Cinderella, Wonder Woman, and an assassin walked into a bar. Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke. Actually, it was the first day of DragonCon 2016.
DragonCon is one of the largest conventions in the Southeast. This was my third year, but my first as a journalist. Even as a veteran convention goer, you really never know what to expect, especially for a place such as this. With over 75,000 attendees, it’s hard to find the same cosplayer twice, and it’s easy to lose your companions, like the Doctor loses Rose in every episode.
This is especially true of the Saturday morning parade. Several streets in downtown Atlanta are blocked off, and the sidewalks are covered in Disney Princesses, Deadpools, and Batmans (Batmen?) all converging together. It’s one of the few places you can see the Punisher pull Bullseye out of the street to prevent him from being run over by Doc Brown’s DeLorean. Until recently, people could register to be in the parade up until the day before. It has grown so popular, however, that last year registration for the 3,200 slots closed in August. This year, registration closed on March 1st. Also, for the first time, the parade was broadcasted on the CW Network. One of the best things about this parade is the fact that they have a specific place for just the Deadpools to roam, and it’s certainly one of the most popular cosplays done in any convention I have been to.
And then of course, due to the new movie that came out recently, Suicide Squad, my colleague, Anthony Aycock, and I were curious to see just how many Harley Quinns and Jokers there were, but only from that movie. We counted a total of ninety-one Margot Robbie Harley Quinns and nineteen Jared Leto Jokers. Most of the Harleys were in her usual outfit, complete with the shirt that says “Daddy’s Lil’ Monster,” but we noticed some variations. One Harley was wearing the prison uniform from the beginning of the movie, a few were wearing the “stripper” Harley outfit, and then there were a couple that had dressed as Harleen Quinzel, the pre-Harley Quinn – long white lab coat, no nonsense blond bun, and leading a prisoner Joker with a makeshift leash. I also saw one Charlie Quinn, a male Harley with “Mommy’s Lil’ Monster” scrawled on his pecs. I suppose one reason that there were more Harleys than Jokers is because most people seemed to have had a distaste for Leto’s portrayal of him. It might be because I was a fan of 30 Seconds to Mars far before the movie was even thought of, but I actually quite enjoyed it. One criticism I have though is that we didn’t see much into the abusive relationship, and now most couples who are unfamiliar with the characters are thinking “OMG hashtag relationship goals!”
One of the most popular areas of DragonCon is the Walk of Fame, which is overflowing with beloved actors of the traditional and voice kind. A few of my favorites were Carlos Valdes (Cisco from the CW TV show The Flash), Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy, Commander Zhao, and Captain Hook), Nolan North (voice of Deadpool in the Deadpool video game, Nathan Drake from Uncharted, and Desmond Miles from the Assassin’s Creed series), and of course William Shatner (you already know who this is).
We stood in line for Nolan North (who was tardy to the party), and ended up talking to his agent for a while. She told us that voice actors usually make around $900 per four hours of work plus residuals (i.e., they get paid each time the episode they were in is broadcast). Anime voice actors make a lot less, roughly $65 per hour. Most conventions guarantee their celebrities a certain amount of money. For example Lana Parrilla of Once Upon a Time gets $10,000 per convention. If her autograph sales fall short of that, the convention makes up the difference. DragonCon, however, does not make guarantees like that. Not even for ol’ Bill Shatner. I found this fascinating, especially how undervalued anime voice actors are. I expect that to change, however, as anime becomes more mainstream.
Finally, Nolan arrived, and I managed to speak to him as he was signing a Deadpool Pop figure for me (I am not a nerd, I swear). Interviews are not allowed in the Walk of Fame, but I wanted to ask him a couple of questions out of my own curiosity. He was so friendly and engaging that it might as well have been an interview.
My first question was what he thought of Ryan Reynolds stealing the spotlight for Deadpool. He said, “There is no spotlight. Ryan does a terrific job, but I do have an idea for a cameo for the next movie. Deadpool is chasing someone, fires a gun, blows a hole in the wall, and behind the wall, I’m standing there wearing headphones, recording Deadpool’s voice for a video game. And Ryan looks at me and says, ‘You sound nothing like me’ and shoots me.” Nolan went on to say how funny Ryan is on Twitter, and I second that since I stalk him too.
My second question was how Nolan felt about the Assassin’s Creed movie coming out in December. He replied, “I’m a big fan of Michael Fassbender [co-producer and star of the movie]. What I like about it is that it will be an original take on the story. It won’t just be the game translated into the movie. The game is the inspiration for a unique movie.”
I stood there with Nolan so long that his agent started clearing her throat—thank goodness I didn’t have a third question—but it was interesting getting his perspective. As a fan of the Assassin’s Creed franchise, I was a bit tentative to see the movie, but after hearing Mister Desmond Miles himself praise it, I have a bit more hope for how it will turn out. Oh, and when I got his autograph on Friday, it was only $20, but two days later, he was charging $40. Way to up your game, North.
Are you thinking about going to DragonCon? Here are five morsels of advice:
- Bring all the money you have plus what you can bum from your parents and what you can earn by selling a kidney. I’m not saying stuff is overpriced; you’ll just want to buy it all.
- Prepare to stand in line for an hour and a half, feet tired, arms dragging the floor, just to be told to come back later after the actor’s friggin’ panel (I’m looking at you, Carlos Valdes).
- The hotels in downtown Atlanta fill up fast, but don’t worry: you can stay outside the city and just take the MARTA in. It’s quick and cheap. But don’t let the homeless guys take your money—you need it for the autographs and the plushies and the posters and . . . you get the idea.
- Prepare to walk. I know a lot of you like to wear heels everywhere. Don’t. You will not be able to feel anything beyond the blisters that will begin to appear after just the first day.
- Have fun, but not so much it’ll land you in Erewhon.
Now have a look at these pix from DragonCon 2016 . . .
Connor McCreery and Anthony Del Col appear at Barnes & Noble in Union Square on Friday June 10, 2016 at 7:00 PM to sign Assassin’s Creed: Trial by Fire!
Barnes & Noble – Union Square
33 East 17th Street, New York, NY 10003
Writer Fred Van Lente (Conan, Big Trouble In Little China, Archer & Armstrong) and artist Dennis Calero (Ash & The Army of Darkness, Independence Day, X-Men Noir: Mark of Cain) appear at JHU Comic Books on Wednesday, March 30, 2016 from at 6:00 – 8:00 PM to sign the new Assassin’s Creed series TEMPLARS!
**Purchase of Assassin’s Creed: Templars #1 required to participate in signing event
JHU Comic Books MANHATTAN
32 East 32nd Street, New York, NY 10016
Todd McFarlane and McFarlane Toys are planning their trip to the Big Apple for New York Comic Con 2015! Last year, McFarlane Toys debuted their AMC’s The Walking Dead construction sets and this year, for the first time, McFarlane Toys is showing off their HBO’s Game of Thrones Construction Sets slated to hit stores this November!
Visit the McFarlane Toys booth #1526 for a chance to meet Todd McFarlane and see the latest construction sets, action figures and statues from brands including: AMC’s The Walking Dead, HBO’s Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead Comic, Halo, Assassin’s Creed and more.
Here’s an overview of McFarlane’s schedule at NYCC:
PANEL: Toddfather Talks Toys, Comics, Spawn and Insight to Being an Independent Creator
- Date: Thursday, October 8, 2015
Time: 12:15 PM – 1:15 PM
Location: Room 1A06
This is a can’t-miss panel featuring the man, Todd McFarlane! The toy company giant gives a sneak peek at McFarlane Toys’ upcoming AMC’s The Walking Dead and HBO’s Game of Thrones construction sets. Todd also talks exciting Spawn and Savior news that will make any comic fan eager for new issues! A Todd McFarlane panel wouldn’t be complete without words of wisdom on persevering and obtaining your dream job.
SIGNING: Todd McFarlane VIP Signing
- Date: Friday, October 9, 2015
Time: 9:30 AM – 11:00 AM
Location: VIP Lounge in the 4th floor Galleria
If you’re a VIP ticket holder, this is for you… Bring your two favorite Todd McFarlane items for a free autograph!
PANEL: Will Eisner: Champion of the Graphic Novel
- Date: Saturday, October 10, 2015
Time: 4 PM – 5 PM
Already a legend for his creation of The Spirit in 1940, Will Eisner – with the 1978 publication of his A Contract With God – would be instrumental in popularizing the graphic novel format, changing the world of comics forever. Join us and find out how and why Eisner did it, with moderator Paul Levitz (author of the upcoming Will Eisner: Champion of the Graphic Novel) and Panelists Todd McFarlane (Spawn Creator & Image Comics President), Raina Telgemeier (Smile), Dennis O’Neil (Batman) and Denis Kitchen (The Best of Comix Book).
NYCC BUILD OFF: In-Booth Construction Set Challenge
McFarlane Toys is challenging New York Comic Con fans to a construction challenge featuring our McFarlane Construction Sets. Fans can test their construction skills as we pit them against one another in a no-holds barred construction throw-down! The contest is free and open to all NYCC attendee badge holders and will be held in McFarlane Toys booth (1526) Friday, October 9 and Saturday, October 10th.
Can’t make it to NYCC? Upload a photo of your McFarlane Construction Sets to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with #McFarlaneBuilds for a chance to win a McFarlane Construction Set prize package!
CONTESTS, GIVEAWAYS and MORE!
Stop by the McFarlane Toys booth #1526 for several different chances to win some awesome prizes!
- Win McFarlane Toys for a Year: Sign up for the McFarlane Toys newsletter on an iPad in our booth to be entered in our ‘Win McFarlane Toys for a Year’ sweepstakes. Not going to NYCC? Don’t worry… You can enter the contest by clicking here.
- Daily Lanyard Pin Giveaways: Each day of NYCC, we’ll be giving away NYCC EXCLUSIVE lanyard pins. Limited quantities available.
- Daily Blind Bag Giveaways: Be one of the first to our booth (#1526) to grab a blind bag from AMC’s The Walking Dead. Check the front and back of your blind bag for a neon sticker, because you could be an INSTANT winner winning comics, action figures or construction sets. Limited quantities available.
FREE AUTOGRAPH SESSIONS
More Todd McFarlane autograph sessions times to be announced! Check back here and on Todd’s Twitter for more details!
Stop by the McFarlane Toys booth for life-size photo opportunities from AMC’s The Walking Dead hit TV series. Upload a photo of you in our booth to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with #McFarlaneBuilds for a chance to win a McFarlane Construction Set prize package!
Writer Anthony Del Col (Kill Shakespeare, Sherlock Holmes vs Harry Houdini) appears at JHU Comic Books on Wednesday, October 14, 2015 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM to sign Assassin’s Creed #1!
*Purchase of Assassin’s Creed #1 required to participate in signing event.
JHU Comic Books MANHATTAN
32 East 32nd Street, New York, NY 10016
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Thursday October 2nd at 7:00 PM
Bar Le Ritz PDB
179 Rue Jean-Talon-Ouest Montréal, QC H2R 2Y9, Canada
Friday October 3rd from 3:00 – 5:00 PM
Comic Book Shoppe
1400 Clyde Ave Ottawa, ON K2G3J2
Phone +1 613-228-8386
Saturday October 4th from 12:00 – 2:00 PM
Little Island Comics
742 Bathurst Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 2R6
Monday October 6th at 6:00 PM
Cloud City Comics – Shoppingtown Mall
Syracuse, New York 13214
Tuesday October 7th from 5:00 – 8:00 PM
Escape Pod Comics
302 Main St, Huntington, NY 11743
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SacAnime welcomes Camilla Luddington (Tomb Raider, Grey’s Anatomy, True Blood) to our Summer 2014 show. This will be her first appearance at a convention. Other recent additions include Neil Napier and Tiio Horn (Assassin’s Creed III), Dave Fennoy and Melissa Hutchison (Telltale Games’ Walking Dead) and Josh Grelle (Attack on Titan).
Previously announced guests include Mark Sheppard, Rodger Bumpass, J. Michael Tatum, Yuri Lowenthal, Johnny Yong Bosch, Roger Craig Smith, and more!
About CAMILLA LUDDINGTON:
Currently starring on ABC’s hit series Grey’s Anatomy, CAMILLA LUDDINGTON has the gift of portraying characters with both strength and vulnerability, and her Dr. Jo Wilson displays plenty of both as she finds her way through complicated storylines of love – opposite the troublesome Dr. Alex Karev — and career. Audiences relate, and love her.
The sci fi/fantasy world has come to love her too for her embodiment of Lara Croft, a different kind of heroine, in the video game Tomb Raider. When the game was released in 2013, critics praised Luddington for giving the classic icon a much-needed reboot. Gamers agreed, buying over a million copies in the first 48 hours of release.
But even before Grey’s and Raider, Luddington had made her mark. In her first starring role in America, she brought to life the real English girl who was destined to become a queen, starring as Kate Middleton in the much-loved Lifetime movie William and Kate. The project launched her career in this country, and was one of the two highest-rated programs ever aired on the network.
From princess to au pair, Luddington has brought life to all kinds of appealing young women. In a major recurring role opposite David Duchovny and Evan Handler on the critically acclaimed Showtime series Californication, she portrayed Lizzie, the seemingly sweet English nanny who would do whatever it took to make it in L.A.
And somewhere between the princess and the nanny came Claudette the Fairy, her recurring role on the award-winning True Blood, where she again was the heroine, protecting series star Anna Paquin from all those True Blood villains.
Luddington was born and raised near London in Berkshire, England. She started acting at age 5, entertaining the family and directing her little brother in their two-character performances. By the time she was 11, she had her first agent and was appearing in local theatre productions. After finishing her studies in Theatre Arts at London’s prestigious Italia Conti Academy in 2007, she moved to Los Angeles, where she now lives and works.
About NEIL NAPIER:
Neil Napier stars in SyFy’s new apocalyptic thriller, Helix as Dr. Peter Farragut, Alan’s flawed and deeply conflicted brother. Season One was a wild ride, and he is excited to get to work on Season Two later in 2014.
Prior to embodying Peter, Neil had the joyous privilege of playing Lt. Karl Hagerman in IFC’s dark and dangerous comedy series, Bullet In The Face. With other TV turns in The Listener (CTV), Blue Mountain State (Spike), Zero Hour (ABC), The Business (IFC) and Naked Josh (Showcase), it’s clear he likes to keep one foot in the dramatic and one foot in the absurd…
After spending much of his youth and early adulthood immersed in the worlds of rugby, football and hockey, Neil has found that his background in athletics has served him well in the world of performance.
In addition to dozens of forays onto the stage (his first love), and roles in cult horror films such as End of the Line and $la$her$, Neil’s physical approach to his craft has been called upon in several recent productions, such as Erased (Weinstein Company), Infected (SyFy), Immortals (Relativity), Riddick (Universal), as well as the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past (Fox Studios).
Videogames also figure large in Neil’s body of work: As well as playing the villainous role of Charles Lee in Assassin’s Creed 3, and the burned out old skater/guide, Bob, in Shaun White Skateboarding, he has voiced and motion-captured characters in several videogames, including Deus Ex; Human Revolution, Watchdogs, Outlast, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, and Thief IV. Neil is also currently working on several new videogame titles.
Born and raised in Montreal, Neil now resides in Toronto where, when not at work on a set or in a studio, he can be found playing hockey, practicing yoga and trying to get better at guitar.
About TIIO HORN:
Kaniehtiio (Tiio) Horn voiced and provided facial capture for Kaniehtí:io in Assassin’s Creed III.
Tiio was born and raised in Kahnawake, a Mohawk reserve just outside of Montreal.
Tiio burst onto the feature film scene with roles in the The Trotsky opposite Jay Baruchel, New Reel Film’s Leslie, My Name is Evil, as well as the lead role in the critically acclaimed and award winning The Wild Hunt. All three films premiered at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival. Other credits include supporting roles in Jacob Tierney’s Good Neighbours, Immortals opposite Mickey Rourke, Freida Pinto and Henry Cavill, On the Road starring Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley and Tom Sturridge
In 2009 Tiio earned a Gemini Award nomination for her portrayal of Angel in the APTN MOW Moccasin Flats: Redemption, as well in 2010 and 2011 as part of the ensemble cast of CBC’s 18 to Life. Other television credits include a rercurring role on Syfy’s Defiance, as well as guest star appearances on Being Human, Alphas and The CW hit show Supernatural. Tiio currently stars in the Netflix original series Hemlock Grove opposite Famke Janssen, Bill Skarsgård and Landon Liboiron.
Tiio wrote, directed and acted in the semi autobiographical short film ‘The Smoke Shack’, which took home the ‘Golden Sheaf’ award for Best Comedy at the 2013 the Yorkton Film Festival.
In her spare time Tiio plays roller derby, and spends time with friends, family and her cat Boodz. She divides her time between Kahnawake, Toronto and Los Angeles.
About JOSH GRELLE:
A native Texan and avid anime fan, Josh Grelle has been working in voice work for over 10 years. After starting with ADV Films in January 2004, Josh was quickly bombarded with tons of in-booth experience on a wide range of shows, including Wedding Peach, Steam Detectives, 009-1, and the legendary Gatchaman. He began working for FUNimation Entertainment in 2006. Since then, he has starred in numerous titles; his most famous being Kenichi in Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple. Other roles include Armin in Attack on Titan, Kyohei in the Wallflower, Kouichi in Linebarrles of Iron, Yuki in Future Diary, Itsuki in Initial D, and Kuranosuke in Princess Jellyfish. More recent roles include Chow from Starship Troopers: Invasion, Nicky in Mass Effect: Paragon Lost, Kazuya Aoi in Freezing, Yuji Sakai in Shakugan no Shana, Akihisa Yoshii in Baka and Test, and Komatsu in Toriko. Aside from anime, Josh has lent his voice to a number of video games, including Sima Shi in Dynasty Warriors 7, Xbalanque in Smite, Dave in Borderlands 2, and the voice of the “energetic” custom character in Dragonball Z: Ultimate Tenkaichi. Josh is represented by The Mary Collins Agency.
About DAVE FENNOY:
Dave Fennoy has been a preeminent voice working in Los Angeles since 1990 and one of the most versatile voices in the industry providing voices for Commercials, Narrations, TV Promos, Award Shows, Animation and Games. He portrayed Lee Everett in Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead. Lately he is known by 30+ million Hulu viewers as “The Hulu Guy”, the omnipresent voice of HULU.COM. His promo clients over the years include ABC, The WB, Fox, CBS, Showtime, Starz, ESPN, The Disney Channel and TV One. His campaign spokesvoice credits include Lexus, McDonalds, Corona Beer, KFC, Toyota, Chrysler, and ATT, Time Life Music R&B/Gospel and Southern Company. Gamers enjoy his work on STARCRAFT II, Metal Gear, That’s So Raven, Ultimate Spiderman, Delta Force, Star Wars, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, and many others. Narration credits include programs for National Geographic, Discovery Channel and Science Channel’s popular series, “When Earth Erupts”. His various film voices include “Ghost Rider”, “Happy Feet”,and “King’s Ransom”, and he has proved a cartoon favorite in such series as The LeBrons, Kim Possible, Ben 10, Darkwing Duck, New Kids on the Block, Pro Stars, Johnny Quest and Sonic the Hedgehog. Dave has been the show voice for several TV and Award shows, among them Late Night with Gregg Kinnear, The Billboard Music Awards, The Teen Choice Awards, Cedric the Entertainer Presents, and for the past 15 years The NAACP Image Awards.
Mr. Fennoy is a sought-after VO instructor, and the subject of a chapter in the book “Secrets of Voice Over Success” by Joan Baker.
About MELISSA HUTCHISON:
Melissa Hutchison has been earning her keep as a Voice Over actress for almost a decade. A Bay Area Local since 1989, Melissa divides her work between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Her resume includes a wide variety of work, ranging from TV and Radio commercials, to children’s interactive toys, animation, and video games.
Melissa’s most current claim to fame is being the voice of Clementine, From Telltale games, The Walking Dead. This role just earned her a Spike TV VGA for best performance by a female, and the game itself has pulled in over 55 Game of The Year awards for 2012.
When not fighting zombies, Melissa has also voiced for League of Legends (Ashe), Deadly Premonition (Anna Graham and Sallie Graham), Sonic and the Black Knight (Merlina), Bakugan: Defenders of the Core (Marucho), Telltales Back to the Future (Trixie Trotter) Telltales Sam and Max (Stinky), Death Jr. 2: Root of Evil (Pandora), and the list goes on! Melissa also got to dip her acting chops into the world of Anime, by doing the voice of Chise, in Saikano: She the Ultimate Weapon, back in 2002. Currently Melissa is working on an animated series, set to be released in 2014, called the Space Racers.
SACANIME is being held on Friday, Saturday and Sunday August – 29th – 31st, 2014 at the Sacramento Convention Center and Sheraton Grand Hotel. For more information, check out our website at: www.sacanime.com
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Artist Cameron Stewart appears at Bergen Street Comics on Wednesday November 16th on his Sin Titulo Tour! Cameron has worked on Batman & Robin, Catwoman, Seaguy, BPRD, Invisibles, and Assassins Creed to name just a few!
Bergen Street Comics
470 Bergen Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217
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Artist Cameron Stewart appears at Laughing Ogre Comics on Monday November 14th on his Sin Titulo Tour! Cameron has worked on Batman & Robin, Catwoman, Seaguy, BPRD, Invisibles, and Assassins Creed to name just a few!
Laughing Ogre Comics
4258 N. High Street Columbus, OH 43214
1845 N. Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60647