Denver Comic Con 2015: Droids!

It’s Con season and geeks are in full bloom. Every year at Denver Comic Con, there are so many sights to behold. We got a lot of interviews this year. We will be featuring each interview from Denver Comic Con over the next three months! First up is Jim Shima, droid builder extraordinaire. We like covering cool items, but also affordable items. Now these may look expensive, and some are, but one can build a droid over time. There is a huge support group out there and, budget providing, you can have your Astromech up and running in no time.

Item:

Real life Droids!

What it is:

DYI protocol Droid and Astromech, better known as C3PO and R2D2

How Much it Costs:

Cost can vary quite a bit, depending on materials and function of the Droid. If you want a nice looking R2 unit to just sit and look pretty, here’s a list and instructions on how to do that-

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-To-Make-a-R2D2-Full-Size-Scratch-Built/

Total cost is about $150-$200.

If you want something that can move, have cool light and sounds.

Here’s one guide I found online that showed a higher end R2-

http://r2d2-robot.blogspot.com

There are actually dozens of how to guides and a great support group out there.

In the Colorado/Wyoming area we have Mountain States Droid Builders (http://msr2droids.com/) . A great bunch of friendly people. You can find them here on their Facebook page –

https://www.facebook.com/MountainStatesR2Builders

Just Google your local area for builders as they are all over the world.

Total cost is in the $5000 range, some as high as $10,000. This can vary depending on materials but I think can expect it to exceed $500 :). Keep in mind though that you can spread this cost out over many years. You might need that time to gain the skill needed and build it slowly to make it just perfect.

As you can see there’s more than just R2D2 and C3PO that can be built.

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Is It Worth It?:

Everything we cover at Hush is worth it! Droids are no exception. Certainly these are the most recognizable pieces of movie-making magic ever. C3PO and R2D2 are the most well known and well liked characters in the history of movies. If you have a home theater or you are the ultimate Star Wars collector you would not be disappointed with life sized R2 or 3PO. I think the extra bonus is that you get the satisfaction of knowing you built it. Just like Anakin you can be a Droid builder and build C3PO, and maybe one day a Sith Lord.

Bottom Line:

This probably the coolest item we have covered yet here at Hush for Shut Up and Take My Money. That being said, this takes a time and financial commitment. You might be able to offer money to one of the current builders for a finished droid, but I wouldn’t count on it. They would probably want quite a bit of money for them, and rightly so! If this is something you would like to have, take some time and do some research online. There is a great community of friendly folks who have gone down the same road and are willing to offer advise. Being good with your hands and having some experience with electronics is a plus but not a requirement. I believe all that is required is passion, enthusiasm and commitment to the build.

My special thanks to Jim Shima for sharing his passion with me and allowing Hush to do an interview with him.

You can find out info about his projects here- www.hyperdynelabs.com

Denver Comic Con 2015 – The Geek’s Guide to Cons with Kids

Topic: How to survive Denver Comic Con with children in tow.


This is my fourth time at Denver Comic Con, and each year has been a different experience for me. This year it was as a full-time parent. That’s not to say I haven’t gone previous years as parent, heck three of the four years have been with at least one child. This year, my oldest son was two years old his first convention was at one month old, because my wife and I are awesome parents. Every year has been a different trial with bringing children and in these early years it’s a different experience. It can be difficult with young kids to see everything you want. Essentially, your con experience is never the same again. It’s better.

With kids under one year old, you have a pretty easy lifesaver – the baby bjorn, or any tiny human carrier. Strap one of these on, plop your bundle of joy in the front, face them forward if you can, and you’re on your way. Now with kids in this age you’re going to have to stop a little more than you want to. Feedings can eat up some time, if you’re lucky, though, you can actually feed and walk at the same time. Granted, if your little one is a little younger than most this isn’t going to be an option. Just understand that your baby comes first, when they’re hungry they’re hungry and you’ll have to take a break.

Around the six-month mark you have to look out for “stranger danger syndrome”. With the big crowds, and especially if you’re cosplaying, you’re going to get people up close and personal and this can be a lot for kids that age. Prepare for a little unhappiness from your little one. Also, diapers; no one wants to smell like…well you know. Young kids need changing, so don’t just bring a big stink around with you everywhere you go. That’s unpleasant for everyone involved.

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My third year at DCC was my oldest sons’ second convention, and he was only one year old. This was an fun year, DCC fixed everything that wasn’t right the year before and my wife and I could much more easily move around with our son. For a kid this age, you’re probably out of luck on the front pack, it’s hard enough on your legs with a kid half the age, and weight. The big thing here is they’ll be close to walking, or just walking altogether. Your kid’s probably much more inquisitive and want to see everything. This can lead to some fantastic family pictures. We have awesome photos of our son in love with a full size skeksis and being really terrified of an ewok, fantastic.

You’ll probably be doing a lot of moving from the stroller to walking, and it can be tiresome. Now, there are a lot of people at a convention and one year-olds don’t move very quickly, so if you’re going to let you children out of a stroller to walk around it’s just the best thing for everyone to do it out of the way of the main thoroughfare and pull off to the side. Around this age, your kids, or at least mine, have really started to open up and they want to see anything and everything the con really starts to become fun for them, too, at this point.

This year my a family had another addition. So, we had a two year old and an eight month old in tow. Our youngest was pretty easy, a little baby bjorn action lasted us six hours without any issue. Two kids means you better have back up. It’s not a requirement, but it helps a lot. It can be a task to have a small child strapped to your chest while pushing a stroller that holds a slightly larger small child. We lucked out that our oldest was rather content just being pushed around for the day. Most other times this would not be the case.

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With a child around two we have a lot of success with pairing up with parents that have kids around the same age. Having someone there on their level is usually a tremendous help. I understand that this may not be an option for most. Always make sure to bring toys and snacks. The better you can help your little one stay happy the better experience you’ll both have. This time around, if your tike wants to walk around it’s much easier going. They’re faster and hopefully they’ll hold your hand with no problems. As most everyone knows, though, you could have full-on meltdowns throughout the day. Dealing with a meltdown at a con is a lot like dealing with an accident on the highway, move it off the main road and take care of things as best as you can.

Above anything else to be prepared for a convention with young children is patience. Things are not going to go perfectly, kids have problems and they will let you know all about them. The crowds can and will be hectic and with a crying toddler or infant it can make things exponentially more stressful. Oh, and panels, probably not going to work that well if you have very young kids like us. It’s common courtesy to let the panel hosts talk without interruptions, a thing we learned the hard way. You just can’t sit in a panel trying to get you children to calm down. Get up go outside and get things handled, if you’re lucky you can go back in. Don’t expect it, though.

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Here are some essentials to keep in mind.

  • Baby carrier is a lifesaver with very young children
  • Keep moving, children have shorter attention spans than millennials if stay put to long things can go bad
  • Be knowledgeable of your surroundings, head on swivel people
  • You’re kid can break at any moment, be courteous to everyone around you
  • You might have to forget about panels
  • Bring distractions, they’ll help keep yours and their sanity
  • Don’t be afraid to use that stroller as a battering ram, people will move.

For any new or expecting parents I hope this will be helpful guide to your next convention. Like anything you do with you children it’s going to be really tough at some points but those special moments, even if they are few and far between, make it all worth it. I can’t wait until next year’s adventure.

Images were taken by Scott McCauliffe and Keriann McNamera of Hush Comics. Please ask permission before reposting.

Denver Comic Con 2015: Dominion of the Nerd

Panel Name: Nerd Feud with King of the Nerds

Topic: Our time with the contestants of King of the Nerds

Featured Guests: Colby Burnett, Amanda Liston, Ben Tully, Heather Wensler, Jacob Rubin, Jonathan Adler, Kaitlin Spak, Lily Rutledge-Ellison, Ori Peri, Thomas Vollum, Todd Landree 


One Mile High and over Memorial Day weekend, the nerds of the nation gathered to revel in collective and shared passions of the nerdverse in the glorious city of Denver, Colorado.  The fourth annual Denver Comic Con (DCC) hosted a slew of stars and celebrities.  If you were in Denver last weekend you had the chance to meet the original Hulk, Lou Ferrigno, witness Alan Tudyk autograph and give away random crap he had in his satchel, and maybe even snag a picture drooling next to Gwendoline Christie.  What was probably not too high on anybody’s radar (including mine) was that a majority of the cast from the most recent season of King of the Nerds would also be in attendance.  They came to host a variety of panels and partake in some interactive sessions with the con-goers.  Being a fan of the show I thought, “Oh cool.  It’ll be neat to see ‘the nerds’ up close.”  And that was it.  The thought passed as quick as it came.  So you might find it surprising to know that by the end of DCC, my personal highlight was the interaction I had with “the nerds.”  Beyond just generally being awesome, I found there was a deeper meaning in having the nerds present.  Yeah, that’s right – I’m gonna get poetic and shit.  But first!… Let’s talk about how cool being a nerd really is.

“We’re Going to a Van”

My experience with the nerds culminated to a series of encounters with various cast members at different moments of the con.  The first was with Colby.  And the experience was actually that of my brother.  We both are fans of the show and we both rooted pretty damn hard for Colby throughout.  It took me by surprise when Evan (my bro-ham) darted across the trade floor screaming Colby’s name.  I followed while Evan screamed at me, “GET YOUR CAMERA READY!!”  Colby and some of the other fellow nerds had just finished up a nerd war session with the con-goers and were now transporting boxes of what I assume were either weapons of mass nerd-struction or severed heads of fallen nerd enemies.  Nearly grabbing Colby by his whole body, Evan asks, “Can I take a picture with you?!”  Somewhat offput and maybe a bit frightened by the grown ass man that just came charging his way Colby says, “Uhh… We’re going to a van…”  Evan returns with, “Can I walk with you?!”  Colby smiles, shrugs and says, “Sure!”  As I fumble with my phone camera like a paparazzi newb, Evan awkwardly walks next to Colby and his box of heads just smiling, waiting for me to click a few pics.  Colby took it like a champ.  We get the photos and Colby and the nerds move on.

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Your Mom Watches Jeopardy

The next interaction was with a big group of the nerds.  I was standing in line with Hush Comic creator/owner power duo, keeping them company while they were waiting to get Amy Acker’s autograph.  I was busy staring and drooling (mostly drooling) at Gwendoline Christie who was signing autographs in the next line, when Adrian – the main reason we were in line in the first place – bolts out from the filing stack of people and heads towards the end of the line.  It takes me and Sherif a minute to realize she’s spotted Colby not too far away.  Here’s a fun fact about Adrian.  She loves Jeopardy.  Maybe more than your mom loves you.  She’d been following Colby since his Jeopardy days.  His role on King of the Nerds was just extra sauce for her.  I watched from afar as Adrian drew information from Colby about his glory run on Jeopardy, picking up pointers on how she too could land a spot on the trivia show.  I think she tried Vulcan mind melding with him at one point.  It was hard to tell from so far away.  Off to the side of the brain session happening were a collection of some of my favorite nerds!  Thomas, Todd, Brian (from season 2), a cardboard cut out of Raychell and (my super favorite) Katie.  They took pictures with everyone from the Hush team.  All of them were incredibly friendly and approachable.  So approachable in fact, that I may have asked Katie to marry me.  As weirded out as she was, she didn’t outright say “no.”  Yeahhh…I think I still have a chance ***Walks away in cool slo-mo but trips on incredibly flat surface anyway***  Point is – these nerds just kept getting cooler.

Hot Amanda

It’s half-way into day two of the con and my legs don’t like me very much at this point.  I reluctantly succumb to their sissy fits and take a seat against a wall in one of the panel halls.  After a few moments I spy two more of “the nerds” walking down the hall.  Like a fifth grader with a crush on his math teacher, I shoot my hand in the air, waving.  Followed up with a “Hi nerds!” once they were in ear shot, I was really surprised when Heather and Jonathan both looked at me, stopped, and proceeded to address me.  THE presiding King of the Nerds stopped to talk to me, one of his underlings!  I don’t even remember what it was was we talked about, but it was magical and awesome!!  They then invited us to attend the Family Feud-style panel session they were having later that day.  They also told us there were more nerds from the show down the hall.  I thought, “Cool!  I’ll go say hi when the whole feet throbbing thing dies down.”  To my continued surprise, Jonathan and Heather RETURNED with said other nerds.  WHAT?!?  Like… don’t you have important, kingly nerd duties to attend to?!?  In that moment I actually debated on whether or not to bow to Jonathan.  How cool are these nerds that they’re willing to gather for a simple group of fans that enjoyed the show?!  But wait people, it gets better.

The other nerds that returned with the King and Heather were Lily and Amanda from this season.  Both of these awesome ladies ranked among my favorites of the season (if not, then of all time) and it was so freaking cool to meet them!  But let’s talk about Amanda for a bit…  You know when you start watching a new show (i.e. King of the Nerds) and how it takes a while to learn everyone’s name?  We’ve all been there.  Well, my brother – the same one that practically attacked Colby – had a nickname for Amanda before he learned her name.  It was simply “the hot one.”  It didn’t take more than halfway through episode 2 for that name to transform into “Hot Amanda.”  After telling Amanda this story and then asking to for a photograph of me hugging her for the sole purpose of making my brother jealous, she one-upped me and suggested that the impact would be much greater if it were a cheek kiss instead of hug.  Done and done.  When I showed Evan the picture I thought he might actually slug me.  Evan and I attended the Family Feud knock off game show event where we and a bunch of other nerd fans got to laugh and learn more about our nerd royalty.  At the end of the event, Evan goes charging through the crowd again (Evan’s good a charging) right at Amanda, desperate for a picture.  After two-hand shoving an old lady and punting a little nerd boy out of the way he reached “hot Amanda.”  As I snap a pic, Amanda recognized me, looks at Evan and asks, “Is this the guy?!?”  Evan answers with, “YES!  I’M HOT AMANDA!!”  It didn’t make sense, but we all got it and Evan ended up with his own cheek kiss.

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To be Nerd is to be King

Here’s where I try to bring this somewhat aimless collection of stories a degree of significance.  Upon reflecting on my DCC journey this year, I can honestly say that the interactions I had with “the nerds” was the best part.  Better than telling ALL the artists and collectors to shut up and take my money, better than being close enough to Gwendoline Christie to pass her a basketball (or my beating heart), better than enjoying the phenomenal cosplayers – the highlight of my convention was unequivocally to the King of the Nerds contestants.  That might sound weird, especially since I only had a few encounters with “the nerds” and they probably had no idea I was paying such close attention.  But think of it this way:  how often do you get to hug and talk to famous people (FOR FREE)?!  Some might argue that this group of nerds aren’t “famous,” but that’s not the point!  Here’s a bunch of individuals, that felt so strongly and passionately about being a nerd and loving a thing that they were brave enough to share it with the world from behind a camera and then do it some more in the mile high city for three days.  Not only did they share, but they cared!!  A Care Bear just earned its wings (don’t correct me… just let me have this one).  What I mean by that is in every interaction we had with “the nerds” it always felt sincere.  It felt real!  To think that this band of uber-nerds, who were undoubtedly flocked and charged at all weekend long took time to interact, talk and even kiss fellow nerds is amazing!  The theme of “be nerd, be who you are, be proud” was heavy and apparent in more than one panel session or con-event.  It’s a theme so appropriate for DCC (for any con really).  The King of the Nerds team that visited Denver this year embodied that better than ANY celebrity, movie star or illustrious writer or artist I’ve ever come in contact with.  Granted, that list isn’t too long, but the impression left on me by “the nerds” was in no way, insignificant.  Nerds!  I pledge my aligence to thee!… To thine?  To thone?  to… Oh whatever.  You guys rock.  Thanks for making DCC great!  Oh… And Katie, if you’re reading this, know that my marriage offer still stands.  Ohhh yeah! *** Slo-mo, trip, uncontrollably careen down flight of stairs***

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Denver Comic Con 2015 – Women of Whedon

Panel Name: Women of Whedon

Topic: An hour with four women who have all worked with Joss Whedon. 

Featured Guests: Jewel Staite (Kaylee in Firefly), Emma Caulfield (Anya in Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Amy Acker (Fred in Angel, Whiskey in Dollhouse, Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, and Lin in The Cabin in the Woods) and moderated by Clare Kramer (Glory in Buffy the Vampire Slayer). 


Between the four women, Denver was treated with a group of talent who have been a part of every single Whedon’s creator owned projects. Most of them have never worked together (Kramer and Caulfield rarely had scenes together in their time on Buffy), but their connection is strong; once you are part of Joss Whedon’s world, you will always be part of that world, and you will always have an amazingly strong and ever-growing fan base.

Most of the panel revolved around memories of being on set. Pranks weren’t really a thing; there wasn’t time for it. It was a relief for Firefly to be cancelled considering how FOX treated the show. Joss took Amy to coffee to tell her Fred would die and Illyria, the demon goddess, would be born. There was a lot of reminiscing about practicing Shakespeare in Whedon’s kitchen and how spoiled all of them were to be part of his world.

Denver Comic Con 2015 - Women of Whedon Panel

The mood was broken when a fan asked how they felt about the betrayal women in Avengers: Age of Ultron. The question caused four sets of furrowed brows on the stage. None of the women jumped at the chance to answer the question, but Kramer, Acker, and Staite all jumped at the chance to defend the writer.

From Kramer:

“As far as Joss’ portrayal, you can’t look at what he did with the character and put all the fault and blame on him. He was responding to the MCU.”

From Acker:

“He writes really great women characters. You never know what parts were left out. I think there was a lot more of that movie than what we all got to see. I would like to see his full version.”

From Staite:

“Just because you are the writer/director of a movie, of a franchise, does not mean you have complete creative control. You have to keep in mind that Joss has a ton of people behind him giving him a million opinions and telling him exactly what they want to see and what they want in the script, and he is trying like hell to please everybody, including you. That’s an impossible task. I think he has proven himself to be an incredibly intelligent writer who writes beautiful, strong, interesting, multilayered characters for women, and nothing drives me more crazy than people sitting behind their computer screens and thinking they can say whatever the fuck they want.” … “It’s not freedom of speech; it is bullying. It’s not fair to anybody, I don’t care who you are, it’s not fair.” … “I think it’s gross human behavior and there is no room for it. And for whatever reason he decided to leave Twitter, I very passionately defend him. And I think that all of his work seems to have completely gone away because of this. And we have to remember what he is known for and what he stands for and that is the characters he has written. I love him.”

Staite’s passionate speech about Whedon had many responses, but all of them ended in an ovation and whoops from the audience.

Image was taken by Adrian Puryear of Hush Comics. Please ask permission before reposting.

Denver Comic Con 2015 – Max Brooks

Panel Name: Avatar’s Max Brooks

Topic: Creator of World War Z spills his guts about his feelings on the movie, but focuses his time talking about Avatar Press and the new graphic novels he is coming out with (Harlem HellfightersExtinction Parade).

Featured Guest: Max Brooks


Having met Max Brooks at last year’s DCC while getting my copy of World War Z signed, I knew going into this panel that at the very least, he was going to be interesting. I was in for quite a surprise. What I expected to be a pretty basic Q&A with some information about upcoming projects turned out to be a comedy routine that would span the length of his career. We start off with a bit of background but then get right into the good stuff, his feelings on the outcome of the WWZ movie. I hadn’t ever really given it any thought, but he has taken the most basic approach to how he has dealt with it. It is also the same approach he has to teach his children, and according to him, if you make a decision you have to live with the consequences. Having gone to see the movie himself, he was really pleased with the title but more so relieved because they hadn’t butchered his book, they completely ignored it. I wasn’t aware but perhaps the crowd already was, WWZ 2 is in the works and Brooks isn’t involved in any way.

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According to Brooks, he was here due to one man: William Christensen of Avatar Press, a man who gives no shits as to whether your book is going to be a major seller. Instead, he is more interested in the expression of an idea and the quality of the product he puts out. Things like high-end paper stock and such are more important to him than to other publishers. Brooks described him as a shoemaker in a world of shoe factories, which, based on everything we heard, is exactly right. It’s nice to know that someone is out there who still cares about the subtleties of making a quality product. Brooks went to Christensen with an idea for a story called Extinction Parade. It’s a story about vampires in a world where there food chain is being taken from them due a zombie apocalypse and the silver-spoon (or whatever type of rich spoon a vampire would be fed from) vampires have to learn to come together as a species to solve this crisis. It’s about learning some hard truths as a species at the top of the food chain and I’m sure has plenty of metaphors that apply to us in today’s society.

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He goes on to talk about another of his projects; a project that was released last year actually, called Harlem Hellfighters. Since this is the 100th anniversary of World War I, he talked about a unit that was able to survive all odds when everything was stacked against them. It was at this point in the panel that everyone realized that Brooks really missed out on his true calling, voice work. The man does some pretty good impressions; good enough that I wonder what it would be like to get this guy drunk and strike up a historical conversation.

The Harlem Hellfighters were an all-black squadron in WWI that, as Brooks describes it, were going out to fight for the freedom that they didn’t have for themselves and when they came back from the war, they were going to want that freedom for themselves. So the government set them up to fail at every opportunity. They weren’t even given guns so they had to forge documents in order to arm the squad. They were trying to hold the squad back so much that they even attempted to try and keep them from the war by sending them across seas to dig ditches. Then when that wasn’t sufficient, they were sent away to what was considered the ultimate insult (even by today’s standards); they were given to the French Army.

It was with the French army that this squad really began to shine, even going so far as to win the most prestigious award the French army has. This caused the American government to send a set of instructions for how the French army was supposed to treat them, which as anyone can imagine, was as terribly as possible. Brooks mentioned that it took a hundred years, but a member of the unit (Sgt. Henry Johnson, AKA “Black Death”) is finally being recognized for the Medal of Honor. Also as a teacher, if you adopt Harlem Hellfighters as a historical text for your classroom, he will get on Skype and answer any of your student’s questions.

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The brief Q&A consisted of questions such as his research process, which consists of massive amounts of research. He goes very in depth with his research which he says has to go into even more detail when you have to see things such as graphic novels. I never gave it much thought as to how a black male, in the 1910, in Harlem would wear their hair. It is very specific, but he really takes the time to get the little details to match. He even mentions the idea of a laser weapon that was planned for WWZ that never panned out because it ultimately didn’t make much sense to use over a basic .22 rifle.

There were a few other questions asked including mine – which let me know that I am in fact the spitting image of American Sniper, Chris Kyle – and that there are many more WWZ short stories that haven’t made their way to the public. I hope I planted the seed that an ultimate edition of WWZ is something he should get working on.

"So did ya cringe?"
“So did ya cringe?”

After the panel, I went up to the Avatar booth to get a book signed. I ended up getting both volumes of Extinction Parade, Harlem Hellfighters and a spare copy of the Zombie Survival Guide. I only wanted the Zombie Survival Guide signed but he didn’t give me a choice; “You paid for all for all of them, so I will sign all of them.” He is the most gracious of the celebrities that attend the con, he is more than happy to sign everything and take pictures. All of it for free. His inscriptions are all personal as all the other people in front of me had something unique written in their book. Hands down, this guy made my weekend at the con worth it. If you ever get the chance to meet him, I highly suggest you do so, and if you haven’t read any of his books, you need to get on that, too.

Denver Comic Con 2015 – Buffy/Doctor Horrible Shadowcast

Panel Name: Buffy-Horrible Picture Show

Topic: Shadowcasters silently act out Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s “Once More With Feeling” and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog while it plays in the background (similar to Rocky Horror Picture Show).

Featured Guest: The Rocky Mountain Whedon Shadowcasters.


Members of The Rocky Mountain Whedon Shadowcasters hit the Main Events stage at Denver Comic Con 2015 May 23rd for the first time this year. While the troupe has performed at other Denver pop culture conventions such as Starfest, this show was by far the its biggest. Its double feature shadowcast of Doctor Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog followed by Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s musical episode Once More With Feeling is always a big hit at Starfest. It was no surprise when the turnout for the show was large at DCC.

"Now the monster's real."  Photo by Connor Mudd at Puddle Photography.
“Now the monster’s real.” Photo by Connor Mudd at Puddle Photography.

The show had a very casual feel. It was all about having fun with the fans. While many actors have their lip-syncing down to a science, others simply mimed the actions of their on screen counterparts. The costumes were more approximate than dead-on and some of the entrances and exits were a little too late, but regardless of the less-than-perfect nature of the show, it is extremely fun to watch. The best performance was given by Michael Jasper in the role of Dr. Horrible whose lip-syncing was indistinguishable from the actual audio. It took audience members a few minutes to realize he was just mouthing the words. Close to follow his performance was Karl Brevik as Spike who not only embodies the character flawlessly in both his lip-syncing and movement, but is also actually British. That’s something even James Marsters can’t say! Josh Whitby also had amazing energy as both Captain Hammer and Xander and Genae Gerardi made a wonderful Buffy. Overall, the performance was a lot of fun for any fan. There were even a few jokes for those unfamiliar with the two productions, such as an appearance by Game of Thrones’ Jon Snow as Dr. Horrible sang the lyrics “It’s not a death ray or an icebeam / That’s all Johnny Snow.”

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“Let Me Rest In Peace!” Photo by Connor Mudd at Puddle Photography.

RMWS first performed at StarFest 2009, a little less than a year after Doctor Horrible first came out. Originally organized by Michael Newman, the show started as a small panel room production without the inclusion of Once More With Feeling. “I was dressed as ‘Dead Penny’,” says now director Erin Card who met her husband through the show. “[he] was one of the Doctor Horribles… and [the other cast members] were like, ‘Hey, Penny, come on down. Act this out!’ ” The first production had only five cast members. From there, Card became an integral part of the production, the role of director being past down to her. Later on, the cast would come to Card asking to add Once More With Feeling to the show. Having never seen BTVS at the time, Card was hesitant to include what would become the second half of the show, but ultimately decided to give it the go ahead.

John Snow makes special appearance.  Photo by Connor Mudd at Puddle Photography.
Jon Snow makes special appearance. Photo by Connor Mudd at Puddle Photography.

“I like performing in plays, but that can be really nerve-wracking to remember your lines and blocking and to have people only watching you,” says Lara Griffith who plays Willow in Once More With Feeling. “When you are doing a performance of something you love and know by heart and the audience knows by heart and it’s playing in the background so you aren’t the only thing people are watching, it makes it more fun and easy.  Plus everyone is incredibly nice and accepting.  We’re all there to just have a good time.” And it shows. The cast of this show is from all over Colorado, which makes rehearsing difficult. This means the entire production has to come together in what is essentially one rehearsal. Card hopes to make the show even more professional as the years go on, adding more than one rehearsal into the mix and detailed choreography. She says they are always looking for new cast members, but as of now the main cast is made up of veterans of the show. There’s a general consensus that if one actor has a lead in one part of the show, they’ll have a minor role in the next. For example, Griffith plays Willow in Once More With Feeling but in Doctor Horrible plays the small role of a news anchor.

If you haven’t seen this performance, it is likely they will be back at DCC next year, or you can always catch them at Starfest at their midnight showing in Main Events. This is one of those fan productions you definitely have to see if you’re a Whedon fan. Despite its low budget look, it’s an incredible hour and a half of fun.

Denver Comic Con 2015 – Jewel Staite

Panel Name: Jewel Staite

Topic: An hour with actress Jewel Staite moderated by Garrett Wang.

Featured Guest: Jewel Staite, known for her roles on FireflyStargate, and Space Cases.


It was the Canadian actress’s first time in Denver, but Jewel Staite is no stranger to comic cons. Staite, most famous for her role in Joss Whedon’s Firefly as ship mechanic Kaylee, has been doing cons for a long time. She will let you know very quickly that she isn’t a great liar; you are only going to get the truth with her. Her slightly sardonic personality is not that of the upbeat Kaylee, but her humor and laugh make her just as likeable. So much so, it is easy to walk out of her panel and think, “she could be my best friend!” Maybe that was just me.

Staite may go to a lot of cons, but that does not impede on her ever-growing resume. Fans are always sure to bring up her stints on Space Cases, Higher Ground, and Stargate. Recently, she filmed three movies back-to-back where she was the lead in all three films. Personal Effects is a “smart crime thriller”, 40 Below and Falling is a 3-D love story, and How to Plan an Orgy in a Small Town speaks for itself, really. Fans Staite should keep on the look out for these films due out soon.

Denver Comic Con - Jewel Staite

Some of her best stories, which were mostly spawned from fan questions, were about Nathan Fillion starting the “flip-off” game with her. They both went a little overboard with flipping each other off. It does seem as though Staite won the game because she was able to get 5,000 people at Dragon Con to flip him off. It was a day he “so clearly lost.” She also talked about the roles she lost, namely Claudia in Interview with the Vampire, Judy in Jumanji, and Amy in Little Women. The actress (who I won’t name, and neither will Staite) also dated Staite’s first boyfriend. “She’s dead to me” quipped Staite, to audience applause and laughter. Staite also talked about her favorite book, Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. If Hollywood is going to make a movie, please cast Jewel in a role!

Staite has a great acting career, but her personal life is more of an interest to her. She prides herself on being down-to-Earth. She is certainly not a diva. She talked about doing her own laundry and walking the dogs. Most importantly, she is now engaged. I’m sure that it is a relief that most people will be respectful enough to not propose marriage to her at cons, something that is common for her. After the con, Staite announced via Instagram that she and her fiancé are expecting a baby. We congratulate her on her happy life!

When asked about her thoughts on Kaylee’s innocence, Staite had an incredibly eloquent answer, and one I will end on: “There is something very human about not being heroic, and that’s O.K.” I couldn’t have said it better.

Image was taken by Adrian Puryear of Hush Comics. Please ask permission before reposting.