This month we are not going to review a single item, but rather we will review an entire era: the 1980s – yes, we went there. You may ask how we accomplished this feat of time travel? Was it Police Box, Delorean or a hot tub? No, we stepped through the threshold of a magical emporium called Fifty Two 80’s: a totally awesome shop.
Fifty Two 80s a Totally awesome Shop!
What it is:
A store entirely dedicated to items right out the 80s and early 90s. These good people stock mostly toys, but also have some clothes and iconic posters from that era. Here’s just a short list of items I found of interest: Voltron with all the Lions, Garbage Pail Kids collector cards, GI-Joes from 84-89, a Captain America poster from the 80’s TV show, PeeWees Playhouse toys/videos, Plush Gizmo from Gremlins, WWF actions figures, and a full sized Chewbacca cardboard cutout. You can see many more of these items in the video above and the pictures below.
How Much it Costs:
The cost is so affordable you can’t miss the opportunity to go to this store and step back in time. Items range in price from a few dollars to around a hundred dollars. Most items I saw were under twenty bucks. These items are not in perfect or A+ condition and might be missing a few parts. That’s what makes this store special. Everything is meant to be enjoyed without having to spend a fortune to relive your childhood. This isn’t a thrift store either! All the items are laid out and displayed with care. If you are looking for something specific and they have it, you will find it. You don’t have to dig through bins or shelves of random brick-a-brack to find that special item that will trigger those joyous memories of your childhood.
Is It Worth It?:
This store is beyond worth it – from the casual to the hardcore collector and everyone in-between. I’m a casual collector and have some nearly mint items that could go for hundreds of dollars. The down side is, neither myself nor my kids really get to enjoy my collectable toys anymore because I’m trying to retain their value. Fifty Two 80’s gives you and your kids a chance to enjoy toys from the 1980’s and 90’s. These vintage toys are very inexpensive and in a condition that begs to be played with. While I was at Fifty Two 80s my eight year old son ran around this store discovering a whole new world of toys he’s never seen. We ended up getting three GI-Joes and a couple of loose Star Wars Micromachines for fifteen bucks! These prices will blow away any bargain you find on ebay. They do have some better condition items that go for more and even those are set at amazingly low prices. If you happen to be in south Denver, stop by Fifty Two 80s a Totally awesome shop. Talk to Tony or DeDe, the co-owners, about any item you find. They are very knowledgeable and totally awesome people!
Get your best People’s Eyebrow on, because finally, Hush Comics has come back… to Denver. It was just one year ago that we stepped in the Colorado Convention Center for the Second Annual Denver Comic Con and our eyes were open to what Hush could do. After the local convention blew us away, we started venturing to other conventions around the country – well, as much as our budget allows. This year, we were a well-oiled machine. We were handing out cards and stickers (hit us up if you want one because we have a few extras!), mingling with fellow con-goers and doing almost everything there was to be done. We took a bunch of pictures of cosplayers, attended a bunch of panels and even got to interview some of the hottest artists at the convention, all of which you can find at the links below.
In this article, you will find one of the most complete Denver Comic Con 2014 experiences on the web, all of which came from a diverse team (see Special Thanks To at the end of the article) of nerds that we have the pleasure of calling our own.
Click on the link to take you to all of our Denver Comic Con 2014 articles
The Mile High City is home to the fastest-growing city of nerds in the country. In only its third year, the estimated attendance of nearly 75,000 people has sky-rocketed it to the fourth-largest comic book convention in the WORLD, right behind San Diego, New York City and Toronto – cities with at least four times the population than that of Denver. Google “Nerdiest cities in America,” and there’s a good chance you’ll find Denver on any given list.
One of the greatest qualities of the nerds here in Denver is how diverse they are, making comic cons here a hotbed for the Mile High community. A hardcore Star Wars fan might know all there is to know about but know nothing of Doctor Who and comic books, or vice versa. This diversity usually leads to tons of pocketed groups, meaning that there is always somebody that you can strike up a conversation with pretty much anybody at any time about anything. Most convention goers I have spoken with are nice enough to tell you about their respective fandoms.
The city of Denver isn’t actually all that big, but several large suburbs make up a fair percentage of the land and population. Thanks to years of construction projects, navigating the city from any particular section is fairly early when taking the RTD Light Rail system. The best part was boarding the train with a ton of cosplayers, decked out in their extravagant costumes, sitting right next to people who had no idea Comic Con was even going on. Also, if you wanted to drive, you don’t have to roll the dice on a spot downtown or settle for an expensive lot; there were plenty of parking spots across the street from the Colorado Convention Center at Metro State University.
If you’re staying downtown, there is plenty to do on the weekends. One of the nerdiest attractions is the 1UP bar, a full-service bar that has a plethora of old-school arcade games like Mortal Kombat II, Tron and Paperboy – even a real-life giant game of Jenga with 2 x 4 blocks of wood. The Pavilion area on 16th street is also quite the fantastical place, full of street performers, eateries and shops to pass the time. Theater nerds can geek out at the Denver Center of Performing Arts, which hosts a variety of plays and events all year long.
There are multiple comic book stores in the metro area, and additional ones in surrounding suburbs. Each shop offers a different experience and has a specialty of sorts. All C’s Collectibles in Aurora is a great place to find sports cards, coin collections and back issues. The shop has been in business for over 25 years and is the go-to spot when I’m on that side of town. I Want More Comics is an up and coming store in Northglenn (about 10-15 minutes of highway North of downtown) that has a lot of trade paperbacks and unique collectibles. It’s hard to spend less than an hour per visit there. The store we go to for books is Mile High Comics, which has four locations in the metro area. Their Glendale store on Colorado Blvd is pretty much home to me, where Aaron and Jay always hook us up with our weekly books and specialty figures. Mile High’s Jason St. warehouse is just that – a warehouse, and the biggest comic book emporium in the world. Whether it’s a rare back-issue, an out-of-print trade or a toy you didn’t know you needed, you can find just about anything in the world of nerd at that warehouse.
Denver is a city that makes itself very accessible to nerds, and is very accepting of the culture, in general. It’s one of the contributing factors that makes it one of the best cities in the country for young professionals, hipsters, and relocation. The continued diversity of people Denver gets only adds to the attraction of events like Comic Con. The best part is that the event hasn’t even been saturated; there are still thousands of people who either couldn’t go or need to be converted. Denver is a nerd gold mine right now, and it’s great to see how many people are striking big in the Mile High City.
How Denver Comic Con Works:
Let’s be honest; last year’s Denver Comic Con was poorly organized. It wasn’t DCC’s fault, either. There was just no way to prepare for the explosion of attendance that happened between the inaugural year, which saw a modest 28,000 people attend, and 2013, where attendance ballooned to 63,000 people – making it the fifth largest convention in the world after only two years. The problems were more logistical than anything, and this year was a great reaction to the issues that plagued the previous convention. The entire exhibitor’s hall was organized in a much more logical fashion, volunteers were actually informed of what was happening, and people were actually let in the doors when the Con opened.
Our buddy Zak Kinsella and Midspace writer Nick Salmon at their panel
Some nifty Denver Street Art
Even the trees are crocheted in Denver
Fiona Staples hard at work
Jim Cummings put on a show for us… er, I mean the kids.
This year, DCC saw a reported 75,000 attendees flood the convention center. Some were looking for autographs and art sketches, some were looking to go to panels and look at cosplayers, and some were just so absolutely lost in the chaos that they walked the exhibitor’s hall like a group of Amish at Best Buy. I would venture to say that a majority of the attendees knew what they wanted to do and how to get there. Artists and creators were located at the back of the hall, while retail shops and displays took up most of the front. Off to the side was the celebrity signing booths, where various celebs took to signing for large blocks of time. Meanwhile, panel rooms were sprawled out on the first floor. Convention food could be found in multiple places, and aside from the $4 bottles of water, it was reasonably priced and tasted delicious.
Due to the fact that we had a team of BAMFs (Nightcrawler or Pulp Fiction – either analogy works) networking, attending panels, and taking some great cosplay pics, we were free to do so much more than before at a convention. For others, it was a bit more difficult. Due to the small size of the Main Even and Mini Main Event panel rooms, it wasn’t uncommon to wait for an hour just to get a seat in a panel. We noticed the same thing when it came to getting a sketch from an artist or an autograph from a celebrity. At that point, it’s all a matter of prioritization. There were definitely things we didn’t get to do or see over the weekend, but I feel like had they been our top priorities, they would have gotten done.
There is so much cosplay going on at the Denver Comic Con that it punches you right in the face as you walk in the doors. The sheer volume was amazing. I’d guess that I saw more people dressed as Harley Quinn here than I did people dressed up altogether at Houston’s Comicpalooza. From Dragonball Z to Dark Crystal, the diverse crowd really made for a thoroughly entertaining game of Guess Who? People we talked to said they came to DCC specifically for the cosplay, and the hard work put into their costumes proved their validity – especially in the contest winning Mr. Freeze. The dedication didn’t just stop at costumes. Colorado Movie Cars had a fleet of nerd-inspired vehicles for attendees to look at, including the Ghostbusters‘ Ecto-1, Knight Rider‘s K.I.T.T., Bumblebee’s Camaro, Herbie and the TMNT Party Wagon, which it has become my new goal in life to build. There were also two Batmobiles in the house (Burton and West) and the Umbrella Corps Dodge Magnum.
This year also brought in some big name guests. Since the convention was created to promote Comic Book Classroom, a lot of the guests are people that we grew up idolizing as kids, like: Kevin Conroy (the voice of Batman in Batman: The Animated Series), Jim Cummings (the voice of Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, and Darkwing Duck), Adam West and LeVar Burton. We were all there to see somebody different, and our varying experiences were all equally cherished. The love didn’t stop there, though, as we were able to get some astonishing artwork and keepsakes from our favorite people in the nerd world.
Leila del Duca sketch
Patrick Gleason Damian sketch
Patrick Gleason Batman sketch
Georges Jeanty Faith and Vampire Buffy sketches
Fiona Staples Alana sketch
The Two Blue Beasts battle it out
Meet the Press!
Hush Comics was lucky enough to receive media passes to DCC, and we felt like we were treated with great respect. Not only were we able to get priority seating for the popular panels, but we were also granted access to the exhibitor’s hall before the doors opened. Both days we snuck in early, we were there to interview artists. We were able to sit down for an extended amount of time and speak with Georges Jeanty, who just ended his run on Serenity: Leaves on the Wind, and Yanick Paquette, who’s currently working on Wonder Woman: Earth One. Both were complete gentlemen, and the formal interview quickly turned into a completely casual back and forth. We were even able to request a commission from each of them of our favorite characters making a hushing gesture and they turned out amazing! Check them out below:
Like at Comicpalooza, we were lucky enough to give away a couple of 3-Day passes to a lucky Facebook fan by the name of Jumoke Emery, who is a great guy getting to enjoy his first Comic Con. Here’s his account of the weekend:
So I have a confession to make: This was my very first Comic Con experience. Mostly I spent it wandering around starry-eyed, high-fiving awesome cosplays while not the least bit tipsy off of Brews Wayne. I was most excited for the panels, yet managed to miss every single panel that I stood in line for (P.S. Comic-con lines for panels can be ridiculous, and I’ve decided that the fire marshal and I aren’t friends). However, I still had a blast! Being among my fellow geeks feels like home, now the only debate is whether I’m John Stewart or Power Man for next year’s Con. Shout outs to Hush Comics for helping me have an amazing Father’s Day weekend!
Aside from the great interactions we had with people, it was such a joy to be able to tell people what we’ve built over the past year. It’s not the shiniest website on the web, but the hard work and hours of writing feels validated when we get such great feedback from people we randomly meet and strike up conversations with. I can only expect that we will continue to grow, adding more quality writers and covering more ground than we do now. Thanks to everybody that made this a fun and fruitful experience. See you next year!
Special Thanks to:
Jacob Robinson: You may have seen him dressed as Ash Bender at DCC, or just noticed his stylish mustache and dreads. Jacob wrote multiple panel articles and
Jené Conrad: Although Jené had to leave for the weekend to attend a friend’s wedding, she was an integral part of getting set up for the convention, and was not shy at all about networking with others on Hush’s behalf.
Robert Michael: Most of the photography of the convention you see was taken by either Adrian or Robert. He also wrote a few of the big panels, like The Oatmeal and Arrow. Robert was the utmost professional and we are lucky to have him on the team
Alyssa Mitchell: This girl is a machine! She came to the convention after pulling night shifts, and was an absolute pleasure to be around. She’s Robert’s girlfriend, so it makes sense she was always at work – whether it be pushing the Hush name, taking media duties or helping us plan out the day.
Charlotte Renken: Our newest writer is a straight-up prodigy. We sawn her passion for cosplay inspire others in real time, and we’re lucky her unique voice has found a home at Hush Comics.
Lewis Brown: This phenomenal artist is one of our favorites in Denver. Check out his Facebook page. He’s extremely humble and personable, and he spent a lot of his time at the con doing free work for the non-profit Aurora Rise. Definitely make yourself familiar with his work, so that one day, you can tell people you knew who Lewis Brown was before he made it.
Scott McCauliffe: Scott has had the most unique experience at DCC among us; he has been an artist at the con, a patron, and this year, a member of the press. He was able to make it for Father’s Day, and his article on his experience is one worth reading.
Evan Lowe: Evan couldn’t be here in person this year. He was busy completing a rigorous course to get his Master’s Degree in Social Work! The only thing he requested was a picture of Lou Ferrigno. I’d like to think we delivered. Now that his courseload has slowed down, expect more from him soon.
Sherif and Adrian: We had to throw a little love our way… mostly so I could post these pictures of us.
Adrian Interviewing Georges Jeanty
Adrian Interviewing Georges Jeanty
Sherif and Adrian with The Batman, Kevin Conroy
Sherifs signed BTAS collection
TMNT Party Wagon!
Sherif with the Adam West Batmobile
Robert and Sherif sitting down with Yanick Paquette
Sherif and Fiona Staples. No lie!
Tips for Future DCC-ers:
Buy your passes early. Even if you end up not going, you can definitely sell the passes on Craigslist or at the door. When we originally bought 3-Day passes a few months in advance, we paid $55/pass. Compare that to the daily rates of $40/day they were charging the week of the con, and you’ll be face-palming yourself for not capitalizing on the situation earlier.
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. DCC even put on a satirical PSA about “Con Funk” to reiterate the dangers of not valuing personal hygiene.
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 Guiry’s 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 approximately 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 ATMs available around the convention center.
If you have time to leave the convention center, there are a lot of great, relatively inexpensive places to chow down nearby. Some of our favorites are: Cheba Hut,Snarf’s and Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. (kinda pricey, but worth it if you’ve never been).
Over-estimate the time it takes to get anywhere. Denver is largely a commuter city, so plan accordingly.
Prior to going to the convention center, make a to-do list of what you want to accomplish and decide what is realistic.
Have you ever had a time where you got together with family for a holiday or a reunion, and sat around a table and had one of the craziest and uncontrollable conversations you could imagine, since you are so very close but never see one another? Well then you most likely know exactly how this panel went. A lot of attendees seemed to think it was out of control, but honestly it did just seem like a bunch of family members getting together with an audience. Shatner tried to control the whole panel and ask questions but with The Next Generation cast feeling so comfortable with one another, he just melded into that and was acting like the crazy uncle to the TNG family.
Once questions began, we sometimes got full answers and other times they moved on before the entire answer was finished, for example Michael Dorn was asked how he liked working with his fellow cast members as directors. He went into almost each one but ultimately described them using one word, sometimes followed by a story. Dorn said that Jonathan Frakes was loud, Gates McFadden was like a dancer because she had everything organized perfectly and seemed to glide from place to place, and for LeVar Burton he said “No” because of a time Dorn had done a take wrong and the way LeVar told him to change his action seemed like a person rolling up a newspaper and tapping a dog on the head saying “NO.”
The next question was about how influential Star Trek has been to the world and how it has changed the way we live from our technology to our entire culture and because of this, what are the best inspiring stories they have heard from fans. Gates McFadden told a story about a man who thanked her for helping him in his childhood because he was in foster homes that continually changed so everything in his life changed a lot but the only constant was that he got to watch Star Trek and felt like these characters were his family since they were always there for him. Definitely an awesome story which really gives a different look at how film, television and the entire entertainment industry makes people violent. Another good story that they all commented on was that of an amputee they met who had a wonderful spirit and during his recovery Star Trek and how they portrayed everyone in Starfleet even those with disabilities. The young man credited Star Trek as the reason he had the courage to continue. Now is when Marina Sirtis interrupts and says, “Man… Things just got real, how about a joke?”
If you saw the Gargoyles panel, you may have known what was probably coming and of course it was a joke about the French (hey, she is British, so of course it was about the French) This led to a more lighthearted discussion about what was the worst thing about their experiences on set. Michael Dorn wished his make-up was just for a movie and not a television show, and he mentioned another time his make up ended up with no eyebrows, which if you know Worf you will know how weird that may look. An obvious answer was that LeVar Burton hated his visor, not only could he hardly see a thing, but the actual vizor was screwed into his head to fit and the pad would press right against his temple and it gave him headaches all the time. At this point Shatner leaned over to Michael Dorn and asked if anyone had sex on the set, after a long and awkward pause, LeVar Burton raised his hand and said, “Yes, there was sex, but not between us.”
Going back to fan questions, everyone was asked their favorite villain and all at once they respinded, “Q”, but quickly Gates McFadden added in that she thought the Borg were excellent and that she would say those were her favorite, then Jonathan Frakes also mention the Romulan leader as a favorite for him. After this we got question like “Why are you so awesome?” to William Shatner, and acting advise, where LeVar Burton had a great answer saying, “Don’t. I say this because I try to talk everyone out of being an actor, because if I do, you were never meant to be.” Definitely deep and 100% true as this exact experience (just replace LeVar Burton with Futurama) is why I stopped acting.
Possibly one of the funniest moments was when they asked the person who asked William Shatner why he was awesome to ask a real question and he asked how old they were. All of them reacted the way just about the way everyone does to that question, children aside, but Marina Sirtis got up and walked up to him and make him correct himself to ask the women how young they were. We then get an announcement Shatner has to leave early to catch a filght, which left me kind of wondering, then why did you schedule him to be here? But the panel continued and the only real interesting things that happened were an anti-bullying conversation where a lot of personal stories were told by a bunch of the cast members where Marina Sirtis said that you should let it bother you, where Michael Dorn quickly added that sometimes it is more than just words, so always make sure you can take care of yourself and try as hard as you can to be peaceful but always make sure to be able and defend yourself.
The conversation moved to Michael Dorn’s run on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as Worf. Marina Sirtis lets out a huge grunt and says ,”Deep Sleep Nine, or as Jon calls it, Deep Throat Nine.” It basically just covers the, “what is your favorite?” and “what is your least favorite questions we already have and always have at any panel. The panel ended on a sour note as we hear one question is left and some rude woman asked what all the women thought of playing such stereotypical girly girl roles for Star Trek. I don’t really want to go into much more because if you know what Star Trek even is you should know how absolutely ridiculous that claim and question is.
Click on the link to take you to all of our Denver Comic Con 2014 articles
It’s a week since the third annual Denver Comic Con got underway. From everything that I saw and experience, it was a glorious weekend. This, like many of you, was my third time attending DCC. I have a unique perspective on the DCC experience, you see I’ve attended all three years in three separate capacities . I’ve been an exhibitor, an attendee, and now as press with Hush Comics. So far, every year has yielded different results, and completely different experience.
For the inaugural year, I had a table in Artist Alley and never had I been more excited to be part of a major event. I sold posters and a preview issue for a comic book that I wrote. By Sunday, I actually had attendees – and even fellow artists – coming to my table specifically to see my work. I’d never experienced anything like that before. I got to be on the ground floor of what is the largest growing comic book convention in the country, and that’s pretty damn cool. Now, because I was an exhibitor and wanted to be the face of my work, I spent almost the entire convention at my table. For the short amount of time I wasn’t at my table, I was nabbing some signatures from great creators and artists, and picking up a few souvenirs for myself. In the end, I didn’t get to experience much of what the convention had to offer. On the upside, I scared the crap out of Billy West and got to high-five Colin Ferguson.
I almost did not attend DCC year two. My first son was due just a couple of weeks after the scheduled date and, believe it or not, there are things I hold more dear than Denver Comic Con. My son decided that he was going to show up a month early though and my wife and I made the decision to bring the little guy to his first ever convention being only a few weeks old. After the excellent experience I had the year prior I was very excited to be back for the second year. Sadly, it appeared that the DCC crew were not very well prepared for the growth between the first and second year. The convention floor was over-packed with extremely narrow aisles. Attendees were funneled through lines and stopping to look at anything made me feel like an inconvenience to those around me. My family and I did make it out of the exhibitor’s hall to check out some of the other goings on at DCC, most notably the William Shatner Q&A. The second year wasn’t nearly as enjoyable as the first time around but still not bad enough to keep me away for the third year.
This year, thanks to the fine people here at Hush Comics, I was able to attend as a part of the media. People might not think that attending in the this fashion would be very different than being a regular attendee, but knowing that I was there to properly document the event this time made me look much closer than before at the guests, events, and the thousand of fans all there for a great time. Really paying attention to these details made me appreciate what was going on around me more than ever before.
Now, I only made it for Sunday this year, and traditionally that would mean there would be a little less to see than usual. I was pleasantly surprised to find Sunday was just as good of a day to be there as any. I was in attendance with family and friends and did spend the majority of my time in the Exhibitor’s Hall. This is, of course, where the majority of the con goers can be found, and it was packed. It was great to see that the show runners learned from last years and really expanded the floor space because walking down the aisles in a small group, and pushing strollers was easy and didn’t cause half the headache that it did last year.
One thing that DCC has always done right is how easily accessible the comic book creators and artists are. It’s a magical feeling being able to walk up really meet the people that make us who we are. The growth of DCC has helped pull some really big names, like Fiona Staples and Tim Sale, a couple of my personal favorites. I had the pleasure this year of getting some photos with Tim Sale and John Layman. It’s the people in comics are the reason these conventions even exist, sometimes I’m worried that con goers forget that. The tv and movie celebrities are great, but for me it’s always been about the extraordinarily talented artists and writers that bring us or favorite characters in their best forms.
One of my favorite parts of any convention is the excellent cosplay done by extremely talented fans. My personal favorite was Pyramid Head, whom, it turns out is also the man inside the Humping Robot costume. Among the other excellent costumes I saw were Jareth from Labyrinth, Kanto from Fooly Cooly, The 10th Doctor and Scorpion from Mortal Kombat. One real show stopper was the Skeksis from Dark Crystal. I hope you had a chance to take your photo with this one, I know I did.
A fun attraction that they expanded on from last year was the all LEGO city scape. Like last year, there was an impressively elaborate entire LEGO city with a running LEGO train doing laps. And if that wasn’t enough European-based building toys for you, next to famed artists Fiona Staples was a giant recreation of the Saga #8 cover done in the tiny colorful bricks. I really enjoy these setups because they aren’t what you always expect to see at conventions like these.
I did watch a future generation of LARPers learn how to handle a themselves in a fight with an assortment of mid-evil weaponry. The Knights Academy was a great weekend long panel for children. It was entertaining to watch these fantasy fights play out before your eyes, and watching a large group of kids being legitimately interested and excited to be a part of something so different even in the realm of nerd. The kids events did really seem to take a major forefront this year, when compared to the two previous years. I mean, Adam West, among other celebrities, held reading sessions in the Kid Corral. I’m sure if you were to have asked him LaVar Burton would have been proud of the focus on literacy this time.
From year to year Denver Comic Con has gone through some serious changes. A large part of that is the unexpected speed at which the convention grew. It’s hard to keep up when one year you more than double your capacity. There were definitely growing pains. Luckily, it seems that DCC handled themselves much better and learned from past mistakes. If the convention continues to grow and those running it take the time to actually look back at the previous years and find what they need to do to improve, even just a little, this will be a great convention for years to come.
Click on the link to take you to all of our Denver Comic Con 2014 articles
Panel Name: Batman 75th
Topic: Q&A with the main characters from the 1960’s TV Batman series
Featured Guests: Adam West (Batman), Burt Ward (Robin) and Julie Newmar (Catwoman)
It’s safe to say that a lot of 80’s babies and beyond don’t have the same appreciation for Adam West and company that our parents did. Most twenty-somethings know Adam West as Mayor West of Quahog from Family Guy, and that’s great, but I think the world needs to be reminded of just how vital Adam West’s portrayal of Batman was to the legacy of Bruce Wayne. The show spanned 120 episodes over a three-year period and had it’s own spin-off movie; it was great fun for the whole family – something that Batman titles have since moved away from.
The Dark Knight, as he is today, is a brutal and melancholy figure. He’s seen multiple close friends die – including his own son. He’s terrifying to his opponents, and off-putting to his colleagues. Oh, and his rogues gallery is filled with sick, twisted freaks that murder children and blow up hospitals. Now, I’m not saying that I don’t love every stinkin’ second that I read Batman, but there’s no denying he’s become more of an adult figure than the one I’ve grown up with in the slightly-dark Batman: The Animated Series, let alone the Batman that my parents grew up with in the 60’s.
This has all been changing. Ever since the Batman 66 series launched last July, adults and children alike have been gravitating back to this light-hearted Batman, which grabs at the nostalgic crowd, and puts Batman back on a relatable plane for children to connect with a character that’s celebrating his 75th birthday this year. The idea of solving riddles and catching the bad guys is a universal concept; not every child needs to see their parents murdered in front of them to relate to the Batman.
Let’s get to the panel, shall we? As Burt Ward, then Julie Newmar, and finally Adam West made their ways to the stage, they were met with possibly one of the warmest welcomes that I had seen at a panel all weekend. Fans from 7-70 years old were so grateful for their chance to meet the cast of Batman. Burt Ward ran out like a contestant on The Price is Right, hands in the air and looking like the most excited person in the world to be there. After Ward comes Julie Newmar, who looked just fantastic! How Newmar manages to stay so fabulous is beyond me, she even smooched the two volunteers that helped her to her seat on the cheek; it was adorable. The real roar happened when Batman himself, Adam West, came strolling up the ramp and onto the stage.
We went straight into the Q&A here, which led to some pretty thoughtful questions right off the bat. When one of the audience members asked the cast if anybody ever felt the show was too campy or silly, West broke the silence with, “No, we’re terribly serious crime fighters!” The show was designed as family entertainment and it was nailed to the history books as such. There was no need to pretend to be more dire than it had to be. When compared to modern Batman, West said that Christian Bale “may be the Dark Knight, but I was the Bright Knight.” Batman ruled the 60’s in pop culture. West said that in the 1960’s, there were 3 B’s: Bond, The Beatles… and Batman.
Julie Newmar was an absolute diva at the panel, which was very reminiscent of her days at Catwoman. She commanded attention, and often became animated when talking about how to be sexy. If you’ve never seen an 80 year old woman take control of her sexuality, all you need is five minutes with Julie Newmar. When asked how her milkshake managed to get all the boys to the yard – I’m paraphrasing here – she says that all you need to do if pour licorice all over your body (dress in all black, not actual licorice for those of you at home trying this) and walk down the street; it’s all in your mind, she says. Somewhere along the line, at this family-friendly panel, she pretended to go down on Adam West, which is shocking only if you don’t know who Julie Newmar is.
It was Burt Ward, who was quiet for a duration of the panel, that had the funniest story to tell. There was a stunt being performed that involved the Batmobile speeding out of the BatCave, then taking a sharp, 90 degree turn at 55 miles per hour. So Burt hops into the Batmobile in costume and turns to see somebody who isn’t Adam West sitting next to him. When asking who is he and where Adam is, the stuntman explains that they are about to do a dangerous driving stunt, and that Adam is over at the break station, drinking coffee. Burt says, “If this is a dangerous stunt, where is my stuntman?”… “Oh, he’s over there drinking coffee with Adam.” When Burt asked why his stunt double isn’t performing the stunt, the response was a flabbergasting, “Well, he doesn’t look like you.” They proceeded to make Burt do the stunt, and when the turn was made, the Batmobile door flung open. The only thing keeping him in the car was one little finger, which dislocated. Burt told us how, over the span of the next week, there were multiple trips made to the ER due to various explosions and other stunts. He laughed it off though, saying that it was the producers’ attempt to make good on his hefty life insurance policy.
The panel was full of nostalgia, just as you would expect from the fan favorite Batman show. The chemistry that the three have is still apparent after nearly fifty years of being off the air. You almost have to remind yourself that these faces of American television are that old, because their faces still light up with life, their voices still bring joy to anybody still breathing. Never take yourself too seriously and always enjoy new experiences. And never be afraid to charge $80 for an autograph – right, Adam?
We were just walking around Denver Comic Con, minding our own business, when Yanick Paquette decided to be the coolest guy in the world. About a month ago, we decided to spotlight our favorite guests at the convention, and Yanick was quite impressed with our research on his piece. When we met him at the convention, we saw not only his extreme talents, but his charisma at work. After chatting it up for 10-15 minutes at his booth, watching him draw a commission for Jean Grey, he asked us if we would like to interview him the following morning. YES! We tried to play it off cool, but we were really excited to meet him. One day and a full night of research later, we were ready to go. We discussed everything from Swamp Thing and Wonder Woman: Earth One to independent books and colorists. He is a full transcription of what went down when Robert and Sherif sat down to interview Yanick Paquette.
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Hush Comics: You just got back from an insane touring schedule in Europe. How does the comic book convention scene abroad compare to how it is in America?
Yanick Paquette: Well, a few years ago, in Europe, you would not charge for sketches and it was more about meeting the fans, I guess. The way I see it, the modern convention, the American structure where fans come and pay for sketches and fans interact, is really the model for everybody now. Except maybe France, who will always resist. In the U.K. for instance, the shows are getting bigger, better and longer. This is the case in the United States, too. Here, it is the third year in Denver. It is a pretty decent, huge show. In Montreal, I’m from Montreal, and there were little shows trying to pop up now and then and there were crappy shows and they didn’t last. We have a show in Montreal. I’m not sure how many editions there are, maybe the 5th edition. Now there is some traction.
I am doing a lot of shows, only because my schedule allows it. As I’m not doing a monthly book, I can agree to more. For instance, in August, I am going to Argentina. Eduardo Risso has a small show there. He’s invited just a few people. That is going to be fun. I’m doing Malta. I’m doing a few other shows abroad. [This weekend] it is Charlotte for me. I’m all over the place. It’s good. When I started doing comics, the idea was, ‘Can I get a living out of just drawing? That is good enough if I can get a living out of drawing. Not even a big living, just drawing and get some money.’ That was good enough. But it turned out it’s a way to travel now, so I am traveling all over the place. That was unexpected, but it’s great.
HC: Checking out your Twitter feed, we see that you do as much promoting of other creators as you do for yourself. Is there any work out right now that you feel that the world needs to know more about?
YP: There is Jeremy Bastian, over there. He has a booth here. He is doing something called Cursed Pirate Girl. His stuff is absolutely amazing. He is shy and gentle, and he works his thing. It’s, of course, not Marvel and DC, because it is way too good. He’s been doing his thing forever. Now he is getting some attention in Europe. Obviously that kind of material will work super well in France. I think he is getting there now. Everyone should be aware of this man’s existence because he is just a miracle.
HC: A couple of months ago you expressed the need for DC to start trying to keep their elite colorists in their staple. Can you go into some detail about how much a colorist contributes to the work of the book?
YP: It is a massive contribution. I’m not going to give names, but I’ve been colored by people who have just destroyed my entire month of work. As you open a book, it is the first thing you see. You don’t see the story, because you have to read it. The picture takes some time to acknowledge, but the color is the first thing that is going to punch you in the face. A good colorist can help you with the story telling, can push forward the understanding of the page – the atmosphere and everything. I’m inking myself. I’m penciling and inking, and the only other guy on the team is the colorist. It’s a two-man operation. There’s a lot that I leave for him to do, and it’s truly a team effort. Back in the day, in the 80’s for instance, colorists could do 10 or 20 books a month. It didn’t matter because it was just flat, simple color. But now it is complex stuff. And when it is complex you can really screw it up. [Doing his best colorist impression] ‘I’m going to airbrush everything. I’m going to paint over things.’ Sadly, there are a lot of people in DC and Marvel, mostly at DC, that is part of the problem that will go into not-so-great coloring.
It is obvious that talent is required and talent has to be recognized and paid accordingly. I couldn’t say if DC pays the colorists less than Marvel. I think DC, in general, will pay more. We have overseas royalties. I think they treat the artist better, but the colorist’s stature is still part of the production department more than on the art team, which was the case for both DC and Marvel. Years ago, Marvel did change that structure. DC I’m sure will, sooner or later, follow into that legal structure with their colorists because it won’t make sense. They are always on the same bracket, but it has been a few years that DC hasn’t complied with that new definition of what the colorist should be. When you have your name on the cover and the little on the royalties, it’s not going to be huge money for anyone, but it is a symbol that you are part of team and that you are responsible for the success or the failing of the product. And we recognize that.
On that subject, when I went out and said that [referring to colorists getting paid], Bleeding Cool, spun the story saying that I’m challenging DC to pay. But it isn’t confrontational at all. I have total faith in DC to do it. If anybody needs to take a breath and play ball it is the writer and the artist. That world is a pie. DC allows a piece of the cover price to be split between the art team. I am asking to revisit the pie. Let’s take a bit of my money, of the writer’s money, and the inker’s money, and let’s share that with the colorist so he is part of our team. The challenge might be to get some of the writers and artists to give. It’s more the art team that I challenge to recognize the colorists.
HC: So speaking of colorists, are there any who you specifically love and would really like to work with?
YP: I’m working with Nathan Fairbairn for… He’s my man. We have been working together for a long time. He was working with me, and Chris Burnham, on Batman Inc. We work together because of our friendship, because we have been working together for a long time and because I trust him totally. We have a good working relationship of respect. He brought forward that it’s not so cool [colorists not being paid]. Especially, Wonder Woman: Earth One has a long shelf life. Who knows how much it is going to sell? It wasn’t so fun for him to come aboard on this and not get any piece of it. In part, it was for him that I came forward saying that we should change. I had a hard time to convince him to stay on Wonder Woman. ‘I need you! I don’t want to go onto 120 pages with someone I don’t know.’ It’s very intimate. My artwork is super intimate. I spend so much time and it is very personal. And you are inviting other people in your bed to share this thing with you, you don’t want someone that you don’t trust or that you don’t know who will screw this stuff up. When Nathan was not sure, I had two other options: Dave Stewart, who is absolutely a miracle, probably the best colorist there is, and Laura Martin. Laura is also an absolute magnificent colorist. I’m glad that we ended up working out something with Nathan for this. As I do a page, I feel confident that my man has my back if something goes wrong, and if he is there, the page is going to look good. He boosts my confidence.
HC: Perhaps your most notable signature your crazy panel layouts and how you split up the panels with different elements of the story. What was your inspiration to do this?
YP: It started a little bit before Swamp Thing. I did an issue of Wolverine: Weapon X called “Insane in the Brain” by Jason Aaron. The story goes that Wolverine is trapped in this asylum and he is getting pushed towards madness by this evil guy. Every panel in that book is crooked. It doesn’t look like it if you look at the book, but none of the corners align. Everything is slightly off balance. As you get crazier and crazier, the stuff gets more crooked. There are a few pages where he snaps out of it and he comes to his senses, and then everything is super straight. It is super-subtle. I’m pretty sure nobody really saw that, but they might feel it on the subconscious level.
When I do crazy stuff, it is for storytelling purposes. In Swamp Thing, the first script came in from Scott [Snyder], a great script, but pretty down to earth. It was a 10-page script and a guy talking. To me, when I thought about Swamp Thing, I thought of an Alan Moore crazy, wild thing. In my own relationship to Swamp Thing through the years, I discovered, my first artistic love was Berni Wrightson on Swamp Thing. And then I discovered my first love in writing was Alan Moore on Swamp Thing. And then I got to do SwampThing. For me it was something personal. It was like coming back home, almost like a full circle. To me, that book had to reflect my past, the past guys who were on Swamp Thing, and my own relationship to comics. I had to put their name in there and also part of their style. The script was very down to earth. So I figured that maybe just the panel layout could be enough to give you a sense that this is not going to be like other comics, it would be pushing forward in trying things in terms of story telling. So I made a code for everything that happened in that story. If the Green is acting on reality, if the Rot is acting on reality, if you are in the Green… When Abigail is there, the panels are not straight. They are more angular because she is more hard edge, now. All sorts of details like that. You can combine, or you can dial down the fact. But they are always aligned with what is happening in the story. It didn’t take that much time that every single thing in Swamp Thing was bizarre, so every single panel was bizarre. You give what you got. It was really freeing.
At first, I did that by doing something different to reflect what Swamp Thing should be. But I wasn’t sure if people would buy it at all. Maybe it was too confusing. There are things that are challenging. But people absolutely loved it. After 2 years, as I am doing my layout for Wonder Woman, I can’t do straight borders. It isn’t the same set of codes, because what I did on Swamp Thing was for Swamp Thing. It is harder to plan with Grant [Morrison] because [Wonder Woman: Earth One] is a long story. It is hard to see it in its entirety because I don’t have the script for the whole story. It’s hard to plan the element of design. But I try to do other things that I feel are cool.
HC: Your resume is full of work with fantastic writers, even before the New52. Are there any writers who you have worked with at your days with Marvel that you would like to reconnect with?
YP: When I worked with Jason Aaron, that was the absolute best. I’m talking to you Jason! That script was so intelligent. I had fun with Matt Fraction, too. I was lucky enough to do Uncanny X-Men, which was a self-contained story, so I really made that mine. It was very packed with emotion. There were impossibly deep emotional moments. In comics, you can end up having people fighting for 3 or 4 pages. I don’t care for violence; I don’t find it exciting. What I find exciting is these impossible emotions. In that issue of Uncanny X-Men, Dr. Nemesis goes back in the past. He has to meet his mother and father then sees his father dying. His mother is dying, too, but she pregnant, too. So he delivers himself out of his dying mother. He is always pristine white; he is like Mr. Perfect. But the last few pages, he is coming out of his mom’s bedroom with himself in his arms, his coat is full of blood. What are these moments? They are so intense. They give you goose bumps. Swamp Thing was full of those moments, too. There are huge sacrifices. It’s a love story. But it was crazy and weird at the same time with profound moments. I do comics for those moments.
HC: Let’s talk about Wonder Woman. How does it differ from the monthly series?
YP: First of all, it’s Earth One. So, you know the other Earth One’s, it’s kind of like Marvel’s Ultimates. There are no rules. You can reinvent stuff. Archetypes and elements can come back because they are expected by readers. Because of that, you can play with those. We have free-reign to do whatever we want. Outside of continuity we can do anything. Wonder Woman somehow has a hard time getting a movie for herself or attention beyond the T-shirts and lunch boxes and figurines; to get her to mainstream solo status like she was in the 70’s was very hard. You can do that with Batman or Superman, but not Wonder Woman. People were like, ‘You should do the regular series! She needs help now.’ I love Azzarello’s work. I think it is great. I don’t think she needs that much help in the New52. All the usual revolutions, the big changes for the characters, like Batman for instance, The Dark Knight Returns was not part of the continuity. It was a futuristic story, like an Elseworld. I don’t think Elseworlds existed in the time of Frank Miller. But that thing was so strong, it defined what Batman was. He is now the injured vengeance-ridden kid. Same for Kingdom Come that really rebalanced everything with the DC Universe. If you look at all the films of Marvel, it is not the Thor of the regular series, but it is the Ultimates. It is the Mark Millar work that makes it to the screen. But then again, these alternate stories were so efficient and make so much sense because they have the liberty to redefine what they are in the context of today. Now, even the regular books, which are not the Ultimates, are tainted with the stories of The Avengers, stories of Aaron, and they have all been Ultimate-ized. You almost can’t tell them apart anymore. It is a revolution for a character. Try it outside of the box, and if it is good enough, the box will absorb it.
HC: How does drawing for a script oriented like Scott Snyder on Swamp Thing differ from a writer like Grant Morrison?
YP: It is hard to tell, because I am really proactive as an artist. I’ll take a lot of liberty. I consider my domain to be more than drawing what they ask. I am going to claim some land, for creation purposes. In the case of Scott, at first I had a full script. OK, we are going to do concept drawing – like the panel borders. My job was to tell the story but also push my own graphic agenda. In the case of Grant, Grant will give you a script with very basic dialogue. He will think about the big chunk of concept and all the craziness. Sometimes he locks attention to the little detail. ‘In this scene, these guys need to walk to one place or another,’ just the physicality of the mundane story telling aspect. And you will give this to your artist to make it make sense. You need to trust your artist and to give them some rope. I figure that is why he is always working with the same 5 or 6 guys because he trusts us to bring the kind of script he is giving us to a place where he is satisfied on which he can do the last pass before printing. It is a trusting, touching moment that he gives me so much room. You have to trust him too to bring that ship to the port at the end, because sometimes I’m sending pages and I’m not exactly sure where it is going to land. I trust him the way he trusts me. Because he works with the art finished, he adapts himself to what he gets. In my case, he never asks for redrawing. If I make a decision to fix something that I feel will work better, he doesn’t mind. It is always a work in progress until the last minute. He is always able to react to the art and be creative. As I do a page, I know Grant will make something out of it.
HC: Your first monthly gig was Wonder Woman. The coolest thing I remember about it was the armor with the eagle head.
YP: I did not invent that costume.
HC: I thought I had seen an earlier armor version but not one with the American flag and the eagle helmet.
YP: It’s been a while. I know that in that run of Wonder Woman, I did invent the Fortress of Solitude with the huge flying coliseum with animals in there and armor galleries. It was the new Invisible Plane, because that thing could turn invisible also. I remember designing that. Maybe I updated the armor, but I wonder if it wasn’t Adam Hughes who did it for the cover. Or maybe it’s a spin on an Alex Ross design. It’s funny that today I get to do Wonder Woman again after all these years in probably the most different context possible. Back then, I didn’t know what I was doing. I was just trying to learn in front of everyone. A lot of those pages are like [he groans]. The idea was just to get the stuff done on time. That was the challenge of the day. Learning the craft. Getting my stuff done on time. There are a lot of pages in there that I am not proud of. But I was unknown, so that was the deal. Now I have the chance to represent the character, but with no deadline, and prestige format, with a massive writer. Now I know exactly what I am supposed to me. I am fully armed and geared for the process. I am going to redeem myself.
HC: DC Collectibles is releasing a Wonder Woman Art of War statue in the image of your Wonder Woman in October. Did you have a hand in the 3D design for that?
YP: Yeah, I did the design. So, I did the turnaround. Funny thing, though – that costume that I designed for Wonder Woman, not to spoil any of the story itself, but she came to the island with that design from the man’s world. Most of the story is a flashback from before that where she doesn’t wear that. I don’t know how that is going to play out. There are still a few pages to come that I have to draw still. It might very well turn out that the design for the statue is like two pages worth of what is going on in that book. She actually wears another costume. I designed that a long time ago, way before I had a decent chunk of script. If I had to redesign it again, I might have used the version I’m using in the book, which is a little different. But yeah, I did the turnaround. That was my first statue. I had no idea how to do it.
HC: It’s cool to see that you actually had a hand in designing.
YP: Because it is a statue, they ask the artist ‘Can you figure out a pose? Can you figure out a design?’ Action figures [are different]. They did a huge Swamp Thing with the wings. It is a massive toy. They sent me a box of those that made me pretty happy. But that, I had nothing to do with. All the design is obviously mine. There is a page in Issue #8 when he is coming down at the Rot with the wings. It is a massive toy. It is bigger than everyone. It is part of the New52 set of toys. I don’t know the scale, but Swamp Thing is just a monster so he goes in the massive monster box.
HC: I know everyone is asking you when the book is coming out. Can we assume that since the Wonder Woman statue is coming out in October, there might be something around the corner?
YP: No. I haven’t done all the pages. I have good chunks of stuff to do. I feel like October might come a bit too soon. Maybe DC’s promotional department might want to gather a bunch of Earth One’s together for a big event. I know Gary [Frank] has another Batman [Earth One] going and there’s another Superman going. I think it is in their ballpark. They will find a way to sell that thing at an appropriate moment. I have a feeling that it might be at the very beginning of 2015. My goal is to finish it this year. I have been on it too long. I over-think. Working with a flexible deadline, I am doing my best. At the end of the day, the extra perfection that I have managed to put in there is the one that takes the most time. Without it, I would have totally done the book super fast and nobody would recognize there is a little… If I would just give it up, nobody would care, except for me. I could make that book super fast. That’s the problem with a long deadline, I want to do the best and then it takes even more time.
HC: Working on a non-monthly book, it must allow for a more balanced lifestyle. We were wondering what hobbies you have on the side?
YP: I do travel a lot. I do a lot of conventions. That’s what I do. I used to do a lot of music. I write music and record it. There is some stuff online.
YP: The Swamp Thing is a more orchestral film soundtrack. When I write serious stuff it’s mostly string quartets. But I’ve been writing a long time. With convention schedules, you travel and then come home and then I’m exhausted. Then I have to do two or three pages. It’s just a lot. Honestly, I don’t think I’ll say yes to too many people in terms of shows this year. But I will survive and I will take it as a warning.
HC: How did you get into writing music?
YP: It was a hobby when I was a kid, reading and writing music. In my teens I would write stuff. The things I really enjoy, there is no market. Classical or Baroque music – nobody cares for that. I went into Biology first and then I had a reality check and figured it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I considered Music for about an hour and half and then I went into comics instead. I may have ended up doing a movie score or having an orchestra. But there are so many good guys in movie scores; it’s such a huge market. I didn’t want to do jingles for advertising. I figure I will keep my music as pure as I want with no compromise. I’ll do my own thing for myself. I don’t need the public for that. I’ve posted it online because people have said, ‘You should post it online. It’s funny.’ But it’s for me really. And with the comic aspect, I’ll play ball a little bit more. And I did at first. Now I’m pickier with what I want. And maybe because I can do whatever I want in comics, I don’t feel the need to write music anymore.
HC: You have worked on a lot of established franchises. We wanted to know if you had any interest in doing something creator owned for an independent publisher or are you with DC forever?
YP: Honestly, I am looking for a creator owned in a very serious way. As I look at the industry now, DC and Marvel, every book you do, you can rest assured that the next book, even though you do your best the book is going to sell less. They are never going to sell more unless you kill a character or you put Jim Lee in the book. Every book will sell less than the one before. That trend has been going on with every single book of DC and Marvel for the past 5 or 10 years. The only places where I actually see growth is in the independent. Granted they start lower, so they have room to go up, but they do. They offer something different, something fresh. A few years ago when people would come in with a portfolio who were prime for DC, I would push them to try Image or do something independent and then come back to DC with that name. Now I am seeing the opposite. Get to DC or Marvel and make a name for yourself, then go to Image and cash in. Do something you own. From that point of view, if I would do something at Image and sell five times less, but do more money and do whatever I want. I don’t have anything against spandex and superheroes. I’ve done it a lot and enjoyed it as a kid. But it is a limited a genre. After a while you have told the story you wanted to tell. Spandex guy punching another spandex guy. I have done all the angles. I want to tell other kinds of stories. In other media, in movies or books, you get all different stories and they sell to different markets. But comics have been trapped into one mainstream, one little type of fiction. It makes no sense. But now Horror is coming again, I may not want to do pure Horror stuff. I won’t tell what I am looking into because I am not sure myself. I think the typing is good with miracles like The Walking Dead. Which is a fluke. You can’t say, ‘[In his best American accent] Oh! I’m just gonna do The Walking Dead. That seems like a profitable business plan.’ It’s a fluke! It’s something weird. But what happened is that people in the mainstream, and when I say mainstream, it’s not comic mainstream. This is not mainstream. This is a little bubble of weird geeks. The true world realizes that The Walking Dead came from a book. They enter into a comic book store with no geek preconception about qualities of DC and Marvel and the rest are amateurs. They don’t care for that. They’ll look and maybe by Chew or Saga. The readership has expanded. That is why The Walking Dead and some of these independent books are getting good numbers because it is fresh readership. It is fresh blood. It is people from the outside world coming and seeing that we are doing something that kind of makes sense.
HC: Our wrap up question is, what can fans except to see you in soon and where is the best place to reach you?
YP: I’ll be Charlotte this coming weekend. I’ll probably do New York. I will be in Portland this year, too. I will be in Malta for the Italian people who may read this. I’ll be in Argentina. There is a show in Montreal. I’ll drop by there and say hello. I am fairly easy to reach over Twitter and Facebook. I am pretty well-versed in the Web 2.0. [Also check out his DeviantArt page to see some of his beautiful commissions!]
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Panel Name: Arrow Actors
Topic: Q&A with the stars of The CW’s Arrow
Featured Guests: Stephen Amell (Green Arrow), Caity Lotz (Black Canary)
We arrived a few minutes late due to the overlap of the Batman 75th anniversary panel, but were pleasantly surprised to find the place filled to the brim with people. This is selfish of me but the more fans of this show there are, the longer it will be on air. I am hoping for a strong ten years like we got out of Smallville and I wish the same for the upcoming Flash show. By the time we arrived, the moderator had started a few questions of his own and I made it just in time for the audience to start asking questions. On a very basic level, I learned that these two people are totally awesome and in a different life, Stephen and I might have been best friends.
There were tons of questions about the show, which is great, but I am surprised that there weren’t any questions asked about his time on Hung or any of the other popular shows he was on. There was no way that I was going to get a question answered because the line to ask questions was almost out the door on both sides of the room. We did learn that DC is very open to allowing them to use name and places from the universe and that will be a pretty big deal going further into the show. Stephen also divulged that he prefers a recurve bow to a compound, as he considers compounds to be cheating, and that he preferred the pain on his face to the mask he currently wears. The panel was filled with fan questions like these, and while I could fill up a page alone with the answers to these questions, I would tell you to check out the YouTube video that Stephen posted on his Facebook account.
I didn’t get the opportunity to ask a question of either of them during the panel, after a combined wait time of an hour and a half, I was able to get the autograph of both actors and ask each a question or two. I can confirm that they are both genuinely nice people and are truly appreciative of their fans, which made talking to them all the more awesome. Caity all but confirms, quite coyly I might add, that we haven’t seen the last of Black Canary and Stephen assures us that SPOILER!! we haven’t seen the last of Oliver’s child that Moira pushed away. I can’t wait to see if they bring in Connor Hawke next season and I think this was a question that generally surprised Stephen so I don’t think he has been asked it yet. I also go the chance to ask Stephen about his charities and the video he did for BatKid. Check out the YouTube video for this and also take some time to look into the vineyards he has as well as the breast cancer charities he supports. Overall, this was an awesome experience and knowing that the actors of the show are such nice people, it will make watching next season that much better for me. I also hope that we see this version of the Arrow in the upcoming Justice League movie.
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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.
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 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.
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.
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.”
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.
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Panel Name: Gargoyles 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.
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.
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.”