May the 4th be with You! Star Wars Celebration comes to the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL in 2017.
Tickets on sale May 25 at 12:00 PM PDT, 3:00 PM EDT, 8:00 PM GMT+1.
A few years ago, when I was still in high school, a person who liked anime was made fun of for it. My school had a manga/book club, and the entire group was often ridiculed by jocks who wouldn’t know good writing if it were mixed in their protein shakes. Despite this, I grew to love the art form, and when I learned that there were whole conventions devoted to it, I begged my dad to take me to one. Surprisingly, he agreed.
Anime conventions were smaller then, including my first, Ichibancon 2012, which was held at a tiny hotel in Charlotte, NC. I originally went with two friends to meet none other than Vic Mignogna, who was–and remains to this day–my favorite voice actor. We stood in his autograph line for about 30 minutes, and when I finally got to his table, I said “Hi” in a talking-to-your-crush-for-the-first-time voice.
Now, five years later, I’m still going to that same convention. It was held this year over New Year’s Day weekend at Embassy Suites Hotel in Concord. Comparing this year’s Ichibancon to the one in 2012 is like comparing the inside of the TARDIS to the inside of my closet. Over 5,000 attendees pre-registered this year, which doesn’t include those who bought a badge on-site. I don’t think 5,000 people even knew about it in in 2012. The cosplayers were awesome. I saw anime, Marvel, and DC characters, plus assorted Pokemon and pop culture figures (the guy dressed as John Cena was meme-tastic). One group of cosplayers was from Undertale, a video game that just came out, which was impressive in its immediacy and quality. Dozens of panels were scheduled on just about any nerdy topic you could imagine, even for Homestuck, the webcomic created in 2009 by Andrew Hussie. The gamers had their own room: dozens of PlayStations and Nintendos (and I don’t mean Nintendogs) projected onto the walls. There was even a TARDIS bouncy house for all the children. I didn’t see the cosplay contest, but I’m sure it was fabulous, especially since, for the first year, a $500 prize was available for first place (this would probably cover the cost of half an automail leg).
Speaking of automail, I got a chance to talk to my five-years-ago idol, Vic Mignogna. Vic is the Johnny Depp of anime. Other voice actors were there, including several members of the cast of Durarara!! (Saki Mikajima, Kasuka Heiwajima, Seiji Yagiri, and Saburo Togusa), whom you don’t see often. But Vic was clearly the biggest draw: one girl came all the way from New Jersey to meet him.
After seeing him a dozen or more times over the years, I felt more relaxed than that initial time. Here is what we discussed.
Me: As Edward Elric, you’re very emotional and over the top. Then you recently switched to playing Kasuka on Durarara!! who is emotionless with a very emotional brother. What was that like?
Vic: You know, I have to tell you, I’m kind of naturally emotional and expressive with my voice. Then, when I was doing Durarara!!, started, and they asked me, can you take the emotion out of it? Can you make it flatter? I’m thinking, it’s pretty flat already. So, yeah, that was a big change.
Me: How long have you been doing conventions?
Vic: Wow. Honestly, maybe a total of thirteen years.
Me: How did you get started?
Vic: Well, I got started in voice acting sixteen or seventeen years ago, and I didn’t know anything about conventions. In fact, there weren’t any at the time. Then, a few years into my career, I saw Monica Rial, and she said to me, “Hey, do you want to go to an anime convention?” I was like, “A what? They have conventions?” I went to Star Trek conventions when I was a little boy, but I had never been to an anime convention. So I went as a guest to one in Ohio, in Columbus, and I was just blown away. I couldn’t believe that there were these wall scrolls with my characters on it and pencil boards and plushies. I had no idea this stuff existed. That was the first one I went to, and of course it ramped up since then.
Me: I’ve also seen you at conventions like DragonCon that are not strictly anime conventions. Talk about the difference between those.
Vic: Anime conventions are very special in and of themselves. There is a real strong sense of community because everybody is there because they love this one specific genre of entertainment. Multicultural, pop culture conventions are more of something for everyone. It’s nice to have an anime presence there, but they don’t typically have the same feeling, a sense of family that you get at an anime convention. I suppose it would probably be the same for any convention that pertains to one thing. If you went to a Supernatural convention, it’s a little more focused. But I enjoy pop culture conventions, mostly because I’m a big sci-fi fan myself, so it’s a real pleasure to get to meet other sci-fi actors that I’m a fan of.
Me: Who is your favorite celebrity you’ve ever met?
Vic: Oh, Bill Shatner, of course. I’ve loved Captain Kirk since I was a little boy. [Want to see Vic as a little boy? Click here.] And you know, when I was young, I used to go to Star Trek conventions, and he is the only one of the original cast I never got to meet. Now, to literally be represented by the same manager who represents Bill, we get booked into conventions together, and we’ve gotten to have dinner together and travel a little bit and hang out, so it’s a real privilege.
Me: Have you had to suppress the urge to squeal like a fangirl?
Vic: All the time. All the time. [Laughs.] I want to respect him and not turn into one of those fanboys he’s dealt with for forty years.
Me: I read on your Wikipedia page that you were once a law enforcement officer.
Vic: I was. Right after college, my mom, who lives on the eastern shore of Maryland, was very good friends with the chief of police in the city where she lived. She always used to brag to him about her son who was a moral, ethical, upstanding member of the community. And so he said, well, I’d like to have someone like that on the police force. I didn’t have any plans right after college, so I went back there and went through the police training and became a cop for two years. It was never a career move. I enjoyed it a lot, but it isn’t something I want to do forever.
Me: It takes a special person to do that job.
Vic: It does. And to deal with the darker side of humanity so much of your life, always having to enforce the laws and deal with people breaking the rules can make a person very cynical and depressed.
Me: I have a copy of your Gospel of John CD. What was the genesis [see what I did there?] of that project?
Vic: Actually, it’s kind of interesting. I was at a convention, and a mother came up to me and said, “My daughter loves your work. She could sit and listen to you for hours. She loves your voice. You could read the phone book and she would listen to it.” I thought, what a nice thing to say. Then I thought, maybe not the phone book, but what if I were to record something of more importance and give it away. So I went home and recorded the Gospel of John and used a contemporary translation and played the piano underneath it to make it easy to listen to. I put a lot of money into it myself to get all the discs pressed, and now I give it away at conventions because what better thing to give to fans of my work than something that is very precious to me?
Me: Do you have plans to do more books?
Vic: I would love to, but it takes a lot of time, and to be honest, I don’t know what book I would do. There aren’t a lot of books of the Bible that stand by themselves, that tell the whole story. If you’re gonna get one chance to tell someone the story of Jesus, why he came, what he did, his ministry, his rising again, all of that, it’s all pretty self-contained in the Gospel of John. So I don’t know what book I would do, and it’s very time-consuming. I don’t have a lot of time, especially now with the Star Trek series I’m doing.
Me: So the Star Trek series is still going well?
Vic: Oh yeah. Bigger than ever. We just finished shooting episode six. Popularity is growing, and viewership is growing. At the risk of sounding partial, it’s fantastic. It looks and feels and sounds exactly like the original series. We have managed to continue the original series in every way, so you feel like you’re watching episodes that were never broadcast.
Me: But they’re all original stories.
Vic: Oh yes. From the recreation of the sets to the lighting, costumes, make-up, story, music, editing, characters—everything. No amount of description can prepare you for the quality. And it’s free. Just go to startrekcontinues.com. The first episode is wonderful, and the second is better than the first, and the third is better than the second. They just get better and better
Me: Last question. What is it like dealing with all the fangirls who are much younger than you?
Vic: Well, it’s kind of funny because, if I were half my age, I would be flattered. But I really look at it more like a father looking at younger people and going, Man, if I can give some joy to this person, if I can make them feel special about themselves, because so many of these kids are struggling with who they are and their place in the world and their security and self-esteem. I feel as if I have been given an opportunity to be an encouragement, somebody that they look up to and notices them and compliments them and puts his arms around them and gives them a big hug and engages with them. I think that’s very important. I didn’t used to realize how important that is, and over the years, with all the emails and letters I’ve gotten and interactions I’ve had at conventions, I’ve come to realize that God has put me here for a very specific purpose, and that is to bring encouragement and love and kindness and support to a lot of people who are at a very sensitive crossroads in their lives.
Of course, everyone has their criticisms no matter how much they enjoy something, and Ichibancon was not without flaws. For one thing, it needs a larger venue. There were lines to get into the dealer room and artist alley, and some of the panels were standing room only. Parking was ridiculous. I squeezed my car in next to a dumpster, and I saw people walking over from car dealerships and other hotels. According to one staff member, however, the only place large enough to expand to is the Charlotte Convention Center, whose surrounding hotels are much more expensive–$240 a night or more. Anime conventions are largely attended by teenagers, who don’t have much money (and spend what they do have on Call of Duty).
It was clear from artist alley and the dealer room that neither of them was “juried.” Some conventions judge vendors’ merchandise ahead of time and then make decisions on who gets a slot. This is done to make sure there is enough variety and quality in the room. Ichibancon, it seems, didn’t do this because there was a lot of repetition in both areas. Merchandise was mostly plushies, posters, and wall scrolls. There was no manga, and I saw only one dealer selling comic-related stuff (usually, there are more).
Even with all these negative things going on in the convention, that is no reason for the muggles to boycott this convention (I saw a picketer in the parking lot). In fact, I believe that this convention is the perfect one for any anime convention newbies.
April 28, 2016 by Colin Solan
Filed under Animation, California, Comic Books, Free Comic Book Day, Movies, Other, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Signing and Appearance Profiles, Television, Video Games, Webcomics
This year, THE COMIC BUG isn’t “doubling down” on FREE COMIC BOOK DAY, it’s TRIPLING DOWN with free comics, artists and activities happening on THREE stages to scratch your geek itch throughout the day!
STAN LEE is coming to The Comic Bug courtesy of his convention Stan Lee’s Comikaze for Free Comic Book Day! Comikaze has arranged with Stan to give 100 lucky Comic Bug fans a FREE autograph!! Raffles to be held on Free Comic Book Day! To enter to win, you must come to Free Comic Book Day at either our Culver City shop, Culver City Teen Center or our Manhattan Beach location. Winners announced at 2:00! Stan Lee will be signing at our Culver City shop at 4:00 PM.
At the CULVER CITY TEEN CENTER just a few doors down from The Comic Bug’s Culver City location, The Con Man creator/star ALAN TUDYK, PJ HAARSMA and SHANNON ERIC DENTON will be signing FREE copies of SPECTRUM #0 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. SPECTRUM is a Free Comic Book release based on the fictional TV show that actors Tudyk and Nathan Fillion starred on prior to their stint on the con circuit on CON MAN.
SHANNON LEE, daughter of Bruce Lee, will be signing copies of BRUCE LEE: THE DRAGON RISES FCBD EDITION along with writer JEFF KLINE later in the afternoon (exact time TBD) at the Culver City event.
Back by popular demand, LOLA XOXO creator SIYA OUM will be on hand to sign copies of THE COMIC BUG’s EXCLUSIVE SIYA OUM EDITION of MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS: PINK #1.
Also appearing at the Culver City Teen Center are BRANDON EASTON, JOSHUA FIALKOV, DAN WICKLINE, MEGAN HUTCHISON, J.T. KRUL, BARBARA KESEL and many, many others. There will also be a cosplay/fantasy backdrop photo booth courtesy of PIXELBOOTH, geek speed dating games and opportunities by CUDDLI, Power Ranger photo ops courtesy of POWER MORPHICON and a chance to meet and join the two creator groups currently running at The Comic Bug, THE SKETCHY BUGS and the female-run LADYBUGS.
Meanwhile, at The Manhattan Beach locations (The Comic Bug Manhattan Beach and The Game Hub), DEADPOOL artist SCOTT KOBLISH headlines, drawing free sketches of everyone’s favorite Merc with Mouth. Koblish will be joined by ELEPHANTMEN creator and Comic Bug store logo designer RICHARD STARKINGS, D.J. KIRKBRIDE, BRIAN HABERLIN, Eisner-Award winner ANDREW ROBINSON, ERIKA ALEXANDER, TONY PURYEAR and many others. There will also be an exciting game of SKETCH FIGHTER with professional comic artists and stand-up comedians. Pictures will be auctioned off and all proceeds benefit THE HERO INITIATIVE.
KOTOBUKIYA will be on-hand at both locations with a slew of raffles and fun giveaways.
Live coverage of all three events will be handled by THAT HASHTAG SHOW. The Comic Bug is also promising food trucks, cosplayers and fun games for the entire family. In addition to the exclusive MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS: PINK RANGER exclusive by Siya Oum, The Comic Bug is releasing an exclusive BLACK PANTHER #1 with a cover by Mike McKone.
Here’s an alphabetical listing of many of the creators who will be attending our Free Comic Book Day events on May 7th! See you there!
Agnes Garbowska (My Little Pony)
Alan Tudyk (Con Man)
Alicia Hollinger (Heavy Metal Magazine)
Andrew Robinson (The Fifth Beatle)
Barbara Kesel (My Little Pony, Wonder Woman)
Brad Rader (Bob’s Burgers)
Brandon Easton (Transformers Deviations, Agent Carter)
Brian Haberlin (Faster Than Light)
Chris Brandt (Bainst)
Chris Kawagiwa (TeeFury)
Christine Hipp (LadyBugs)
Dan Wickline (Tales of Honor)
Daniel Ramirez (Repo Thief for Hire)
Dave Baker (Suicide Forest)
Dave Crosland (Invader Zim)
David Blake Lucarelli (Children’s Vampire Hunting Brigade)
DJ Kirkbride (Amelia Cole, The Bigger Bang)
Don Walker (Agent Wild)
Ethan Castillo (11 year old artist supreme!)
Erika Alexander (Concrete Park)
Flobo Boyce (Silver Streek)
Frank Mastromauro (Overtaken, Shrugged)
Hannibal Tabu (Fathom Sourcebook)
Jodi Tong (Chubbah Bunneh and the Bunny Man)
John Ercek (Justice League)
Joshua Fialkov (The Life After)
JT Krul (Green Arrow, Fathom)
Karl Altstaetter (Emerald City Blues)
Kevin Altieri (Batman: The Animated Series)
Lak Lim (Superhero artist)
Lord Mesa (Chibi artist)
Matt Jacobs (The Arcs, Faith No More)
Michael O’Hare (Flak Riot)
Michael Tanner (Junior Braves of the Apocalypse)
MOM (The LadyBugs Anthology)
Norm Rapmund (Teen Titans)
Peter Steigerwald (Zoo Hunters)
Rafael Navarro (Guns A’ Blazin’!, Sonambulo)
Ralph Miranda (Man Fighting Street)
Ray Anthony-Height (Midnight Tiger)
Richard Starkings (Elephantmen)
Ruben Gerard (Penny Strikes!)
Shannon Eric Denton (Con Man, The Revenant)
Siya Oum (Lola XOXO)
TJ Troy (Run Downhill)
Tony Puryear (Concrete Park)
Vince Hernandez (Lola XOXO, Fathom)
Coolhaus, Dogtown dogs & Burnt To A Crisp Texas Smokehouse food trucks will also be joining us to keep bellies fed! Tee No Evil – Zany Zombie Shirts, The Hero Initiative, Defective Geeks, That Hashtag Show, Cuddli, The Official Power Morphicon Convention, Sketch Fighter and many more vendors will be joining us to bring exclusive products and activities to every location! Fun for the entire family, indeed!
The Comic Bug
1807 Manhattan Beach Boulevard, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
4267 Overland Ave. Culver City, CA 90230
Actor/writer Alan Tudyk (Firefly, Zootopia) and artist Shannon Eric Denton sign the comic Spectrum #0 from the web-series Con Man at Golden Apple Comics on Wednesday May 18th!
Golden Apple Comics
7018 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038
Calling all fans of superheroes, sci-fi, horror, and anime! TerrifiCon: CT’s Terrific Comic Con™ invades the massive Mohegan Sun Convention Center in Uncasville, Connecticut, on August 19-21, 2016, for three days of action, excitement, and family fun.
Big Fedora Marketing, the producer of the three-day comic con at Mohegan Sun, is expanding the event’s programming to provide fans with more space for exhibits and a greater number of dealers in rare comic books and pop-culture merchandise. TerrifiCon offers fans more opportunities to meet their favorite comic-book artists and writers, as well as performers from TV and movies. There will also be a great lineup of after-con activities, including parties, poker, music, and comedy all at Mohegan Sun, recently voted Connecticut’s “Best Hotel” by Travel and Leisure magazine.
More than 40 comic-creator guests will be part of the largest gathering of comic-book professionals in Connecticut for the three-day spectacular. The list includes Marvel’s award-winning and best-selling Spider-Man writer Dan Slott, legendary Batman artist Neal Adams, the first-ever New England appearance of comic writer Roger Stern, and a rare con appearance by artist Rick Hoberg, who worked on Marvel’s original adaptation of “Star Wars” and animated shows like “Spider- Man and his Amazing Friends,” “Jem,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” “The X-Men,”. New York Times best selling author Peter David (Star Trek, Hulk) and many more. Artists appearing include Mark Bagley (Spider-Man), Dan Parent (Archie), Ron Garney (Daredevil), Graham Nolan (Batman), Scott Koblish (Deadpool), Franco (Tiny Titans) and dozens more.
From the world of television and movies, writer/director/actor and lifelong fanboy, Kevin Smith, will be doing a special comedy show on Saturday night at the Cabaret theater at Mohegan Sun. Other members of Smith’s View Askewniverse will be meeting fans over the course of the weekend, including actor Jason Mewes, from Smith’s films “Clerks,” and the Jay and Silent Bob film series, Jeremy London from “Mallrats” (and “Party of Five”), and the cast of “Comic Book Men”.
Other celebrity guests include representatives of current and recent hits, such as Michael Cudlitz (“The Walking Dead”), Katrina Law (“Arrow”), and Sean Gunn (“Gilmore Girls,” “Guardians of the Galaxy”), as well as veteran performers, like Rene Auberjonois (“Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” “Boston Legal,” “Benson”), Sam J. Jones (“Flash Gordon”), and wrestling legend Road Warrior Animal. Many more guests will be announced in the coming months.
The three-day event will also have many other events and attractions, including a costume contest for adults, a costume parade for children, more than a dozen question-and-answer panels with the invited guests, live music and comedy, photo backdrops, and a special day of children’s programming on Sunday which includes magic shows, music, and more.
“For fans of comic books, sci-fi/fantasy films and TV shows, and cosplay, the three-day convention at Mohegan Sun will be the ‘must-attend’ event of the summer”, said TerrifiCon’s owner Mitch Hallock. “We are also incorporating the terrific elements and activities of Mohegan Sun which you cannot find at any other comic con and that will give fans so much more to do after the show ends for the day.” Hallock, who is a lifelong comic-book fan and frequent contributor to WPLR’s “Chaz and AJ” radio program as “King of the Nerds” went on to say this comic con will “deliver the experience fans expect from the massive big-city comic cons while still maintaining an intimate setting.”
Visit the con’s official website for show hours and details at www.terrificon.com
Children 8 and under are admitted at no charge to the comic con when accompanied by a paying adult attendee. Comic con tickets are on sale at Mohegan Sun Box Office, which is open seven days a week, from 10 am – 8 pm, or may be purchased online at www.ticketmaster.com
Artist Ian Nichols (Fat Cat Funnies)
Artist Tony Sedani (Return To Rander)
Joker & Fiends Cosplayers
Mark Texeira (Veteran Marvel Artist: Wolverine/Punisher/Ghost Rider)
Also a gaggle of Cosplayers
Jeff McClelland & Sean Kasper
Writer George O’Conner (Babe, Healed)
Local Magician Nick Altieri
NEC NEW BEDFORD:
Artist Mike Lilly (Annihilation, Nightwing, Detective Comics)
NEC COOLIDGE CORNER:
Writer Frank Tieri (Deadpool, Batman, Harley Quinn)
NEC HARVARD SQUARE:
Creator Bob Salley (Salvagers 11:30-2:30)
Josh Dahl (Rapid City 3:00-6:00)
April 15, 2016 by Joe Fauvel
Filed under Animation, Anime, Collectibles, Comic Books, Comic Strips, Convention News, Cosplay, Florida, Gaming, Horror, Manga, Movies, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Sports, Television, Video Games, Webcomics
AHOY THERE, EXHIBITORS AND ARTISTS!
Thar be a Wizard World Cruise Coming This December!
Don’t miss a chance to enjoy a cruise from Miami to Nassau, Bahamas and sell your booty on the high seas! The cruise will happen this December 2nd-5th. Click here for general information about the journey.
The details are almost finalized, but before we can send information and pricing to you, we need to know if you’re interested!
If you would like to know more about being an Exhibitor or Artist on board the ship and have not already inquired, please fill out THIS FORM by Sunday, April 17th and we will reach out to you shortly with more specific information including pricing.
For more information on the cruise visit HERE!
Dallas Comic Show is meant to be a nice throwback to the good old days of pop culture conventions, with affordable admission prices, a nice mix of guests from both the comic book and media realm, and carefully curated vendors offering high quality and licensed product. There’s a strict “no fan art” policy for all artist alley tables, bringing back the purity of creator-owned product and original content for customers to check out.
Comic book guests include Bernie Wrightson (Swamp Thing), Brian Stelfreeze (Black Panther), Tony Harris (Star Wars: C-3PO), Brandon Peterson (Uncanny Inhumans), Cully Hamner (Red), Tony Bedard (Supergirl), Mark Verheiden (Netflix’s Daredevil writer/producer), Mark A. Nelson (Aliens), Michael Lark (Lazarus), James O’Barr (The Crow), Joe Eisma (Morning Glories) and more.
Media guests include Sam Jones (Flash Gordon), Jamie Kennedy (Scream 1-3), Sean Patrick Flanery (Boondock Saints), Billy West (Futurama and Ren & Stimpy), Samantha Newark (Jem), Judith Hoag (TMNT’s April O’Neil), Taimak (The Last Dragon) and Dragon Ball Z voices Chris Rager and Josh Martin.
- World premiere signing of Dark Horse’s ALIENS 30th Anniversary hardcover with writer Mark Verheiden and artist Mark A. Nelson.
- Brian Stelfreeze and Tony Harris make their first signing appearances since the release of Marvel’s super hot Black Panther #1 and Star Wars: C-3PO.
- Special film screenings with guest Q&As on Friday, Saturday and Sunday night at the Alamo Drafthouse in Richardson, TX.
This is a fun family event for all ages, Q&A panels all weekend, and costume contest Saturday night. All the info can be found at www.dallascomicshow.com
April 15, 2016 by Joe Fauvel
Filed under Animation, Anime, Collectibles, Comic Books, Comic Strips, Convention News, Cosplay, Gaming, Horror, Manga, Movies, Rhode Island, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Sports, Television, Video Games, Webcomics
Get Stan VIP Tickets HERE!
Awesome Con, the biggest annual comic and pop culture convention in Washington, DC, expects to attract its most dynamic crowd yet in 2016. This June 3rd-5th, fans will experience an impressive line-up of celebrity guests from the worlds of television, movies, and comic books and specialized pavilions focused on science and technology, family activities, and larger-than-life props. Panel discussions bring together noted experts from comic creators to scientists at NASA; costume contests, sci-fi speed dating, and gaming tournaments celebrate all things geeky; and the show floor will feature exhibits dedicated to comics, collectibles, toys, cosplay, and original art. Fun for fans of all ages, Awesome Con continues its commitment to creating an inclusive atmosphere for diehard fans, casual fans, and families. And this year is Awesome Con’s first year in partnership with LeftField Media, an event organizer created by the founder of New York Comic Con.
Special guest headliners include: Peter Capaldi (Doctor Who, The Musketeers, The Fifth Estate, Torchwood), Adam West (Batman, Family Guy, The Simpsons), Burt Ward (Batman) Kevin Smith (Comic Book Men, Jay and Silent Bob, Clerks), and John Barrowman (Arrow, Torchwood, Doctor Who).
Daily and full weekend passes available now on the website. VIP passes & experiences range from $150 to $465 and offer access to various celebrity appearances and special events. Click here for further details.
Awesome Con is DC’s comic-con! Awesome Con embraces all aspects of geekdom and pop culture, with a wide assortment of comic books, collectibles, toys, games, original art, cosplay, and more. Special events include discussion panels, costume contests, trivia contests, gaming tournaments, and tons of activities for kids. It is strongly advised to buy tickets in advance! For further details please go to the website: www.awesome-con.com