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Sakura Con 2014 Cosplay, Under the Sun

7 May


I dropped by this year’s great Sakura Con for a few hours.

Held in Seattle, Sakura Con remains the largest gathering for anime and manga enthusiasts in the Northwest US. There was plenty of additional action behind the Washington State Convention and Trade Center.

The timing was good; the rain of the past few days finally stopped. And the day was Easter Sunday, adding to the festive nature and smiling faces of those present. Some cheered, others danced and played games.

Most of those present were wonderful people in colorful costumes, in tribute to various anime and manga programs and games (and distantly related science fiction and fantasy).

Here are some favorites among them… Continue reading

Cosplay Fun at Emerald City Comic Con 2014

24 Apr

Photo Mar 28, 4 40 53 PMIt’s been a few weeks.

I have fond memories of Seattle’s great Emerald City Comic Con. Many of them are best summed up by the following pics of con attendees, representing as best one could; by those dressed up in colorful costumes, often as characters familiar to the surrounding fandom.

Let us say hello to a few of our friends…


Continue reading

San Diego Comic-Con 2013 pictures (part 3)

14 Aug

Photos by Orion Tippens

Occasional caption text by Mike Hansen

One last photo of my new comic and my huge forehead.

One more photo of my new comic and my huge forehead.

Marvel & DC artist Aaron Lopresti (also my old comics-art teacher in high school!)

Marvel & DC artist Aaron Lopresti (also my old comics-art teacher in high school!)

Photo Jul 18, 11 38 12 PM

Photo Jul 19, 5 36 11 AM

Legendary artist Adam Hughes. We need more comics from him.

Boilerplate by Paul Guinan & Anina Bennett! I once went to one of their epic Halloween parties, and am terrified that pictures may surface...

Boilerplate by Paul Guinan & Anina Bennett! I once went to one of their epic Halloween parties, and am terrified that pictures may surface…

Continue reading

The Beat Down! pages 4-5

12 Aug

by Mike Hansen

Writing by me, artwork by Elvin Hernandez, lettering by Amador Cisneros!

Click to make bigger:

The Beat Down p4-5 SPREAD lettered inks low-res

More pages soon!

Here’s another shot of The Beat Down! teaser comic we launched at Comic-Con, along with my giant forehead:

photo by Orion Tippens

photo by Orion Tippens

San Diego Comic-Con 2013 pictures (part 2)

12 Aug

Photos by Orion Tippens

Occasional caption text by Mike Hansen

Photo Jul 19, 9 02 30 AM

Photo Jul 18, 1 29 39 AM

Dustin Nguyen (Li'l Gotham) rocks the stage.

Dustin Nguyen (Li’l Gotham) rocks the stage.

Photo Jul 21, 1 17 33 AM

Photo Jul 18, 2 30 03 AM

Continue reading

San Diego Comic-Con 2013 pictures (part 1)

7 Aug

Photos by Orion Tippens

Captions by Mike Hansen

It’s been two weeks since Comic-Con, and I’m still finding my feet! What an amazing time. Elvin and I had lots of interest in our comic, THE BEAT DOWN! – I’ll post more pages in a few days. In the meantime, enjoy these terrific pics from my main man Orion: A whole lot of cosplay, plus one handsome gentleman…



Photo Jul 21, 6 00 15 AM

Photo Jul 21, 5 39 19 AM

Photo Jul 20, 4 58 40 AM

Continue reading

The Beat Down! page 2

11 Jul

by Mike Hansen

Art by Elvin Hernandez, lettering by Amador Cisneros!

The Beat Down p2 lettered inks low-res


More designs:

Big Dumb-Bell & Space Monkey designs 150dpi

The Hired Gun design REV 100dpi

The Beat Down! teaser comic premieres at Comic-Con next week, at Elvin’s artist table (#EE-15)!

The Beat Down! page 1

10 Jul

by Mike Hansen

Art by Elvin Hernandez, lettering by Amador Cisneros!

The Beat Down p1 lettered inks low-res

Here are some of Elvin’s character designs, too:

La Figura designs 100dpi

Hillbilly Frank & Robo Dragon 100dpi

7 days till Comic-Con! Come grab a copy of THE BEAT DOWN! at booth #EE-15!

I made a comic

10 Jul

by Mike Hansen

Hey everybody,

I’ve finally finished my work on my first original comics project, just in time for Comic-Con next week! WOOT!

It’s a new series called THE BEAT DOWN! and it’s written by me and drawn by comics newcomer Elvin Hernandez. Elvin’s a terrific artist, and I have a feeling he’s going to get a lot of comics work thanks to his work on this book.

Here’s the cover art for the teaser comic we’ve printed for Comic-Con, colored by Donovan Yaciuk (creator of the awesome SPACEPIG HAMADEUS series) – click to big-ify:

The Beat Down! cover

Is that sweet, or what?

Elvin’s drawing this series in no less than THREE different art styles. It’s looking pretty fantastic so far.

We’ve published a “teaser” comic that Elvin will be selling at his Comic-Con table in Artist’s Alley (booth #EE-15). If you’re at the Con, swing by and say hi!

I’ll post some more of Elvin’s art over the next few days, before I drive down to San Diego.

Catching Up (chunky edition) (Part 2 of 2)

1 May

by Mike Hansen

So what else has happened lately that’s worth a mention?

Gygax Magazine #1 cover

Gygax Magazine #1


The first issue of Gygax Magazine, the spiritual (and visual) successor to the classic Dragon Magazine, was released in February. If you’re a longtime tabletop-RPG fan like me, it’s pretty great; I’ll write more about it soon.


Comics Buyer’s Guide was abruptly cancelled by its publisher, criminally at issue #1699. In its early years, CBG allowed comics fans to connect and feel that they were part of a community (much like Star Trek events did for Trekkies). I always enjoyed reading my weekly CBG in the 1990s much more than Wizard and its magazine competitors, though the strange politics dividing these publications always baffled me (and probably boiled down to the big mouths of a handful of comics “superstars” more than anything). Cofounder Maggie Thompson and longtime contributor Tony Isabella have both found new outlets for their work, so congrats to them.


Two online manga sites, JManga and Square Enix’s online service, have been/are being shut down. JManga customers are screwed, as there’s no way to access the comics they paid for. Yet another example of why DRM hurts the end-users.


On a related note, a modder has figured out how to run EA’s near-crippled new SimCity game without being always-online. Since two-time Worst Company In America EA has no intention of making this officially possible, I hope this demonstrates to other publishers that their customers will find a way to use their product the way they want. Here’s what users need to know to modify the game themselves.

(I hope the courts will soon recognize digital purchases as property and not licenses, allowing the first-sale doctrine to apply and allowing end-users to use and modify the content however they choose. There was that recent court decision that digital material (which can be easily copied and redistributed) cannot be resold as “used” content and doesn’t fall under the first-sale doctrine…)


Speaking of the first-sale doctrine, I was happy that the Supreme Court recently ruled that publishers are not protected when third-party sellers import their product from other countries and resell it at lower prices. The idea that prices should be higher in America, whether for books or drugs or anything else, has always irritated me. Now, if only that other court ruling from a few years ago that manufacturers can set minimum prices at all can be overturned…


One of the internet’s best comics sites, Comics Alliance, was surprisingly shut down by its owner, AOL. I’ll miss the commentary and analysis. Hope its columnists find new venues quickly.


One of my favorite cable-TV channels, G4TV, is basically dead, now that X-Play and Attack Of The Show are cancelled. Best of luck to all of the talent with finding lucrative work elsewhere. (I notice that Ninja Warrior reruns have recently returned. G4’s owner, Comcast, has no idea how to keep this channel viable, does it? Everything I’ve heard about the replacement “Esquire Network” sounds very Not For Me.)


I was sad to learn of the death of writer Robert Morales. His 2003 Captain America story, Truth: Red, White & Black, is one of Marvel’s best miniseries. His 8 Cap issues the following year were excellent, too. I just learned about his 1980s work in Heavy Metal; I definitely plan to track it down now. Alan Moore wrote a moving tribute to Morales.


Speaking of Moore, The Beat has been serializing a great investigative series on the history of Marvelman entitled Poisoned Chalice. While the internet is littered with comics opinions/reviews/analysis/hype (often in the name of getting a lot of traffic/clicks – obviously, I don’t care much about that!), there isn’t a lot of true comics journalism, so this series is worth celebrating.


Disney’s recent suspension/cancellation of numerous Star Wars projects and dismantling of LucasArts isn’t surprising to me. Few companies are as robust in their brand management, and Disney doesn’t want anything to distract from its marketing campaign for the new Star Wars films. (If only Warner Brothers understood how to manage its superhero brands: The cartoon versions are generally terrific (so of course they’re getting cancelled), while the comics and film versions have often suffered from top-down corporate mismanagement.)


Disney’s recent layoffs in its hand-drawn animation division did surprise me, though. Yes, the computer-animated “Paperman” short is brilliant and has a “hand-drawn” feel, but that shouldn’t mean the dismantling of the foundation of the company’s legacy. No wonder there will be a memorial service for 2-D animation at Comic-Con


It turns out that comics bogeyman Frederic Wertham made up his not-so-scientific evidence of comics causing juvenile deliquency. Who’da thunk it?


Last month, a lawsuit was filed arguing that Zorro should be in the public domain, that Zorro therefore belongs to everyone, and that the property’s licensor has no right to force others to pay to use the character. I haven’t found any updates on the suit; it sounds to me like the plaintiff has a pretty strong case, despite today’s ridiculously long copyright periods.


Sales on Marvel NOW titles seem to be stabilizing much faster than DC’s New 52 lineup. Both lines have brought some new readers into comics shops, so that’s a good thing; but both lines have also lost older readers, so that’s not so good. The overall industry is healthier than ever, though, so maybe it’s just superheroes?

In any case, I hope DC catches up to figuring out what the current market wants soon: of all comics publishers, few have such a high percentage of utterly disposable material as DC these days, and gimmicks like variant covers (which are still way too common), “WTF” plots, and unnecessary character deaths aren’t going to build brand loyalty (but at least universal outrage prevented the killing of Green Lantern John Stewart). DC’s properties and creators deserve better than to be in the company of crap like Bluewater and Zenescope. I really don’t think people want 52 monthly titles from DC; the titles seem to keep getting cancelled before the next rushed replacement series are ready to go…

Kudos to DC for finally pulling the announced Orson Scott Card-written Superman story. While in general I try to keep my opinions of creators and their work separate, I think it’s never a good idea to allow an active hatemonger to be associated with the world’s most recognizable Good Guy.

And now that the Before Watchmen travesty is over, here’s a very brief excerpt from a 1988 letter by Alan Moore, via Steve Bissette’s excellent blog (currently serializing a fascinating history of the prozine WaP (a.k.a. Words And Pictures) – go there to read the whole thing):

Ironically, the higher I progressed in the industry, the more of its indignities were made visible by the elevated vantage point…

It is, after all, difficult to feel cheated when earning more money than you’ve made in your life…

It’s only when you realize that DC could license a Saturday morning Rorschach cartoon series complete with Blot the Dog and two mod teenybopper sidekicks that you realize how much you don’t have. You don’t have the dignity of calling your work your own. You don’t have total control over how it is presented…

– Alan Moore, letter published in WaP! #6, copyright 1988 Alan Moore

(Hope that brings more traffic to Mr. Bissette; he’s one of comics’ most outspoken and intelligent writers on creators’ rights, and he deserves the widest possible platform.)

Death Proof The End

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