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Sakura Con 2014 Cosplay, Under the Sun

7 May

IMG_3827

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

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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…

(IMAGE HEAVY POST)

Continue reading

ADC Comic of the Day: AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE

27 Mar

by Orion Tippens

photoWriter: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Artists: Francesco Francavilla, Jack Morelli
Publisher: Archie Comics Publications
Start release: 2013 – ongoing
Frequency: monthly, ongoing

Synopsis:

Jughead is hungry…for human flesh?!

Yes. Afterlife with Archie is set in an alternate, less cartoonish continuity of popular Archie comics, where the small town of Riverdale is overrun with a horrific zombie epidemic; after local teenage witch Sabrina casts a necromancy spell in an attempt to revive Jughead’s dog, with unintended consequences. Living death spreads throughout Riverdale, sending America’s favorite teenager, Archie, and his non-infected friends fleeing for their lives. Their youthful life of milkshakes and sock hops is now a post-apocalyptic nightmare.

photo 1Thoughts:

Who would have thought that Archie Comics could be a source for modern horror, suspense, and drama? Yet here we are – and the result is terrifying, brilliant, and fun.

As a fan of horror and comics, I was hooked from the opening page. Not so much for the tired gimmick of zombies; but the attention to what makes the best of this sub-genre wonderful: the stage environment and the players present. We have suspense and supernatural horror mixed with casual social commentary. When done well, any overplayed genre can be made fresh and enjoyable.

Plus, I love the biting and screaming.

photo 2The Continue reading

Comic of the Day REVIEW: Doctor Who Special 2013 #1

10 Mar

(Another winning write-up by Orion, folks! Do the Doctor Who comics live up to the TV show’s greatness? Does the story’s young-female Doctor Companion function as a Mary Sue for a middle-aged British writer? Are comics readers and DW fans ALL Special Snowflakes? Read on, and find out…)

by Orion Tippens

photo 1ADC Comic of the Day: Doctor Who Special 2013 #1

Writer: Paul Cornell

Pencils: Johnny Broxton

Published by: IDW Publishing

Released: Dec. 2013

Notes: One-shot, self-contained story

STORY:

The Doctor meets…Doctor Who?!

After a mishap send the TARDIS astray, our favorite Time Lord stumbles upon a world most familiar to us readers.

photo 3This is our real world, or as the Doctor puts it; a world of “anti-fiction,” “non-fiction,” and “un-fiction.” Here, all of the exciting moments in the Doctor’s life are passed off through stories, through a fictional TV show called “Doctor Who” staged with special effects. “Doctor Who” is well-received by its huge fandom base, very popular at geek conventions, and a growing oncoming merchandising storm.

The Doctor is Continue reading

Comic of the Day: Shifter

24 Feb

Comics of the Day Review:

photo 2Shifter: Interactive Graphic Novel (for mobile devices, IOS version)

by Orion Tippens

Writer: Brian Haberlin and Brian Holguin

Pencils: Brian Haberlin, Geirrod VanDyke, Kunrons Yap, Chan Hyuk Lee

Letter: Francis Takenaga

Published by: Anomoly Productions

Date released: Jan 23, 2014

Pages: 875 panels of art, appendix text (book is 224 pages)

Rated: 12+

Notes: Also in print as a graphic novel with augmented reality options.

The UAR app for Shifter is a separate app and not a subject for this review. The app reviewed is currently the iOS version (Version 1.0) read on my iPad 2

The following review contains mild spoilers, and focuses on the story and app viewing technology.

photo 1Story:

Shifter is set on an ultra-modern-day planet Earth (after a mysterious prologue, that occurs six months later): we meet Noah Freeman, an everyman centered on his job of drone-controlled environmental data collection. All seems well with his secure job and upcoming engagement, until a casual hiking trip goes very wrong; Noah is thrown down a waterfall by a duo of sinister mystery men, and survives only to stumble upon a portal leading into some strange, other-dimensional plane of existence.

Here, Noah finds himself conversing with a sentient, spherical device. With that, he discovers a power within his surroundings to travel back to select times and places, but only through a choice of collected creatures and persons. Many specimens are extinct, and are of different sizes and personalities. One is human – a female Celtic warrior – with whom he develops a friendship. As a possessor of each specimen, he also shares its experiences, thoughts, and emotions. Such new explorations are exciting for Noah, but he seeks out a way to revisit to his old life. But he discovers himself wanted for murder – and a grand conspiracy behind it all. Now, he must use these new powers to set his original life right… Continue reading

Comic(s) of the Day: Injustice-Gods Among Us v2 #1-3

17 Feb

by Orion Tippens, ADC

Injustice 4Comics of the Day Review:

Injustice: Gods Among Us volume 2, #1-3 (single digital issues)

Writer: Tom Taylor

Pencils: Bruno Redondo

Inks: Julien Hugonard-Bert

Published by: DC Comics

Note: The single digital issues of Injustice are later collected and released in print.

Story:

Set in an alternate DC universe and based on a videogame (as a prequel, so far), Injustice: Gods Among Us brings us a familiar continuity gone horribly wrong.

Spoilers ahead:

These issues continue a long story from Injustice Gods: Among Us volume 1, in which Superman is now a megalomaniacal psychopath with murderous tendencies, much later after the death of his wife and unborn child. He declares himself sovereign of Earth and drug dealer of special performance enhancers – all for the making of his “better world.” Meanwhile, Batman is recovering from bad injuries, remains in hiding while building his own insurgency to this super-regime. Also, cosmic forces are showing an increasing interest in this developing situation.

Thoughts:

I am a huge fan of this series, my favorite guilty pleasure in mainstream comics: not so much for the videogame tie-in but for the creative writing and freedom involved. The writer from the very beginning took this control, and the destinies of our familiar DC universe cast, and ran away with it all. Injustice is Continue reading

ADC Comic(s) of the Day: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #29-30

12 Feb

Orion Tippens

All Day Comics

photo 1Comics of the Day Review:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #29-30

Writer: Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz

Pencils: Kevin Eastman and Ross Campbell

Published by: IDW Publishing

Notes: Current single monthly issues of an ongoing series, a separate re-imagined continuity to the more widely known TV series and movies.

Story:

In the countryside of Northampton, Massachusetts, our Ninja Turtles and their master Splinter find themselves in desperate need of recovery, both physically and emotionally, after a difficult battle with their nemesis the Shredder. Helping them along are their human friends, Casey Jones and April O’Neill – who provides shelter in her parents’ farmhouse.

photo 2The Turtles engage in the simple life, and must bond once again as brothers. However, complications happen with Leonardo’s developing PTSD, resulting from brainwashing by the Shredder. Add an unwelcome stowaway: Alopex, a mutant fox and former ally to the Foot Clan. Meanwhile, April uncovers her own family secrets, adding to and expanding the Turtles’ origin. And a mystical connection develops through Tang Shen, the spirit mother to our Turtles. All may never be the same again for our Heroes in a Half Shell.

My thoughts:

I engaged in reading the latest issues after admiring the magnificent covers, and connecting back to my childhood nostalgia. I had yet to read the previous issues, but I’d heard good reviews of the overall run. This fresh arc also seemed like a good jumping-on point. Also, the synopsis was Continue reading

Anybody got $13-18K to buy the 1st TMNT comics?

29 Dec

by Mike Hansen

Gobbledygook #1 cover

Can I has?

There aren’t too many comics series that I actually collect anymore. For most series, simply having the story in book form is enough. One of my few exceptions is the original 1980s-1990s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics, which have that handmade, “Look, anybody can do this” feel along with stories that remain both alive with fun and vibrantly different than anything else of the era. I’m a sucker for great packaging, and these comics had the exact right dose of quality and enthusiasm that told me that TMNT creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird both love comics and appreciate their readers.

I’ve managed to get my hands on just about every single published TMNT appearance, but a handful of rarities have eluded me: TMNT #1 (1st and 2nd printings), #2 (1st printing), and the very first TMNT appearance in the insanely rare photocopied/hand-stapled minicomics Gobbledygook #1 & 2 (of which only 50 of each exist).

Gobbledygook #2 cover

Please?

I’ve just discovered that not one, but two sets of Gobbledygook are on eBay. One set is ungraded (as CGC doesn’t grade photocopied minicomics); the other is graded by PGX and claims to be the highest-graded copies available (if not the only ones ever professionally graded). This is a Big Deal because these are among the rarest and most historically significant comic books of all time. Forget those early superhero comics of the 1930s-1960s (most of which have been reprinted and thus have widely available contents); Gobbledygook #1-2 are the real Holy Grail of comics, and the prices offered for these have finally started to reflect this. And as much as I hate seeing comics sealed up and graded, anything that helps preserve something this rare and important is probably a good thing.

Considering the extreme rarity of these minicomics (these belong in a museum!), I could actually live without them: IF all of the material in them has been reprinted elsewhere. My guess is that the contents were all reprinted in the 1985 Fugitoid and 1986 Gobbledygook one-shots (two of the most common 1980s TMNT-related comics, still easily available cheap). Anybody know for sure?

And if not, can anybody with $13,000-18,000 buy them for me?

Gobbledygook #1-2 back cover

Coming soon!

Quote of the Day: Ed Brubaker on superheroes

17 Dec

by Mike Hansen

From Point Blank #1 (the prelude to Sleeper) – click to make bigger:

Ed Brubaker quote

I love it when comics mix genres. Ed Brubaker’s blend of crime and superheroes in Sleeper and Incognito is a blast. His murder/revenge story in Captain America was easily the best thing about Marvel’s Civil War event a few years back. (I’m still woefully behind on new comics, but what I’ve read of his horror/crime series Fatale has been amazing so far…)

I read The Big Lie

16 Dec

by Mike Hansen

The Big Lie coverOkay, things are going to get political for a minute here.

I thought today’s report that a major paper owned by the King of Right-Wing America (Rupert Murdoch) advocates one of the major arguments of the Joker of Left-Wing America (Michael Moore) in his film Fahrenheit 9/11 – that there is compelling evidence that the Bush administration ensured that a number of Saudis and bin Laden relatives were safely escorted out of the U.S. in the wake of the 9/11 attacks – made today a good time to talk about a comic book that makes me really uncomfortable.

There are few comics that I’ve been truly embarrassed to have bought (Holy Terror being chief among them), but Rick Veitch’s The Big Lie comes closer than most. It came out in September 2011, “commemorating” the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks by advocating an already-debunked conspiracy theory that explosives helped bring down three World Trade Center buildings.

The Big Lie p13

The best conspiracies mix in plenty of truth to sound more convincing…

Julian Darius at Sequart has already written what I consider the definitive review of this work, so click over there and check it out. Then check out these cool pages of outtakes from The Big Lie on Rick Veitch’s website.

What makes me so squirmy about The Big Lie is Continue reading

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