Baltimore Comic Con 2012

Baltimore Comic Con 2012So this weekend I had the pleasure of attending both days of the Baltimore Comic Con 2012, and I had a blast! Great vendors, lots of top talent from the comic-verse, a plethora of costumed attendees and great weather; plus the added bonus that it expanded a few more rows of display booths from years past. A nerd could not have asked for more (except for an Amazing Spiderman issue #1 signed by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, of course)!

Saturday was packed! I don’t know what the gate is year to year, but it felt to me as though the crowds have increased exponentially. Which is awesome for a few reasons. Obviously, it is good to see the support for the show increasing because that means that Baltimore Comic Con will continue to happen (and as a local guy, not having to travel to get my geek on is a huge deal) but more importantly the bigger the show means the more people are fans enough of the genre to want to take a weekend to express their love of the medium. To me, that is huge! The comic book industry, like many other print mediums in this digital age, has been suffering a recession of sorts while it changes its business model to adapt. The more people outwardly showing their appreciation, for not only the books (and the people who created them) they loved in their youth but the new material being put out weekly by both the major companies and the independents, the better!

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Why is Batman so Popular?

Heroes Transformation Journey - Batman

Batman, for the last 20 years or so, has been one of the most well-known and well-loved comic book characters out there. A giant in the DC Comics universe, directly and indirectly responsible for 12 books out of the current lineup of 52 titles, and a juggernaut box office franchise.

Why?

What is it about the Caped Crusader that has made him the pinnacle of nerd worship?

I could just say “Because he’s Batman“, drop the microphone, and walk off-stage but you deserve more than that (even though that’s a perfect explanation)!

So I sat down in the Jerd Cave and put some serious thought to it; here is what I came up with… Read more

The Next X-Men Movie = Days of Future Past?!?!?

Good evening my little Jerdlets!

I know there has been an inordinate amount of movie chatter the past week or so, but it just seems that the news keeps dropping and catching my attention.  I promise to drop some life-coaching of the fitness variety on you later this… Ooooh look, shiny object!!

So it seems that today in an interview with IGN that Bryan Singer, executive producer of the X-Men films and director of the first two, confirmed that X-Men: Days of Future Past will be the title of the second X-Men: First Class movie, expected in theaters in 2014.  “Days of Future Past” was a two issue (#141 & 142) story written by Chris Claremont and illustrated by John Byrne in 1981 during what a lot of comic fans think of as the Golden Era of the X-Men.  It was these two issues that really set the tone for a dystopian future, where mutants are hunted and held in concentration camps, that has been a constant theme through the X-books ever since.  This is also the story where Sentinels were transformed into royal bad-asses.  While a pretty ground-breaking story for its time, it also dealt with a lot of topics that rarely seem to work in cinemaland.

Namely time travel and mind transference (think “Freaky Friday” or any other horrible movie where a parent and a kid swap bodies).

Now it is already a minefield if one of those bad boys makes it into a script; but both of them?!?!  Maybe they would act as some sort of cinematic double negative and cancel each other’s potential fail out? Can’t say I would bank on that unfortunately.  The thing is though, that I don’t think Matthew Vaughn will fall into those traps (time travel has to be a part of it, but to what extent?) which raises another potential issue… how much will he change the story???  The problem with these fan favorite story arcs from the comics is that they come with a large amount of fan expectation.  Change too much and you incite a lot of nerd-rage, don’t change enough to make the story transferable to the big screen, and accessible to the masses, then you have a box office failure.

Its a tough spot to be in for sure.  I wasn’t a big fan of “X-men: First Class“, and “X-men: The Last Stand” badly butchered another fan favorite storyline to the point of it almost being unrecognizable; so maybe one of my other favorite X-stories following it up will turn the franchise around for me? 

Let’s hear it X-fans…  how do you feel about Days of Future Past making it onto the big screen?

 

 

 

San Diego Comic Con 2012 Review – Part III, The Search for Spock

After wandering around outside on Preview Night and then braving the convention on Day 1 of Comic Con, I felt as if I had a good rhythm down.  Start off teasing, by heading to an off-site event to let the crowds disperse at the doors a little, get my nerd on with some of my web heroes and then head to the Con itself for some deep entry and exploration.  Followed by pulling out of course, no more little Jerdlings for me!

WARNING – LINK BOMB INCOMING!

So back to the Belo lounge we went, this time to sit in on a panel run by Jeff Lewis and Sandeep Parikh of “The Guild” fame, where they promoted some seriously funny new projects along with Teal Sherer.  So we watched footage from Save the Supers, Season 2 of the Jeff Lewis  5 Minute Comedy Hour, Chatroom of Solitude and My Gimpy Life.  All, very funny and well done projects that I will definitely be following.

After an interesting Q&A session and meet-n-greet, we wandered back down to Comic Con itself for another day of fighting the crowds and checking out the convention floor.

We wandered, spending most of our day in Artist Alley perusing and buying prints to expand our collection of art to hang in our rec room.

Comic Con Ironman Cosplay

That’s not armor, *this* is armor…

There were definitely more people on Friday and the number of Cosplayers at least doubled.  Let me say this upfront, I don’t get Cosplaying.  Not one bit.  Whether I get it or not though, I have the utmost admiration for the level of effort that goes into making some of these costumes!  Outstanding!  As I was admiring one gentleman’s ultra realistic Iron Man suit I realized that at some point the sight of someone in mechanized armor, just walking around, had become somehow normal… and it kind of boggled my mind!  When I was a kid I knew that the characters in my comics were purely fictional, but at some point the magic of cinema had progressed to such a level that no longer did I even bat an eye when I saw something so fantastic right there in person before me.  It is as if I naturally just accept these things as potentially real now.  Strange.  As we wandered we managed to grab a few more autographs, see some amazing movie props (Holy Tom Bombadil the trolls from the Hobbit were there on display and they were fantastic!) checked out a panel on voice acting and really just enjoyed the experience and spectacle f it all together; that is until tragedy struck.

You see loyal readers; this is the part of the adventure where the hero falters.  Where his steely disposition cracks and his weakness pours forth onto the ground, like the entrails of a Tauntaun, for the world to see.  That’s right, I fanboyed out.  Hard.  I admit it.  Am I proud of it?  Not at all, but the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem and evidently I do.  You see, I wanted to get Michele Boyd to sign her Steve Jackson Games Guild Munchkin Card and to meet the rest of Team Unicorn as they were amongst the group of web-celebrities I hold in high regard for their creativity and ability to make me laugh.  What came stumbling out of my mouth though was nothing close to that.  I am pretty sure I yammered “I’m a big fan,” twice, and slid my card across the table towards her with all the grace and class of an inbred howler monkey.  It was an epic fail.

Why did I take that particular moment to geek out?  I don’t know (but man, my wife has not let me live it down yet) but I want to apologize to Michele if she’s reading (yeah, that happens) for my fumbling and inability to form a coherent sentence.  Thanks for signing the card in spite of my possible impersonation of a serial killer, and thanks to you and your friends for putting out content that inspires…

Comic Con Michele Boyd

She wrote “Stupid”, not me!

Now if I can only track that Wil Wheaton fellow down, I will have a complete autographed set.  [Sheldon]Wheeeeeaaaattttonnn!!![/Sheldon]

All in all it was a spectacular time, and yes I fully intend to be in attendance next year assuming I can fight my way through to obtain tickets.  Hopefully a four-day pass will be mine so I can comfortably attend a few panels and check out the Masquerade on Saturday night.  If you are a geek, a nerd, or whatever and want to realize that you are indeed not alone in your particular level or area of fandom, I highly recommend braving the journey to this mecca of geekdom.

See you next year at Comic Con in Nerdvana!  Let me know if you plan on going!

 

 

 

 

San Diego Comic Con 2012 Review – Part Deux

Hopefully you read about our first day in San Diego for the 2012 Comic Con because today, intrepid readers, we jump right into the convention itself!

Like I lamented in the last post, we only were able to obtain 2 day passes so the already daunting and overwhelming task of going through the schedule of panels/events/signings/etc… became even harder.  Were we big enough fans of something to take half a day to wait in line for a panel?  Was there a signing or exhibit we were dying to see enough to wait in line for?  Did we want to try to obtain one of the Comic Con exclusives, like the limited edition BOOM! Studios zombie caricature cover art, by standing in line?  You might be noticing a trend of the line variety here, and if you haven’t been yet you have no idea how much line waiting there is.  It is a little crazy.  (And by “little crazy” I mean “batshit insane”)

So what to do?  We decided to skip the first couple hours of the convention itself to let the crowds spread out a little and go visit the Geek and Sundry offsite location, sponsored by AMD, at the Belo Lounge.  We got inside, witnessed a mental patient break in and start yelling about escaping from an institution and needing his Lithium, and then stood in line to meet and get our picture with web icon and geek goddess, Felicia Day.  After that we took a look at what AMD had set up to showcase.  Comic ConWhat had they setup for everyone you ask?  Bad-assery of the computer kind, that’s what!  They were demoing some sick 3D games that were spanning a crystal clear three Samsung monitor setups as well as an obscene racing rig featuring 5 monitors, a vibrating Recaro seat and a steering wheel/shifter/pedal control system.

Oh, and they were giving away processors and motherboards as well.  Score!

After spending sometime checking out the delicious gaming goodness, we walked down to the convention itself.  While the crowds milling around on Preview Night were light, that was not the case here on opening morning.  It was crazy crowded!  What struck me first was the mix of people attending.  I am sure if you stopped a random person on street and asked them who would attend Comic Con they would immediately conjure up an image similar to the Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons or someone Urkel-esque.  The reality was that in attendance were a healthy mix of people, young and old, that looked no different from a huge crowd at a mall or concert (well, other than the liberal dose of people in Captain America costumes).  Now, there most definitely were a lot of people there that could use a little Jock infusion to level up their fitness and health, but you see that everywhere.

Comic ConSo we browsed the convention floor for a bit, overwhelmed at the immensity of it all.  As far as the eye could see there were stalls filled with artists/vendors/authors as well as a booth run by every major entertainment company you can think of.  The amount of coordination that goes into something this big is always a point of extreme fascination for me, as my mind can’t even begin to imagine the coordination necessary.  It truly boggles the mind.

I had the Nikon out and I was greatly enjoying the many elaborate and extremely well done costumes for a bit, but I knew I had to find my way up to the second floor by mid-day.  You see, while everyone else was standing in line to see the new suit of Iron Man armor, or to get a signature from their favorite artist, I was on a mission to meet one of my childhood heroes.  He was there, signing autographs and taking pictures and there was no way I was going to miss out.  So we wandered through the Comic Con circus and the maze that is the Convention Center so that I could shake hands and chat with Williams himself from “Enter the Dragon.”

Comic Con with Jim Kelly

At this point I had met, in the span of a few hours, one of my biggest nerd crushes icons *and* a martial arts legend who was integral on getting me hooked on training when I was a child.  Both sides of the Jerd coin stamped and shiny right there!  So far the Convention was already a huge success in my book!

Check back in tomorrow as I finish up my thoughts on the San Diego Comic Con, Cosplay and whether or not I will be attempting to brave the goat rodeo of ticket sales to return next year…  Let me know what your thoughts on Comic Con are!

 

 

 

Read: San Diego Comic Con 2012 Review – Part III, The Search for Spock 

San Diego Comic Con 2012 Review – Part 1

While a little late to count for news of any sort, I still wanted to spend a little time talking about my experience at Comic Con this year (let me clarify, my first San Diego Comic Con experience) over a post or two.

Comic ConA few years back I started making a habit of going on vacations for my birthday.  It just seemed like the thing to do; rather than spend money on a gift why not spend it on an experience instead?  So after last year’s ridiculous birthday extravaganza I started thinking about what I wanted to do for the big 4-0.  I noticed that the 2012 Comic Con fell on the week of my birthday and I thought “What better way is there to shake my fist at Father Time and proclaim that I will never truly grow old?”  I couldn’t think of one, so I got to planning.

And let me tell you if you haven’t been, plan you must.  Regular attendees are probably reading this, nodding their heads knowingly, feeling a twinge of pain as they think back on the ever-changing process they have been enduring for years; but for me it was a whole new world filled with uncertainty and nerd-rage.  The process to obtain tickets sucked donkey anus to be frank.  I won’t get into the whole fiasco, mostly because revisiting it would probably result in an aneurysm, but at the end of the day I had two-day passes (Thurs & Fri) for me and my wife.

Fast forward five months, a scramble for finding a hotel and trying to not get airfare raped and we were ready to fly out to San Diego!  Not only were we looking forward to the convention, but getting away from the unusually horrendous east coast weather was going to be a treat.  We arrived on Wednesday, played a quick game of “spot the geek” as we waited for our luggage, and checked into our hotel with no issues.  Since not only had neither of us been to the convention before, we had also never visited San Diego (German translation = Whale’s Vagina #ronburgundyprotip) so we were excited to get out and explore a little before heading over to the off-site registration location and picking up our passes.

The first thing that struck us was how the city embraces the massive influx of geek.  They really get into it, not that they have a choice I guess, but it was nice to see restaurants flaunting comic and movie themes and art galleries putting on comic inspired shows.  We wandered through a few galleries and whatnot before getting to registration and picking up our badges and schedules, luckily it was still early enough that the lines were short and we cruised through quickly.  (due to a lost credit card and driver’s license we backtracked to registration a few hours later and were greeted by a veritable sea of people waiting.  It was ugly.)

After a stuffing our faces at one of the Gaslamp district restaurants we wandered down to ground zero to see get a glimpse of what Comic Con held in store for us.

Comic Con

View from the Convention Center… Preview Night, before it got crazy.

The crowds were light still, as only people who bought the primo four-day pass with preview night, were allowed in.  One or two people with costumes, but mostly gawkers much like us.  We wandered around to the bay side and I got my first glimpse of what I have been referring to as “Nerdvana”.  There, lined up on the grass, was every Batmobile from every one of the movies.  I really think this is where my wife started to question her mating choice as I took out my ginormous, mental, fan-boy button and pinned it right on my proverbial sleeve for the world to see! I was at the world-famous Comic Con, and the Batmobiles were here?!?!?

Comic Con

Holy Nostalgia Batman!

Needless to say out came the camera and I spent some time looking at each one, even the dreaded Schumacher-mobile *shudder*, paying special attention to the original 1966 version.  Not 3 feet from me was a huge part of my childhood and my first experience with the world of super-heroes and comics!  I was in nerd heaven, and that was to be just the beginning!  Check back in tomorrow loyal readers to hear about what it was like actually inside the Convention Center at Comic Con… same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!

 

 

 

P.S. – Here is a hint.  It was shiny!

Read: San Diego Comic Con 2012 Review – Part Deux

Man of Steel Teaser Trailer Is Out!

Man of SteelI was a little bummed while I was at the San Diego Comic-Con 2012 that I missed the first look at Zak Snyder’s reboot of the Superman saga. While not really a Supes fan in the comics, I have some very fond childhood memories of Christopher Reeves striking a noble pose in that iconic costume. So if you haven’t seen the trailer being shown before The Dark Knight Rises already, it is up online now to watch.

I have to say, the score itself is inspiring. I have high hopes that they will hit this one right and recapture the magic and majesty that the 70’s version did.

Here it is. Take a look and let me know what you think, will you be seeing it when Man of Steel flies into theaters?