have published books about history, culture, and nature, all of which have been successful teaching and learning tools in the classroom and in libraries.

4:00-5:00Dan Parent Spotlight
Dan Parent is the popular Archie Comics talent behind the Love Showdown story and is the creator of Kevin Keller, Archie’s first openly gay character. Join moderator Mark Waid for a look at this Harvey Awards-nominated creator.

5:00-6:00Social Issues Through Comic Books SuperMOOC with Christina Blanch
Social Issues have many dimensions and can sometimes be difficult to understand. By using popular culture, in this case comic books, to help understand these issues, we can see how the information can be presented in both negative and positive ways. This presentation will unveil the adventures of exploring social issues using comics, the design of the course, the interview process with the comic creators, and how the Social Issues Through Comic Books class fared.

Ballroom

5:00-6:00Greg Capullo Spotlight
He’s worked on X-Force, Spawn, The Creech, Batman, and more. His art has graced album covers. He is Greg Capullo and he’s one of the most popular artists in comics today. One look at his work and it’s easy to see why. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about Greg and his work.

KIDS LOVE COMICS 2014 PROGRAMMING

All programs take place at the Workshop Area at the Kids Love Comics Pavilion

4:00-5:00Drawing Aliens, Robots, and Nature with Steve Conley
The beautiful world of Steve Conley’s book, BLOOP, is full of trees, flowers, lush landscapes, and a splash of aliens and robots. Join Steve as he teaches you how to draw the nature that surrounds us and all the awesome aspects of BLOOP!

5:00-6:00Drawing Heroic Females and Felines with Mike Maihack
Mike Maihack is the amazing author/artist of the graphic novel Cleopatra in Space: Target Practice from Scholastic/Graphix. In this workshop, Mike will share his technique for drawing heroines like Cleopatra, Supergirl, and Batgirl. He’ll also be drawing cats, and who doesn’t love cats?!

6:00-7:00How Cynja Are You? with Heather C. Dahl and Chase Cunningham
Today, our battlefield is a new frontier. It’s one that’s invisible to all but those with cyber powers. It’s time to train a new kind of superhero – one who will protect cyberspace from attack! Join the creators of the new comic series, The Cynja, as they show you how to acquire the cyber powers to fight zombies, worms, and botnets. The world needs boys and girls with digital skills to become Cynjas and keep the Internet safe for all. It’s time to become a cyber hero!

Looking for Satuday’s schedule? Click Here!

Looking for Sunday’s schedule? Click Here!

Need Tickets? www.baltimorecomiccon.com/tickets/

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