Anime Midwest 2014 Announces Akinori Isobe and Masumi Kano

April 15, 2014 by  
Filed under Anime, Convention News, Illinois

Press Release:

ANIME MIDWEST ANNOUNCES AKINORI ISOBE AND MASUMI KANO

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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

Walker Stalker Con Brings Major Celebrities to Boston in June 2014

Walker Stalker Boston

Press Release:

WALKER STALKER CON BRINGS MAJOR CELEBRITIES FROM ZOMBIE, HORROR AND SCI‐FI FILMS AND TV SHOWS TO BOSTON THIS JUNE!

BOSTON, MA – Walker Stalker Con, a zombie and horror themed fan‐centric convention, will be held at The Westin Boston Waterfront in Boston, MA on June 13, 14 & 15, 2014. Fan access to celebrity guests will be the primary focus of this event.

In Atlanta, GA on November 1‐3, 2013, Walker Stalker Con made its debut where it assembled more “The Walking Dead” cast members than any other convention ever before, along with other actors from zombie and horror films. The inaugural event had over 10,500 attendees. In Chicago, IL on March 14‐16, 2014, Walker Stalker Con made its second appearance as a convention and the first Walker Stalker Con of 2014. Now, Walker Stalker Con has set its sights on Boston!

With cast members from “The Walking Dead” returning to the upcoming Boston convention, along with stars from other zombie and horror films, Walker Stalker Con continues to position itself to be particularly unique.

Walker Stalker Con is the fruit of The Walker Stalkers Podcast with James & Eric (www.thewalkerstalkers.com). The podcast began with an amazing trip to Senoia, GA where James & Eric were able to view the set of The Walking Dead and meet the incredible actors from the show. As a result of this experience, a podcast began and then the idea of a convention focused around recreating that same experience with the cast and crew of the show, along with talented actors and artists from other zombie shows, movies and art.

In April 2013, James and Eric decided a podcast wasn’t enough, so they launched a Zombie, Horror and Sci‐Fi themed fan‐centric convention called Walker Stalker Con (www.WalkerStalkerCon.com). “We hope to continue this same kind of access and involvement as we did with our successful convention in Atlanta,” say James Frazier and Eric Nordhoff, hosts of the podcast. “We want fans of TV shows, films and comics in this genre to have a chance to have real interaction with their favorite celebrities – not just a 10 second hand shake and photo opp.”

Walker Stalker Con is not just a convention. It is a fan meet‐up and an opportunity for each guest to come away feeling like they’ve had an amazing experience and became part of a greater community of zombie lovers! Walker Stalker Con is three days of events, panels, and experiences that zombie fans won’t find anywhere else!

Confirmed guests for the convention include (with more to be announced):

Norman Reedus (Daryl, The Walking Dead, Murphy, The Boondock Saints)

Sean Patrick Flanery (Connor, The Boondock Saints)

David Della Rocco (Rocco, The Boondock Saints)

Steven Yeun (Glenn, The Walking Dead)

Lawrence Gilliard Jr. (Bob, The Walking Dead)

Clifton Collins, Jr. (Romeo, The Boondock Saints II)

Alanna Masterson (Tara, The Walking Dead)

Nick Gomez (Tomas, The Walking Dead)

Emma Bell (Amy, The Walking Dead)

Madison Lintz (Sophia, The Walking Dead)

Vincent Ward (Oscar, The Walking Dead)

Travis Love (Shumpert, The Walking Dead)

Addy Miller (Zombie girl, The Walking Dead)

Meyrick Murphy (Meghan, The Walking Dead)

Judith O’Dea (Barbra, Night of the Living Dead)

Russ Streiner (Johnny, Night of the Living Dead)

The full list of guests can be found at http://www.walkerstalkercon.com/boston/guests/
and will be updated daily as guests are announced.

Walker Stalker Con kicks off on Friday, June 13th at noon. The exhibit floor will be open all three days featuring games, toys, comic and other memorabilia for true fans of zombie and horror.

This year, Walker Stalker Con will feature The Boondock Saints 15th Anniversary with a Q&A Panel from the cast and a viewing of the film.

The full event schedule can be found at http://www.walkerstalkercon.com/boston/schedule/.

Tickets for the event start as low as $35 for general admission and can be purchased at http://www.walkerstalkercon.com/boston/tickets/.
For more information, guest announcements and regular updates about Walker Stalker
Con please visit the website http://www.walkerstalkercon.com/boston/.

Follow on Twitter @WalkrStalkrCon, @WSCon_Boston, @Walker_Stalkers
On Facebook at Walker Stalker Convention

William Shatner, Sean Astin, Robert Englund, Etc. Headline Inaugural Wizard World Minneapolis Comic Con in May 2014

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Press Release:

William Shatner, Sean Astin, Robert Englund, Manu Bennett, Ralph Macchio Headline Celebrity Guests At Inaugural Wizard World Minneapolis Comic Con, May 2-4

Gilbert Gottfried, Dean Cain, James Marsters, Laurie Holden, Michael Rooker, Top Comics Creators At Pop Culture Festival At Minneapolis Convention Center

MINNEAPOLIS, March 11, 2014 – William Shatner (“Star Trek,” “T.J. Hooker”), Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings, Rudy), Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street), Manu Bennett (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Arrow), Ralph Macchio (The Karate Kid, My Cousin Vinny), Gilbert Gottfried (Problem Child, Beverly Hills Cop II) and Dean Cain (“Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman,” “Stars Earn Stripes”) are among the celebrities scheduled to attend the inaugural Wizard World Minneapolis Comic Con, May 2-4 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.It is the 6th 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.

Shatner will appear on Friday and Saturday, May 2-3; Astin will attend on Saturday and Sunday; the others are scheduled for all three days.

Other notables scheduled at press time include Laurie Holden, Jon Bernthal and Michael Rookerof “The Walking Dead,”James Marsters (“Buffy The Vampire Slayer,” “Torchwood”), Jason David Frank (“Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers”), James Hong (Blade Runner, Mulan), Lou Ferrigno (“The Incredible Hulk,” “The King of Queens”), Ian Ziering (“Beverly Hills 90210,” Sharknado) and the Boondock Saints duo of Sean Patrick Flanery and David Della Rocco.

Among the superstar comics creators scheduled to attend are Eisner Award Hall of Famer Neal Adams (“Batman,” “X-Men”), Ethan Van Sciver (“Green Lantern,” “Flash”), Mike Grell (“Green Arrow,” “Warlord”), Bob Layton (“Iron Man,” “Uncanny X-Men”), Barry Kitson (“Thor,” “Spider-Man”) and Kevin Maguire (“Justice League,” “Batman Confidential”), with more talented writers and artists to be announced.

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 Minneapolis Comic Con show hours are Friday, May 2, 3-8 p.m.; Saturday, May 3, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Sunday, May 4, 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, May 4, is also Kids Day, with an array of activities and programming specially designed for the younger Wizard World fans.

Minneapolis 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 Minneapolis Comic Con, visit http://www.wizardworld.com/home-minneapolis.html.

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 www.wizardworld.com.

Wizard World 2014-15 Schedule
March 28-30 – Wizard World Louisville Comic Con
April 4-6 – Wizard World St. Louis Comic Con
May 2-4 – Wizard World Minneapolis Comic Con
May 30-June 1 – Wizard World Atlanta Comic Con
June 19-22 – Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con
August 1-3 – Wizard World San Antonio Comic Con
August 21-24 – Wizard World Chicago Comic Con
September 12-14 – Wizard World Richmond Comic Con
September 26-28 – Wizard World Nashville Comic Con
October 2-4 – Wizard World Austin Comic Con
October 31-November 2 – Wizard World Ohio Comic Con
November 7-9 – Wizard World Tulsa Comic Con
November 21-23 – Wizard World Reno Comic Con
January 9-11, 2015 – Wizard World New Orleans Comic Con
January 23-25, 2015 – Wizard World Portland Comic Con
June 19-21, 2015 – Wizard World Sacramento Comic Con

 

Mad Monster Party Charlotte 2014 Con Report!

Tom Savini & Katie Bearden. Photo courtesy of Long Walk Productions.

Tom Savini & Katie Bearden. Photo courtesy of Long Walk Productions.

 

The Mad Monster Party returned to Charlotte this weekend, March 21-23, 2014, by far their biggest effort yet. This was the third year for the convention that celebrates everything from old school Twilight Zone to A House of 1,000 Corpses, and everything in between. In fact, where else could you find Leatherface himself, RA Mihailoff reciting the Bard with Shakespeare Carolina, while music legends The Misfits looked on? It was truly a bizarre weekend.

I had the great fortune to be invited by local independent film makers, Long Walk Productions, to hang with them at their vendor booth for the convention. This meant that my time was split between working the Con and also enjoying it from a visitor’s perspective. It’s interesting to see things from both sides of the house, especially if you want a clear impression of what is really going on around you. It’s always a good thing, unless of course you are reviewing a restaurant. In that case, I assure you…stay out of the kitchen.

The Mad Monster Party (MMP) was set up between two large ballrooms at the University Place Hilton in Charlotte. The hotel is situated by a small lake, amongst many shops and restaurants all connected by small footbridge. Parking was a little tricky, but almost always is at events such as these. MMP utilized every bit of space that they could, lining the hallways of the hotel with various vendor booths and installing a gala tent in the parking lot. Everywhere you turned, strange collectibles and stars of the macabre awaited. Upon set up Friday, it seemed as though everything was planned to perfection. Little did I know how busy things were in the lobby with people trying to get through Will Call with their pre-paid ticket receipts.

And then, of course, came Saturday. Saturdays are notorious for being the busiest convention day because that’s when most people are able to attend. It became evident quickly that the volunteer staff was not prepared to handle the situation. Social media began to explode with posts citing excessively long lines and ticketing issues among other things. Television and film star John Schneider, who was there to do a special screening of his new film Smothered, remained positive as he told me, “We had a good turnout [for the screening] but I wouldn’t do it on a Friday night again, because I’ve had a bunch of people say that they couldn’t get in last night because in order to see Smothered, they had to get in here first. And the line was too long, so by the time they got their ticket, Smothered was either already started or over.” Aside from that snafu, Schneider seemed rather pleased with the rest of MMP.

That seemed to be the consensus all around. Nightmare on Elm Street’s Heather Langenkamp, commenting on the amount of people waiting in line to meet her,  “It’s something like I have never experienced.” For the most part, vendors and celebrities were easily accessible, with no more than a 10 minute wait at any given time. But as Saturday progressed, maneuverability waned. Table lines grew wildly, specifically for William Shatner, Cassandra “Elvira” Peterson, and Corey Feldman. Traffic flow to the tables was not designated prior, so fans were coming at them from all sides. It was a complete cluster. Finally, someone had the sense to put some silver duct tape on the floor in front of Elvira’s table to split the flow of traffic in either direction. Feldman told me, “I think it’s [MMP] great, you know. It’s probably the biggest one I’ve seen outside of [San Diego] Comic Con, that would be my guess.

Joe Moe, one of the three event organizers, was on hand throughout the weekend, talking to vendors, guests, and overseeing things first hand. I witnessed him assess a pedestrian traffic jam and quickly remedy the situation by addressing volunteer staff and guests. Having been on the working side of conventions before, I know how overwhelming things can become. Moe, always with a smile on his face, took it all in stride. “We’re having some growing pains, yes. Ballpark, it looks like we’re on track with 4-5,ooo in attendance, which is what we had hoped for.” Moe also made sure to respond to comments on social media outlets throughout the weekend, which were not always positive, and address concerns in the best way that he could. “We’re really responsive to fans.”

Many of those fans had some downright horrible things to say in their posts. This is the first time that I have seen that level of response to a convention. Sure, I had issues with the event. For starters, the power went off twice in the ballroom leaving everyone in the dark for a few moments. The A/C was all but non-existent. There wasn’t enough signage or a proper map laid out in their pamphlets to let guests know which celebs were in which ballroom, or to provide the location of any special panels (the tent in the parking lot, in case you were wondering). One of the actors, I won’t name names, bumped into me at a water cooler. “I ain’t seen a staff member in hours.” He’d had to abandon his autograph table in order to get a drink of water because volunteers all but disappeared the more chaotic the crowd became. There were so many things that I witnessed–again, as both vendor and guest–that I would have done differently.

Certainly, there were cases where the venting was called for. If I’d pre-purchased tickets and still been subjected to a 3.5hr line to hand in the receipt, I would have been pissed! If my car had been lost by the valet (yes, that happened) the whole world would have known about it. But, the majority of the complaints were, in my opinion, blown out of proportion. I don’t know anything about this Joe Moe or his colleagues. But what I do know, is that someone who is a fanboy at heart, got the idea to start a convention. A party by the fans for the fans. For everything that was wrong, so much of the weekend was right. Even Disney World gave me a headache (fast-pass my behind). But it was still one of the greatest vacations of my life.

That being said, let’s consider the rest of MMP, shall we? One minute I’m discussing special effects make-up with the great Tom Savini, and the next, I’m cracking jokes with the likes of Richard Kiel and Dick Miller. There was a panel between WWF (yeah…I said it) legends Rowdy Roddy Piper and Hulk Hogan. Henry “the Fonz” Winkler was showing off children’s books. Cherie Currie was chatting me up on the history of rock legends the Runaways. Corey Feldman used my cell phone. Megan Grant, a licensed cosmetologist and entrepreneur, was set up with her Get Dead Crew, providing air-brush and prosthetics to people, literally turning them into monsters on site. There was karaoke in the hotel bar Saturday night. I laid down the boogie and played that funky music til they died. Or at least until the Misfits’ Dr. Chud cracked up laughing at me. The highlight of my weekend at MMP was Saturday night at midnight, when an estimated 1,000 guests piled into the gala tent to watch a screening of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, featuring a spectacular shadow-cast troupe called That Type from Charlotte’s Cinebarre, and featuring the film’s stars Barry Bostwick, Patricia Quinn and “Little” Nell Campbell. RHPS historian, Larry Vizel was on hand to film and conduct interviews for the upcoming 40th anniversary documentary Rocky Horror Saved My Life. It was an historical evening. In her second year attending with her family, Roseana Matthews found a “Golden Ticket” in the “Monsta Bar” she had purchased. The chocolates were a monster mock up of the famous Wonka Bar, with 6 lucky winners being upgraded to RIP status.

I guess the point that I’m trying to make, is that people need to lighten up. Unless something truly horrible happened to you or someone you care about as a direct result of something at a convention, you’re problem isn’t as big as you’re making it out to be. MMP is, as Moe said, experiencing growing pains. In 3 short years, the event has grown exponentially. Given their celebrity guest list, perhaps they should have considered a different venue. This is an event that is convention center worthy, crammed into a hotel. In order to make up for the overcrowding (which, according to local news, had the attention of the Fire Marshall), organizers will need to carefully consider where they set up next year. Or at least, reconsider the amount of vendors in the halls (many in wheelchairs had difficulties navigating) or alter the layout. Volunteer staff could be better trained. But this is how it is done, honestly, trial and error. As an event organizer, you try to prepare for every possible scenario you can imagine and you train your staff based on that. Without fail, something unexpected will always crop up; being short handed, celebs that cancel, ticketing issues, photo-op issues, and so forth. Conventions should be looked at as viable organisms, growing and changing and evolving. They will never be able to please all fans all the time. But they will certainly try. Year to year, they’ll try.

And it’s important for MMP to learn from their mistakes and move forward a little more prepared next year. For every celebrity guest I interviewed raved about how much fun they were having and how they couldn’t wait to come back. Celebrating all that scares us excites our film heroes, too. “Your first scare is the most important one you have,” said Langenkamp, admitting that the Flying Monkeys from the Wizard of Oz is what started it all for her. Dick Miller laughed, “I’ve very rarely been scared by movies…except for something Shirley Temple did.” Barry Bostwick had other ideas, “You wanna know why I do this? I do this to talk to lovely people like you and to oogle the girls. I just sit here and watch the girls go by.” Thanks, Barry.

All in all, in spite of a few hiccups–some preventable, some not–I think Mad Monster Party was a huge success. It is a relaxed environment where you get to hang out with the celebrities, rather than being separated from them like at some other conventions. Between the few panels that they had, the movie screenings, and the Rocky Horror reunion, it was definitely worth the ticket price for anyone who attended. Even though I did my fair share of mumbling and complaining throughout the weekend, I will admit, as a fan I am grateful an event such as this has been put together. I hope that, in time, other fans will learn to appreciate what all goes into putting on an event of this size and what they got to experience over all. I’m looking forward to seeing what 2015 brings for the Mad Monster Party!

Photos courtesy of Garrett Marks and Walker Bait Productions, unless otherwise noted.

Cassandra "Elvira" Peterson.

Cassandra “Elvira” Peterson.

RA Mihailoff (Leatherface) reciting with Shakespeare Carolina and Long Walk Productions.

RA Mihailoff (Leatherface) reciting with Shakespeare Carolina and Long Walk Productions.

Patricia Quinn chatting with the Carolina Ghostbusters.

Patricia Quinn chatting with the Carolina Ghostbusters.

Barry Bostwick.

Barry Bostwick.

Joking around with Richard Kiel.

Joking around with Richard Kiel.

Setting up in one of the MMP ballrooms.

Setting up in one of the MMP ballrooms.

BOOM! Studios Jets to London Super Comic Con 2014

March 14, 2014 by  
Filed under Comic Books, Convention News, England

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ADVENTURE TIME #25 London Super Comic Con Variant Cover by Josceline Fenton

Press Release:

BOOM! Studios Jets to its First Appearance at London Super Comic Con to Meet UK Fans

March 5,  2014 – Los Angeles, CA - Award-winning comic book publisher BOOM! Studios announced today it will exhibit at the 3rd Annual London Super Comic Con, to be held during the weekend of March 15-16 at the Excel Centre in London.

The BOOM! booth can be found in the Central Publisher Spotlight Arena and will host creators Roger Langridge (SNARKED), Mike Carey (SUICIDE RISK), Matt Gagnon (DAY MEN), and Frazer Irving (POLARITY, THE RETURNING), plus sketch artists Wook-Jin Hunter Clark (ADVENTURE TIME: THE FLIP SIDE) and Josceline Fenton (LSCC EXCLUSIVE ADVENTURE TIME VARIANT, REGULAR SHOW). In addition, a special LSCC variant cover illustrated by Fenton for the ADVENTURE TIME #25 anniversary issue will be available for purchase through the convention.

“It’s always a pleasure to meet our readers and fans, but this convention will be extra special as it’s our first time exhibiting in London,” said BOOM! Studios Editor-in-Chief Matt Gagnon. “We work with some incredible UK-based creators and our fans there have always been such ardent supporters of our titles. I’m very much looking forward to visiting our friends ‘across the pond.’”

BOOM! will be participating in a portfolio review on Sunday from 2:30-3:30 pm with Editor-In-Chief Matt Gagnon.

BOOM! will also put on the following panel:

BOOM! Studios Presents: We Are BOOM!
Sat., March 15, 12:45 p.m.
Comic Heroes Panel Room

Last year was a banner year for BOOM! highlighted by the release of our first feature 2 GUNS (starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg) and a new first-look deal with 20th Century Fox. Archaia joined us as a new imprint, we expanded the all-ages KaBOOM! line-up, and launched our newest imprint BOOM! Box. Join BOOM! Studios Editor-In-Chief Matt Gagnon and a few Special Guests as they share our mission to create the future of comics…now. We are BOOM! Come Innovate With Us.

See you at London Super Comic Con!

ABOUT BOOM! STUDIOS
Founded by Ross Richie in 2005, Diamond Gem Award-winning “Best Publisher” BOOM! Studios (boom-studios.com) generates a constellation of best-selling Eisner and Harvey Award-winning original and licensed comic books and graphic novels with the industry’s top talent. BOOM! Studios is the home of Mike Carey’s SUICIDE RISK, Clive Barker’s NEXT TESTAMENT and HELLRAISER, Paul Jenkins and Humberto Ramos’ FAIRY QUEST, PLANET OF THE APES, Max Bemis’ POLARITY and Mark Waid’s IRREDEEMABLE. Steven Grant’s graphic novel 2 GUNS was recently released as a feature film from Universal Pictures, starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg. BOOM!’s all-ages imprint KaBOOM! publishes Charles Schulz’ PEANUTS, Jim Davis’ GARFIELD, Cartoon Network’s ADVENTURE TIME and REGULAR SHOW, Mike Kunkel’s HEROBEAR AND THE KID, and Roger Langridge’s Eisner Award-winning SNARKED. In June 2013, BOOM! acquired Archaia Entertainment (archaia.com). Archaia is the Eisner and Harvey Award-winning graphic novel publisher of MOUSE GUARD, COW BOY, GUNNERKRIGG COURT, RUST, SPERA, JIM HENSON’S TALE OF SAND, and many other great titles. In October 2013, BOOM! Studios entered into a unique first-look relationship with 20th Century Fox, giving the studio access to its library of titles and giving the publisher access to Fox’s vast catalog of films.

Scene and Reviewed: Transformers Armada: The Complete Series

Transformers Armada

TRANSFORMERS ARMADA: THE COMPLETE SERIES! Relive the Adventures of this Classic Animated TV series in One Complete Set featuring all 52 Action-Packed Episodes! Bring home this Collectible 8-DVD Set on March 11, 2014 from Shout! Factory.

Once again, I have found myself watching hours of Transformers cartoons. It’s not a bad gig, really. And it was interesting to watch a series that was much older than the last one I reviewed, making them two entirely different beasts. Here is the lowdown on the new DVD set:

Brace yourself to relive some of the most astonishing TRANSFORMERS battles between the AUTOBOTS and the DECEPTICONS through the complete series release of TRANSFORMERS ARMADA. This is the unforgettable chapter of TRANSFORMERS lore and the first part of the rare UNICRON Trilogy–consisting of ARMADA, ENERGON, AND CYBERTRON. Valor, deception and unexpected twists unfolded in these captivating adventures, leading to an unlikely alliance between natural enemies in the face of a genuine evil known as UNICRON. Our heroes, the AUTOBOTS and their nemesis, the DECEPTICONS are at it again in this complete series of the TRANSFORMERS ARMADA. This series opens to a war between the two factions of TRANSFORMERS on their home planet of Cybertron over MINI-CONS, a race of smaller, power-enhancing TRANSFORMERS. This struggle will bring AUTOBOTS, DECEPTICONS and MINI-CONS to earth, where they continue to battle, even after two humans get involved. Through the course of this series, the TRANSFORMERS face mysterious mercenaries, mighty MINI-CON weapons and even time travel as they fight for control or freedom.”

The collection is neatly packaged in a fat box with flip trays that house the 8 DVDs, making storage much easier than some box sets. Unfortunately, though, for a “collectible” set, there are no booklets or inserts included. The set is also lacking any bonus features of any kind. I find that unfortunate, as I think it would have been a nice touch to explore and expand upon this particular incarnation of the Transformers. The lack of new information–a missed opportunity to educate younger viewers–makes me feel that this set serves no purpose other than to satisfy pure nostalgic cravings for those who may have watched this series growing up.

As I’ve said, I was a child when the Generation-1 series began. I’m sure if I went back and watched those episodes now–or any of the myriad other 1980s cartoon series I was obsessed with–I would find them antiquated. Living in a world where whole generations of people have never seen animation that was not CGI in some form, it’s hard to go back and watch older cartoons. I know 2002-2004 doesn’t sound old (that’s when Transformers Armada originally aired on Cartoon Network’s Toonami) but from a technological standpoint, that’s downright ancient! When I reviewed the Bumblebee episodes from the Transformers Prime series (air dates 2010-2013) I could actually see myself watching a show like that. Robots and CGI go hand in hand. Seeing them drawn in “old school” animation styles as compared to the nearly fully CGI series of late, makes the Transformers look….well…flat. I can’t imagine that a kid who has already been introduced to CGI Transformers is going to seek out these episodes. Unless, of course, that kid is a die hard fan and collector. However, the Armada series could be a great way to introduce the Transformers to younger children! Have them start on a series like this one and work their way forward to the more advanced in the series. And, of course, for those who watched Armada during its original run, this DVD collection will bring back a lot of memories–over 19 hours worth, to be exact!

During a number of the episodes, I thought my DVD program was experiencing a glitch. After a little research, I discovered the glitch wasn’t on my end, rather it was the series itself. Here’s a history lesson for you: Hasbro and Takara (their Japanese partner) intended to do a reboot of sorts for the Transformers in order to reintroduce the characters to a new audience. Due to some contractual issues and demands made by Cartoon Network, the American version of the Armada series was rushed through production. This caused a number of problems. Some of the scripts were incomplete and scenes had multiple types of animation, giving it a very schizophrenic feel. In some spots, the screen would go all black, but dialogue would continue. There were other dubbing issues, such as characters being called–repeatedly–by the wrong names and voices and animation sequences not lining up. Takara didn’t release their version in Japan until 6 months later, allowing them time to try and fix some of the errors. Personally, I only noticed a few dubbing issues and blackouts. There were a few spots that felt like “dead air” time where pauses between character’s actions were a tad longer than warranted. Given its infamous reputation, however, I think that anyone who knows the back story of the series will definitely want to own this collectible set, if for nothing more than kitsch value and comic relief. I will say, the animation does improve between disc 1 and disc 8, showing that they took a little more care as the series progressed. The animation becomes crisper with sharper colors and contrast, and the transitions become smoother, making viewing more enjoyable. Again, it’s interesting to watch if all you’ve seen is the newer CGI series. It’s a definite trip down memory lane that fans of the series will love!

“On March 11, 2014, Shout! Factory, in collaboration with Hasbro Studios, will unleash TRANSFORMERS ARMADA: THE COMPLETE SERIES on home entertainment shelves everywhere. For the first time ever, the entire series is collected on one deluxe 8-DVD set, featuring all 52 memorable episodes. 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 8-DVD set is priced to own at $44.99 [suggested retail price]“

Pre-order is available now at Amazon.

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.

 

 

David Prowse to Attend Cincinnati Comic Expo 2014

David-Prowse-Banner-Website-revised-1

Press Release:

Dave Prowse to Attend 2014 Cincinnati Comic Expo!

Cincinnati, OH – February 2014 - Science fiction fans and Sith Lords in Cincinnati have cause to rejoice with the announcement that Dave Prowse, the actor behind the mask of Darth Vader, will be coming to The Queen City for the 2014 Cincinnati Comic Expo being held this September at the Duke Energy Convention Center.

Prowse, a veteran actor of film and television, is best known for portraying the tragic villain, Darth Vader, in all three films of the original Star Wars trilogy. A champion bodybuilder, Mr. Prowse embodied the iconic character, whose distinct baritone voice was provided by James Earl Jones. The towering figure of Dave Prowse’s Darth Vader made an immediate impression on cinema audiences including Cincinnati Comic Expo founder, Andrew Satterfield: “I recall the first time seeing Star Wars at the local Dent Drive-In. The scene where Darth Vader walks through the rebel blast doors and interrogates the rebels was terrifying. However, I couldn’t take my eyeballs off the screen.”

While Dave Prowse is a familiar face at comic book and science fiction conventions in Europe, the actor is more discerning when it comes to attending events in the United States. The fifth annual Cincinnati Comic Expo marks the first time that Dave Prowse has come to Cincinnati and is the only opportunity Star Wars fans in the Midwest will have to meet this legend of the silver screen. Satterfield is appreciative that the actor has included Cincinnati as part of his touring schedule: “Each year Mr. Prowse hand selects a few USA signing appearances. We are honored the Sith Lord himself chose the 5th annual Cincinnati Comic Expo.” In addition to signing autographs and taking pictures with guests, the actor will be taking part in panel discussions; telling stories about how Star Wars came to life and answering questions from fans.

Dave Prowse will be joined at this year’s convention by fellow Star Wars alum Peter Mayhew, who played the Millennium Falcon’s heroic and hairy co-pilot Chewbacca. Additional media guests also include former Power Ranger and mixed martial arts fighter Jason David Frank, Jewel Staite from the cult hit television program Firefly, and John Rhys Davies who is best known for his roles in the Indiana Jones and Lord of the Rings film series. More guest announcements are expected in advance of the 2014 Cincinnati Comic Book Expo, which will be held from Friday, September 19, through Sunday, September 21.

About Cincinnati Comic Expo

The Cincinnati Comic Expo has been entertaining thousands of fans since 2010 with an annual show celebrating all periods and genres of pop culture with an emphasis on comics. The 2014 Cincinnati Comic Expo will be held from Friday, September 19, through Sunday, September 21, at the Duke Energy Convention Center. Tickets vary in price and are available to purchase online. More information on events and exhibitors attending the show can be found at www.cincinnaticomicexpo.com

Indiana Comic Con 2014 Donates 100 Tickets to Big Brothers Big Sisters

Indiana Comic Con
Press Release:

Indiana Comic Con Donates 100 Tickets to Big Brothers Big Sisters

February 21st, 2014 – The Indiana Comic Con has donated approximately 120 tickets to Indiana charitable organizations. The inaugural Indiana Comic Con will debut on March 14-16, 2014 at the Indianapolis Convention Center.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana is recipient of 100 tickets to the Indiana Comic Con. This organization plays a major role in bettering the community by directly helping, mentoring and guiding disadvantaged children. By providing a strong and professional, 1-on-1 relationship for children, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana directly improves the community of central Indiana by investing in the youth of central Indiana.

The National MS Foundation: Indiana State Chapter by way of an affiliated group called, “The Bearded Avengers” is recipient of 20 tickets to the Indiana Comic Con. The Multiple Sclerosis Foundation works to find a cure to the ailment that ultimately prevents human movement and function through traumatic nerve damage in the brain and spinal cord.

Featured at the inaugural Indiana Comic Con are roughly 20 critically-acclaimed creators (writers and illustrators) from the field of comic book publication and fantasy painting. In addition, popular actors and actresses will be in attendance: Evan Peters (American Horror Story, X-Men), Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones), Caity Lotz (Arrow, Mad Men) and Daniel Cudmore (X-Men, Twilight). 150 vendors, local writers, artists and publishers will also be featured at the event.

The Indiana Comic Con will take place on March 14-16, 2014 at:

Indianapolis Convention Center
100 S. Capitol Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46225

Scene and Reviewed: Slugterra: Heroes of the Underground

February 25, 2014 by  
Filed under Animation, Everything Else, Movies, Television, Top Stories

Slugterra: Heroes of the Underground All-New DVD Collection from the Slugterra Animated Series Coming March 4, 2014 from Shout! Factory Kids and Nerd Corps Entertainment!

Slugterra DVD

I had the opportunity this week to review a collection of Slugterra episodes. Having never heard of the show before, I thought it would be a good excuse to spend a morning watching cartoons. For the uninitiated, here is the official description that accompanied the DVD:

“Slugterra is an epic sci-fi comedy adventure set deep underground, where the ammo’s alive and only the quick survive! In this luminous, high-tech, underground world, every cavern holds a new adventure, a new battle and weird little slugs to be discovered.

In this collection, join our hero Eli Shane, his gang of slugslingers, and his best slug buddy Burpy on their numerous adventures Whether they are thwarting a mad scientist, facing an Ice Ogre or questing after fabled treasure, Eli and the rest of Shane Gang prove they are ready to slug it out!”

Well, that sounds exciting, if not a little familiar, right?

I decided to do a little research in order to really understand what I was about to watch. Slugterra is a Canadian/American animated series that premiered on Disney XD Canada in September 2012, and on Disney XD in October of the same year. They’ve aired three seasons so far, and a Canadian film is slated for Spring 2014. Heroes of the Underground is the 4th volume in the Slugterra DVD collection series. The series has spawned numerous online games and tons of merchandise, mostly targeted at what I would guess to be boys aged 6-11.

The story itself is pretty formulaic. Our hero is Eli Shane, who was sent to the underground world of Slugterra at the age of 15, for what purpose I still do not know. Once there, Eli meets the standard cast of characters: the plucky girl, the gentle giant, and the comic relief. Together, they make up the Shane Gang. The resident villain is Dr. Thaddeus Blakk. In Eli’s apparent quest to be the best slugslinger of them all, he will do battle with Dr. Blakk and his thugs, er, slugs, as well as duke it out with other slugslinging challengers.

The slugs in question are kind of cute, actually. There are nearly 50 types of named slugs throughout the series. Each one possesses a ‘special power’ such as Fire, Ice, Electricity, Water, Air, and so forth. Characters going into battle take their slug of choice, load it into what looks like a shotgun shell, and fire it from a larger blaster. Once they have been shot, the force of the blast causes the slug’s power to take control, transforming it into a powerful force to be reckoned with. If you have been treating your slugs nicely and taking good care of them (letting them sleep in a tube sock on your bed like Eli) then the discharged slug will return to you, or at least to your home. If Dr. Blakk gets a hold of slugs, he uses ‘dark water’ to transform the slugs into Ghouls, of which there are 20 different types.

And….that’s it. That’s the entire point of the show.

I wish I could say more, but with the absence of a true story arch or semblance of a plot, it was a struggle to hold my attention.  The CGI looked really good. The landscape and look of the underground world and all of its caverns was actually beautifully designed. The animation of the characters and slugs themselves reminded me of the style Disney employed for the movie and TV series Lilo & Stitch. The show was a little darker than I expected, with regards to the violence. It had moments where it wanted to be the sort of show an adult could enjoy watching, while trying to maintain the expectations of a Disney children’s series. And with the idea that characters must collect, train, and battle their slugs, it is hard not to make comparisons to the juggernaut that is Pokemon. Though, given the choice, I would take Slugterra over Pokemon in a heartbeat.

Ten minutes into the first episode and I was asking myself, “Wait. What am I watching?” But then again, what do I know? I am not a boy aged 6-11. Clearly, with everything that I have seen online, the series has a large and loyal fan base. Just because it didn’t click with me doesn’t mean it isn’t the bees knees for someone else. After all, it definitely had enough action sequences to keep a young child entertained. And the slugs, with their funny expressions and awkward teeth, are sure to be all the rage for little girls of the same demographic. If slugs were that cute in real life, I might collect a few myself! Be sure to check out the Bonus features which include a ‘Draw Your Own Slugs’ segment. The kiddos will have fun with that one.

Get ready to Slug it Out on March 4, 1014 when Shout! Factory Kids in collaboration with Nerd Corps Entertainment, releases Slugterra: Heroes of the Underground 5-episode DVD collection.

Episodes Include:

  • Snowdance
  • Inheritance
  • A Distant Shore
  • The Journey Home
  • Roboslugs

DVD Bonus Features Include:

  • Drawing Your Own Slugs!
  • Slugisodes

About Nerd Corps Entertainment Inc.

Nerd Corps Entertainment is a privately held IP creation, development, production, and distribution company based in Vancouver, Canada, with offices in Toronto, Canada. The company’s mandate is to produce stylistically innovative animated projects for television, online, and mobile based on a solid foundation of creative and exceptional storytelling. Working in a state-of-the-art studio with highly skilled artists and production staff, Nerd Corps’ expertise in creative development and execution covers all aspects of property generation and management, from development and production to distribution, marketing, interactive and licensing. The studio’s award-winning stable of productions includes original series Kate and Mim-Mim, Endangered Species, Slugterra, Storm Hawks, League of Super Evil and Rated A for Awesome, as well as Dragon Booster for Alliance Atlantis and Hot Wheels: Battle Force 5, Max Steel and Monster High for Mattel, Inc.

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.

 

Norman Reedus, Matt Smith, Sean Astin, and Summer Glau Headline Wizard World Louisville Comic Con 2014

Norman Reedus Michael Rooker

Press Release:

Norman Reedus, Matt Smith, Sean Astin, Summer Glau Headline Celebrity Guests At Wizard World Louisville Comic Con, March 28-30

Robert Hays, Michael Rosenbaum, Jon Heder, James Marsters, Dean Cain, Jason David Frank, Sarah Wayne Callies, Top Comics Creators At Inaugural Pop Culture Festival At Kentucky International Convention Center

LOUISVILLE, Ky., February 14, 2014Norman Reedus,Michael Rooker, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies and Scott Wilson of “The Walking Dead,” Matt Smith (“Doctor Who”), Summer Glau (Serenity, “Firefly”), Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Rudy), and Robert Hays (Airplane!, Paranormal Movie) are among the celebrities scheduled to attend the inaugural Wizard World Louisville Comic Con, March 28-30 at the Kentucky International Convention Center.It is the fourth of 16 events currently 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.

Astin, Bernthal, Callies and Glau will appear on Saturday and Sunday, March 28-29; Smith will attend on Saturday only; the others are scheduled for all three days.

Other notables scheduled at press time include Billy Boyd (Lord of the Rings, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World), Michael Rosenbaum (“Smallville,” “Justice League”), Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite, Blades of Glory), James Marsters (“Buffy The Vampire Slayer,” “Torchwood”), Dean Cain (“Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman,” “Stars Earn Stripes”) and Jason David Frank (“Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers”). Additional celebrities will be announced as the event nears.

Superstar comics creators scheduled to attend include Neal Adams (“Batman,” “X-Men”), Ethan Van Sciver (“Green Lantern,” “Flash”), Phil Ortiz (“The Simpsons,” “Muppet Babies”), Tyler Kirkham (“Action Comics,” “Superboy”), Greg Horn (“Marvel: World of Heroes,” “Walt Disney”), Arthur Suydam (“Marvel Zombies,” “Army of Darkness”), James O’Barr (Creator, The Crow) and Michael Golden (“Hulk,” “Daredevil”).

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, comics, toys, video gaming, television, sci-fi, gaming, original art, collectibles, contests and more. Wizard World Louisville Comic Con show hours are Friday, March 28, 3-8 p.m.; Saturday, March 29, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Sunday, March 30, 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, March 30, is also Kids Day, with an array of activities and programming specially designed for the younger Wizard World fans.

Louisville 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 Louisville Comic Con, visit http://www.wizardworld.com/home-louisville.html.

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 www.wizardworld.com.

Wizard World 2014-15 Schedule
March 7-9 – Wizard World Sacramento Comic Con
March 28-30 – Wizard World Louisville Comic Con
April 4-6 – Wizard World St. Louis Comic Con
May 2-4 – Wizard World Minneapolis Comic Con
May 30-June 1 – Wizard World Atlanta Comic Con
June 19-22 – Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con
August 1-3 – Wizard World San Antonio Comic Con
August 21-24 – Wizard World Chicago Comic Con
September 12-14 – Wizard World Richmond Comic Con
September 26-28 – Wizard World Nashville Comic Con
October 2-4 – Wizard World Austin Comic Con
October 31-November 2 – Wizard World Ohio Comic Con
November 7-9 – Wizard World Tulsa Comic Con
November 21-23 – Wizard World Reno Comic Con
January 9-11, 2015 – Wizard World New Orleans Comic Con
January 23-25, 2015 – Wizard World Portland Comic Con

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