Back in 2011, John sent me an email that read, “Son, look at this.” John and I have called each other “son” for twenty years. It’s our oldest invention, the stone tools of our friendship. His email included a link to a convention called DragonCon, which I was unfamiliar with. “We should go to this to watch all the freaks,” he went on. “We’d have the time of our lives!”
We went to DragonCon that year, plus the next two. In 2014, John was unavailable, so I took my wife and daughter, who went with me again this year, marking my fifth Labor Day weekend spent in Atlanta, Georgia.
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DragonCon has been held in the Dogwood City since 1986, when it was started by a science fiction and gaming group, the Dragon Alliance of Gamers and Role-Players (DAGR). From the outset, it was different. In an era when most conventions focused on a single universe (Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who) or medium (comics, games, science fiction), DragonCon was founded as a multi-genre convention, and it has remained one ever since.
That first gathering drew 1,400 fans and featured some surprisingly renowned guests: Robert Asprin, Lynn Abbey, Michael Moorcock, and the band Blue Öyster Cult. Attendance grew every year, doubling in some years. By 1995, it was at 14,000. It topped 40,000 in 2010, and in 2015, just five years later, over 65,000 were expected. Heck, there are now more volunteers (2,300+) than inaugural attendees!
Most gatherings of that size take place in convention centers, but DragonCon is still hotel-based. Initially confined to the Piedmont Plaza, it now swamps five four-star venues: the Hilton, Hyatt Regency, Marriott Marquis, Sheraton, and Westin. Vendor booths are located in a sixth building, the AmericasMart. Over 3,000 hours of programming are spread among those hotels, divided into fortysomething tracks. Tracks such as comics and Tolkien are the DNA of DragonCon. Others like podcasting, Whedon Universe, and filking are newer. The curriculum is always changing, always improving, according to Dan Carroll, DragonCon’s director of media. The alternate history track, for example, was added seven years ago when a panel on the topic was planned for 400 people. Over 3,000 showed up.
I went to one panel this year. Cacophonously titled “Legendary SW Authors Talk Mythos,” it featured four writers—Rebecca Moesta, Timothy Zahn, Michael Stackpole, and Kevin J. Anderson—who have totaled no fewer than 50 Star Wars novels. To call these authors “legendary” carries a double meaning, as their works, like others of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, are no longer canon thanks to a 2014 Lucasfilm decree. (This article describes the new continuity in detail.)
The authors talked about this decision, not to bellyache but to explain that it isn’t the degradation most fans seem to think. They knew from the start that they were scribblers, hired to tell tales from someone else’s world. They didn’t feel betrayed; they felt lucky for the opportunities. After all, it isn’t just any world—it is Star Wars, one of the best worlds in this, or any, universe. Besides, there is nothing to stop Lucasfilm from taking their work—say, Michael Stackpole’s X-Wing books—and turning it into a separate movie or TV series, a possibility hinted at during last year’s San Diego Comic-Con.
The panelists discussed other topics, including their tastes in stories (westerns, Doc Savage, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and fortuitously, romances like Gone with the Wind), what influenced them as writers, and how they collaborate. It was a fascinating colloquy despite the feebleness of the moderator, a supposed Star Wars blogger whose questions were rambling and confused the panelists. One question had already been answered by Stackpole, and after the moderator asked it, Kevin J. Anderson said, “Mike, you want to run through that again?” The moderator smiled, turned to the audience, and said, “Never mind. We’ll take your questions now.”
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One of the biggest attractions of DragonCon is the Walk of Fame, where all the TV, movie, gaming, and other guests interact with fans. Over 400 guests attended this year, a few of them household names: Stephen Amell, John Barrowman, Katie Cassidy, Karen Gillan, Nichelle Nichols, and Edward James Olmos. I wanted to interview some guests, a process DragonCon manages better than most conventions. Reporters who are granted press passes must be separately approved for interviews. These approvals are based on the size of their media outlets. Once I got my approval, I could request interviews with up to ten guests.
With over 500 interview requests for 114 slots (according to Samantha Douglas, the interview coordinator), not every reporter approved for interviews actually gets one. Imagine my surprise when I was offered two: one with Sylvester McCoy, who played the Seventh Doctor on Dr. Who, and one with Caroll Spinney, who played Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street. The interviews were actually press conferences held in one of the Marriott meeting rooms. About twelve reporters were at each one. Most represented nerd-news sites like ConventionScene, though I also saw CNN and Georgia Public Broadcasting.
Through no fault of DragonCon, the press conferences were disasters. After we waited thirty minutes for Sylvester McCoy, someone came in to say that he was cancelling. His panel had run long, and because he was leaving that afternoon, there was no time to reschedule. Carol Spinney was over an hour late (he simply forgot) and stayed only about ten minutes. Here is a bit of what he had to say:
Reporter: I heard in other interviews that you based Big Bird on a four-year-old child. Over the years, have you had to adjust your characterization of that four-year-old child version of Big Bird based on the generations?
Spinney: Actually, initially, since I decided Big Bird could not read or write, he was four-and-a-half. Then I had to go up to six. And now he has been six for years. He is a precocious child of six. He travels by himself with a dog. And he went to China, somehow. I don’t know how he got tickets. I think it’s just fun playing him as a kind of wide-eyed child. I get letters all the time from children saying, “Big Bird, you’re my best friend. Please come and play with me.” One said, “How about next Thursday?”
Reporter: When the movie [Follow That Bird, 1985] came out, Big Bird had already been around for a while, and a whole generation of children had been watching him and relating to him as a friend, and kids really felt that their friend had been kidnapped. Were you expecting Big Bird to connect to a whole country of children at that deep of a level?
Spinney: I didn’t really know what to expect. When Jim Henson hired me, we were both puppeteers. I would do whatever characters needed performing, but by the third year, with Big Bird, I was so busy. They tried to have me continue doing the incidental stuff too, but one day, Big Bird was in almost all the scenes, and I had to keep taking a taxi up and down Broadway [performing as different characters in different scenes], so one day I said, “Let’s not play this game anymore.” On the fourth year, I said I was busy enough that we needed more puppeteers. So we got some more.
Reporter: I saw that you visited the Center for Puppetry Arts yesterday. Can you talk about what you saw and did there?
Spinney: Well, the museum is going to open by November. They have so many things to display. I saw the place where they are building and repairing puppets, a lot of the Henson puppets that are worn-out. Some of the material has decayed. It has turned to powder. The only puppet I ever created myself is one that has gone to pieces. It was Bruno, who carried Oscar’s trash can around. There were fake arms going to Bruno’s shoulders, and my hands were inside. Oscar would come up and try to boss him around, but Bruno would not be bossed. I designed Bruno so that my head was in his head. I could see out through where the bags under his eyes would be. He looked like a Bert-type puppet. That way, we could get Oscar out on stage for concert tours. I asked a couple of years ago why we don’t use Bruno in shows anymore. He doesn’t exist. He has turned to powder. I asked why they don’t make a new one. It would cost $20,000, so good-bye, Bruno.
Reporter: You are an animator as well. Are you planning on making any future animations?
Spinney: Not really. After four years of doing it in Boston, I kind of got tired of it. I was glad it didn’t have to be my permanent career. I was hired by Disney Studios to be an animator, though I didn’t take the job. This was 1957, and the pay was only $56 a week for the first two years. I decided I’d try for something different, so I did. Walt [Disney] actually walked into the room during my interview. I never actually got to speak to him. I had always had a bucket list of three people I would like to meet: Andrew Wyeth, who I spent an afternoon with once and his son Jamie; Walt Disney—at least I was in the same room with him, and I turned his company down; and the other one was Jim Henson, who personally hired me. So I guess I accomplished all those.
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Suppose you are thinking of going to DragonCon in 2016, which will be its 30th anniversary. What do you need to know?
- Book early. Tickets are plentiful, but the hotels fill up fast. The marketing manager at the Hyatt told me that it takes fifteen minutes to sell his 1,250 guest rooms for DragonCon weekend.
- Prepare to wait. You will wait for autographs. You will wait for panels. You will wait for the Heroes & Villains ball or the DragonCon Burlesque or panels with the biggest celebrities. Heck, you will wait for an elevator or a restroom. Get used to it.
- Pay in cash. I have a dream that someday the DragonCon decision-makers will realize they need to mail pre-paid badges. What’s the point of buying online when you have to pick them up in-person? This means 65,000 people standing in line. Yes, registration starts on Thursday, but this benefits only those who buy a weekend pass. Those who want a one-day pass on Saturday can only buy it on Saturday and must pick it up on-site, even if they paid online. You may as well pay for a one-day on-site, and if you do, pay cash. The cash line is terribly shorter and faster than the credit card line.
- Account for the parade. A highlight of the weekend is the Saturday parade, which starts at 10:00am and stretches through downtown. Over 80,000 people show up to watch, making it the second largest parade in the state of Georgia (the first is the Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Parade). Along the parade route, every inch of sidewalk bears a geeky gawker. It’s like a Marvel mosh pit, so plan accordingly. I heard one woman complaining that she had missed her Saturday morning photo op (which she had paid for) because she could not reach the hotel through the throng.
- Schedules are bunk. The program you are handed at registration contains a detailed schedule for the entire weekend. It is outdated the moment it is printed. There is a smartphone app that is kept current, but even it is not omniscient. For example, when I entered the Walk of Fame on Saturday, I saw a handwritten sign taped above Karen Gillan’s booth announcing that she would arrive on Sunday. DC Comics luminary George Perez left at 1:00pm on Saturday, and that was announced only when his signing line was cut off at noon. And I’ve already mentioned the press conference bloopers. Bottom line: No one can manage a convention of this heft flawlessly, so be flexible. Don’t have a meltdown when something goes awry.
- Take care of yourself. Dan Carroll calls DragonCon an “immersive experience.” This can be dreadful if you don’t manage it. He told me about an attendee some years back, a diabetic, who fainted during a session in the gaming room. She told the EMT who restored her that she hadn’t eaten in two hours. “When did you last eat?” the EMT asked. “Around 2:00,” the woman answered. The EMT looked at her and said, “Honey, it’s now 11:00.”
Six buildings. 65,000 attendees. 2,400 volunteers. A $55 million economic impact. You may have attended conventions in the past, but none compares to DragonCon, one of the United States’ largest and most venerable. Nowhere is this more evident than in the cosplays, which are more sumptuous than those you’ll see anywhere. Check them out for yourself below. Maybe I’ll see you there next year, when I plan to be dressed like this.
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Gotham City’s underworld, circa 1925
I didn’t want trouble, but these guys brought it. Big trouble.
George Lucas’s first casting attempt
Here’s Sam. Where’s Dean?
It’s always hot in Georgia in early September. Some people respond by practically going nude.
Who you gonna call? Sorry, wrong ghostbusters.
Maybe Mystery Inc. was looking for these guys. I found them instead.
I went to DragonCon looking for a life-size Barbie doll. Here it is.
This was a ood cosplay . . . I mean, a good cosplay.
An impromptu Muppet Show breaks out.
I found a baby once. Then this guy took him from me.
Preach it, Deadpool. Preach it.
Want to know what 3,000+ cosplayers in a parade look like? Here’s a glimpse.
Want to know what happens when my wife and daughter spend an entire weekend together? Here’s a glimpse.
Writer Vito Delsante and artist Khary Randolph appear at JHU Comic Books on
Wednesday January 28, 2015 Wednesday, February 18, 2015 from 6:00-8:00 PM!
JHU Comic Books is proud to welcome back one of our prestigious alumni, Vito Delsante (Savage Tales, Scooby Doo, World War Mob), to our comic book campus to celebrate the launch of Stray, his new creator owned title with Action Lab Entertainment.
Joining him is Khary Randolph (Tech Jacket, Teen Titans, Justice League Beyond 2.0) who’s limited-edition variant cover will also be available for sale and signing!
Come through and witness the birth of a new hero for a new year!
*Purchase of Stray #1 required to participate is signing event.
JHU Comic Books MANHATTAN
32 East 32nd Street, New York, NY 10016
Director and co-writer James Gunn visits Amoeba Hollywood to sign copies of MARVEL’s “Guardians Of The Galaxy” release on Friday, December 12 at 5:00 pm.
Signing will be limited to the first 200 people to purchase it at Amoeba Hollywood on Blu-ray, 3D Blu-ray or DVD beginning on December 9th at 10:30am.
Limit of 2 copies per person for the signing. Must have receipt and attached signing ticket to attend signing on 12/12.
From Marvel, the studio that launched the epic franchises of “Iron Man,” “Thor,” “Captain America” and “Marvel’s The Avengers,” comes an unlikely new team—the “Guardians of the Galaxy.” The Marvel Cinematic Universe expands into the cosmos when brash space adventurer Peter Quill steals a coveted orb and becomes the object of a relentless bounty hunt. To evade his enemies, Quill forges an uneasy truce with Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon; Groot, a tree-like humanoid; the deadly assassin Gamora; and the revenge-driven Drax. But when Quill discovers the true power of the orb, he must rally his ragtag band of misfits for a desperate battle that will decide the fate of the galaxy. Featuring amazing new characters and exclusive bonus features, this must-own blockbuster will have you hooked on a feeling… of pure adrenaline!
James Gunn Biography:
James Gunn was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri in a large Irish Catholic family. At the age of twelve he began his filmmaking career making a zombie movie with an eight-millimeter camera and an actor, his brother Sean.
Thirty years later, Gunn went on to write and direct the record-breaking Marvel blockbuster film Guardians of the Galaxy, which had the biggest August opening weekend of all-time, earning $94 million at the domestic box office. Having grossed over $700 million at the worldwide box office to date, the Marvel feature is the second highest grossing film of 2014 and has spent five weekends atop the box office, more than any other Marvel film. Guardians has not only been a massive financial success, it also garnered impressive reviews from top film critics around the world, cemented with stellar performances from Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Dave Bautista, Glenn Close, and Benicio Del Toro. Also featured in the film is his brother Sean, who played Kraglin, and was the on-set Rocket Raccoon. Knowing what an important part music plays in a movie, Gunn personally chose every song on the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack. The album, which featured pop songs from the 1960’s & 70’s, was highly praised by critics as being a secondary character in the film and is the first soundtrack comprised entirely of previously released songs to ever reach the No. 1 spot on the Billboard charts. Even prior to its release, the film garnered so much positive buzz and faith among Marvel executives that a sequel was greenlit weeks before it’s opening. The Guardians of the Galaxy sequel is slated for summer 2017 with Gunn attached to write and direct.
Gunn also wrote and directed the independent feature film, SUPER, starring Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Liv Tyler, and Kevin Bacon. It is the dark, comedic tale of a disturbed man who dresses up as a superhero to save his ex-wife from her drug-dealing new boyfriend. SUPER was an official selection at the Toronto Film Festival, was picked up by IFC Films, and is IFC’s top selling film ever on On Demand.
Gunn’s love for the comedy and horror genres coalesced in the humorous horror film Slither, released by Universal in 2006. Gunn wrote the film, which was his feature-film directorial debut, and stars Nathan Fillion and Elizabeth Banks. The film is currently featured on Rotten Tomatoes as one of the “Top Ten All–Time Best Reviewed Horror Films.” It was named “The Best Horror film of 2006” by Rue Morgue Magazine, and Gunn won a Saturn Award and a Fangoria Chainsaw Award for his work on the film.
Gunn also wrote the live action Scooby-Doo movie which grossed over $300 million worldwide and in March of 2004, he became the first screenwriter in history to write back-to-back #1-for-the-weekend box office hits, with the critically-acclaimed, re-imagined Dawn of the Dead on March 19, 2004 and Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed on March 26, 2004.
Gunn got his start in the industry while attending Columbia University. He applied for a part-time job filing papers at famed B-movie studios Troma Entertainment, and was paid $150 to write the screenplay for the feature Tromeo & Juliet instead. In 1997, Tromeo became a cult hit, playing in theaters around the world, including over a year of midnight screenings in Los Angeles.
Gunn left Troma to write and star (along with Rob Lowe, Thomas Haden-Church, and Jamie Kennedy) in the 2000 feature film, The Specials, about a group of superheroes on their day off. In the same year, Bloomsbury Press released Gunn’s critically acclaimed novel The Toy Collector, the story of a hospital orderly who sells drugs to finance his escalating toy collecting addiction. He also wrote, with Lloyd Kaufman, the non-fiction book All I Need to Know About Filmmaking I Learned from the Toxic Avenger, currently in its fifth printing.
In 2012 Gunn released his fist video game, Lollipop Chainsaw, with Suda 51 and Warner Bros, on Xbox and Playstation 3. In 2008 he created Xbox Live’s first original content, producing seven comedy shows by horror directors, and creating his own, Sparky & Mikaela. Also in 2008, Gunn hosted the reality show Scream Queens for VH1, and began writing and directing the web series James Gunn’s PG Porn for Spike.com. James Gunn’s PG Porn pairs mainstream actors and porn stars in comedy shorts. It has received over 70 million hits online, has been remade by Canal+ in France, and is one of the most profitable web series of all time.
Gunn lives in Los Angeles with his dog, Dr. Wesely Von Spears and his cat, Emily Monster. He can be found on Twitter and Instagram at @JamesGunn and on Facebook at Facebook.com/jgunn.
6400 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
Atlanta-based cartoonist Robert W. Pope appears at the Charles M. Schulz Museum on Friday June 20th at 2:00 pm. For over 15 years, Pope has specialized in bringing many of our favorite animated characters to the comic book page, including Peanuts, Scooby-Doo, Bugs Bunny, Johnny Bravo, Batman and many others. Pope has contributed to several of the new Peanuts comic books and will be available to sketch, answer questions, and sign comics.
Charles M. Schulz Museum
2301 Hardies Lane, Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Comments Off on NYC – Justice League: War Panel
Christopher Gorham, “Flash”
James Tucker, Producer
Jay Oliva, Director
Andrea Romano, Dialogue Director
Additional panelists to be announced.
When the powerful Darkseid and his massive, relentless forces invade Earth, several previously unaligned superheroes—misunderstood and, in some cases, hunted by the authorities—discover that the only way to fend off the attack will be to work together as a cohesive unit. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, Shazam, and, in his origin story, Cyborg combine their talents in an all-out battle to save the planet. Based on the 2012 graphic novel Justice League: Origin by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee, Justice League: War provides a glimpse into the world before the Justice League was created, and offers the initial animated incarnation of DC Entertainment’s “The New 52.”
The cast features Jason O’Mara (Terra Nova, Life on Mars) as Batman, Christopher Gorham (Covert Affairs) as Flash, Justin Kirk (Weeds) as Green Lantern, Shemar Moore (Criminal Minds) as Cyborg, Michelle Monaghan (Mission Impossible III, Gone Baby Gone) as Wonder Woman, Alan Tudyk (Suburgatory, Dollhouse, Serenity) as Superman, Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings Trilogy) as Shazam, and Rocky Carroll (NCIS) as Silas Stone. On the villainous side, Steve Blum (Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox) provides the voice of Darkseid, and Bruce Thomas (Legally Blonde, Army of Darkness) gives voice to Desaad.
Presented with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Paley Center Members: A limited amount of free tickets are available for Members only on a first-come, first-served basis. Please RSVP to email@example.com.
A limited number of free tickets are available for the general public. Fans wishing to receive free tickets to the New York event on January 21 must RSVP via email to JLWarNY@gmail.com.
Paley Center for Media
25 West 52 Street, New York, NY 10019
Comments Off on CA – Talkin’ Toons w/ Azula
Voice actor Rob Paulsen welcomes Grey Delisle (Azula on Avatar: The Last Airbender, Daphne on Scooby-Doo, Vicky on Fairly OddParents, and many, many more) to the Talkin’ Toons podcast at the Jon Lovitz Comedy Club on Wednesday September 18, 2012 at 8:00pm!
18 & over
Two items minimum per person
Seating First Come First Serve
All Shows Have Adult Content
Door Time: 07:15 PM
Jon Lovitz Comedy Club
1000 Universal Studios Blvd #222, Universal City, CA 91608
Comments Off on GraniteCon Hosts Avengers Reading with Voiceover Stars
GraniteCon hosts an event unlike any other on the evening of Saturday September 28th at 7:00 pm! We’ll be assembling our voice acting guests Grey DeLisle, Quinton Flynn, Rob Paulsen, Jess Harnell, Jim Cummings, and Richard Horvitz to read selections from Marvel’s The Avengers in their character voices! Yakko & Wakko Warner as Thor & Loki? Winnie the Pooh as Tony Stark? You never know what’s going to happen! Please be advised this is a ticketed event! Tickets can be purchased at the door. VIP passes include entry into the script read!
PLUS the voice actors’ panel schedule:
20 Years of Animaniacs: Come celebrate 20 years of the hit show
“Animaniacs” with members of the cast itself. Join Rob Paulsen (Yakko, Pinky and more), Jess Harnell (Wakko) and Jim Cummings (Narrator and more) as they talk the impact of Animaniacs all these years later! Who knows? Maybe you’ll also hear a song or two! Ballroom A at 11:00 am Saturday.
Finding the Right Voice: Join Richard Horvitz (Invader Zim), Grey DeLisle (Scooby Doo) and Quinton Flynn (Final Fantasy VII) as they discuss the characters they’ve portrayed, how they got into voice acting and more! Ballroom B-D at 2:00 pm Saturday.
Saturday Night Voice Actor Script to “The Avengers”: Join our cast of voice actors as they read the script to “The Avengers” in the voices of characters they have brought to life in game, TV and movies! Could we see Yakko and Wakko as Thor and Loki? How about Tigger as The Hulk? Or maybe even Invader Zim as Nick Fury! Guaranteed to make you laugh and be a once in a lifetime event! This is a ticketed event. Ballroom A-D at 7:00 pm Saturday.
Voicing in Video Games: Join Quinton Flynn (Axel on Kingdom Hearts, Raiden on Metal Gear), Rob Paulsen (Gray Fox on Metal Gear) and Jess Harnell (Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon) as they discuss what it takes to voice in the gaming industry! Ballroom A at 11:00am Sunday.
Characters You Grew Up With, Past and Present: Join Jim Cummings (Darkwing Duck, Winnie the Pooh), Grey Delisle (Daphne on Scooby Doo, Azula on Avatar) and Richard Horvitz (Invader Zim, Alpha 5 on Power Rangers) as they talk about the various roles they portrayed for some of your favorite characters you grew up with! Ballroom B-D at 3:00pm Sunday.
Autograph Cost: First FAN provided item (DVDs, posters, comics, etc) they will sign FOR FREE! Each additional autograph, as well as photos, phone calls, video and voice recording will be $20!
10:00-11:00 – Quinton Flynn, Grey DeLisle, Richard Horvitz, Jim Cummings, Rob Paulsen, Jess Harnell
11:00-11:30 – Grey DeLisle, Richard Horvitz, Quinton Flynn
12:00-1:30 – Jim Cummings, Rob Paulsen, Jess Harnell
3:00-4:30 – Quinton Flynn, Grey DeLisle, Richard Horvitz, Jim Cummings, Rob Paulsen, Jess Harnell
10:00-11:00 – Quinton Flynn, Grey DeLisle, Richard Horvitz, Jim Cummings, Rob Paulsen, Jess Harnell
11:00-11:30 – Grey DeLisle, Richard Horvitz, Jim Cummings
12:00-1:30 Quinton Flynn, Rob Paulsen, Jess Harnell
1:30-3:00 – Jim Cummings, Grey DeLisle, Richard Horvitz
3:30-5:00 – Rob Paulsen, Jess Harnell, Quinton Flynn
4:00-5:00 – Jim Cummings, Grey DeLisle, Richard Horvitz
More information at the website: granitecon.com
ABOUT THE GUESTS:
Grey DeLisle is a Grammy and Emmy Award winning and Annie nominated veteran voice actress who got her start doing the role of Reptar on Rugrats in 1994. Since then she has starred in hundreds of popular cartoons including The Fairly Odd Parents (Vicky), Avatar: The Last Airbender (Azula), Clone Wars (Asajj Ventress / Amidala), Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy (Mandy), Danny Phantom (Sam), Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends (Frankie), Batman (Black Canary), Green Lantern (Aya), Wow Wow Wubbzy (Wubbzy), Clifford the Big Red Dog (Emily Elizabeth), and most notably the voice of “Daphne” on Scooby-Doo since 1997.
Gamers may recognize her voice from such titles as Doom, Mass Effect, Star Wars Old Republic, and Monkey Island. She also played “Nova” in Starcraft, the “Female Wizard” in Diablo 3, and “Vicky Vale”/”Catwoman” in this year’s hugely popular Arkham City.
Quinton’s voice has been burning up the voice over industry since he first arrived in Los Angeles from his native Cleveland, Ohio. He is an A-list voice actor, having played such famous animated characters as: Jonny Quest, Speed Racer, The Human Torch, Elmer Fudd, Timon & Snowbell, just to name a few. His animated television appearances include: Robot Chicken, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Animaniacs, The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, My Life as a Teenage Robot, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, The Avengers and many more.
His best known roles in Video Game franchises have been his work providing the English voices of Raiden (Metal Gear Series), Axel (Kingdom Hearts Series), Kolyat Krios (Mass Effect), Henry (No More Heroes), Arlon & Rexus Ragespear (Guild Wars 2) and Reno in (Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children) the motion picture.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg in the Video Game world in which Quinton’s also portrayed: SPIDERMAN, VENOM, BANSHEE, ABYSS, MERRY, GOLLUM, CROIX & ORPHEN.
If you’re hip to the Anime scene you’ll know him as: Kon in Bleach, Iruka-sensei and Deidara in Naruto, Marcus Damon in Digimon Data Squad, Carl/Phantom in Blood+, Shingo Shouji in Initial D, Dr. Riddles & Victoreem in Zach Bell to name a few.
He is well known in the industry for his skills as an impressionist and improvisationalist, having played the role of Paul McCartney and tested for NBC’s Saturday Night Live and Comedy Network’s The Daily Show. Quinton is always happy to do the animated and anime characters he is known for when he performs “Live” and rolls out his favorite impressions and yours!
The goal of bringing absolute believability to a fictional character, live-action or animated, is what every actor strives for. Those committed to their craft that combine experience, passion and skill are likely to succeed. Those gifted with exceptional talent who focus on maximizing their potential by finding their own niche, quickly break apart from the pack. After years of honing their craft and consistently delivering memorable performances in which the character impacts an indelible image on the viewer, the public and the industry take notice, singling out the best.
“I’m getting paid to do what got me in trouble in the 7th grade,” jests Rob Paulsen, who is one of the most popular voices in animation and won a Daytime Emmy in 1999 as “Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program” for Pinky and the Brain (WB). Though nominated twice previously, the victory was especially sweet due to the most formidable competition ever – fellow nominees Louis Anderson, Ernest Borgnine, Dom DeLuise, and Jeffrey Tambor. In addition to his Emmy, Rob won back-to-back Annie Awards in 1997 and 1998. “I absolutely love what I do and thank my lucky stars for twenty five years of full time employment in this business,” he admits. Interestingly, in those twenty five years, Rob now has the unique opportunity to have gone full circle with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series; having voiced Raphael in the original show, he is now voicing Donatello in Nickelodeon’s latest version of TMNT.
Originally from Detroit, Michigan, Rob “loved cartoons like most kids ” and aspired to be a professional hockey player. “Fortunately, I learned pretty quickly that I had neither the talent, temperament nor dental insurance to pursue a career as a pro hockey player”. Ironically, acting was something to “fall back on” and Rob has voiced beloved characters in several iconic animated series: Yakko Warner in Animaniacs and Carl Wheezer in Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius, but may be best known to animation fans the world over as the voice of the boisterous and energetic laboratory mouse Pinky in two hit series Steven Spielberg Presents Pinky and The Brain and Pinky, Elmyra, and The Brain for Warner Brothers.
“It’s a treat to portray a complex character,” Rob explains about Pinky, a gangling mouse with funny teeth, a head filled with clouds and an inane imagination that is punctuated with a staccato laugh. “Besides… where else could I find a job where emotional outbursts and odd exclamations like ‘Egad!’, ‘Narf!’, ‘Poit!’, ‘Splonk!’, and ‘Zort!’ are allowed?” With over 2,000 half-hours of animation to his credit, Rob’s versatility shines in his starring roles as the voices of Yakko, Dr. Scratch’N’Sniff and Pinky in the Peabody and the two-time Emmy award-winning series, Steven Spielberg Presents Animaniacs also for Warner Brothers. Currently, he can be heard as Peck in Back at the Barnyard, Birdbrain in T.U.F.F. Puppy, Jack Fenton in Danny Phantom and various characters, including Mark Chang in Fairly Odd Parents, all on Nickelodeon, as well as a number of Disney projects including The Little Mermaid III; Ariel’s Beginning, Jacques and the Grand Duke in Cinderella and the role of Bobble in the Tinkerbell DVD series. For young fans of Play House Disney, Rob provides the voices of Al in Can you teach my Alligator Manners? and Ze Fronk in Tasty Time with Ze Fronk and Toodles in Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
Paulsen’s extensive credits include on-camera roles in numerous motion pictures including Body Double, Stewardess School, Eyes of Fire, The Perfect Match, and Warlock. His television acting credits include guest starring roles on MacGyver and St. Elsewhere. Additionally, he is one of the most sought-after voice actors in the commercial arena, performing in over 1000 of them including the voice of Mr. Opportunity on behalf of Honda automobiles from 2004 thru 2010. Rob is also the host of a successful podcast, Talkin’ Toons, available at www.robpaulsenlive.com and iTunes.
Realizing how fortunate he is and passionate about giving back, Rob supports various charitable organizations, particularly Operation Smile, The Wounded Warriors Project and cancer and Muscular Dystrophy research.
A certified “gearhead”, Rob is also passionate about sports cars and motorcycles in addition to being an avid golfer. He also still laces up the ole skates every now and then to scratch that hockey itch. Rob spends the majority of his free time with his wife, Parrish, son Ash and two Yorkshire terriers, Pooshie and Tala.
Peabody Award Winner and Emmy Award Nominee Jess Harnell has been named by Variety Magazine as one of the top ten voice actors in the world. With literally hundreds of roles in feature films such as all three “Transformers” films, all three “Toy Story” films and “Up”, animated series from “Steven Spielberg’s Animaniacs” to “Spongebob Squarepants” to “The Simpsons” and The Cleveland Show, thousands of promos and commercials and even announcing “America’s Funniest Home Videos” for the last fifteen years, Jess has done it all. His celebrity impersonations have led to him being featured on Entertainment Tonight no less than four times as the top voice match in the business. With a rock star look and huge vocal range to match, Jess had a stint singing lead with mega band Journey and now fronts the world’s first live metal/pop mash up band “Rock Sugar”, sharing stages with bands from Aerosmith to AC/DC to Kiss and logging millions of hits on youtube. And with seven new animated series currently in production and a worldwide summer tour with Rock Sugar, for Jess Harnell the best is yet to come.
“Tell the kid he’s got it,” said the legendary Mel Blanc with a smile, after listening to a young man’s first demo tape of cartoon character voices. The year was 1984, “the kid,” was Jim Cummings. Since then, the kid has gone on to give life and voice to some of America’s most beloved animal Characters, even a few of the late Mel Blanc’s, and he was even nominated for an Emmy Award for his work as the lovable Tigger on Disney Channel’s “My Friends Tigger and Pooh,” in which he also voices everyone’s favorite bear, Winnie the Pooh.
Born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, Cummings spent Saturday mornings riveted to the TV screen as he mimicked the characters in his favorite cartoons, all the while dreaming that one day he would voice them himself. At age 19, he moved to New Orleans, where he performed as a drummer, a singer, a deck hand on riverboats, and even designed and created Mardi Gras floats, all the while absorbing the rich characters and accents that would someday find expression in animation.
Years later, Cummings relocated to Southern California and managed a video store as he pursued his childhood dream. He gave his first demo to a customer who was also a movie producer, and the rest, as they say, is history. In 1984, Cummings landed his first role as Lionel the lion, in Disney Channel’s “Dumbo Circus.” During his illustrious career, he has worked extensively for the Walt Disney Studios voicing classic characters such as Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, King Louis, Kaa the Snake, Pete (formerly peg legged Pete), and more. His many other credits include Darkwing Duck, Bonkers, Fat Cat, and Monterey Jack on “Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers,” Don Kamage on “Tailspin,” and too many others to mention here.
Cummings has done scores of voices for Warner Bros, as well, including Taz the Tazmanian Devil himself, Steven Spielberg’s “Animaniacs,” “Tiny Toon Adventures,” “Batman,” “Pinky and the Brain,” “Tazmania,” “Duck Dodgers,” and more. Other credits include “King of the Hill,” “Bump in the Night,” “Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius,” “The Replacments,” “The Addams Family,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” “Star Wars Clone Wars,” “The Simpsons,” “Barnyard,” and “Catdog.”
Not Limited to the small screen, Cummings has acted in several blockbuster feature films for Dreamworks including “Shrek,” “Antz,” “Kung Fu Panda’s Furious 5,” “Hook,” “The Bee Movie,” “Balto,” and more. His credits read like a top-list of animated and live-action films. Credits include “Who framed Roger Rabbit,” “The Little Mermaid,” ‘Aladdin,” “Tarzan,” “Pocahontas,” “The Lion King,” “Babe: Pig in the City,” “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” “Brother Bear 2,” “The Princess and The Frog” to name a few.
Cummings’ uncanny ability to sing in character and voice match for stars who are, in his words, “great actors, just not great singers,” has led to many platinum and gold records for soundtracks like “Anastasia,” “The Lion King,” “Fox and the Hound,” “Pocahontas,” “Hercules,” and more. He was also AC, the lead singer of the famed California Raisins.
As of late, Jim is enjoying being the only American performer in the primary cast of “Gnomeo and Juliet,” where he plays the amorous garden flamingo, Featherstone. He is excited for the release on July 15th of the sequel to the animated Disney Classic, “Winnie the Pooh” in which he plays both Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, too! He will also be playing an evil African Warlord, Budzo, in the upcoming feature film, “Zambezia,” which is being released later this year.
Cummings’ work in voice over includes hundreds of television and radio commercials, movie trailers, promos, and videogames. “Pretty much anything involving microphones, music, noise in general, and padded walls,” jokes the affable actor, and “remember, only you can prevent forest fires,” so says Smokey the Bear, aka Jim Cummings. No matter how busy Cummings, schedule may be, it all stops when Famous Fone Friends of Make a Wish Foundation call on behalf of a very ill child and distraught family in need of a phone call from their favorite cartoon character. “Just bringing a respite, however brief, and perhaps a smile and giggle or two, means so much to the child and their family. I consider it a true blessing to be able to do that.”
Cummings is a proud father of four and resides somewhere in California with his beautiful two younger daughters Grace and Lulu Rose… and their critters.
Fans of animation will recognize Richard Horvitz as the voice of many iconic characters, including INVADER ZIM, Billy from THE GRIM ADVENTURES OF BILLY AND MANDY, Daggett from THE ANGRY BEAVERS and Alpha 5 from the original MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS. In addition to Richard’s animation work, gamers will recognize him from his many video game roles in such classics as PSYCHONAUTS (RAZ), RATCHET AND CLANK series (Zoni, Pollyx, Zurgo) DESTROY ALL HUMANS (Orthopox) and SKYLANDERS (Kaos) to name a few. Richard began his acting career on camera and many may recall his role as Alan Eakian in Paramount Pictures 1980’s cult classic SUMMER SCHOOL. www.richardhorvitz.com
Comments Off on GraniteCon 2013 Celebrates 10th Anniversary
Granitecon 2013 is just over five weeks away! Join us September 28th and 29th at the Radisson Center of New Hampshire! To celebrate ten years of Granitecon we’re expanding to two days, moving to the larger Expo Center and assembling our largest guest list ever! Expect all sorts of fun events, signings and more!
Chris Giarrusso – Mini Marvels
Ben Templesmith – Ten Grand, 30 Days of Night
Ethan Van Sciver – Green Lantern, Batman
Arthur Suydam – Marvel Zombies
Katie Cook – My Little Pony
Art Baltazar – Tiny Titans
Ron Marz – Witchblade, Green Lantern
Mark Texiera – Ghost Rider
David Petersen – Mouse Guard
Dan Parent – Archie Comics
Craig Rousseau – The Perhapanauts
Plus Voice Actors Including:
Jess Harnell – Animaniacs, The Cleveland Show
Rob Paulsen – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Animaniacs
Jim Cummings – Winnie the Pooh, Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Grey Delisle – Avatar: The Last Airbender, Scooby-Doo, Fairly OddParents
See the full guest list and buy tickets at www.granitecon.com!
Comments Off on Sac-Con 2013 Welcomes Grey DeLisle, Lauren Tom, and Many More
Sac-Con is Sunday June 2nd at the Scottish Rite Center in Sacramento (6151 H Street). 10am – 5pm. Admission is $6 at the door (Children 8 & under Free. Early Bird (9am Entry) is $10 at the door.
Arkham City’s Catwoman, Avatar: The Last Airbender’s Azula, Scooby Doo’s Daphne
1st Autograph Free, each additional $20
Futurama’s Amy Wong, Avatar: The Last Airbender’s Joo Dee
Lauren will charging for her autograph.
Borderland 2’s Handsome Jack, Dragonball Z’s Cell
Dameon will not be charging for his autograph.
Limit 1 per person.
Darth Vader in all recent Lucasfilm and Lucas Arts projects.
C. Andrew will be charging for his autograph.
JOE WEEMS V
GUILDED CASTLE STUDIO
Check out some of our great events at the show:
Cosplay Costume Contest
Video Game Tournaments
Huge Vendors Room
3pm Charity Raffle
Panels/Q & A’s with our guests
Free Yugioh & Magic Tournaments
Anime Viewing Room
Comments Off on NY – 1st Annual Depot Day
Ron Marz, Joe Staton, Matthew Dow Smith, Nelson Blake, Richard Kane Ferguson, and Paul Harding appear on Saturday, August 13th, 2011 from 1:00PM – 4:00PM!
The Comic Depot is offering a fun free day to all of our customers and comic fans on Saturday, Aug. 13. The day will feature appearances from local comic creators including writer Ron Marz, artists Joe Staton, Matthew Dow Smith, Nelson Blake and Richard Kane Ferguson, and toy and statue sculptor Paul Harding. The creators’ collective credits include thousands of comic issues, including Green Lantern, Silver Surfer, Batman, Witchblade, Dr. Who, Scooby Doo and Magdalena, as well as DC Direct action figures and Magic the Gathering cards.
There will also be a 1960s Batmobile replica onsite, as well as characters in costume. Some of the artists will also be holding a drawing class for children.
“Creating comics is a pretty solitary job, whether you’re an artist or writer. So the chance to get out and meets the fans is always great,” said Marz, who has written comics for more than 20 years. “And, honestly, I want to get my picture taken in the Batmobile!”
The appearances will take place from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm, and a storewide sale on comics, action figures and graphic novels will occur all day!
The Comic Depot is a family owned comic book store serving all or your comic and gaming needs. Conveniently located in the Wilton Mall, the Comic Depot has a wide variety of comics, graphic novels, action figures, board games, collectable card games and items for all ages.
Wilton Mall, 3065 Route 50, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866