With just a week left until San Diego Comic-Con, IDW Publishing and Top Shelf Productions are officially unveiling their schedule for the weekend; including incredible signings, and must-see panels. Take note, because you won’t want to miss any of the fun at the booth, or your first look at exciting new projects on the panels!
Come meet a bevy of incredible creators at booth #2743 throughout the weekend, and be one of the first to get your hands on Berkeley Breathed’s new book, Bloom County: Episode XI A New Hope and the exciting prelude chapter to IDW’s huge September event, REVOLUTION!
Wednesday July 20th Preview Night
6:00 – 8:00 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz, Freddie E. Williams II, Mateus Santolouco, Bobby Curnow (*Check out the show exclusives!)
6:00 – 8:00 Bloom County Launch Party! – Berkeley Breathed (*Check out the show exclusive hardcover!)
8:00 – 9:00 Revolution – John Barber, Cullen Bunn, Fico Ossio (*Get a free preview of the upcoming release!)
8:00 – 9:00 The Electric Sublime Sneak Preview – W. Maxwell Prince (*Get a free preview of the upcoming release!)
Thursday July 21st
10:00 – 11:00 Bloom County – Berkeley Breathed (*Check out the show exclusives!)
10:00 – 11:00 Strawberry Shortcake – Amy Mebberson (*Check out the show exclusives!)
11:00 – 12:00 Jem and the Holograms – Samantha Newark (original Jem voice talent!), Sara Richard, M. Victoria Robado (*Check out the show exclusive hardcover!)
11:00 – 1:00 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz, Freddie E. Williams II, Mateus Santolouco, Bobby Curnow (*Check out the show exclusives!)
12:00 – 1:00 Dirk Gently – Arvind Ethan David
1:00 – 2:00 The Fun Family – Benjamin Frisch
1:00 – 2:00 The Amazing Screw-On Head Artist’s Edition – Mike Mignola (*Check out the show exclusive!)
1:00 – 2:00 Godzilla – Chris Mowry, Priscilla Tramontano
2:00 – 2:30 The X-Files – Joe Harris, Sam “Mister Sam” Shearon
2:00 – 3:00 Bloom County – Berkeley Breathed
3:00 – 4:00 3A Presents – Ashley Wood, William Wray, Phil Hale
3:00 – 4:00 My Little Pony – Agnes Garbowska, Tony Fleecs, Thom Zahler (*Check out the show exclusive!)
4:00 – 5:00 ROM – Christos Gage, David Messina, Chris Ryall (*Check out the show exclusive!)
4:00 – 5:00 Revolution – John Barber, Fico Ossio, Brandon Easton, Mairghread Scott, Aubrey Sitterson (*Get a free preview of the upcoming release!)
4:00 – 5:00 Love Addict – Koren Shadmi
4:00 – 5:00 The Electric Sublime– W. Maxwell Prince (*Get a free preview of the upcoming release!)
5:00 – 6:00 Locke & Key, Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland, Onyx – Gabriel Rodriguez, Chris Ryall, Eric Shanower (*Check out the show exclusives!)
5:00 – 6:30 Archangel – William Gibson, Michael St. John Smith, Michael Benedetto (*Check out the show exclusives!)
6:00 – 7:00 Back to the Future – John Barber, Erik Burnham
6:00 – 7:00 Samurai Jack, Mickey Mouse Shorts – Andy Suriano
Friday July 22nd
10:00 – 11:00 Orphan Black – John Fawcett, Graeme Manson
10:00 – 11:00 The Electric Sublime – W. Maxwell Prince (*Get a free preview of the upcoming release!)
10:00 – 11:00 Insufferable – Peter Krause
11:00 – 12:00 ROM – Christos Gage, David Messina, Chris Ryall (*Check out the show exclusive!)
11:00 – 12:00 Revolution – John Barber, Fico Ossio (*Get a free preview of the upcoming release!)
11:00 – 12:00 Dirk Gently – Arvind Ethan David
12:00 – 1:00 Archangel – William Gibson, Michael St. John Smith, Michael Benedetto (*Check out the show exclusives!)
12:00 – 1:00 Judge Dredd – Ulises Fariñas, Erick Freitas, Ryan Hill
12:00 – 1:00 Little Nemo, Onyx, Locke & Key – Gabriel Rodriguez, Chris Ryall, Eric Shanower, Jay Fotos (*Check out the show exclusives!)
1:00 – 2:00 Jem and the Holograms – Samantha Newark (original Jem voice talent!), Sara Richard, M. Victoria Robado (*Check out the show exclusive hardcover!)
1:00 – 2:00 Street Fighter X G.I. Joe – Aubrey Sitterson
1:00 – 2:00 Yellow Heat: Artist’s Edition Portfolio – Russ Heath
1:00 – 2:00 Strawberry Shortcake – Greg Ham (*Check out the show exclusive!)
2:00 – 3:00 Wynonna Earp – Melanie Scrofano, Shamier Anderson, Tim Rozon, Dominique Provost-Chalkley, Katherine Barrell, Beau Smith (*Check out the show exclusives!)
2:00 – 3:00 Apocrypha Now – Mark Russell, Shannon Wheeler
3:00 – 4:00 March Book Three Debut Signing! – Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell (*Check out the show exclusive hardcover!)
3:00 – 4:30 Bloom County – Berkeley Breathed (*Check out the show exclusive hardcover!)
4:00 – 6:00 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz, Bobby Curnow, Mateus Santolouco (*Check out the show exclusives!)
5:00 – 6:00 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Troy Little (*Check out the show exclusive!)
5:00 – 6:00 Disney Comics – Derek Charm, Andy Suriano (*Check out the show exclusive!)
6:00 – 7:00 Transformers – John Barber, Brendan Cahill, Marcelo Matere, Livio Ramondelli, Mairghread Scott, Priscilla Tramontano, Dheeraj Verma, (*Check out the show exclusives!)
6:00 – 7:00 The Jekyll Island Chronicles – Steve Nedvidek, Ed Crowell, Jack Lowe, Moses Nester, S.J. Miller,
Saturday July 23rd
10:00 – 12:00 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz,
Freddie E. Williams II, Mateus Santolouco (*Check out the show exclusives!)
10:00 – 11:00 X-Files Prose, V-Wars – Jonathan Maberry, Jay Fotos, Sam “Mister Sam” Shearon
10:00 – 11:00 Godzilla – Joshua Fialkov, Chris Mowry, Priscilla Tramontano
11:15 – 12:30 March– Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell (*Check out the show exclusive hardcover!)
12:00 – 1:30 Bloom County – Berkeley Breathed (*Check out the show exclusive hardcover!)
1:00 – 2:00 ROM – Christos Gage, David Messina, Chris Ryall (*Check out the show exclusive!)
1:30 – 3:00 Archangel – William Gibson, Michael St. John Smith, Michael Benedetto (*Check out the show exclusives!)
2:00 – 3:00 Powerpuff Girls – Haley Mancini, Jake Goldman, Derek Charm, (*Check out the show exclusives!)
3:00 – 4:00 March – Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell (*Check out the show exclusive hardcover!)
3:00 – 4:00 Locke & Key, Onyx, Tales From The Darkside – Gabriel Rodriguez, Chris Ryall, Jay Fotos (*Check out the show exclusives!)
4:00 – 5:00 Wynonna Earp – Melanie Scrofano, Shamier Anderson, Tim Rozon, Dominique Provost-Chalkley, Katherine Barrell, Beau Smith (*Check out the show exclusives!)
4:00 – 5:00 Bacchus – Eddie Campbell (*Check out the show exclusive hardcover!)
4:00 – 5:00 Street Fighter X G.I. Joe – Aubrey Sitterson
5:00 – 6:00 Star Trek – Mike Johnson, Ryan Parrott, Derek Charm, David Tipton, Scott Tipton, J.K. Woodward
5:00 – 6:00 The Story of My Tits – Jennifer Hayden
6:00 – 7:00 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Troy Little (*Check out the show exclusive!)
6:00 – 7:00 Ghostbusters – Erik Burnham
Sunday July 24th
10:00 – 11:00 The Rocketeer at War! – Marc Guggenheim
10:00 – 11:00 Amazing Forest – Ulises Fariñas, Erick Frietas, Melody Often
11:00 – 12:00 ROM – Chris Ryall, David Messina (*Check out the show exclusive!)
11:00 – 12:00 Archangel – William Gibson, Michael St. John Smith, Michael Benedetto (*Check out the show exclusives!)
12:00 – 2:00 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz, Bobby Curnow, Mateus Santolouco (*Check out the show exclusives!)
12:00 – 1:00 Bacchus – Eddie Campbell(*Check out the show exclusive hardcover!)
12:00 – 1:00 V-Wars – Jonathan Maberry
1:00 – 2:00 Bloom County – Berkeley Breathed
2:00 – 3:00 Revolution – John Barber, Fico Ossio (*Get a free preview of the upcoming release!)
2:00 – 3:00 My Little Pony – Christina Rice, Sara Richard, Thom Zahler (*Check out the show exclusive!)
3:00 – 4:00 Tales From The Darkside – Gabriel Rodriguez, Michael Benedetto (*Check out the show exclusives!)
3:00 – 4:00 The Electric Sublime – W. Maxwell Prince (*Get a free preview of the upcoming release!)
The Top Shelf section of the booth will be filled all weekend with more great creators, too!
IDW Publishing, IDW Entertainment, and Top Shelf will be busy all week long with exciting panels that you simply can’t afford to miss! Before it all kicks off though, don’t miss the cast of Wynonna Earp (Shamier Anderson, Tim Rozon,Dominique Provost-Chalkely) at the San Diego Comic Art Gallery in Liberty Station from 7 – 9 PM.
The Dynamic World of Disney Comics
Thursday, 7/21/16, 10:00a.m. – 11:00a.m., Room: 28DE
Disney Publishing Worldwide has long been turning Disney’s popular films and TV series into comic books, including notable series’ Uncle Scrooge, Mickey Mouse, Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories, and Donald Duck. Join Disney comics experts as they discuss the highly anticipated release of several new comic books series based on a variety of hit Disney movies and animated TV shows, including Finding Dory,Zootopia, Star Wars, Frozen, Mickey Mouse, and Disney XD’s Star vs the Forces of Evil. This panel will focus on the creative process behind taking Disney’s beloved stories and characters from the film and TV screen to the printed page, as well as Disney Publishing Worldwide’s history of creating comics that resonate with fans of all ages and demographics, setting Disney apart as a comics publisher.
Top Shelf Productions: Live!
Thursday, 7/21/16, 11:00a.m. – 12:00p.m., Room: 28DE
Now an imprint of IDW Publishing, the tastemakers at Top Shelf are busier than ever bringing you their trademark blend of gorgeous art, storytelling charm, and literary sophistication. Join marketing director Leigh Walton and design director Chris Ross for a tour of Top Shelf’s latest and greatest. Benjamin Frisch makes a head-spinning debut with The Fun Family, the Lost Mountain Mechanicals blend history with dieselpunk action-adventure in The Jekyll Island Chronicles, Koren Shadmi explores the dark side of digital dating in Love Addict, and much more! Plus: the latest on March, and great news for Alan Moore fans and Korgi lovers…
IDW & The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center Present Crossover: Where Comics & Science Meet
Thursday, 7/21/16, 12:00p.m. – 1:00p.m., Room: 9
Diehard fans know comics aren’t just picture books for children and geeky adults. Comics have a long history of addressing complex issues, from science lab accidents to ethics, moral issues and social justice. This panel will look at the art, science and technology featured in some of our favorite comics and answer questions like: How do writers develop the stories? Are they communicating realistic scientific concepts? Could comic writers be predicting in the future of science and technology? Join a distinguished panel of scientists, entrepreneurs and artists and writers from IDW Publishing to discuss the true science behind comics and science fiction.
IDW & Hasbro: The Revolution is Now!
Thursday, 7/21/16, 2:00p.m. – 3:00p.m., Room: 9
This fall, the Transformers, G.I. JOE, ROM, Micronauts and M.A.S.K. are drawn together and nothing at IDW will ever be the same again! Take a stand with universe-builders Cullen Bunn, Christos Gage, Mairghread Scott, Brandon Easton, Chris Ryall, John Barber, Aubrey Sitterson, David Hedgecock, and Hasbro’s Michael Kelly—and get a free REVOLUTION preview comic, just for showing up!
What Was Old is New — Again: IDW’s New Formats for Classic Comics
Thursday, 7/21/16, 3:30p.m. – 4:30p.m., Room: 4
Join President of IDW Publishing Greg Goldstein as he brings together the stalwarts (or culprits) of the boom in archival publishing for details and announcements about the latest classic comic book collections! Joining Greg will be renowned comic book historian and editor Craig Yoe, IDW Senior Books Editor Justin Eisinger and IDW Artist Edition Editor Scott Dunbier and one or two amazing surprise guests. IDW is home to some of the most beloved (and award-winning) collections in comics history — with more on the way — so if you love the classics, this a must see. Free book for every attendee — PLUS other giveaways and prizes.
God is Disappointed in You 2: Apocrypha Now
Friday, 7/22/16, 12:00p.m. – 1:00p.m., Room: 32AB
It’s the second coming! Their first book, God Is Disappointed in You, was an irreverent-yet-faithful adaptation of the Bible that got everyone talking. Now, Mark Russell (Prez, The Flintstones) & Shannon Wheeler (The New Yorker, Too Much Coffee Man) are back with a follow-up book, Apocrypha Now, about the stories that DIDN’T make it into the Bible. Some of these stories were forgotten, some suppressed, others were just too freaking weird for the Bible (and that’s saying something). Join these two holy heathens for a funny and fascinating tour of what the Bible DIDN’T tell you.
Pop Culture Shark Tank
Friday, 7/22/16, 1:00p.m. – 2:00p.m., Room: 32AB
Do you have what it takes to be the next pop culture startup success? Pitch your best 90-second business plan and you might spark the interest you need from investors, media and fans to take your idea to the next level – or come to watch aspiring entrepreneurs learn from the best. Judges Ted Adams (founder/CEO & Publisher, IDW Entertainment), Suzy Ryoo (Venture Partner/VP Technology, Atom Factory), David Steinberger (co-founder, comiXology) and Maureen Fan (founder/CEO, Baobob Studios VR) will offer feedback, coaching and special prizes. Rob Salkowitz (Forbes) moderates.
*All participants who pitch at this event will receive a free copy of the Raphael TMNT Sketchbook signed by Kevin Eastman!
Star Trek: Five Decades of Comics
Friday, 7/22/16, 1:30p.m. – 2:30p.m., Room: 8
A celebration of all the 4-color Star Trek worlds, featuring a look at all past iterations and a chat with many who’ve chronicled the Enterprise crews’ comic-book adventures, including Len Wein, Scott Tipton, Mike Johnson, John Van Citters, and JK Woodward. Moderated by Star Trek editor/supreme commander Sarah Gaydos!
Spotlight on Berkeley Breathed: Bloom County & Beyond
Friday, 7/22/16, 1:30p.m. – 2:30p.m., Room: 5AB
In 2015, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Berkeley Breathed began (without warning!) producing ALL-NEW Bloom County strips—for the first time in more than 25 years! Now, join Berkeley for one of his infamous presentations, focusing on what it’s like to be the last strip cartoonist standing! Presentation followed by Q & A!
IDW Publishing: The Main Event
Friday, 7/22/16, 4:00p.m. – 5:00p.m., Room: 4
Come experience the latest from IDW! Join artists Gabriel Rodriguez and David Messina, writers Christos Gage, Arvind Ethan David, and Paul Cornell, editor Sarah Gaydos and other surprise guests as they detail current plans, awesome futuristic plans, and much more. Co-moderated by the two-headed monster that is Dirk Wood & Chris Ryall! Prizes, announcements, and Q & A!
MARCH with Congressman John Lewis
Saturday, 7/23/16, 10:00a.m. – 11:00a.m., Room: 23ABC
At last… the final chapter is here. Meet the man they call “a real-life superhero” and witness history in the making, as the legendary civil rights icon, US congressman, and #1 bestselling graphic novel author John Lewis returns! Together with award-winning collaborators Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell, Congressman Lewis has brought his incredible story to new life with the graphic novel trilogy March. Now, join all three creators to celebrate the completion of the saga in March: Book Three — a must-read account of the Mississippi Freedom Summer and the Selma-Montgomery March, and so much more — available exclusively here at Comic-Con for a limited time. Learn how March is transforming our understanding of the civil rights movement, and the powerfully urgent lessons that it brings to new generations today… and get ready to move your feet!
Spotlight on William Gibson
Saturday, 7/23/16, 11:30a.m. – 12:30p.m., Room: 24ABC
William Gibson is the novelist and screenwriter credited with pioneering cyberpunk science fiction. His Blue Ant trilogy, Patterson Recognition, Spook Country and Zero History, were New York Times bestsellers, as was his most recent, The Peripheral. Archangel, co-written with his friend, Michael St. John Smith, is now being published by IDW. Please join Gibson, Smith, and some of their IDW collaborators for a discussion in Archangel!
The Ultimate TMNT Panel: Shell Games with the IDW Team!
Saturday, 7/23/16, 1:00p.m. – 2:00p.m., Room: 25ABC
As we blaze toward the longest-running TMNT comic ever, come chat with the creators about the ongoing comic, the new Universe ongoing, the first-ever TMNT boardgame, past and future(?) crossovers and more! Featuring the ongoing TMNT braintrust of Tom Waltz, Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, and Mateus Santoluoco, plus Freddie Williams III, Nick Pitarra and more!
IDW & SyFy Present: Wynonna Earp
Saturday, 7/23/16, 2:30p.m. – 3:30p.m., Room: 24ABC
By now, the word is out, Wynonna Earp was the TV hit of the Spring! Now, get an exclusive look at the action packed series with the cast and crew! Who is Wynonna Earp? A smoking hot, bad ass demon killer, that’s who. Join stars Melanie Scrofano (Supernatural, Haven), Tim Rozon (Lost Girl, Being Human), Shamier Anderson(Constantine, Defiance), Dominique Provost-Chalkley (The Avengers: Age of Ultron), Katherine Barrell (Saving Hope) and Wynonna Earp comic creator Beau Smith as they share exclusive footage, behind the scenes peeks, and participate in a Q&A!
Spotlight on Jennifer Hayden
Saturday, 7/23/16, 3:00p.m. – 4:00p.m., Room: 9
From Underwire to the webcomics S’Crapbook and Rushes to her Eisner-nominated masterwork The Story of My Tits, Jennifer Hayden has embraced a comics narrative that goes beyond the personal to the visceral. An artist, a musician, a wife and mother, a goddess: Hayden synthesizes many roles into a single, distinctive style. Join her in a discussion of how these roles transmute into art. Moderated by Karen Green.
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency Panel
Saturday, 7/23/16, 4:00p.m. – 5:00p.m., Room: 6BCF
Join stars Elijah Wood (Wilfred), Samuel Barnett (Penny Dreadful), Hannah Marks (The Amazing Spider-Man), Jade Eshete (Dead Beat), lead writer and executive producer Max Landis (Chronicle, American Ultra) and showrunner Robert Cooper (Stargate Atlantis, Stargate Universe) for a first look at BBC AMERICA’s Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, a new original series from the producers of The Walking Dead, premiering October 22. An adaptation from famed author of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams – Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency follows the bizarre adventures of eccentric detective Dirk Gently (Barnett) and his reluctant assistant Todd (Wood), as they wend their way through an insane mystery; crossing unlikely paths with a bevy of wild and dangerous characters, each episode landing them a few random steps closer to uncovering the truth. @DirkGently #DirkGently
Weird Love: Vintage Romance Comics Come Alive!
Saturday, 7/23/16, 4:30p.m. – 5:30p.m., Room: 26AB
Join Weird Comics Live! Set a date with the Golden Age’s romance genre, how it reflected the strange morals of its time and its relationship to today’s comics creators and audiences. Craig Yoe (editor of Weird Love comics) leads a juicy discussion with Ben Dickow (guest lecturer, Otis College of Art), Adriana Yugovich (LA Zine Fest) and Kristen Simon (former editor at Image Comics) looking at the role of women in these stories while LA performance group Captured Aural Phantasy Theater dramatically reads from prime examples of this crazy genre.
IDW: KIDS Rule!
Sunday, 7/24/16, 10:00a.m. – 11:00a.m., Room: 4
From My Little Pony to Strawberry Shortcake, Skylanders to TMNT Animated and X-Files: Origins to Disney, IDW loves kids’ comics and loves even more the kids who read them! Come hear from the writers and editors of our all-ages fare and then stay for the best Q&A at SDCC, since every question is only open to non-adults! Hosted by Editors Supreme Sarah Gaydos and Bobby Curnow, with Derek Charm,Jake Goldman, and Haley Mancini (Powerpuff Girls), Jodie Houser (X-Files: Origins), Caleb Goellner (TMNT: Animated), Sara Richard (MLP), Tony Fleece (MLP)! Plus prizes for all kids in attendance, too!
Plus, don’t miss the CBLDF auction, benefitting the non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the First Amendment rights of the comics medium on Saturday night at the Hilton Bayfront, Sapphire Room AB at 8PM. Featuring a Keynote speech from William Gibson, and live-sketching from Locke & Key artist Gabriel Rodriguez!
Join us as at the San Diego Comic Art Gallery on Friday, June 10, 2016 at 6:30 PM as we discuss the science behind mutations and how some of pop culture’s favorite mutated reptiles came to be. The second in a four-part series where the Comics and Science communities meet! This installment covers the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Godzilla, and the Science of Mutations! Panelists include Kevin B. Eastman (artist, co-creator of TMNT), Tom Waltz (writer, TMNT), and Chris Mowry (writer, Godzilla) from the comics side of things, and Drs. Ronald Coleman and Prithwish Pal heading up the science side. More guests TBD.
The event is for attendees 21 years of age and older. Admission includes two free beers, a free comic, and free autographs. There will be a number of unique items in the gallery to view, including a brand new, limited-time exhibit showcasing Godzilla comic art, original vintage movie posters, and memorabilia from the collection of Chris Mowry. Tickets will go fast and this event will absolutely sell out, so buy yours soon at the links below. We will have a VERY limited amount of tickets at the door so the best way to secure your spot is to order online! Cowabungodzilla!
San Diego Comic Art Gallery – Barracks 3 First Floor
2765 Truxtun Road, San Diego, CA 92106
I mentioned in my last article that a girl drove all the way down from New Jersey to North Carolina to Ichibancon meet Vic Mignogna, the star of Fullmetal Alchemist (he voices the main character, Edward Elric). This time, Anthony Aycock and I went to New Jersey from North Carolina to meet Aaron Dismuke, where Vic was also present. Aaron voices Edward Elric’s iron giant little brother, Alphonse. Aaron doesn’t do many conventions–mainly due to not being invited, he said–so I thought I would see him while I had the chance.
It was called Anime Fan Fest. With both Vic and Aaron as guests, plus other actors from Fullmetal Alchemist, Pokemon, and Yu-Gi-Oh, I expected it to be pretty big. However, it never seemed terribly crowded, even on Saturday afternoon. Then one of the dealers told me that this was the convention’s first year. I was immediately impressed.
The convention was held in one massive room at the Garden State Exhibition Center. Dealers (about 30), artist alley (about 10), cosplay registration, autograph sessions, and panels all took place in that one room. This layout had pros and cons. Everything was easy to find, but not everything was easy to hear. During Aaron’s Q&A, noise from the dealer area kept hitting me like Izumi Curtis’s fists.
I did hear a couple of things, though. One was Aaron talking about how his voice cracked during filming of the movie Fullmetal Alchemist: Conqueror of Shamballa. He asked to do the scene again, but director Mike McFarland told him, “No, we’ll keep that one. It shows the emotion of the character”–probably while stifling a laugh. I also heard Aaron talk about being recognized in public. Once was by a cashier at Kroger, who took a selfie with Aaron and his groceries. Another was someone who kept calling for Aaron at his parents’ house (he says he now lives off the grid). Still another was the guy in college who waited at a men’s room for Aaron to emerge and shake his hand. “You know my hands are wet,” Aaron said he told the guy. “You watched me wash them.” (Not creepy at all.)
After the Q&A, we had the pleasure of getting an interview with Aaron..
I have heard Vic talk about you falling in the booth a few times during Fullmetal Alchemist. Can you tell the story in your perspective?
Yeah, sure. Okay I was eleven whenever I started and so I was very absent minded and kind of
ADD acting, like I actually had been diagnosed. So I would like move around a lot, I had a stool and so I’d be in the booth, leaning back and picking at the walls because there’s soft soundproofing material. I destroyed those walls honestly. Like who am I kidding? It was bad. I might have even written on them at one point.
“Aaron was here”?
Yeah, I think that’s exactly what I wrote, honestly! Anyway, so yeah I was a little turd. And so I was leaning back and what I got into was this mode where I’d be leaning back and I would hear the beeps. You have three beeps and on the fourth imaginary beep is when you’d start recording your line. I was leaning back, and Mike said [Mike McFarland, director of Fullmetal Alchemist], “Alright let’s do this line.” It would go beep beep beep, and I’d go up real fast and I’d be like “Brother.” ‘Kay. And so this time I was leaning back and beep beep and I tried to lean forward but the stool like gives out. It goes the wrong way. It goes forward instead of backwards and I go backwards and it pushes me against the wall and the stool props up in the front of the booth. And so like I just end up with my legs sandwiched against my chest. And the stool like pinning me there. And the only way for me to get out myself would have been to like twist out and fall straight to the ground. And so I didn’t want to do that but I also didn’t want to admit what had happened and they had heard the sound of the stool and all the crash. That’s recorded somewhere. And so there’s this pause where Mike says “Aaron?” He looks up trying to see me but he can’t because I’m too far down. And I was just like – all I could think of – I finally realized I was going to need help. So I asked for it. A little “Help me.” He had to pull me out.
And they’ve never let you live it down.
You have mentioned before that you got into voice acting because you were related to someone who was a voice actor. Could you talk a little bit more about that?
Yeah, okay. Justin Cook is currently a director of production at Funimation, but at the time he was acting and directing a bit and he basically got the impression that I was a good reader because I was reading Lord of the Rings. I wasn’t really understanding it all, but I was reading it. And you know, I was like in third grade, I was like nine. So I was a bit above my reading level, and as a result he decided, “Why don’t I try using an actual boy who I know who I have a rapport with so he won’t be nervous for this little part of a little boy instead of using a woman. It’ll sound more authentic.” And so he did, and it ended up turning out pretty good. I felt pretty good about it. And he felt pretty good about it and so he had me do a larger part from the same show and then ultimately I started auditioning for other stuff and Alphonse was the first or second character I landed actually. And I think part of the reason they gave me that part was because there were no flaps [mouth movements for animated characters] so I didn’t have to focus too much on the mouth movements and they were able to do what they needed to to adjust. So I just had to do the acting. And I think that’s a big part of what allowed me to do that at such a young age. It wasn’t as hard as what all the other actors were having to do. So it was nice. It was like having training wheels on for my first part.
What sort of shows do you like that aren’t anime?
I like The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones. I read Game of Thrones before the series came out so I was super excited about it. I’m a big fan of Peaky Blinders, it’s a British crime show. It’s on Netflix right now. I also like westerns: Bonanza. I’m also a big fan of M*A*S*H which is so good. It has some of the best comedy ever. I have almost every episode memorized, I’ve watched it so many times. That’s what I grew up on.
Which actors would you actually ‘fangirl’ over?
Alan Alda. He plays Hawkeye [in M*A*S*H]. I forget her name, but I recently started watching Jessica Jones, and that actress is fantastic.
I love Jessica Jones. I’ve actually met David Tennant.
Oh cool, yeah! He plays Kilgrave [in Jessica Jones]. That guy’s awesome.
You said you did some directing for Funimation. What sort of skillset do you need to be a successful director?
I think that the acting and writing are both important because there comes a point where you have to know whether an actor could give you the read for a certain line or whether between the way the line was written and the flaps and their personal cadence, whether they’re capable of doing that line or whether or not it needs to be rewritten. And once you know it needs to be rewritten, it needs to be able to. So you need the writing skill to alter the line if need be. And you also need the acting experience and also the ability to describe how you need a certain read. So I found I was able to mostly harness my acting experience and be able to like use – and also my acting experience with like hearing the different directors and the way that they would direct me. So you can either give someone the read you want and see how they respond to that and you can say “No, say it like this” and then say it. Like I was a good parrot when I was an early actor. As Al I could easily say something back exactly how you had said it to me. That was a good training wheels thing. And then slowly I was able to predict what it was they were going to want and do it in the first round. Other than that, sometimes I use like little analogies. I’d say something like “Could you say that as more of a languid predator? You know, a leopard stalking its prey?” Or “Make it sound more like you dipped your hand in what you thought was a crate of berries, but instead it was acid.” Things like that. Colorful things. That sort of idea that they were pretending that happened and then get a little more of the nuance of what the line is than from just hearing where the character is coming from.
What do you do if the actor just can’t get the line right?
You either settle for what they can do or you say “Okay good, thanks,” and then you get someone else to do it. I have never had to do that. But I’ve also never had the authority to do that even on the show that I was directing. That was always Tyler’s call. He was my producer. He did the casting for me because it was my first show. So he took care of the hard parts.
How did you get started on doing conventions?
My first convention was before – okay so Anizona, which was a first year con, had me and the entire cast of – It was me, Laura Bailey, Travis Willingham, Vic Mignogna, I think Caitlin Glass – everybody was there. It was a tiny con, maybe like eight hundred people. That was my first real con. I don’t know if it’s even going anymore but I did it and I was super nervous and I was like “What am I supposed to say?” Because we were going through opening ceremonies and we were going through and everyone was like “Hey! I’m really glad to be here! My name is Travis Willingham and I play Roy Mustang.” And I didn’t even know what to say. They were all popping jokes and they were all like “What, you’re nervous?” And I was like “Yeah I’m nervous!” “Just tell them you’re nervous.” So I was like “Hey I’m Aaron, I play Al and I’m really nervous and there was a chorus of “Awwww” and uproarious applause. And I was like “That’s weird.”
Okay, one last question. What was your first experience with fangirls?
I ran from the first girl that tried to glomp [to pounce on and hug aggressively, often with a running start] me. I actually ran. She was a titan. She was really tall and she was wearing a Sailor Moon costume and I wasn’t familiar with Sailor Moon. I was only thirteen probably. Fourteen? Her friends met me first, and Vic said, “Do you know who this is? This guy is going to play Al.” And this was before Anizona. I was going to this con to get adjusted to it. It was a con in Fort Worth, my hometown. So I just went there for kicks to check out the scene and Vic happened to be there as a guest and he happened to recognize me and he told some other fans who I was and they were like, “We have to call our friend.” They called their friend and it was the 6’7 Amazon woman in a Sailor Moon outfit. She was like [bellows like a screaming fangirl]. People are like spilling to either side and it was an anime moment. I ran to the bathroom and then I slowly came back and hugged her calmly.
After the interview, Anthony and I went around the dealer room one last time when I noticed something very familiar. I am a yaoi fangirl, so I would recognize fan art from a fandom I am deeply involved in–in this case, Durarara!! What I saw was a wall scroll depicting the show’s most popular characters, Shizuo Heiwajima and Izaya Orihara, as they appeared in high school. They were embracing aggressively. The image was a popular piece of fan art. Someone had ripped it off, altered it slightly, and stuck it on a wall scroll that was now for sale.
I spoke to a very close friend, Kawaiikisshu, who is also an artist. This particular image she had seen on Zerochan.net, and I found it in other places such as tumblr. She said there are a lot of these on eBay and it is sad that work gets robbed and turned into merchandise for money. I heard the same sentiment from Irene Y. Lee, who draws the Li’l Deadpool for Marvel Comics. We saw a picture at her booth of Li’l Deadpool looking through a box of comics, which I totally do not have a T-shirt of. No one obtained Irene’s permission to make the shirt, and she receives no payment from it. I wish now I had told some of the staff what I saw because I knew it was illegal. Artists deserve all the credit and the money their art is worth. I know how I would feel if someone copied and pasted this article into their own web site and pretended that they were me. If they were me, they can buy food for my eight cats. (Disclaimer: I am not a crazy cat lady.)
Aside from copyright infringement and the need for more than one room, Anime Fan Fest was a spectacular experience. It was organized, the guests were terrific, and the staff was superb. When I interviewed Vic at Ichibancon, the staff member who was supposed to handle his schedule told me to ask him myself. Aaron’s handler, however, worked with me to create a seamless interview process.
I guess the worst part about Anime Fan Fest was the drive. In North Carolina, it had already been raining for about a week, and it did not stop until we left New Jersey, which, by the way, is the capital of RUDE. In our 24 hours in the state, we were honked at fourteen times. I haven’t been honked at fourteen times in North Carolina in my nineteen years of living.
Just kidding. I HEART New Jersey.
The 92nd Street Y proudly announces a special Reel Pieces event on Wednesday evening, May 18.
After a preview of All the Way — in which Bryan Cranston reprises his Tony Award winning role as President Lyndon B. Johnson — Moderator Annette Insdorf will interview Cranston, actor Anthony Mackie (who plays Martin Luther King, Jr.), director Jay Roach and writer Robert Schenkkan.
An HBO film, All the Way is a behind-the-scenes look at Johnson’s tumultuous first year in office following the assassination of President Kennedy: as the Vietnam War escalates, he struggles to pass his landmark Civil Rights bill. It boasts a cast including Melissa Leo (Lady Bird Johnson), Bradley Whitford (Hubert Humphrey), Stephen Root (J. Edgar Hoover) and Frank Langella (Sen. Richard Russell).
Bryan Cranston is the multiple winner of Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG Awards for his portrayal of Walter White on “Breaking Bad.” He received an Oscar nomination for playing the hero of Trumbo (2015), directed by Jay Roach.
In addition to Game Change and Recount for HBO, Jay Roach’s directing credits include Meet the Parents and the Austin Powers trilogy.
Anthony Mackie is a two-time Independent Spirt Award nominee, for The Hurt Locker and Brother to Brother. His other films include Our Brand Is Crisis, Triple 9, Black or White, Real Steel, Ant Man, Avengers: Age of Ultron and the Captain America series. His theatrical credits include Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, A Soldier’s Play and Talk, for which he won an Obie Award.
An writer, actor and producer, Robert Schenkkan won the Pulitzer Prize for his play, The Kentucky Cycle. He adapted his Tony Award winning play All the Way for the screen.
92nd Street Y
1395 Lexington Avenue, New York, New York 10128
World renowned comics artist ARTHUR ADAMS will be visiting Flying Colors on Saturday April 2, 2016 from 11:00 AM till 1:00 PM.
Art is the cover artist for Flying Colors exclusive edition of AVENGERS STANDOFF ALPHA #1 which features Pleasant Hill CA’s historic landmark Soldier’s Memorial Monument. This will be your best chance to get a signed copy of this special edition that is available exclusively at Flying Colors Comics in Concord CA.
His work includes X-MEN, FANTASTIC FOUR, SUPERMAN, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, MONKEYMAN & O’BRIEN, ULTIMATE X, UNIVERSAL MONSTERS, the creation of LONGSHOT and so much more.
Arthur’s work has influenced a generation of comics artists. He currently is Marvel’s “go-to guy” for iconic and fan-favorite covers.
PLEASE NOTE: Due to the limited time Art has for this signing, he will not be able to do any sketches. We will be giving priority to fans buying Art’s Flying Colors Pleasant Hill exclusive Avengers special edition. We reserve the right to limit the number of signatures on other items. Thanks for your understanding!
Flying Colors Comics
2980 Treat Blvd (at Oak Grove Rd), Concord, CA 94518
Writer Jeremy Robinson and artist Matt Frank will be signing copies of PROJECT NEMESIS #1 on Wednesday October 7th from 6:00 – 8:00 PM at Jetpack Comics! Also in attendance will be Josh Belanger, who did the Jetpack Comics exclusive variant cover.
Added bonus: Meet Joe St. Pierre writer/artist of The New Zodiax. Joe will have copies of the latest issue of New Zodiax as well as back issues!
37 North Main Street, Rochester, NH 03867
Artist Matt Frank appears at Bedrock City Comic Co. on Sunday, June 28, 2015 from noon till 5:00 PM to sign his final issue of GODZILLA!
Matt will do one free sketch with the purchase of one of his Godzilla Trades or you can pay for a sketch. Note: One character sketch per person.
Bedrock City Comic Co.
4602 Washington Ave, Houston, Texas 77007
Rogues Gallery celebrates their fifth annual all-ages event on Saturday June 27, 2015, featuring a whole bunch of creators who will sketch, sign and talk with kids about making comics!
Our guests this year are (signing schedule subject to change):
Signing/sketching from 10 AM – 1 PM / 3 – 6 PM:
Stacey Lee – Artist of Marvel’s new Silk!
Tom Beland – Creator of True Story, Swear to God, Chicacabra, has previously written Fantastic Four and Spider-Man!
Signing/sketching from 1 PM – 6 PM:
Devin Kraft – Creator of Dragon Slayer, Deluge, Neverender and more!
Evan Bryce – Evan has been at every All-Ages event, and always does awesome prints and sketches!
Jake Ekiss – The Spoils official webcomics and lots more!
Matt Frank – Artist on Godzilla: Rulers of the Earth and more!
Paul Benjamin – Writer of Monsters, Inc., Pantheon High, Hulk, Spider-Man and more!
1601 S IH-35 #360, Round Rock, TX 78664
Cast members Kelli O’Hara, Ken Watanabe, Ruthie Ann Miles, Ashley Park, and Conrad Ricamora appear to perform songs from THE KING & I and sign copies of the 2015 Broadway cast recording on Thursday June 11, 2015 at 4:30 PM!
Barnes & Noble
150 East 86th Street, New York, NY 10028
As geek culture continues to expand the market sees new conventions cropping up regularly. In New England one of the largest, and longest running, is Anime Boston which has been going since 2003 and growing each year. With a dedicated volunteer staff, they fill the Hynes Convention Center year after year with fans of anime, manga, cosplay, and virtually any other stripes of geek. While their guests and programming stick closely to the New England Anime Society’s mandate of concentrating on Japanese pop culture, attendees still represent their individual tastes. Guests such as voice over artists bridge this gap well. This year Anime Boston hosted Cherami Leigh, Mona Marshall, Richard Epcar, Michael Sinterniklaas, and more who have worked dubbing anime television shows and movies into English such as Sword Art Online, Naruto, Robotech, Ghost in the Shell, Mobile Suit Gundam but are equally as well known for their American projects like South Park, Venture Brothers, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Several guest were direct from Japan including Godzilla actors Akira Takarada and Haruo Nakajima (see photo at left) who graciously signed for fans and posed for photos on the convention floor all weekend long. Mr. Takarada also offered hand written calligraphy of Godzilla’s name in kanji as a memento. Furthermore, J-Pop star LiSA played to a sold out audience on Friday night.
The annual charity auction, the proceeds from which benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, saw some records broken when an original watercolor painting of Aang and Appa by Avatar: The Last Airbender co-creator Bryan Konietzko sold for $2,500. Ultimately, the auction raised $23,485.84, its highest amount ever.
Next year’s Anime Boston has been scheduled for March 25-27, 2016!