Hero Initiative Attends Fan Expo Dallas 2015 – SpongeBob and the Massive Artists to Anchor Booth.
LOS ANGELES, CA -May 21, 2015- Hero Initiative, the non-profit that aids comic book veterans in medical and financial need, is attending Fan Expo Dallas May 29-31 at the Dallas Convention Center, in Dallas, Texas!
Hero’s booth will be the ONLY place to meet SpongeBob SquarePants and Mad artist David DeGrand and The Massive artist Kristian Donaldson throughout the weekend! Don’t miss out and make sure you come by for signatures and sketches. All proceeds benefit Hero Initiative!
A number of other Hero Initiative ambassadors will be all over the con floor, signing for Hero Initiative! Look for them all, including: Amanda Conner, Steve Epting, Chad Hardin, Bob Layton, Greg Pak, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Brandon Peterson.
About The Hero Initiative
The Hero Initiative is the first-ever federally chartered not-for-profit corporation dedicated strictly to helping comic book creators in need. Hero creates a financial safety net for yesterday’s creators who may need emergency medical aid, financial support for essentials of life, and an avenue back into paying work. It’s a chance for all of us to give back something to the people who have given us so much enjoyment.
Since its inception, The Hero Initiative has had the good fortune to grant over $700,000 to the comic book veterans who have paved the way for those in the industry today. For more information, visit www.heroinitiative.org or call 626-676-6354.
Every pony is unique! If you lived in Equestria, what would your CUTIE MARK be? The Cutie Marks Crusaders can help you find out! MY LITTLE PONY–FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC: ADVENTURES OF THE CUTIE MARK CRUSADERS is coming to DVD on February 24, 2015 in the U.S. and Canada from Shout! Factory Kids in collaboration with Hasbro Studios. Offered as a bonus feature is a fun new sing-along and coloring sheets!
I was ten years old when I got my first My Little Pony doll. Back then, the ponies had sad, dreamy looking eyes with round faces. I collected a number of them, my favorite being the one with shamrocks on its butt; the phrase “cutie mark” hadn’t come along yet. The most exciting thing you could expect to do with your pony was brush its hair. Soon after, a cartoon series premiered. As a kid in the ’80s I can tell you, it was pretty lame. Fast forward 20 years. I was married with a little girl who was in love with My Little Pony. For years, I’ve watched this child obsess over every detail of every pony. The toys evolved in appearance and developed an incredibly in-depth back story. By 2010, animator and writer Lauren Faust (The Power Puff Girls) gave the world My Little Pony–Friendship is Magic, bringing the franchise a commercial success never imagined. Here is some information about the new DVD:
“In EQUESTRIA, obtaining a CUTIE MARK is an important coming-of-age moment for a young Pony. After all, Ponies acquire their CUTIE MARKS only after they discover a unique characteristic about themselves, setting them apart from all other Ponies. So when Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo and Apple Bloom meet, they instantly become friends and make it their mission to find their CUTIE MARKS! They are the Cutie Mark Crusaders!”
My daughter is 16.5 years old now and a Junior in High School. I wish you could have seen her face when I told her that I’d been tasked with reviewing this DVD! We watched it together and she provided detailed commentary during and after every episode. That right there was worth every moment.
As a family who were long-time fans of The Power Puff Girls, it was easy to fall in love with the Friendship is Magic series. In fact, the characters of Sweetie Bell, Scootaloo and Apple Bloom are essentially a redux of the PPG’s Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup characters. But, the pop culture references don’t stop there. Parents watching this series with their children will be entertained by look-a-like Ponies that pop up in every episode. Any cartoon that can find a way to work in ‘Doctor Whooves‘ gets two thumbs up from me. Keep an eye out on this DVD for the ‘cast’ of The Big Lebowski at the bowling alley.
These Generation 4 My Little Pony characters are a lot of fun to watch no matter what your age. Each character, as expressed by their Cutie Mark, represents an aspect of friendship. The series offers good moral messages for young children. Though, its most impressive to me how this series has touched so many teens and even adults with its inside humor and positive messages. Having spawned an entire sub-culture of fans across the globe, My Little Pony has united many people in a fandom that will be around for many, many years to come. It is a far cry from the Pony days of my youth. I, for one, am glad to see this franchise re-imagined for a new generation. The target demographic is young girls aged 4-7, however this series is one that is highly enjoyed by every member of my household regardless of age or gender. I would highly recommend this DVD to those interested in joining the Pony movement. With 5 individual episodes and approx. 110 minutes running time, The Adventures of the Cutie Mark Crusaders will win your family over!
“For even more Pony fun, PlayDate Digital has announced the new Cutie Pox Storybook App. When Apple Bloom becomes impatient waiting for her Cutie Mark, she decides to take things into her own hooves! In this interactive story book, follow Apple Bloom and the fillies as they learn that taking the easy path toward your goals isn’t always the best way. Enter the world of Equestria in this story book adventure full of excitement, humor and friendship! The release of “Cutie Mark Crusaders” marks the first of a series of planned collaborations between PlayDate Digital and Shout! Factory to cross-promote My Little Pony–Friendship is Magic stories and media. In this collaboration, products contain promotional material highlighting a variety of products. In addition, Shout! Factory and PlayDate will host contests and offer value-added bonus material.”
Episodes: The Cutie Mark Chronicles, The Cutie Pox, Flight to the Finish, Pinkie Pride, and Twilight Time.
Bonus Features: Sing-Along, Coloring Sheets, and More!
Also available on DVD from Shout! Factory Kids: My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks; My Little Pony Equestria Girls; My Little Pony-Friendship is Magic: Spooktacular Pony Tales; My Little Pony-Friendship is Magic: The Keys of Friendship; My Little Pony-Friendship is Magic: A Dash of Awesome; My Little Pony-Friendship is Magic: A Pony for Every Season; My Little Pony-Friendship is Magic: Princess Twilight Sparkle; My Little Pony-Friendship is Magic: Pinkie Pie Party; My Little Pony-Friendship is Magic: Adventures in the Crystal Empire; My Little Pony-Friendship is Magic: Royal Pony Wedding; My Little Pony-Friendship is Magic: Season Three; My Little Pony-Friendship is Magic: Season Two; My Little Pony-Friendship is Magic: Season One; My Little Pony-Friendship is Magic: The Friendship Express; My Little Pony The Complete Series (Classic); My Little Pony: Escape from Catrina and Other Adventures; My Little Pony: Classic Movie Collection; My Little Pony: A Very Minty Christmas; My Little Pony: Twinkle Wish Adventure.
About Hasbro Studios:
Hasbro Studios is responsible for entertainment brand-driven storytelling for Hasbro across television, film, commercial productions and short-form content. It develops, produces and distributes TV shows based on Hasbro’s world class brands, including TRANSFORMERS, MY LITTLE PONY, LITTLEST PET SHOP and FAMILY GAME NIGHT. Many of these shows air on Discovery Channel Family Channel and on networks in more than 180 territories globally. Since its formation in 2009, the studio has received nine Daytime Emmy wins.
On the film side, the studio has developed and produced a number of features based on Hasbro’s brands. In addition to partnering with leading studios, the company intends to make movies based on new and existing Hasbro brands for audiences globally through Allspark Pictures film label. Films in development or planned for release include OUIJA (Universal), CANDY LAND (Sony), GI JOE 3 (Paramount), JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS (Universal and Allspark Pictures), MAGIC: THE GATHERING (21st Century Fox), and an animated feature based on MY LITTLE PONY (Allspark Pictures).
About Shout! Factory:
Shout! Factory, LLC is a diversified multi-platform entertainment company devoted to producing, uncovering, preserving and revitalizing the very best of pop culture. Founders Richard Foos, Bob Emmer and Garson Foos have spent their entire careers sharing their music, television and film favorites with discerning consumers the world over. Shout! Factory’s DVD and Blu-Ray offerings serve up feature films, classic and contemporary TV series, animation, live music and comedy specials in lavish packages crammed with extras. Shout’s audio division boasts GRAMMY nominated box sets, new releases from storied artists, lovingly assembled album reissues and indispensable “best of” compilations. In addition, Shout! Factory maintains a vast digital distribution network which delivers video and audio content to all the leading digital service providers in North America. Shout! Factory also owns and operates Timeless Media Group, Biograph Records, Majordomo Records, HighTone Records and Video Time Machine. These riches are the result of a creative acquisition mandate that has established the company as a hotbed of cultural preservation and commercial reinvention. Shout! Factory is based in Santa Monica, California. For more on Shout! Factory, visit shoutfactory.com
WWE’s The Wyatt Family and Stars from The Walking Dead to Appear at Wizard World Ohio Comic Con 2014
WWE® Superstars The Wyatt Family™, Sean Astin, Giancarlo Esposito, ‘The Walking Dead’ Stars Alanna Masterson, Andrew J. West, Jon Bernthal, Top Comics Creators At Pop Culture Festival At Greater Columbus Convention Center.
COLUMBUS, Ohio, August 28, 2014 – Steven Yeun, Norman Reedus, Emily Kinney, Alanna Masterson, Andrew J. West and Jon Bernthal of “The Walking Dead,” Karl Urban (Star Trek, The Bourne Supremacy), Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street) and WWE® Superstars The Wyatt Family™ are among the celebrities scheduled to attend Wizard World Ohio Comic Con, October 31-November 2 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. It is the 14th of 16 events scheduled in the 2014 series produced by Wizard World, Inc. (OTCBB: WIZD) and will also feature a top-drawer collection of well-known comics artists and writers and a variety of activities, exhibitors and special attractions.
Yeun, Reedus, Kinney, Masterson, West, Urban and Englund will appear on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 1-2; the WWE stars (Bray Wyatt, Erick Rowan, Luke Harper) will attend on Saturday only; Bernthal is scheduled for all three days.
Other notables scheduled include Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Rudy), Giancarlo Esposito (“Once Upon a Time,” “Breaking Bad”), the “Charmed” trio of Shannen Doherty, Holly Marie Combs and Brian Krause, Manu Bennett (The Hobbit; An Unexpected Journey, “Arrow”), Eric Roberts (“Doctor Who,” The Dark Knight), Jason David Frank (“Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers”), Josh Gates (“Destination Truth: Memoirs of a Monster Hunter”), Verne Troyer (Austin Powers, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone) and Steve Gonsalves (“Ghost Hunters”).
Superstar comics creators scheduled to attend include Patrick and Shelly Block (“Donald Duck,” “Uncle Scrooge”), Michael Golden (“Hulk,” “Star Wars”), Kevin Maguire (“Justice League,” “Batman Confidential”), James O’Barr (“The Crow”), Barry Kitson (“Thor,” “Spider-Man”), Joanna Estep (“The Fantastic Four,” “Bravest Warriors”), Renee Witterstaetter (“She Hulk,” “Avengers”) and Rob Prior (“Heavy Metal,” “Spawn the Impaler”).
Wizard World Comic Con events bring together thousands of fans of all ages to celebrate the best in pop-fi, pop culture, movies, graphic novels, cosplay, comics, toys, video gaming, television, sci-fi, gaming, original art, collectibles, contests and more. Wizard World Ohio Comic Con show hours are Friday, Oct. 31, 3-8 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 1, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 2, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
A first-class lineup of topical programming takes place all three days at the event, with celebrity Q&A’s, the Wizard World Film Festival, comics-themed sessions, costume contest, movie screenings, evening parties and more. Sunday, Nov. 2, is also Kids Day, with an array of activities and programming specially designed for the younger Wizard World fans.
Ohio Comic Con is also the place for cosplay, with fans young and old showing off their best costumes throughout the event. Fans dressed as every imaginable character – and some never before dreamed – will roam the convention floor, often stopping by the Show Stage, the ideal place to see and be seen.
For more on the 2014 Wizard World Ohio Comic Con, visit http://wizd.me/OhioPR.
About Wizard World:
Wizard World (OTCBB: WIZD) produces Comic Cons and pop culture conventions across North America that celebrate graphic novels, comic books, movies, TV shows, gaming, technology, toys and social networking. The events often feature celebrities from movies and TV, artists and writers, and events such as premieres, gaming tournaments, panels, and costume contests.
The full event schedule can be found at http://www.wizd.me/PR.
NYCC Eastern Championships of Cosplay to Debut at New York Comic Con 2014
First Stop in “Quest for the Crown” Cosplay Competition Circuit to Play Out at NYCC and Lay Foundation for Search to Find Best Cosplayer on the Planet.
New York – August 25, 2014 – Today, ReedPOP, the world’s leading producer of pop culture events, announces the debut of a new Cosplay championship at this year’s New York Comic Con (NYCC). The inaugural NYCC Eastern Championships of Cosplay will be the biggest and most prestigious costume contest on the East Coast and will serve as the first stop in the “Quest for the Crown,” a new Cosplay competition circuit that celebrates the very best in Cosplay design from all over the world.
Cosplay veterans, former champions and amateurs alike will battle it out for a shot at the NYCC Eastern Championship Crown and over $10,000 in cash and prizes. The Eastern Champion of Cosplay will represent the East Coast in the C2E2 Crown Championships of Cosplay in Chicago in April 2015, the final round in the Quest for the Crown competition. Thousands of NYCC fans will watch in person and millions of people around the world will tune in via the New York Comic Con live stream to witness the spectacle and pageantry of this fun-filled competition celebrating the best Cosplayers the East Coast has to offer — entries spanning the worlds of comics, movies, television, video games, anime, manga, science fiction and fantasy!
“The Crown Championships of Cosplay began in Chicago last year, and we’re excited to now introduce this new leg of our Cosplay tournament here,” said Lance Fensterman, Global Senior Vice President of ReedPOP. “We love the evolution and growth of our contests — we’ve seen the best Chicago has to offer, and we look forward to expanding this now to reward the passion, dedication and craftsmanship of Cosplayers around America… and ultimately the planet.”
The Crown Championships of Cosplay debuted at ReedPOP’s Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo earlier this year, and New York Comic Con represents the kick-off of a larger Quest for the Crown competition that will span multiple events, all leading up to a final again set in ReedPOP’s C2E2. ReedPOP, with over 15 events around the globe, looks forward to setting up additional stops in the Quest for the Crown from the US to Australia, creating a new, worldwide platform to showcase the Cosplay community.
NYCC Eastern Championships of Cosplay Prizes will include:
First Place/Best in Show
- Two VIP Tickets for C2E2 2015
- $1,500 Cash
- Airfare – within the continental US to C2E2 2015
- Hotel for two nights in Chicago for C2E2 2015
- Automatic Entry into the final round of the Crown Championships of Cosplay at C2E2
- $100 Gift Card to ReedPOP Supply Co.
- Two VIP Tickets for NYCC 2015
- $1,000 Cash
- $50 Gift Card for ReedPOP Supply Co.
- Two 4-Day Tickets for NYCC 2015
- $500 Cash
- $25 Gift Card to ReedPOP Supply Co.
Fans can register here for the NYCC Eastern Championships of Cosplay, starting today. All submissions must be in by 11:59 PM EDT on Friday, September 19.
ReedPOP is a boutique group within Reed Exhibitions, which is exclusively devoted to organizing events, launching and acquiring new shows and partnering with premium brands in the pop culture arena. ReedPOP is dedicated to producing celebrations of popular culture throughout the world that transcend ordinary events by providing unique access and dynamic personal experiences for consumers and fans. The ReedPOP portfolio includes: New York Comic Con (NYCC), Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2), Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) Prime, East and South, Star Wars Celebration, and the UFC Fan Expo. In 2013, ReedPOP added Star Wars Celebration Europe and PAX Australia to its rapidly expanding portfolio of international events. The staff at ReedPOP is a fan based group of professionals producing shows for other fans, thus making them uniquely qualified to service those with whom they share a common passion. ReedPOP is focused on bringing its expertise and knowledge to world communities in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Australia and the Asia/Pacific. (www.reedpop.com)
ESL One to make competitive gaming history during New York Super Week this October at Madison Square Garden
(New York) August 13, 2014 – ESL, the world’s largest, independent eSports brand, is proud to announce their next groundbreaking Dota 2 tournament will be held in The Theater at Madison Square Garden October 9-10, serving as the crown jewel of interactive entertainment for ReedPOP‘s inaugural New York Super Week. As the largest in-person competitive gaming event ever held on the East Coast, thousands of video game enthusiasts will watch the top eSports teams in the world compete in the finals of a global Dota 2 tournament. In partnership with Twitch, the world’s leading online video platform and community for gamers, the event will be live broadcast on ESL’s Twitch channel. In addition, joinDOTA will once again join the team as ESL’s coverage partner, providing on-air talent for the show.
Combining the world’s most passionate fans with the innovators of the eSports industry, ESL, Twitch and ReedPOP will present the largest eSports event ever in New York City – and a cornerstone of New York Super Week, a 10 day long festival with over 60 nerdy, geeky, cool pop culture events across all five boroughs of NYC in the lead up to this year’s New York Comic Con! This prestigious event will feature eight of the top Dota 2 teams in a battle for $100,000. Details about the roster and information about invitees and qualification will be released in the coming weeks.
“By staging this event at the iconic Madison Square Garden, we’re going to see history in the making,” said James Lampkin, Product Manager for ESL One. “ReedPOP, Twitch and ESL are coming together to create something special that New York City has never seen before.”
Lance Fensterman, Global Senior Vice President of ReedPOP added, “ESL and Twitch are helping to make the first ever New York Super Week the ultimate celebration of pop culture in New York City and bring the fan experience to the next level. This is a keystone event in a week filled with amazing programming and will set the bar for future events.”
The event comes off the back of ESL One Frankfurt, which took place on June 28th-29th this year. Competition saw eight teams take to the stage in a World Cup Football stadium (Commerzbank-Arena, Germany) for an event that broke viewership and attendance numbers worldwide. Over 12,500 visitors attended the stadium each day to watch the action unfold live on a 412m2 screen, with an additional peak of over 500,000 concurrent viewers watching the show online.
Twitch has worked with ESL since 2011. Since that time, enthusiasts from over 180 countries have tuned in to watch ESL’s content on Twitch. Twitch recorded a peak of over 280,000 concurrent viewers on a single stream during IEM Cologne in 2013. This was broken only a few months later during the IEM Katowice 2014, when the concurrent viewership in the Western world peaked at 643,000 across all games at the event.
“eSports are not only rivaling traditional sporting events, they’re eclipsing them, especially when it comes to the live online viewership numbers on Twitch,” said Kevin Lin, COO, Twitch. “In partnership with ReedPOP and ESL, we’re bringing to the US more of what the audience wants – big events at historical venues. This ESL One milestone-setting Madison Square Garden event is testament to the future of the eSports industry.”
To find out more about the tournament, visit http://www.esl-one.com. You can also learn more about the qualifiers by following @ESL on Twitter.
About ESL – The world’s largest, independent eSports brand, leading the industry across various games with numerous online and offline competitions. This includes high profile international and national leagues and tournaments such as the Intel® Extreme Masters, ESL One, ESL Pro Series, Starcraft® II World Championship Series, as well as grassroots amateur cups, leagues and matchmaking systems. ESL covers a broad field of services in gaming technology, event management, advertising and TV production, fully catering to the needs of the eSport’s ecosystem. With offices in Germany, Russia, France, Poland, Spain, China and North America, it has a true global footprint. www.eslgaming.com
About ESL One – In ESL One, teams and players from all over the world compete in an eSports tournament unlike any other. Featuring the games Dota 2, Counter-Strike Global Offensive and Battlefield 4, ESL One gives out hundreds of thousands in prize money every year. With events taking place in sports stadiums all over the world, it puts the players in front of enthusiastic audiences, cheering them on in their attempt to secure the one trophy and the glory that comes with it. www.esl-one.com
About Twitch – Twitch is the world’s leading video platform and community for gamers where more than 55 million gather every month to broadcast, watch and talk about video games. Twitch’s video platform is the backbone of both live and on-demand distribution for the entire video game ecosystem. This includes game developers, publishers, media outlets, events, user generated content, and the entire eSports scene. In February 2014, Wall Street Journal ranked Twitch as the 4th largest website in terms of peak internet traffic in the U.S., fortifying the brand as an entertainment industry leader and the epicenter of social video for gamers. For more information visit: www.twitch.tv.
About Dota 2® – Dota 2®, released in 2013, is an Action RTS (Real Time Strategy) game from developer, Valve Software. Acting as a stand-alone sequel to Defense of the Ancients, the computer game combines action and strategy in an exciting fantasy world. Players pick from a pool of over a hundred heroes, forming two teams of five players. Actively played by millions of individuals, the game continues to grow and excite the gaming community.
About ReedPOP – ReedPOP is a boutique group within Reed Exhibitions, which is exclusively devoted to organizing events, launching and acquiring new shows, and partnering with premium brands in the pop culture arena. ReedPOP is dedicated to producing celebrations of popular culture throughout the world that transcend ordinary events by providing unique access and dynamic personal experiences for consumers and fans. The ReedPOP portfolio includes: New York Comic Con (NYCC), Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2), Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) Prime, East, South and Australia, Star Wars Celebration, Special Edition: NYC, Oz Comic-Con, BookCon and the UFC Fan Expo. In 2013, ReedPOP (has) added Star Wars Celebration Europe and PAX Australia to its rapidly expanding portfolio of international events. The staff at ReedPOP is a fan based group of professionals producing shows for other fans, thus making them uniquely qualified to service those with whom they share a common passion. ReedPOP is focused on bringing its expertise and knowledge to world communities in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia/Pacific (including Australia). (www.reedpop.com)
Transformers Cybertron: The Complete Series! Relive the Adventures of This Classic Animated TV Series in One Complete Set! Own This Collectible 7-DVD Set on August 5 2014 from Shout! Factory.
I have to admit, I was eagerly awaiting this series release from Shout! Factory. After reviewing the Armada and Energon series, the completionist in me was actually excited to see the arrival of this Transformers collection. Here is the scoop on Cybertron:
“This summer, relive some of the most astonishing classic action battles of ROBOTS IN DISGUISE and complete your home entertainment collection of the rare UNICRON Trilogy. In 2005, TRANSFORMERS fans were introduced to the animated series TRANSFORMERS CYBERTRON, the third installment of the rare UNICRON Trilogy–consisting of ARMADA, ENERGON and CYBERTRON. UNICRON has been defeated, but his destruction has created a black hole, which is threatening the AUTOBOTS’ home world of CYBERTRON. It’s up to OPTIMUS PRIME, his team of AUTOBOTS and their new human friends–Coby, Lori and Bud–to secure the four mystical Cyber Planet Keys, in order to destroy the black hole. Unfortunately, MEGATRON and the DECEPTICONS are always lurking. And if the Cyber Planet Keys fall into their hands, it could mean the end of life as we know it. The race is on!”
As I said of the Energon series, “None of the Transformers series have ever been perfect. It’s all in what you choose to take away from the experience.” That same philosophy applies when watching the Cybertron series. The CGI was on par with, if not slightly better than, its predecessor. I wish that they had developed the animation a little more, rather than reusing some of the same footage over and over for many of the transformation and fight sequences. But that is easily forgivable. Remember, He-Man was practically the same shots in every episode. If they can get away with it, so can the Transformers. But I digress. The English dubbing was greatly improved over previous efforts. I guess after the harsh criticisms that were received for the shortcomings of Armada and Energon, a little extra care was taken this go round. The noticeable efforts paid off.
As for the plot….meh. I mean, it’s the Transformers. I wasn’t wholly enthralled by the story lines of the previous two series, so why should this one be any different? It takes a few episodes for the story to really pick up. Then mid-series, Cybertron becomes somewhat repetitive with the racing (fans of the show will know what I’m talking about). Eventually, they get back on board with the original plot and the pace of the series really gains momentum. It’s always fun to see fan favorites like Starscream, Galvatron and Wing Saber in action. And, who doesn’t love it when Optimus Prime yells “Roll Out” to the Autobots?
All in all, Transformers Cybertron was exactly what you’d expect from a Transformers series. The show improved with each installment of the trilogy. Cybertron was a fun way to close out the Unicron epoch. Shout! Factory did a wonderful job putting these series together in a DVD collection any fan will enjoy. The Unicron series is a great way to introduce younger children to the wonderment that is the Transformers. All three installments have been reasonably priced and are an affordable way to expand your Transformers collection. Reviewing all three series has indeed been entertaining. Honestly, I would rather watch the Transformers Cybertron series over any of the Michael Bay films.
“On August 5, 2014, Shout! Factory, in collaboration with Hasbro Studios, will release TRANSFORMERS CYBERTRON: THE COMPLETE SERIES, featuring all action-packed episodes collected in one deluxe 7-DVD box set. Whether reliving the childhood memory or discovering this series for the first time, this is an essential home collection for every fan, collectors and entire family to complete their TRANSFORMERS home entertainment library. This complete series 7-DVD set is priced to own at $44.99 SRP.”
About Hasbro Studios:
Hasbro Studios is the Los Angeles-based entertainment division of Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAS). The studio is responsible for entertainment brand-driven storytelling for the company across television, film, commercial productions and short-form. It develops, produces and distributes TV shows based on Hasbro’s world class brands, including TRANSFORMERS, MY LITTLE PONY, LITTLEST PET SHOP, and FAMILY GAME NIGHT. Many of these shows air on the Hub Network, a U.S. television network for kids and their families, that is a joint venture between Hasbro and Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK). Hasbro Studios shows can also be seen on networks in more than 180 territories globally. Since its formation in 2009, the studio has received seven Daytime Emmy wins and 16 nominations. On the film side, the studio is developing and producing a number of features based on Hasbro’s brands, including TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION (Paramount), G.I. Joe 3 (Paramount) and CANDY LAND (Sony). The studio team also oversees the production of commercials that feature Hasbro’s brands as well as production of short-form content that can be seen on all of the major digital and social media platforms globally.
About Shout! Factory:
Shout! Factory, LLC is a diversified multi-platform entertainment company devoted to producing, uncovering, preserving and revitalizing the very best of pop culture. Founders Richard Foos, Bob Emmer and Garson Foos have spent their entire careers sharing their music, television and film favorites with discerning consumers the world over. Shout! Factory’s DVD and Blue-Ray offerings serve up feature films, classic and contemporary TV series, animation, live music, and comedy specials in lavish packages crammed with extras. Shout’s audio division boasts GRAMMY nominated “best of” compilations. In addition, Shout! Factory maintains a vast digital distribution network which delivers video and audio content to all the leading digital service providers in North America. Shout! Factory also owns and operates Timeless Media Group, Biograph Records, Majordomo Records, HighTone Records and Video Time Machine. These riches are the result of a creative acquisition mandate that has established the company as a hotbed of cultural preservation and commercial reinvention. Shout! Factory is based in Santa Monica, California.
A special look inside Creation Entertainment’s Salute to Supernatural DC May 2-4, 2014 Convention.
Creation Entertainment was founded in 1971 by Gary Berman and Adam Malin, two youths with a shared vision of “traveling” fan conventions. Producing “live, interactive” shows, Creation Entertainment soon cornered the market on Star Trek conventions. Being fans of Sci-Fi, Berman and Malin began producing scores of genre-specific events that showcased individual movies and television series. Their policies are “not to oversell its venues” and “guarantees a seat in the main theatre for all ticket holders to see all guest appearances and attractions.” Having only ever attended conventions that sell until the Fire Marshall arrives and institutes the one-out-one-in policy, I couldn’t wrap my head around how this could work. I’m used to large convention centers, massive halls and ballrooms lined with tables of celebrities signing autograph after autograph. Even if you purchased your tickets in advance, you could spend an entire weekend standing in line and risk missing celebrity panels and photo-ops. Surely, an entire convention devoted to the CW series Supernatural, which is coming into its 10th season, couldn’t be confined to seats in a singular theatre, could it?
When I interviewed Barry Bostwick in March of 2014, he had this to say about Supernatural, “That show [Supernatural] has such a fan base! We were at a convention once where there was a whole panel of just people from Supernatural; people who maybe only did it twice. And the audience was rabid. I mean RABID. It was amazing!” (Bostwick appeared in a single episode of Supernatural). I have to be honest; I half-expected this weekend to be a hot mess. I was never more excited to be proven wrong!
The convention was held at the Double Tree by Hilton hotel in Crystal City, Arlington, VA, which is basically Washington DC. I should mention that an announcement was made that this was to be their first and only show in the DC area. Climate control was a major issue, with some areas too hot to breathe and other areas too cold. This, however, is a venue issue and not a convention issue. But since it was the only complaint I heard from attendees, I felt the need to mention it. We visited the vendor room downstairs first. I’d come to expect a sea of small store fronts. Surprisingly, there were less than a dozen vendors to shop with. Save for a handful of tables with handmade jewelry and vinyl stickers, the majority of the items for sale were top quality, officially licensed Supernatural products. What are we supposed to do during “down time” if we don’t have 100 booths of fan junk to sift through each day? The big laugh here is that I actually thought there would be “down time” at this show.
We returned to the lobby where the main stage theatre was located. The lines at the registration and photo-op ticketing tables were moving along in a timely manner. Volunteers at the theatre door were checking wristbands and credentials, guiding fans to their designated seats. With your ticket purchase, you are assigned a specific seat for the entire weekend. This meant you didn’t have to worry about lines, since you already knew where your seat would be. We took our place alongside the videographer, one of the many friendly volunteers at the show. Her name was Rachael Augsburger and she’s been volunteering exclusively with Creation Entertainment for 4 years. “It’s always so much fun,” she said. “No other show is put together like this. And I love meeting all the guests who visit us from so far away. We’ve had people from South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom.” As we chatted, I watched throngs of fans file into the room. No one was rushing around. No one was pushing to get closer to the stage. In a virtual sea of plaid-flannel and tan-Trenchcoats, fans were courteous and pleasant. I’d never seen anything like it. Adam Malin took the stage to make a few quick announcements. And then, the stars of the show literally took over the convention.
Dressed in patriotic garb, the house band entered the theatre in a military style march. They called themselves the Elastic Waste Band, but are professionally known as Louden Swain. The band is fronted by Supernatural cast member, Rob Benedict (Chuck), who adopted the stage name “Tango“. The band rocked from open until close each day of the convention, alternating between classic rock songs and original material. They were quickly joined by cast member, Richard Speight, Jr. (Gabriel/Trickster) who was our emcee for the weekend, and who described the long theatre room as being, “Like Jared [Padalecki] laying down; it keeps going and going and ends up in a pile of hair.” Speight and Benedict controlled the rhythm and pacing of the panels, both literally and figuratively, keeping the events as close to the program schedule as possible. For two cast members that had never worked together on the show, their friendship and quick-witted rapport was contagious. I am of the opinion that they should have their own late night talk show. That, or they should host every convention, every where. Forever.
Beyond being called out for photograph and autograph sessions, and perhaps the occasional visit to the lavatory, there was no need to leave the theatre. The momentum never ceased to build. Stars would come in and share in a mutually entertaining hour with the fans. There was a microphone set up at both stage left and right where fans could line the walls and wait their turn to talk to the stars. As each celebrity appearance ended, that guest would journey to another room in the hotel for private meet and greets, autograph sessions and photo-ops. But as I said, there was no “down time”. The time between guest appearances was filled with activities within the theatre such as trivia contests, a costume contest, a no-minimum-bid auction, music videos (made by fans), and a tribute to the “Angels, Demons and Other Creatures of Supernatural”. The entire weekend was one of perpetual motion. By the time I went to bed Friday night, I was physically exhausted! Kudos to Rob Benedict, by the way, for his energy, commitment and devotion to the fans and the show. Benedict suffered a stroke at last year’s Toronto Con. But he was back and in top form, outlasting the Energizer Bunny. Truly inspirational!
Benedict wasn’t the only heart-warming aspect of the show. Rachel Miner (Meg) made a late evening appearance on Sunday. Miner, who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, was an example of strength in the face of adversity; a definite highlight for Supernatural fans. Over the weekend, various items were auctioned off with the proceeds going to an MS charity in her honor. Two things I love: shopping and philanthropy. I donated $70 and came away with quite a haul. Creation Entertainment also donates a table at every show to Random Acts, a non-profit organization started by cast member, Misha Collins (Castiel). Random Acts collects monetary and tangible donations at every event and donates them to a local charity in that particular city. This show’s donations went to support a local food bank in the DC area. On Saturday, Collins did a live, one-hour event through Stageit, broadcasting from the convention over the internet. Collins screened two the short films from his TSA America: Level Orange series, while fans in the audience and worldwide logged in to Stageit and made donations to help fund Random Acts. “Small sacrifices in your life can help other people’s lives in a big way,” said Collins. The selfless generosity displayed that day was overwhelming.
As Bostwick teased, Supernatural fans are rabid. As with any fandom, there will always be a contingency of people who take such possessive ownership over their beloved characters, that they tend to ruin it for everyone else. Those people are the reason the stars must find a working balance between connecting with the fans and maintaining a healthy distance. Thankfully, the majority of fans bond over their shared love, some returning time and again, following Creation Entertainment shows like rock concerts. For Alex Harbet, 20, this was her fourth time at one of their shows. “I prefer these conventions to other ones, especially the way they run the photo-ops. You actually get quality time with the stars. This is just awesome.” Cassandra Martin, a first time attendee, had a lot to say about her experience. “All of the volunteers are very kind. The photographer, Chris, is amazing and never takes a bad picture. This whole weekend has been very personalized. The lines move quickly, but when you are up there getting autographs or pictures, you never feel like you are being rushed. You definitely get your money’s worth.” Martin and her friend lost over a $1,000 in photo and autograph tickets and lost all hope for the weekend. The staff of volunteers quickly rallied, making announcements and getting other guests involved. Their tickets were recovered. “They were so helpful in resolving that. I haven’t had a bad experience yet.”
It helps that so many of the volunteers have been with Creation Entertainment for years. Johanna Burris first attended one of their Twilight conventions 4 years ago. “It stuck,” she told us. “I knew I had to volunteer with them. Everyone here is like family. I have met friends I wouldn’t have otherwise, who will be with me forever.” We spoke with volunteers and staff who had been with the company from 3 to 23 years, completely dedicated to their business model and willing to travel around the c0untry to assist with productions. For this show, volunteers suggested the idea of utilizing a designated hashtag for fans to use, then broadcasting their Twitter and Instagram posts on the screens in the theatre all weekend long. The interactive nature of the convention pleased a lot of fans.
Personal highlights for me included:
Osric Chau (Kevin) appeared dressed in fellow character Dean Winchester’s Ren Faire inspired costume, reciting the famous speech from the film, Braveheart. “When I said I would cosplay at every single con, I just…I forgot how many there were!”
Gil McKinney (Henry Winchester) making his first Supernatural convention appearance, seemed slightly overwhelmed, but with his sense of humor and charm, he quickly adapted. “Years ago, I actually auditioned for the role of Sam Winchester. So, when they called me about the role of Henry, I was surprised. I mean, I didn’t even know the show was still on the air,” he laughed with the crowd.
Sebastian Roche (Balthazar) commanded the theatre like a bona fide rock star. Though he answered only 3 fan questions in an hour, they didn’t seem to mind. For Roche spent the majority of that time singing, dancing, running through the audience, and being his naughty, flirtatious self.
Mark Sheppard (Crowley) came down from the stage to console a young woman who had broken down in tears at the microphone. He also proceeded to erupt Misha Collins in a fit of laughter over a story about the Wind in the Willows, leaving Collins unable to speak.
Chad Lindberg (Ash) spent the majority of his time on stage regaling the crowd with tales from his own ghost-hunting experiences, even using a “ghost box” on stage to try and summon spirits to communicate within the theatre.
Cast members pranked Matt Cohen (John Winchester), Benedict, and Speight during their panel. Unbeknownst to them, a message was displayed across the screens that faced the audience that read “Jacques E. Normus Please remove your package from the registration table.” That’s how it was for most of the weekend. This family of actors laughed, talked, sang and played with one another just as you’d expect a real family would.
The costume contest on Saturday had, from my best guess, around 200 contestants. They paid tribute to the obvious and the more subtle only-a-true-fan-would-know-this aspects of the series. A separate judging was held of approximately 30 dressed as Castiel. Those fans were judged by the angel himself, Misha Collins. On Friday night, guests were treated to an 80s themed Karaoke party, where fans had the opportunity to sing on stage with their favorite stars. On Saturday night, the cast held a special Cabaret, or as Collins put it, “…a bad talent show.” The cast members sang a variety of songs, some solo, others duet and in groups, showcasing their talents beyond hunting demons. McKinney, who was a voice major, stole the show (and ruined a lot of women) when he sang John Legend’s hit, All of Me.
Of course, a Supernatural weekend wouldn’t be complete without the Winchester brothers, themselves, Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki. The pair attended an exclusive breakfast with fans, then for one sweet hour, they took to the theatre stage, thrilling fans and answering questions. I would imagine seeing them years ago at a convention was a wholly different experience. But, as a parent, I found their honesty refreshing. Ackles and Padalecki admitted to being tired and sleep deprived, and they seemed most genuine when telling stories about their children. Both men were taken aback when a fan thanked Ackles for “saving my life“. She had heard him tell a story about losing a friend, some years back, and it moved her. She has since been sober for 8 years and through streams of tears, wanted to present Ackles with her sobriety chip. Ackles was hesitant, reminding her of the significance of the chip, but she assured him it was what she wanted. Ackles reluctantly and emotionally accepted it with a hug. From there, they humbly told the audience of how they feel about the impact of what they do, on their fans. Said Ackles, “We may not be curing cancer. But we sure may be helping someone who has it.”
Over all, the entire weekend was nothing at all like I’d expected it to be. The pacing was smooth enough that hours could go by and I’d completely forget that I’d been in the same theatre all day. There was constantly something more to see and do. Of course, there were a number of technical difficulties with regards to multi-media and lighting, but you’ll have that any show from time to time. There was some time lost due to seating confusion during the Cabaret, but that was mostly because once the fans had taken their seats, the stars encouraged them to all move forward, closer to the stage. Officials quickly had them retract and send everyone back to their designated seats. Aside from that, I honestly did not hear a single complaint from any of the fans (and you’d best believe I do my share of eavesdropping in order to hear what people really think). The volunteers were knowledgeable, committed and friendly. Again, the element of the house band and emcee was absolutely wonderful and, in my opinion, a necessity that should be considered by all conventions. The idea of having an emcee, yet no moderator during the panels was somewhat risky, as stars can become “trapped” by a fan’s question and momentum can be lost, denying opportunities to other fans who are patiently waiting their turn. Conversely, the absence of a moderator allowed each star to speak freely and plainly with the fans and “shoot from the hip” rather than dole out stock answers to the same tired questions posed interview after interview at other conventions. This show was completely unstructured in a structured way; controlled chaos, if you will. And that environment suits Supernatural very well.
Creation Entertainment truly and pleasantly surprised me with the level of intimacy and element of fun with regards to the atmosphere of their Supernatural convention. According to Speight, “All four leads [Ackles, Padalecki, Sheppard, Collins] have signed on to do one year of conventions worldwide, so that all of the fans would know when and where they’d be and could plan to meet them. That’s rare for a TV show cast.” Indeed. Rarer still, is the ability of a cast nearly 10 years later, to have this much fun spending time together. I only wish we’d had as much time with Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki as we did Misha Collins throughout the weekend.
Thank you, Creation Entertainment, for allowing us the opportunity to be a part of your Salute to Supernatural DC. It was an exciting weekend filled with laughter, good deeds and quality “entertainment”. I would highly recommend your conventions to any fan eager for a unique experience!
To see a full schedule of Creation Entertainment’s upcoming fan conventions, visit creationent.com
Supernatural airs on the CW Network. Check your local listings.
For 12 years, Rick Fortenberry and Dave Hinson (of Dave’s Comics in Fort Mill, SC) have been delighting Charlotte area comic book collectors with their Charlotte Comicon. The show is held three times a year–in April, August and December–and never fails to entertain. I suppose this would be a good time to mention that I have been involved with this show in both a volunteer and working capacity for a couple of years now. But, I promise not to let personal feelings get in the way of an honest convention report.
The Charlotte Comicon averages between 1,100-2,000 visitors per show, with ages ranging from toddler to senior citizen. Most of them are die hard comic collectors, as this show is predominantly a ‘trade show’. With 35 vendors and 24 special guests (artists, authors, and so forth) at their April 13, 2014 show, there were plenty of treasures to be found. I have seen this show grow exponentially in recent years, even causing them to change venues to their current home at the Crown Plaza Executive Park Hotel.
One aspect of the show that has continued to expand is the Cosplay participation. Years ago, the number of attendees in costume was less than 100. Now, hundreds show up at Charlotte Comicon dressed not only as their favorite comic book characters, but recognizable characters from movies, television, novels, anime, manga, and more. This year’s spring show had 164 contestants just for their costume contest! I do not envy the job of the judges, whatsoever. There were multiple age divisions for competition and Honorable Mention awards given out as well. Winners from each division were given cash prizes that they could spend in the dealer room. The costume contest is one of the bigger draws for the younger crowd that attends each show.
Seeking to connect with their cosplay fan base, Fortenberry and Hinson arranged for a special Secrets of Cosplay panel. The hour-long panel featured professional cosplayers DJ Spider, Amberle Linnea, Todd Lacey, Eve Madison and ‘The Clown Prince of Charlotte’ Victor Goldberg. Each panelist addressed specific topics such as the politics of cosplay, construction tips, and staying in character. It was standing room only in the ballroom that housed the panel, as the audience hung on their every word. Some went so far as to take notes during the panel and many hands went up when it was time for the Q & A segment. I know a lot of the familiar faces who attend the Charlotte Comicon regularly came away from that session eager to put their knowledge to use. The level of costumes at the summer show should be extraordinary.
Another new addition to the spring show was the Tribute to Charlton Comics panel, featuring Michael Eury (Editor-in-Chief Back Issue Magazine), Dan Johnson (Comics Historian) and Fester Faceplant (Artist, Writer). This hour-long panel with Q & A gave a unique history of Charlton Comics, 1946-1985, and the original characters that ended up being acquired and re-imagined by the likes of DC Comics. I admit, I knew nothing going into this panel, but by the end was fascinated with the industry and the backstory of the likes of The Watchmen. The Charlton Arrow #1 was being sold in limited quantities after the panel. Charlton Arrow is a limited edition collection of stories by Charlton veterans as well as contributors from DC Comics, Marvel and Archie. This historical look at the world of comics was enough to make me hungry for more. I hope that Charlotte Comicon will continue to include such panels.
All in all, Charlotte Comicon is exactly what they claim to be: a family-friendly show. For six hours and $5.00 (free if you are in costume or under the age of 12) you can enjoy a day meeting authors, watching artists paint and draw bringing characters to life before your eyes, and take in one of the wackiest costume parades I have ever seen. Here’s where my honesty kicks in…if you have trouble with tight spaces, you might want to consider that when attending one of their shows. They get more and more crowded each time and maneuverability in the dealer room can be daunting at times, especially if you are wearing a costume. Beyond the tight quarters, I have never had a bad experience at a Charlotte Comicon.
There was a big announcement made at the spring show, however, that should alleviate some of the traffic. Fortenberry and Hinson will be adding a third ballroom for the remainder of the 2014 shows. This additional room will house a Toy Show, with vendors and collectibles as far as the eye can see. With comics in one room, toys and collectibles in another, and cosplay/panels in yet another room, even if their attendance doubles as a result, it shouldn’t feel crowded and will remain a fun and affordable outing for families. I’m looking forward to watching this little show grow and grow. Who knows? Perhaps in the near future it could end up being a full weekend? Until then, I don’t think Charlotte Comicon or its fans have anything to worry about.
The next show will be held from 10am to 4pm on August 3, 2014. Information can be found at charlottecomicon.com
VALIANT Announces VALIANT FIRST Exclusives and Programming for C2E2 2014 – With RAI, ARMOR HUNTERS, and More!
From April 25th-27th, Valiant will be unleashing a calvacade of VALIANT FIRST news and exclusives direct from C2E2 2014 – Chicago’s premier comics and pop culture convention!Join Valiant at Booth #317 for a weekend packed with signings from Valiant creators, including artist Clayton Henry (Harbinger, Archer & Armstrong), writer Justin Jordan (Shadowman, X-O Manowar #25), colorist Brian Reber (Unity, X-O Manowar), and more surprise guests! Plus, look for a ton of free giveaways and con-exclusive products, including the RAI #1 Graham Crackers Shared Exclusive Variant by fan favorite artist Kalman Andrasofszky (X-23)!
Limited to 750 copies, get the jump on the hotly anticipated debut title of the VALIANT FIRST publishing initiative with this exclusive, limited edition run of RAI #1 – the FIRST ISSUE of Valiant’s next ongoing series from superstar creators Matt Kindt (Unity, Mind MGMT) and Clayton Crain (Carnage, X-Force)! Arriving in comic shops everywhere on April 30th, discover the astonishing world of the 41st century with the all-new series unlike anything else in comics today! In the far future of 4001 A.D., Japan is a single endless city-state, governed by a benevolent artificial intelligence and policed by one lone enforcer – the mysterious Rai, spirit guardian of the rising sun. But, soon, a single bullet will shatter the peace it has taken 2,000 years to secure…Then, join us on Sunday, April 27th at 2:30 PM in Room #S403 for the VALIANT FIRST: RAI, ARMOR HUNTERS, AND BEYOND panel presentation! The coming of VALIANT FIRST begins at C2E2 with an all-new round of news, announcements, artwork and Q&A about the most in-demand publishing company in comics today. What do you read FIRST? All summer long, Valiant will be rocketing to the top of your read pile with VALIANT FIRST – an all-new initiative unleashing a major #1 issue by some of the most talented creators in comics each month from May onward. With the earth-shaking events of ARMOR HUNTERS – Valiant’s colossal summer crossover event – just weeks away, get the inside track on what happens next for X-O MANOWAR, UNITY, BLOODSHOT, HARBINGER, and more from an all-star panel of Valiant creators and staff, including writer Joe Harris (Armor Hunters: Bloodshot), artist Clayton Henry (Harbinger, Archer & Armstrong), colorist Brian Reber (Unity, X-O Manowar), Executive Editor Warren Simons, and Chief Creative Officer Dinesh Shamdasani.
For Valiant merchandise and more, visit ValiantStore.com.
For more information on C2E2, visit C2E2.com.
ANIME MIDWEST ANNOUNCES AKINORI ISOBE AND MASUMI KANO
Rosemont, Illinois – April 2, 2014 – President of Baby The Stars Shine Bright Akinori Isobe and designer Masumi Kano will be coming to Chicago in July for Anime Midwest. Anime Midwest is a Chicago anime and Japanese culture convention happening July 4-6, 2014 at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare.
Established in 1988, Baby, the Stars Shine Bright is a lolita fashion clothing brand founded by Akinori and Fumiyo Isobe in Tokyo, Japan. The sister brand, Alice and the Pirates, was created in 2004. Currently, BABY, the Stars Shine Bright boasts 28 shops across Japan, with flagship stores in both Paris and San Francisco. Akinori Isobe is current President of Baby The Stars Shine Bright.
Masumi Kano graduated from Bunka Women’s University and after graduation she started working for Baby The Stars Shine Bright as a designer.
Anime Midwest and BABY are hosting a Lolita Tea Party, with tickets scheduled to go on sale on April 5th.
The convention will also feature a BABY The Stars Shine Bright fashion show. Model applications, etc, will be available online soon at http://animemidwest.com/baby
More about the anime convention’s guests at http://animemidwest.com/guests
Almost 10,000 anime fans will come to the Hyatt Regency O’Hare from July 4-6, 2014 to take part in cosplay, concerts, gaming tournaments, formal dances, and more. Anime fans can make new friends, meet voice actors, and have a lot of fun. The convention also provides a ConSweet full of free soda and ramen. Pre-registration is encouraged, and can be found at animemidwest.com