Denver Comic Con 2014 – The Oatmeal

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Panel Name: The Oatmeal

Topic:  The Inception of The Oatmeal, Michael Inman’s start, Jizz Castles

Featured Guests:  Michael Inman (creator of The Oatmeal)

 

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect at the start of this panel, and I felt the exact same way when it was all said and done. This was one of the funniest experiences I’ve ever had at a panel in the last three years. What started out as a history lesson about Michael and his website, accompanied by awesome drawings, slowly lead into science lessons about some of the more interesting creatures in the animal kingdom.

I actually had a deep appreciation for the way Michael got his start in the business, as I had a similar experience a year or so ago myself. Waking up and realizing that he wasn’t happy with what he was doing, he decided to make a change. He got his first start founding a a website for online dating that included cat pictures, which eventually led to the creation of the book How to Tell if Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You.

The Oatmeal I can make a website too

During his presentation, we were told all about different aspects of the website such as his dislike for making money from ads to making sure he includes bonus material in his books so people have an incentive to purchase. He also talked about how the simplicity of his drawings are what makes them funny and how the more detailed you get, the less funny something becomes.

From this point forward, the panel consisted of a science lesson about things like the Red Velvet Mite, how shitty it is to be a Male Angler Fish, Penis Fencing, Mallard Ducks and the Mantis Shrimp. The accompanying pictures were absolutely hilarious and only added to the stories he was telling. This, however, pales in comparison to watching the ladies there in charge of sign language for the hearing impaired. Certain parts of the panel actually had people paying more attention to the two ladies up front than the guest of honor – so much so that it was even mentioned during the Q&A. If you ever wondered how to say jizz-castle in sign language, than this was the panel for you. It almost left me in tears, it was so funny.

The Oatmeal Penis Fencing

The Q&A went just about how I expected but nothing meaningful was really asked. We did learn about a charity Michael took part in in town and how he would love to run a marathon for his charities here as well but Coloradoans are too cheetah-like for him. This panel was amazing and will make my future reading of the website even better after having gotten a glimpse into the mind of the man behind these tales.

Sign translators were the best here
“Jizz Castle”

Denver Comic Con 2014 – Look! It’s Bruce Campbell

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Panel Name: Look! It’s Bruce Campbell

Topic: Bruce Campbell being classic Bruce Campbell, Q&A

Featured GuestsBruce Campbell

 

The set-up of this panel was different from the beginning; the normal table on the stage was gone and only two chairs remained. There was a feeling of unrest in the air, as if the dead has risen. All that went away when Bruce Campbell came out in his classy three-piece suit and cowboy hat. Bruce came out and said this panel was going to be different because he was going to audition audience members to be the moderator for the panel. Campbell looked around and chose one guy, one girl and an odd guy cosplaying as a guy from Duck Dynasty. He had them all recite the opening monologue from Burn Notice. The first guy fails about half way in, the girl does a much better job but need to pause for laughter a couple times and ends up failing a little after the spot the first guy did, and we get to the Duck Dynasty guy and he takes forever to start, but once he does, he gets in done perfectly. This panel has been a crazy ride thus far, so of course he ends up being Jeffrey Donovan – who plays the lead, Michael Westen, in Burn Notice. After fans start calming down from the surprise, we learn this is Donovan’s first convention and that, as a native Coloradoan, he wanted DCC to be his first con experience.

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This all was in the first five minutes of this panel, so once the audience learns of this, we insisted that Jeffrey Donovan walk around the crowd and ask questions instead of the normal walk to the mic fashion most of the other panels had. This added a whole new level to the con experience because instead of waiting in line for hours to meet someone they are the ones coming to you which had some people freaking out a bit. Once the questions start we get right off the bat what we can expect from Bruce Campbell at this panel. I say this because the panel started with a young boy who asked Bruce to say his famous line, “This is my Boomstick!”, Bruce’s response – as to say he is not the kids dancing monkey and moved on. Now, although a lot of people would find this rude, you should expect from Campbell as he is notorious for being very open and unapologetic with his fans. From he we got questions regarding Evil Dead’s future with Ash which was a bleak and quick, “Don’t hold your breath.” from Bruce.  This led to a question of whether Bruce would reprise the role of Ash in Evil Dead the Musical which was answered with a “No,” because Bruce said he could not sing well, which led to him singing a song from The Fantastiks and then forgetting the lyrics.

Another subject that was discussed at this year’s con more was Xena, which of course brings up Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. A couple people asked about what Bruce’s favorite moments within these series were, where he played Autolycus, the self proclaimed King of Thieves. From Xena, Bruce remembered an episode where Xena’s mind was put into Autolycus’s body and he had to go around as Xena but looking like Autolycus. Bruce said the best part was he got to kiss Renée O’Connor and grab her ass, which he quickly replied, “and not having to grab Kevin Sorbo’s tight ass was the best part of Hercules.”

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A rather interesting question was that of what was Bruce’s favorite line to deliver for any film or show. This was mostly interesting for the story because Bruce said it was, “Give me some sugar, baby,” from Army of Darkness. He explained that it was his favorite because he had a fan come up to him and thank him for it, not knowing what he meant. When Bruce asked him to explain, the man said he was overseas with the military and had that saying translated, and because of this, he used it at a bar later on and it got him laid. So Bruce took credit for that and likes that line best because of it.

Then Bruce fixed his Pocket-poof and made sure that you called it a poof and not a square because pocket squares are for squares. After this Bruce got tired of answering questions so he got up and walked around the audience asking people about themselves which usually ended up with Bruce insulting them in some way until they sat back down, usually pulling a strange Colorado town out from nowhere to reference and make fun of. Not much happened with audience question but that until we were told time was up and since the Star Trek: TNG panel was on next Denise Crosby came running out to give Bruce a hug and make a quick reference to her character in Brisco County and to make a couple flirtatious remarks to Bruce to end the panel with another quick surprise.

Denver Comic Con 2014 – Gargoyles 20th Anniversary Reunion

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Panel NameGargoyles 20th Anniversary Reunion

Topic: Q&A with cast, crew and the creator of Gargoyles

Featured Guests: Greg Weisman, Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis, Jim Cummings, Salli Richardon-Whitfield, Greg Guler, and Vic Cook

There are and have been a lot of anniversary events this year and one Denver Comic Con decided to cover was the 20th anniversary of Gargoyles. It worked perfectly since another was the 25th anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation, which goes right with this as the entire Star Trek cast, other than Patrick Stewart, did a voice at some point during this series. This panel only had Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis as they played main villains in the series but the panel also included, Greg Guler, Vic Cook, Jim Cummings, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, and the creator, Greg Weisman. Greg W was supposed to moderate the panel but if anybody knows Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis and most of the Star Trek: TNG crew, you know nobody is in charge when they are in the panel.

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Frakes pretty much took control of the panel and there was not much from anyone else but Marina Sirtis, occasionally Greg Weisman, and little things from everyone else. This aside, It still was very entertaining and gave us all as deep of a look into Gargoyles we could get with Frakes and Sirtis going nuts the whole time. The series itself was made by Disney and although you can see things like The Lion King and Donald Duck displayed on televisions in select episodes, Disney did not have much control over the series itself (that is until Disney destroyed it for the Goliath Chronicles). You can definitely see influences from Disney, as well as how Goliath has similarities from every child’s worst nightmare from Fantasia, the demon Chernabog.

Even with Disney making it and ultimately destroying it with what can honestly be called an entirely different series with Goliath Chronicles since the staff and crew were pretty much entirely different. A lot of the themes and ideas from the great two original seasons the show had such as Shakespearean references are what made the show great and that much more wonderful for children to watch all seemed lost within this supposed “Third” season Disney made. Shakespeare had such a big impact on the show that we had characters of the Weird Sisters, and Macbeth, but many other historical and literal references such as King Arthur, which made this not only a great fantasy series but took so much stuff kids should learn and set things up so that they would actually seek out who these people were furthering their interest in learning and reading, I am looking at you Anansi, or LeVar Burton as he is known outside of Gargoyles.

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Now, the final thing to mention was there was talk of a live action Gargoyles film and Greg Weisman actually told us all it may happen but Disney has a different script of Scottish gargoyles coming to life in New York and working with a female cop and it is not Gargoyles (This type of copying with no credit sickens me). However, after the initial mention Marina Sirtis made sure to mention that if any fans want anything, all you have to do is bombard the studios that own the properties. In a day and age where fans have brought back Family Guy, Futurama, Arrested Development and more because of their constant badgering of the studios has proven useful and ultimately shows that there is always a chance something can come back after death, at least in the world of television. Hopefully, if this film does get made, we can have another Star Trek reunion and maybe Patrick Stewart could finally make his Gargoyles performance which he would do according to Marina Sirtis because as she said, “Patrick is a whore now and he would do just about anything.”

Denver Comic Con 2014 – From Kitten to Catwoman: How Cosplay Empowered Me

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Denver Comic Con 2014 was a weekend I will always remember. I spent it with my roommate, cosplaying with her as Sherlock and John from the BBC Sherlock, attending engaging panels and meeting some of our most beloved stars. One of those stars made a huge impact on me. I was able to tell Julie Newmar (in full Catwoman attire) how she and her character had empowered me; she took my hand and inspired me all over again.

In 2009, I was a freshman in high school and had just escaped a tortuous relationship with my middle school peers. I was only starting to discover that my preconceived notions that being a nerd was something undesirable were wrong. The extreme contrast between the Catholic middle school where liking Star Trek warranted harassment and the arts magnet high school that condoned nerd expression had my head spinning. I had two friends who were exceptionally nerdy. Together we would talk for hours about everything from Harry Potter to Rocky Horror Picture Show. We were a nerd trifecta and they had made me realize that reading comic books wasn’t something to be ashamed of. However, it didn’t help me become any less timid or socially awkward.

One day, my friends approached me about a Science Fiction convention called “StarFest”and asked if I was going. I told them I had never heard of it and they promptly said, “Then you’re going.” So I bought my ticket and, a few days after, they asked if I wanted to Cosplay with them. It was as if they were speaking another language. Again, when I told them I didn’t know what they were talking about, they made the decision that I was going to join them in their costumed escapade.

They were going to Cosplay as Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy so I decided I would complete their femme fatale and go as Catwoman. Their costumes were amazing. Mine was…less so. At the time, my Catwoman Cosplay consisted of a long sleeve black shirt that was fraying at the sleeves, black skinny jeans, my mother’s black leather boots and my friend’s mask. If it weren’t for the mask, I would have looked like just another person attending the convention, but it was the funnest weekend I had ever had. Those leather boots and that mask made me feel like a literal superhero, even though I was Cosplaying as a villain. Nothing could cut through the euphoria of running around the convention center and having our picture taken over and over again. Having been bullied relentlessly for liking Catwoman in middle school, the fact that that character empowered me now felt like I had finally won the battle.

gotham sirens

Over the years my Catwoman Cosplay evolved, becoming more complex. One year, I traded my shirt and jeans for an actual catsuit. The next, I got my own cat ears and began painting my mask on. I kept my mother’s boots as an homage to her, and because they still worked perfectly for the cosplay. I dawned a belt and this year bought a whip and googles to complete the transformation. To this day, the Catwoman I become every few months is still evolving, much like myself outside the convention center. I’ve gone from an emotionally scarred girl who didn’t think she’d make it to age sixteen to a strong woman on my way to college, determined to achieve my dreams. I’ve gone from kitten to Catwoman.

catwoman
“Never let any barriers hold you back, Charlotte,” Julie Newmar told me this weekend. “If something feels right, you do it! And if it doesn’t, then you don’t.” I was unable to hold back the tears as she spoke to me. “And look at you! You’ve got the suit, the ears. You even have the whip!” She then signed my cat ears and though it was supposed to cost money, she got out from behind her booth and took a photo with me. Even at age 80, she is inspiring, sassy and purrrfect as ever. I don’t believe in epiphanies, but I think that moment with Julie has set something in motion in me. I no longer have to slip that catsuit on to feel powerful. I am.

Denver Comic Con 2014 – Beware the Walkers Walking Dead

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Panel Name: Beyond the Walkers! – Walking Dead

Topic: Rooker being Rooker, Interaction between walkers and cast, Q&A

Featured Guests: Michael Rooker (Merle Dixon), Michael Koske (walker), William Hart (walker), Vincent Gonzales (Assistant Director)

 

Ah, back at it at the 3rd Annual Denver Comic Con. Friday’s programming began, for us, with a panel featuring The Walking Dead‘s Merle Dixon, Michael Rooker. After writing a “Respect My Craft” on him, we learned how much fun he is at panels, and how much he loves his fans. This was our first taste of Michael Rooker and, accompanied by two of the show’s long-time walkers and former Assistant Director Vincent Gonzales, they put on an entertaining and informative show for the us.

The convention was Rooker’s first time in Denver, and he had good things to say about the Mile High City. The first thing Rooker commented on was that this city has a whole lot of tattoos, and was impressed that we get around 300 days of sunshine a year (this is a debatable claim, but let’s just say that we get a butt-load of sunny days here). However, Rooker believes that, as a city, we have poor eyesight when he heard chants of “Rooker!” when asked who was the better looking star, he or cast-mate Norman Reedus.

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This was the type of rhetoric Rooker had throughout the panel. From the get-go, he wrestled the spotlight away from the moderator (poor guy), introducing guests, asking the other guests questions and leading the overall discussion. It was awesome to watch, and even though the panel really became about him, he did a great job of interacting with the other panelists. Rooker and Co. go into detail about exactly how hard these actors work – all day long in over 100 degree weather, caked with “sexy dirt.” Nothing was more grueling or rewarding than the fight scenes.

Guest walker Michael Koske has played 43 different zombies on the show, more than any other walker on the show. His favorite scene was at Woodbury, when Merle and Martinez were putting on a show in the zombie pit. Rooker made more of a joke about the situation, but long story short, when they were choreographing the fight, Rooker got caught up in the moment and accidentally clocked Koske in the face with his metal stump of an arm. It wasn’t the first time either. Koske mentioned that actors will regularly get in a good lick or two, trying to make the stuntwork as realistic as possible. Did he complain? No, his biggest complaint is that he never gets the famous Death Dinner all his posthumous cast-mates did – a privilege that Rooker says gets revoked when you die 43 times.

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The Q&A section of the panel was a lot of fun, but there weren’t a whole lot straight answers, just a whole lot of smart-ass answers to generic questions – true Rooker style. Who is your favorite actor on the show? Michael Rooker. Who from the show would you pick to be in your group of the zombie apocalypse? The fattest, slowest people – so all of them. How do you have your hand back now after you lost it in the show? I’m part lizard. Alarmingly, a lot of parents sent their little children up to ask questions. Who is letting their young children watch this show? Sickos – like the parents of this sweet little girl who asked what went through Rooker’s mind when he was murdering people. Perhaps the best question, or answer, rather, was the response to what the actors took away from the veteran presence of Scott Wilson (Herschel). William Hart, who had been quiet up to that point said, “I got his leg.”

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TOO SOON!

At the end of the panel, we were in love with Michael Rooker and his ability to not take himself seriously, but still recognize his position as a total rockstar at the con. He’s a swell guy with a deep respect for his work and the hard work of others. Continue to follow us as we cover Denver Comic Con!

Denver Comic Con 2014 Preview

We’re one day away from the third annual Denver Comic Con. Just one year ago, we ventured through the Colorado Convention Center with our eyes and wallets wide open, soaking up the comic book convention experience like The Quickster. This year, we have new faces joining us as writers, adding to our little band of fancy-pants nerds. Denver Comic Con has EXPLODED this year, featuring more celebrities and more programming. In preparation for the Con, we’re going to be highlighting the guests that will be coming and the panels that we’ll be trying to check out. We’ll be writing live from the event, so if there is anything crazy happening, you’ll hear it straight from us.

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It was so difficult for us to narrow down the list of things we want to do. If it were up to us, we’d do everything, but with we will be able to cover a lot of ground. That doesn’t mean we can do everything (or does it??), but we will try. Here’s a list of the stops we absolutely have to make:

Guests:

Batmen: Continuing the celebration of Batman’s 75th Anniversary, Denver Comic Con has brought two of the most iconic men to take the mantle of the Batman. Legendary voice actor Kevin Conroy, who played Batsy in Batman: The Animated Series will be there, and so will Adam West, who played Batman in the 1960’s television series (and the spin-off movie). West brought friends, too; he will be joined by his Robin, Burt Ward, and his Catwoman, Julie Newmar. They’re all getting their own panels, to boot.

Star Trek: TNG: Perhaps the biggest announcement is that of a ST:TNG reunion panel, featuring some of the biggest names from the hit show. Among those attending are: Jonathan Frakes, Michael Dorn, Marina Sirtis, and LeVar Burton. Joining them is Star Trek alumnus William Shatner. Trekkie nerds will be freaking out.

Bruce Campbell: My top people to meet would first be Bruce Campbell. I would love to meet him because he is a legend in my eyes and has been a part of some of my favorite films of all time. Not to mention he is one of my biggest inspirations for pursuing film and acting. The second highest up person would be Jim Cummings because he has played some characters in animation that mean the world to me and those ones (Mr. Bumpy and Genghis Frog) are some he is not known for so of course you add Winnie the Pooh, Darkwing Duck and Taz in there and it is impossible to contain the nerdy child inside of me.

Arrow: We were lucky enough to meet Stephen Amell at Emerald City Comic Con this year, so imagine our delight to see that he’ll be making an appearance in our hometown. He may be a hardcore vigilante on TV, but Amell is a sweet guy in real life. With him comes his crime-fighting buddy, Caity Lotz, who plays Black Canary on Arrow. This is one of the best shows on right now, so don’t miss your chance to mingle with the superheroes!

Comic Book Artists: Some of our favorite comic book artists are coming. We’re expecting to take home an abundance of prints and/or sketches. These artists range from mainstream to independent, and are the reason we pick up the books  that we do. The beautiful art of Fiona Staples, the gritty Tim Sale, Whedonverse’s Georges Jeanty, the inspiring Colleen Doran and the innovative Yanick Paquette are just a few that we’re looking forward to talking to.

Very Honorable Mentions:
Max Brooks (World War Z)
Doctor Who (Peter Davison, Slyvester McCoy)
Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk)
J. Scott Campbell (Marvel cover artist)
Michael Rooker (Merle Dixon from The Walking Dead)
Legendary Artists (Neal Adams, George Pérez)
Greg Weisman (Star Wars Rebels, Young Justice)
Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett from Star Wars)
Power Rangers (David Yost, Jason David Frank, Walter Jones)
 
Want to know more about the guests at Denver Comic Con 2014? Check out our 30 spotlight articles here.
 
See all the special guests here.

Programming:

Star Trek: The Next Generation Reunion Panel

Denver Comic Con announced it will host a reunion of six of the cast members of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” to be moderated by William Shatner. The ticketed panel also includes Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Denise Crosby, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden and Marina Sirtis. Brent Spiner, Patrick Stewart and Will Wheaton will not able to join the rest of the cast in Denver due to scheduling conflicts.

“Even though Star Trek: The Next Generation only originally aired for seven seasons, fans have come to have deep attachments to these characters,” said convention director Dr. Christina Angel. “We’re thrilled to be able to provide a forum where fans and cast members can interact—including, of course, the captain of the reunion panel: William Shatner.”

Batman 75th Panels

There will be three different panels celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Dark Knight. The first, held on Saturday, will be a nostalgic journey with Adam West, Julie Newmar and Burt Ward that is bound to make the crowd laugh. Later that day will be a panel discussion about the actual comic books, where the room will gush over The Dark Knight Returns, The Court of Owls, and, of course, Hush (even if that somebody is us!). Then on Sunday, we get the Kevin Conroy panel. This guy pretty much raised us with his voice on Batman: The Animated Series, so we’re super excited for the panel.
See all the programming here.

Outside the Con

Mile High Comics Pre-Party

Denver Comic Con looks to have 75,000 guests. Yes, you read that correctly. Seventy-five THOUSAND. That’s just over half of the 130,000 capacity at San Deigo Comic Con (the world’s largest) and larger than Emerald City Comic Con. That being said, you definitely want to grab your badge before you get to the convention center. There’s no better way to do that than attend Mile High Comic’s Denver Comic Con launch party. While you wait, peruse the largest comic book warehouse IN THE WORLD. Meet legendary artists like Neal Adams (who was totally awesome to us last year) and George Pérez and mingle with other nerds about the world’s fastest-growing Comic Con. More details here. THIS HAPPENS TONIGHT!

Cosplay Contest Shindig

Denver has been the best con for cosplay we’ve been to – hands down. Even we got into the mix last year, dressing up as Jesse Pinkman and Walter White from Breaking Bad; here’s a free tip – don’t wear industrial grade chemical suits in a highly-crowded area. Yuck. Anyway, Denver is a breeding ground for creativity, and with as many hardcore nerds as we have here, this is a must-attend event.

Film on the Field

The Denver Outlaws and Denver Comic Con are partnering with Denver Film Society to bring you Film on the Field after the Outlaws June 14th home game. Watch The Amazing Spiderman on the HD Thundervision screen at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The game starts at 7pm and after the conclusion of the game, fans will be invited down to the field to watch the 2012 blockbuster staring Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. Tickets for both the game and the movie start at just $12 with $4 from each ticket going back to benefit Comic Book Classroom. Buy tickets here.

Denver Comic Con info can be found by downloading the Guidbook app. It’s a pretty seamless app, so hopefully it will be helpful.

 

Going to Denver Comic Con? Have any topics you want us to cover while we’re there? Have any tips about Denver in general? We want to hear it!

Comicpalooza 2014

Memorial Day weekend was crazy for Hush Comics. We made the drip down South to check out the Houston Comicpalooza, where we met up with Hush family member Taylor Lowe. This was another milestone convention for us, where we got the opportunity to go as press for the first time – which was a real pleasure. The experience of Comicpalooza this year was one of the best we’ve had, and we would love to share it with you! This article is our way of giving you OUR experience.  Since there were four of us, we were able to cover a lot more ground, so here is the most complete description we could give you of Comicpalooza 2014.

See also:

Stan Lee panel

Buffyverse panel

Greg Capullo interview

Nicholas Brendon panel

Comicpalooza Cosplay!

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Click on the link to take you to all of our Comicpalooza 2014 articles

The City

Houston, Texas – it’s not exactly the nerdiest city in the world. There were a lot of people dressed up in the convention, but I felt a bit odd for wearing nerd shirts outside of the convention. It’s not that Houstanians are judgmental or anything, but it’s just not that kind of a city (compared to Seattle and Denver, which both consistently rank in the top ten of most “Nerdiest Cities in America” lists). Just because there might not be as many nerds per capita doesn’t mean there aren’t just as many socially awkward weirdos as we have at home. It’s not a stretch to say that the quality of weirdo is just as high as at the bigger conventions we’ve been to.

I suppose that’s comparatively speaking though, because Houston is a very big city. Unlike San Diego and New York (home to the two biggest cons in similarly huge cities), Houston’s downtown area surrounding the convention center is full of corporate office buildings with not a lot of “fun stuff” to do. The George R Brown Convention Center is right in between Minute Maid Stadium (home to the Houston Astros, consistently baseball’s saddest team) and the Toyota Center (where the NBA Houston Rockets play), but other than that, there isn’t a whole lot to do in the surrounding areas like there are in the aforementioned cities. Houston is full of big-time oil & gas companies, and it’s something the city is very proud of, making this much more of a business. Outside George R Brown, however, was this beautiful sprawling green space, as well as an outdoor area for kids to play, that made this an ideal picnic spot or place to take the kids if the convention gets overwhelming.

Being a huge business focal point in America, there are plenty of hotels nearby, and they’re all reasonably priced. Unfortunately, if you’re looking to do anything fun downtown that doesn’t include bar-hopping, you’ll need a car to get around the city. And because the city and its suburbs are massive, that means lots of traffic and at least 30-45 minutes to get anywhere. Public transportation in Houston is actually pretty extensive, so you can catch a ride to the museum district pretty easily, but for after-con adventures, The Woodlands were the spot for us – where we watched X-Men: Days of Future Past (movie review here), and we ate (and ate and ate). I’d suggest at least venturing over there for some TexMex – by far the best food in Houston. Some of our favorites were: Berry Hill Baja GrillSpring Creek BBQ, and Lupe Tortilla.

As far as the weather, Houston is humid and hot almost all year-round, which can make dressing up in face make-up a nightmare. We saw numerous people who cosplayed in facepaint that were just dripping down their faces it was so hot outside. Also, everywhere you go in Houston, the air conditioning is full-blast, which led to us bringing jackets to the con in 90 degree weather. Our search for the indoors, as well as a free day to peruse local shops, led us to three unique and awesome comic book shops around the city.

The first of which was Third Planet, the aptly-described Sci-Fi Super-Store. There’s practically no way to peruse the store without picking up something out of nostalgia or avarice. Old Batman and X-Men animated series’ toys? Check. Enough Funko product to resurrect James Brown? Yes. I’d say the specialty here is novelty items – statues, replicas, and other awesome stuff that you can spend your cash on. It is a ginormous store that doesn’t feel overwhelming or impersonal. The selection of trade paperbacks is probably the highest of any store in the city. However, there wasn’t a great selection of back-issues, but we got the impression that single issues aren’t in high demand in Houston. This is a guaranteed stop for me anytime I come to town.

The next stop was to Fat Ogre Games and Comics, where Taylor Lowe gets his weekly fix from. This was a smaller shop that specializes in table-top gaming. It was full of like-minded nerds who were crushing each other in HeroClix, a popular superhero themed game. Fat Ogre had a great community feel and quite a few cool collectibles to add to the stacks of graphic novels on the shelf. Gamers will feel right at home here.

Our favorite shop was Space Cadets. Tucked away in cozy shopping center, Space Cadets had one of the most complete stores we’ve ever seen. My sister geeked out at the Pokémon cards while Taylor raided the shelves for Star Wars toys. Adrian took a trip back in time with their retro toys and I scanned the premium figures and statues. Any person of any nerd interest would find something to geek out here. While a lot of the back-issues weren’t in great condition, I saw a lot that were – from packaged collections of George Pérez and Marv Wolfman’s All New Teen Titans to signed copies of Jim Lee’s Superman: For Tomorrow. And unlike the other shops, there was a definite realization that Comicpalooza was that weekend, meaning spotlighted issues for: Neal Adams, Stan Lee, Greg Capullo and more. These guys were in touch with the community, a big plus for us. We even stopped by before leaving town for an impromptu game of chess. The people there are great, too, with a pretty deep selection of table-top gaming themselves, and a warm mom & pop attitude we couldn’t find anywhere else.

How Comicpalooza Works

Alright, it’s coming – that Texas “big” cliché. You didn’t think you could read an article on the biggest comic book convention in the state and not see the words “it’s bigger in Texas,” did you? Comicpalooza has found its home in the George R Brown Convention Center (which isn’t the first Brown building I’ve been in; as an Engineer at Colorado School of Mines, a majority of my classes were held in the George R Brown Hall. Crazy, right?!). This massive convention center is much larger (Exhibitors Hall, anyway) than anything we’ve been in at all, let alone for a convention. The exhibitor’s hall of Brown is bigger than at SDCC – the largest con in the freakin’ world. Here’s how it stacks up against other convention centers’ exhibit hall:

  • George R Brown Convention Center = 853,500 square feet
  • (San Diego Comic Con) San Diego Convention Center = 615,700 square feet
  • (Denver Comic Con) Colorado Convention Center = 584,000 square feet
  • (Emerald City Comic Con)Washington State Convention Center = 205,700 square feet (misleading since the con had two ex. halls)

* This data might seem daunting but it is via wikipedia; what the hell do they know?

 

The spacious floors lead to TONS of room to do whatever you want. It allowed exhibitors ample spacing between booths and cosplayers the freedom to stop mid-stride to take pictures without being trampled to death. At one point, I started spinning around in circles like a farmer who had just seen rain for the first time all year. One of the biggest turn-offs of any type of convention is the ridiculous crowd. Here, we were able stroll at our leisure without worrying about being in somebody’s way.

The layout of the convention was really simple. There were no hidden floors, or panels you had to be at another building to attend – something that really annoyed us about Emerald City. We were a little lost at first, but quickly found our way around once we knew where to look. Everything was made easier with the Comicpalooza mobile app. Trying to boot everybody into the smartphone era, Comicpalooza all but did away with paper programming and went completely digital, although you could buy a “collector’s” program for ten bucks. The app itself was amazing; it constantly updated with scheduling changes, information on photo ops and signings, and a slew of other useful options. You can even add some customizable touches by creating a To-do list or a personalized schedule to avoid thumbing through all the events. We’ve used comic con apps before, but this one was completely reliable (even in airplane mode) and user-friendly. That is unless, of course, you don’t have a smart phone, which could make it quite a pain to find out where you need to go. It also won’t help carrying around a packet with times and locations of panels when schedule changes occurred – and they occurred fairly frequently. Overall, the app is genius, and I can only hope that other conventions follow suit.

Froggy’s Photos took up professional photography duties again, but this time, everything made much more sense and felt a lot more personal. There was more than sufficient time to get all the autographs and photo ops we wanted, with practically no wait time to meet people that we had been geeking out over since we were children. Due to the size of the convention, and the number of people attending, Comicpalooza felt much more intimate than others we’ve been to. We got to shake hands with Stan Lee, Spike and just chit chat with the same celebrities that, just a couple months earlier at ECCC, we weren’t even allowed to make eye contact with unless we’d been in line for an hour or paid for a professional shot.

The other added bonus of a smaller convention is that we got to do pretty much everything that we wanted to: panels, exhibitor’s hall, autographs and photos. There weren’t nearly as many volunteers here, and that’s a good thing. The logical layout of the convention center, in addition to the accessibility (nothing was really off-limits), meant that you didn’t need to be constantly asking for help. The volunteers at Comicpalooza were some of the nicest, most helpful individuals we’ve come across. Maybe it’s the high stress of the other conventions, but everything about Comicpalooza felt casual and fun. There were no worries if so-and-so would run out of prints, or if the panel you wanted to go to would be capped. Couple that with the plentiful free space to just sit down and hang out when you feel tired or need to formulate a game plan, and you have a stress-free experience.

Houston may not be the nerdiest city in the world, but the nerds that show up are nerds through and through. Because Seattle is such a hipster community, and Denver’s con is so new, it attracts a butt-load of intrigued yet uninformed people that wander aimlessly, standing in lines for people they don’t know and taking up seats in a Panel Room because lots of other people are doing the same thing – and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it was refreshing to see so many passionate fans. I mean, we saw live action Pokémon battles, guys. Upstairs were old-school arcade games and table-top figure painting, while downstairs held more of the extra-curricular events.

Houston is one of the most technologically-driven cities in the world; from Oil & Gas to Space technology, there is a strong emphasis on the science in science fiction, and it was definitely prevalent at Comicpalooza. There was a separate section of the con devoted to: robotics, computer gaming and (my personal favorite) 3D printing. It was refreshing to know that nerds can be evil scientists in real life, too.

When it all comes down to it, Hush Comics had an exceptionally fun time at this convention. There weren’t a large amount of comic book creators, but that led us to mingle with more independent people. The star power, on the other hand, was ridiculous, and was enough to get us down to Houston even before we heard about Stan Lee. The only thing I wish I would have seen more of is back-issues and comic book selection, but this is a feeling I had of every store we visited in the city. The seventh year of Comicpalooza brought a lot order to a massive convention, with optimal fun and minimal stress. Whether you’re a hardcore geek or just passing by to check out a celebrity, Comicpalooza should be a mandatory visit.

After-Hours Specials

What really set Comicpalooza apart from any other convention was the amount of extra stuff to do there. If we really wanted to, we could have been there from 10AM – 10PM every day. Every niche nerd thing had events going on after and throughout the panels. We didn’t get to do it all, but we sure tried. Adjacent to the enormous exhibitor’s hall were a series of large performance stages, where a bunch of the interactive stuff went down.

Every day, Geeks Who Drink had a quiz competition in one of the ballrooms. Adrian and I have done a couple of the themed ones in Denver. One with Breaking Bad, where we kicked ass on placed in the top ten out of over fifty teams, and a Community themed one that we absolutely bombed. The quizzes were structured and prizes are given out for placing high, but not as nerdy as I would have expected, but we still had a fun time.

Elsewhere, LARPing was in full effect. In one section, there were trained swordsmen teaching noobs like us how to correctly wield a wooden blade. There was actually a separate area you could go to watch people go rounds and battle each other. We sat down and watched one of these intense bouts and became enthralled, giving the fighters nicknames, origin stories and grew quite attached. While there were plenty of big kids that took to the death-match with the gravity of real combat, we saw everyone from grown men and women to adorable little girls. Weird? Hell yeah. But these people were being themselves, letting go of the cultural boundaries they came here to escape, and they were entertaining themselves and others. You literally can’t ask for anything more.

Next up were the Quidditch matches. That’s right, the Harry Potter game is a real thing. Outside of Hogwartz, it’s referred to as Muggle Quidditch. It plays like a mixture of lacrosse, dodge-ball and flag football. I was confused by the rules, but after an hour or so of watching, I was pretty eager to try it out. I became so enthralled that I didn’t even notice how ridiculous(ly awesome!) all the players looked with pseudo-broomsticks in between their legs.When it comes down to it, there’s nothing cooler than playing a fun sport with a bunch of people who are used to getting picked last.

Our favorite post-con event had to be the James Marsters concert. James Marsters is better known as Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, where he crooned for fans in the musical episode, “Once More With Feeling.” Before the spin-off show, Angel, had ended in 2004, Marsters was already selling out gigs at LA clubs as a solo singer, and as the lead singer to his band Ghost of the Robot. That was all a round-about way of saying that the man knows how to woo a crowd. For nearly an hour, Marsters swooned the crowd with lovely acoustic songs. It was one of the coolest things you can find at a comic book convention.

From LARPing and hardcore Quidditch matches to roller derby and professional wrestling, there was always something going on in the convention. Nobody acted “too cool” to join in the fun. If you’re willing to let yourself just enjoy the show, there’s no way you won’t have a blast.

 

Meet the Press!

If you haven’t heard us freak out about it yet, I’ll fill you in. Comicpalooza is the first convention that Hush Comics has been to as “Press.” What does that mean, you ask? Not as much as you would think. We did get some pretty sweet zombie Deadpool badges, and some special treatment as far as getting ushered to the front of a few of the more-crowded panels. Also, it meant that our passes were paid for. This allowed us to give away all the passes that Taylor bought us for Christmas, which we did through Facebook. One of our winners was able to attend her very first con, which made us feel pretty darn cool! Here’s her account of the weekend:

Greetings Fellow Comic-conians!!

A huge thanks to HushComics for giving me the chance to experience my very first Comic-con. (Comicpalooza) Yes the cherry has been popped and I’m coming back for more. What a blast to see such amazing art pieces, crafts, actors and let’s not forget the cosplay. I’m very inspired and ready to participate in cosplay for next year. May the Comic-God’s smile upon you.”

Peace and Love,

Bettie Skellington

Mage Pena

Our first con was mind-blowing, so we’re glad that we were able to help somebody else get to experience that as well.

Perhaps the coolest thing about going as press was the opportunity to interview comic book creators. Comicpalooza didn’t have a whole lot of creators, but we knew of one that we absolutely had to sit down with. His name is Greg Capullo, and he has been the artist on Batman for nearly three years. We figured that, because he’s such a big deal in comic books, we wouldn’t be able to get a spot with him. After a little persistence and a lot of help from the media manager at CP, Rosario Perez (you’re the best!), we were able to get in contact with Greg’s wife and set up an interview. It was terrifying to say the least, but we were able to pull off something cohesive enough. Crazy story, while we were sitting down to talk with Mr. Capullo in this back-room break area for celebs, Stan Lee comes casually strolling across the room, sits down, and takes a power nap that only the 91 year-old Godfather of comic books could do – great ice breaker.

Tips for Future CP-ers:

  • Before the convention starts, make a list of things you want to do, and plan it out according to which days things are happening. If you plan things out, there’s a good chance you can get to it all.
  • Cosplaying is amazing, but what’s even better is wearing comfortable shoes. You will spend hours walking, standing, rinsing, repeating. On a similar note, please do shower and wear deodorant. Yes, people will know it’s you, and they will judge you for it. The dreaded “con smell” is ten times worse with the humidity.
  • Far be it for me to tell you how to cosplay, but avoid paints and makeup that will melt easily.
  • If you get cold often, bring a sweatshirt in the convention center; it might be 90 outside, but it’s likely refrigerated inside.
  • Know where the art supply booth is. Grab any sleeves for prints/pictures you need to avoid getting them all smashed up.
  • Come prepared to buy stuff: artists prints, doo-hickies, collectibles, and of course, comic books. Also know that you will be having to bring or send this stuff back home with you. Some of the best things to prepare are:
    • Comic book portfolio: holds approx ten issues for signing and collecting.
    • Poster tube or picture hard-sleeve: don’t let those prints/signatures get bent. Trust me, hiding it in a book will not cut it.
    • Know where a nearby FedEx is to ship back the really valuable stuff
  • Take a fair amount of cash with you. A lot of the booths and special events only accept cash – not to mention cash only parking lots in the surrounding area – so avoid getting caught cashless when a good opportunity arises. There are multiple ATMs but they are total leeches, only allowing you to pull out $100 per transaction with a $5 fine attached to it. Bleh.
  • There is so much food in Houston. Don’t waste your appetite on $10 cheapo food in the convention center. Instead, bring snacks and gorge later.
  • Avoid the creepy 4th floor at George R Brown. It will be your doom.
  • Use the app as often as you can; hopefully, next year’s app will be just as helpful.
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously. Ever.

Comicpalooza 2014- Cosplay!

Comicpalooza 2014 was certainly a blast!  And what is a con without some cosplay!?  Hush Comics was able to see some great costumes, which you can see here too!  Houston sure knows how to get creative.  Make sure to click each picture to see the full image!

Click on the link to take you to all of our Comicpalooza articles
Click on the link to take you to all of our Comicpalooza 2014 articles

 

ComicPalooza 2014 Preview

In just a few days, we will be escaping our day jobs to visit Houston for ComicPalooza, where we will be meeting up with Hush family member, Taylor Lowe! It will be our second out-of-state Comic Con this year, following up a fun trip to Seattle we took in March for Emerald City Comic Con. These were actually Christmas presents from Taylor, so we were excited to see not only him, but to see a more intimate convention; the ones we’ve been to previously are some of the biggest in the nation. In preparation for the Con, we’re going to be highlighting the guests that will be coming and the panels that we’ll be trying to check out. We’ll be writing live from the event, so if there is anything crazy happening, you’ll hear it straight from us.

Click on the link to take you to all of our Comicpalooza articles

Click on the link to take you to all of our Comicpalooza articles

  It was so difficult for us to narrow down the list of things we want to do. If it were up to us, we’d do everything, but with four of us there (Taylor, my sister Sara, Adrian and I), we will be able to cover a lot of ground. That doesn’t mean we can do everything (or does it??), but we will try. Here’s a list of the stops we absolutely have to make:

Guests:

Comic Books:

Stan Lee: Just announced, the biggest name in comic books is making an appearance at ComicPalooza! Lee was supposed to be the guest of honor at Denver Comic Con last year, but had to cancel – it was super disappointing. This guy is pretty much the godfather of the industry. He created: The Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, The X-Men… pretty much everybody who makes up the core of the movies we see today. There are a total of 340 characters credited on Wikipedia, so don’t hurt your head trying to find them all. Thanks to a last-minute announcement, we will be meeting one of the forefathers of comic books. Excelsior! Neal Adams: We first met Adams at last year’s Denver Comic Con, where he was signing at a preview night party for Mile High Comics. We knew him from some of his earlier work, but the warmth with which he greeted us and the stories he told us left such a great impression that I’m instantly sold on anything new or old I come across. This veteran is most famous for his work on BatmanGreen Lantern/Green Arrow and Superman vs. Muhammed Ali, but has appeared on recent stuff as well (Batman: Black and WhiteBatman: Odyssey). He doesn’t let his celebrity get ahold of him, and that’s why we love him. Greg Capullo: It wouldn’t be a stretch to call this man the hardest working penciller in comics. He and writer Scott Synder have brought absolute magic to the New52 launch of Batman. From the detailed characters to the unique panel design, Capullo is an absolute beast, pencilling every single issue thus far. Capullo has been in the industry for over a decade, working on SpawnX-Force and others along the way. He was also a guest judge for Ink Master, where contestants were asked to create DC Comics tattoos. His unique style also inspired DC Collectibles to release a Designer Series of action figures. He’s easy in my top three of Batman artists, and the chance to meet him at CP will be an honor. James O’Barr: O’Barr, the creator of The Crow, is also on the list of comic book artists we’re excited to meet. O’Barr’s Crow is the highest-selling independent graphic novel ever, which is celebrating it’s 25th anniversary this year. He will also be at Denver Comic Con this year. For more on O’Barr, check out Jacob’s “Respect My Craft” about him.

Very Honorable Mentions:
David Petersen (Mouse Guard)
Jim Steranko (Strange Tales)
Chris “Oz” Fulton (tattoo artist)
David Petersen (Mouse Guard)
Nicholas Pitarra (The Manhattan Projects)
Shane Davis (Superman: Earth One)

 

TV/Movies:

Whedonverse: Adrian and I always geek out at cons, because at least a couple of the Whedonverse family always been to pop up. J August Richards (Gunn, Deathlok) and Clare Kramer (Glorificus) have been at every con we go to, which is awesome! This time, though, we are blessed with the presence of James Marsters (Spike) and Nicholas Brendon (Xander). On top of that, the cast of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will be attending. Maybe Clark Gregg (Coulson) will sign my Captain America trading card (that I don’t have…yet). We are going to nerd out SO hard.
Lou Ferigno: The Hulk himself will be attending ComicPalooza. He was convincing enough to play the Incredible Hulk at a time where there were no CGI effects. He convinced me that he really was this monstrously strong being full of rage. In real life, Ferrigno is a really nice guy, and hangs out at cons all over the country, and sits at Mile High Comics’ booth when he can. 
Jim Cummings: This man has been unaccredited with raising a lot of children. His voices on iconic 90’s cartoons like Darkwing Duck, CatDog and Winnie the Pooh have shaped the way late 80’s babies remember childhood. He’s also a really sweet, funny guy, who tells inspiring voice actors that there is no such thing as a bad impression, just a different impression.
Doctor Whos: Several Doctors will be in the house, including: Peter Davison, Paul McGann, Slyvester McCoy, Colin Baker. Captain Jack Harkness will also be in the house – the actor John Borrowman also plays Malcolm Merlin in Arrow.
StarFest: Two big names that were at Denver StarFest, Billy Dee Williams & Nichelle Nichols, will be at CP. Williams is most known for his role as Lando Calrissian, but also played the role of Harvey Dent in Tim Burton’s Batman. Nichols similarly got her fame from a Star-show. She played Uhura in Star Trek; at a time when the Civil Rights Movement was in full swing, which led to Martin Luther King Jr. giving her props.
 
Very Honorable Mentions:
Jason Mewes (Jay and Silent Bob)
Power Rangers (Walter Jones, August St. John, David Yost, Karan Ashley)
Tyler Posey (Teen Wolf)
Comic Book Men
Rose McGowan (Charmed)
Veronica Taylor (voice actor of Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Professional Wrestling Stars (Amy “Lita” Dumas, Kevin Nash, Bret Hart)
Cary Elwes (Westley from The Princess Bride)
Miltos Yerolemou (Syrio Forel on GoT)

See all the special guests here.

Programming:

How to Run A Successful Kickstarter Campaign

“This panel is a review of successful Kickstarter campaigns and ideas about networking, partnerships, social media promotion, building a base of fans, setting goals, choosing swag items, stretch goals and so on. After that, the moderator will open the floor to questions from the audience regarding how to run a successful Kickstarter campaign.” Presented by Reema Farra, Erick Calderon, Christian Strain, Jason Aydelotte

Excelsior! Stan “The Man” Lee

“Come along Brigadiers, and sit in the bullpen with your beloved Generalissimo, Stan Lee, in his first time appearance at Comicpalooza. Join us as he regales you with his humble beginnings at Timely Comics, to becoming one of the greatest names in comic book history. This is your chance, True Believers, to ask Stan those queries that have rattled around in your head for so long. Excelsior!”

Buffy: Looking Back

Looking back at 17 years and how the characters and the writing have changed television. Presented by Clare Kramer, George Herzberg, James Leary, James Marsters

Ask A Stormtrooper

“Those were the droids I was looking for, and yes, I did have friends on that Death Star. Come talk with 501st costumers who have and wear the very notable costume of the Stormtrooper. Find out what it takes to get all of the pieces and the work that goes into making it screen accurate.” Presented by Shawn Crawford

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

“A chance to ask about Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. from the big screen to the living room.” Presented by Brett Dalton, Clark Gregg, Elizabeth Henstridge, J. August Richards, Glenn Morshower, Ming Na Wen

The Joke’s On You: Behind the “Mask” of the Joker

“Journey with Greg Capullo in a discussion of the Clown Prince of Crime. Arguably one of the greatest villains in comic books the Joker is a mystery, wrapped in an enigma and covered in a purple suit the Joker has survived through thick and thin but what makes him such a persistent piece of pop culture?” Presented by Jeff Dixon, Greg Capullo

Check out all the programming here.

Outside the Con & Interactive Panels

Geeks Who Drink

“Waiting for the chance to show off your vast store of geekological knowledge? Geeks Who Drink, the nation’s biggest and best pub quiz company, is crashing Comicpalooza with a comic-themed quiz! Form a team of up to six players, skilled in the geek arts of film, comics and gaming, and prepare to compete for glory, honor and prizes!”

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog

“After Midnight is a traveling shadowcast company who brings shows such as the Rocky Horror Picture show, Dr. Horribles Sing-Along blog, and Repo the Genetic Opera to life. We bring awesome entertainment wherever we go, to whatever town that may be. So come out, bring a friend, bring their friends, and come spend an evening out with us! It’s not like you were doing anything anyway!”

Water Dance Swordplay

“Learn the “Water Dancer” style of swordplay from Game of Thrones’ former First Sword of Braavos. Purpleheart Armory, the artisans who created the wooden practice swords used by Arya and Syrio.” Presented by Miltos Yerolemou

Advanced Lightsaber Techniques

“A two-hour hands-on class that reveals the advanced biomechanics that can be applied to make imaginary light saber combat more exciting and physically powerful” Demonstration by John Clements

James Marsters Performs

A lot of people don’t know this, but Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel actor James Marsters has recorded multiple albums, and has a great voice – as shown by his performance on the musical episode “Once More With Feeling.” He’ll be performing live at the con! Below is one of my favorite songs of his, “Smile.”

Going to ComicPalooza? Have any topics you want us to cover while we’re there? Care to share any tips about Houston in general? We want to hear it!

Countdown to Denver Comic Con

With the third annual Denver Comic Con just a month away, the Hush Comics family is still reeling over the amazing line-up of guests that will be attending the Con. From voice actors and comic book writers to novelists and editors, there’s somebody for everybody to get excited about.

Hush Comics has decided to share our love for these guests through our article, “Respect My Craft.” This biographical spotlight, referred to as “RMC” here, is more than a culmination of wiki-facts; we give you the down-low on why these all-stars deserve recognition as industry greats. Have you ever been to a convention and walked right by somebody that has changed your life through their work but not even recognized? Or maybe you wanted to get a crack at the business but the daunting title was too intimidating for you to approach them? “Respect My Craft” could show you that these are just people who get to live what they love doing – and you can, too.

“RMC” has typically been a periodical with us, but for DCC, we will be doing thirty spotlights in thirty days – starting tomorrow. this will be Hush’s largest group effort, pooling most of our writers as they pay homage to the very people who make us love being nerds in the first place. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the “RMC” experience. Oh, and we love feedback! Just click on the image and it will take you to all our Denver Comic Con spotlights.

 

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Click on the link to take you to all of our Denver Comic Con 2014 “Respect My Craft” articles