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.

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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.

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“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 – Reading Rainbow: LeVar Burton

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Panel Name: Reading Rainbow – LeVar Burton

Topic: Reading Rainbow Kickstarter, Q&A

Featured Guests: LeVar Burton

 

Imagine the thunderous roar of a room full of twenty-somethings as the panel opens with, “Butterfly in the sky…” The crowd chimes in, “I can fly twice as higgggh!” LeVar Burton, whether or not he wants to take credit for it, has helped raise a generation of readers. The revolutionary show Reading Rainbow lasted over twenty years and 150 episodes; each episode was comprised of a guest reader, who would read pages from a children’s book, and field trips, where LeVar would take kids to explore various careers or investigate the moving parts that make everyday activities so interesting. To this day, I’ll always remember the bowling alley episode, where Burton’s explanation of an entire mechanical part of the back room blew my little mind. For most of the 90’s, RR was like my Sesame Street, my Dora the Explorer. I could go on for hours about how great Reading Rainbow is, but I think the rest of the world already knows.

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Late May 2014, LeVar Burton headed a Kickstarter campaign to make the Reading Rainbow app more accessible to children. The initial goal of $1 Million was intended to bring Reading Rainbow back to schools. Yes, back – we all remember when the teacher would roll in the TV/VCR cart into the classroom, and nurse a hangover while LeVar Burton took the class on a fantastical journey. What a lot of people didn’t know, us included, is that the Reading Rainbow app for tablets had been around for two years. The app works off a subscription basis and instantly gives kids access to hundreds of licensed books, accompanied by virtual field trips and other neat additions to the story to give kids the complete revamped Reading Rainbow experience. With the Kickstarte-funded project, a new app – specifically designed for classrooms – would be able to fund year-long subscriptions for over 1,500 classrooms. The thought of bringing a premium service to mostly under-privileged schools, whose students’ parents may not have the technology at home, made this an easy sell.

Even with over a month-long period to reach the goal, Burton was a little worried it would not get funded. When the Kickstarter went live on May 28th, it reached it’s goal a mere 11 hours into the campaign. LeVar said that he cried when he got the news. He was so endeared that a generation that grew up watching his show is now helping fund the show for the next generation of readers. Now with 15 days left of the campaign, Reading Rainbow’s goal of $5 million is certainly a reachable one, but it will be close. With this new goal, which they are approximately 75% of the way to fulfilling, will give children universal access. That means the app will be available on mobile phones, gaming consoles, OTT boxes – you name it. It also means putting it in the hands of public libraries, who have been seeing book collections shrink and digital media catalogs increase. While Burton did not eliminate the possibility of bringing back the TV show, he was focused on the direction that the app (existing and new) was headed. “To reach today’s children, you need today’s technology.” It’s hard logic to argue with – and the fact that he will be trying to bring it back to the schools and libraries backs up the plan for streamlined service. A good point that somebody in the audience led Burton to was that while the app is ideal for 3-9 year old readers, it works wonders for ESL students.

Reading Rainbow 4

The panel wasn’t all Kickstarter, though. A lot of questions were aimed at LeVar personally. LeVar shared that he is always reading, and that his summer reading is his “escape” reading, so he always science fiction in the summer. Right now, he’s reading Octavia Butler’s The Goldfinch. He also revealed that his family loves to read books aloud to each other, and stated that the best way to get your children to read is to read in front of them. Burton even gave us an insight of what he used to read his daughter: Goodnight, Moon and  Harry Potter. The two books he recommends most are: Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman for girls and Enemy Pie by Derek Munson for boys. The panel wasn’t even all about reading, as Burton told the audience that he wasn’t even there. He was still with Troy on Community, fighting off pirates on the Gambino. Burton called Donald Glover “one of the most talented people on Earth,” which was just kind of a twist of the knife already in place that Community has been cancelled and Donald Glover left the show before it was over. Glover’s moments on the show with LeVar Burton were some of my most cherished.

Most of those attending the panel had already contributed to the Kickstarter, or were familiar with the what the campaign was trying to accomplish. This panel was all about The House that Love Reading Built. I was astonished at how many teachers and writers and volunteers were directly affected by having this show in their life. Question after question was full of love and a few of those throwing up questions were brought to tears just by getting up to the mic. One of the most sentimental to me was a young lady who had been home-schooled growing up in a poor learning environment. When she got to public school in 8th grade, she had a 2nd grade math level, but a college level reading level – thanks to Reading Rainbow instilling a love for reading. She graduated high school on time and now has a career in writing. That’s just one example of many touching anecdotes we heard at the panel… But you don’t have to take my word for it! We have the full panel on YouTube below.

Continue to follow us, as we share the happenings of Denver Comic Con 2014.

Denver Comic Con 2014- Cosplay… Cosplay Contest Shindig!

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While the Cosplay on the show floor did not disappoint, the Cosplay Party hosted on Saturday night was a winner!  Check out all the costumes below:

Denver Comic Con 2014 – Peter Davison

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Panel NameDoctor Who – Peter Davison

Topic: Short discussion between Peter Davison and two moderators followed by questions from the crowd.

Featured Guests: Peter Davison

The first panel for me at Denver Comic Con was that of great actor and of course the fifth Doctor from Doctor Who, Peter Davison. After already speaking to him and getting his autograph earlier, I was rather excite to see this panel as he seemed to be a very awesome person – which always makes being a fan of someone that much better. This discussion started with a couple questions from two moderators leading into questions from fans. Davison seemed to understand fans well and had quite a presence on stage as any actor who has played the Doctor should.

When it came to questions it was rather interesting and actually gave me a lot more faith in Denver after some of the David Tennant and Matt Smith obsessed activity from the past. We had questions of course regarding Who but a surprising amount about another one of his big shows in the U.K., All Creatures Great and Small. Davison went through the always asked questions of Doctor Who actors including, “Who is your favorite Doctor?”, “Who is your favorite Companion?,” among others and he course carries it with the grace and patience you would expect from the Doctor.

One answer that surprised all if not many of the fans there was that there was no importance of who followed who on Doctor Who in the U.K. it is just a character and he was just the fifth Doctor not the guy that followed the fourth Doctor.  Here in the U.S. Doctor Who fandom has sparked quite the odd reaction in that with the new series it grabbed a lot of young girls with David Tennant and Matt Smith, where it feels like the end of the world when a Doctor leaves. When in reality it should be an exciting and wonderful experience and the only person who should be sad is the actor who has to leave the role behind.

Other than mostly Doctor Who questions the panel focused on the Hugo nominated  short film Peter Davison made with fellow former Doctors, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy, called the Five(ish) Doctors Reboot where the three of them are trying to find a way into the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. Although the short film is delightful Davison spoke of how difficult it was because not only was it meant to be a small thing filmed on his home video camera, but once it became big the entire thing had to revolve around the busy schedule of other and sometime people only had an hour or so to film their role in the film.

Ultimately, Davison is the real deal and seems like not only did he get the job to play the Doctor but once he had, it changed him and made him become that much more like the Doctor.

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 Interview – Gerry Mulowayi

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Hush Comics was lucky enough to meet Colorado artist Gerry Mulowayi at this years ComicFest.  He was happy to oblige us with an interview just before this year’s Denver Comic Con.  You can meet him in Artist’s Alley this weekend, and even pick up some of his work!

Gerry M.

Hush Comics: What is your origin story?

Gerry Mulowayi: My origins start at the age of 7. I had accompanied my mother to get her hair done at a friend’s house. Once there, she started a conversation with her friends, something which I had no interest in, so I went inside the house to watch some cartoons. Sitting right in front of television set was another kid; he was a little older than me. Surrounding him were tons of pages and comics, and he asked me to sit down and draw with him. I told him I didn’t know how, so he grabbed some tracing page and showed me how it worked. I grabbed a comic called Lucky Lucke (a French Cowboy) and traced its cover, and I remember the feeling I had after that. It felt like a switch had been pulled.

HC: That is awesome!  Where are you from?

GM: I come from the African nation of Zaire, which was its name at the time. Now you might know it has the Democratic Republic of Congo.

HC:  How did you get into comics?

GM:  I was a fan of comics from a young age, and I had the skill.  But it wasn’t until I met my counselor in 5thgrade that I really started to push for it. She’s the one who got me hooked.

HC: What was the first comic you read?

GM: The first comic was Peter Parker Spiderman #88. When I first came to the States I had some difficulties to say the least. So I started seeing a counselor and she helped me get adjusted. She would copy some pages from a comic book and request a weekly report from my teachers on how I was doing in my classes. If all was good, I would get those pages at the end of the week. If not, then I wouldn’t get those pages.

Zulu Africanis by Gerry Mulowayi.
Zulu Africanis by Gerry Mulowayi.

HC: Who are your comic book inspirations?

GM: I’ve had many, but the strongest ones would have be Stan Lee, Michael Turner, J.Scott Campbell, Dwayne McDuffie, Carlos Meglia, Hergé, Jack Kirby, and Bruce Timm

HC: What was the moment you realized that you wanted to a professional in this business?

GM: I didn’t like the job I was doing and I felt like I was wasting my skill. So one day a friend of mine wrote my name in a craft show application. So I showed up at the event and people bought my art and I made some money that day. So that’s kind of what started it all.

HC: That is really inspiring for all up and comers.  What are your long-term goals in the industry?

GM: I’d like to teach and show other people how I did it, and encourage them to do so if they like to. The world of comics can always use more perspectives and ideas.

HC: What is your dream job?

GM: My dream job would be to become a cover Graphic Illustrator; this job would allow me to work on a wide range of projects and designs. But more importantly it’s a job that I could put my heart in and work at my own pace.

Knightfall by Gerry Mulowayi.
Knightfall by Gerry Mulowayi.

HC: What do you think are the best comic books/stories out right now?

GM: The All New X-Men is one book I’ve been following.  It just finished the trial of Jean Grey and that was pretty good. Beyond that I’d say Superior Spider-Man was a really interesting take on the character that I really enjoyed.

HC: We agree!  How well-connected do you feel to the Denver comic community?

GM: I’d say I’m getting there, I feel that in these last couple of years with the Comic Con and Starfest my name is starting to get out there.

HC: Where can the masses see your work?

GM: You can see my work on Facebook at The Art of Gerry Mulowayi, on DeviantArt under the name blaneblue and on Amazon.com I’ve got an art book available also under my name. I’ll be at this year Denver Comic Con table F38!

all art is property of Gerry Mulowayi.  

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.

Click on the link to take you to all of our Denver Comic Con 2014 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 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!

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

Diggin’ Through the Crates: Wu-Tang Clan “Protect Ya Neck”

Song: “Protect Ya Neck”

Artist: Wu-Tang Clan

AlbumEnter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (1993)

Lyric: “I smoke on the mic like smokin’ Joe Frazier/ The hell-raiser, raising hell with the flavor/Terrorize the jam like troops in Pakistan/Swinging through your town like your neighborhood Spider-Man”

Character Reference/Meaning:

Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nottin ta F#@! wit! Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nottin ta F#@! wit! Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nottin ta F#@! wit! Comic book nerds ain’t nottin ta F#@! wit! That’s right all you “DTC” fans out there, the one and only Wu-Tang Clan has officially touched down on our main stage, and they bring with them the nerd mentality. If you are going to mention pioneers of Hip-Hop it would be shameful not to bring in the Wu. Similar to how Spider-Man has been a monumental character in the Marvel Universe, comic books, and our hearts. It’s is no surprise that Hip-Hop has been a culture and pretty much a religion in the black culture, however, many may not realize that Spider-Man has meant a great deal to the black community as well. “What? How can that be? How is this nerdy white guy going to mean anything to black culture?” My guess is that these were some of the thoughts that paraded in your mind after I so bravely typed that sentence.

First off, Peter Parker comes from one of the birthplaces of Hip-Hop culture, Queens, New York. There have been countless rappers to come out of that neighborhood to find success such as: Nas, 50 Cent,  Marley Marl, and Pharoahe Monch. So right from the start, that parallel and that connection allows Hip-Hop fans to feel a little tingle in the back of their heads. Still to this day, African-Americans struggle, suffer, and have to continually faced discrimination coming from all angles in life. Housing markets, job opportunities, resources, opportunities, and especially the media. I may sound preachy to some, and come off as “hating white people” but that is not the case. I am all about inclusion, and I simply want to bring issues to light. Spider-Man means something to young black youth because he IS them; Peter Parker transcends race, being relatable to more than those who just look like him. The media continually portrays Spider-Man as being a menace and a monster that only hurts the city. No matter what he does, no matter how many people Spidey saves a person, no matter if he is set out to improve his community, the media will still only report the damage caused saving hundreds of lives. The media will always talk about how the only reason Electro attacked was because Spider-Man was present in the first place.

The same can be said about the black community. The news would much rather broadcast a murder than the opening of a community center, or a robbery rather than a second chance school for black youth. And this is not limited to the black community, this truth spans through all races, religions, and creeds. If you came from a single parent house hold, and your mom brought home a Spider-Man comic for you, and you read that he also came from a broken home, wouldn’t you feel something? Knowing that this character is feeling what you are feeling, and all the while he was just an average kid, is resonates with many of us. Far too many of us forget the origin stories, and what came before the heroism. Raised in a big city, with no parents at home, living modestly, trying to figure out his position in life yet more than willing to help someone with theirs. My guess is that more than a few people can relate to this. Beyond all this Peter Parker showed a life of possibilities. He is college educated mostly paying out of his own pocket striving for betterment. He showed that there is more out there, and that an awkward kid who constantly deals with loss, and less than favorable circumstances doesn’t have to let that define him. And in addition to that, he made being a nerd cool. He showed you can be smart and strong and regardless of what others think, that won’t change his morals and motivations. In addition to all that, president Obama was featured on the cover and in Amazing Spider-Man 583 (2009). That is both nerdy and bad-ass. I feel that I don’t have to explain that rappers coming out of Queens, or any where else qualify for almost exactly what I’ve said about Spider-Man. Substitute Spider-Man or Nas or 50, the same concepts apply. With The Amazing Spider-Man 2 set to release on May 2nd, you will see the mixture of brains, brawn, courage, and all that other Spidey goodness come together. So remember people “With great power, comes great responsibility.” I have no justified way of tying that quote into this article but I feel like I have to use it, because you know, Spider-Man.

So Far This Week… April 30th, 2014

Holy crap! Get ready to have your socks knocked off; this week brings in a lot of great news tidbits.

This Sunday is May the Fourth!  Hush Comics is lucky enough to be running a panel at StarFest to commemorate the holiday.  Come see us at 10 AM!

This Saturday, May 3rd, is FREE COMIC BOOK DAY! Head to your local comic book store for free issues of some of the biggest (and smallest, in the case of Mouse Guard) stories in the industry. Many local shops are holding insane sales for books, so it’s an amazing opportunity for new fans to dive in head-first to the comic book world. Don’t believe me? Just take Levar Burton’s word for it.

For more information on which books are available, this is your one-stop shop (figuratively, I mean, you still have to go to the shop to get the books. duh.). Also, Denverites, visit the Mile High Comics’ Jason Street Mega-Store for some awesome festivities on  Saturday.

If you’re like us, you like to occasionally use the ComiXology to supplement the physical copies of comics you buy at your local stores… RIGHT?? Well, since the acquisition by Amazon, there have already been some swift changes to the storefront. If you’re as confused as we are, check out this informational article.

Today marks the return of the Amazing Spider-Man to the comic book world. After over a year of Otto Octavius as Spider-Man (it’s complicated), Peter is back in command and with a new lease on life! And just in time for the movie, Amazing Spider-Man 2, to hit theaters.

Gwen Stacy herself challenged Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon to a lip-sync battle, which is quickly becoming my favorite recurring bit on the show. Emma Stone destroys Fallon – all she does is win, win, win.

Before last week’s episode of Game of Thrones, “Oathkeeper,” a trailer for the upcoming series called Leftovers. I’m still not too sure what it’s about, but I’m interested enough to check it out when it airs June 29th.

Speaking of Game of Thrones, the upcoming video game by Telltale Games is getting some narrative assistance from the story creator’s right hand man, Ty Corey Franck as a story consultant. With games like The Walking Dead and Wolf Among Us, I’m sold with anything Telltale puts out.

Marvel is not just trending, but making it a priority for gender equality in their books. Our article on what Ms. Marvel means to us (and the world) is just the start. Now that Elektra, Black Widow, Captain Marvel, She-Hulk, X-Men (all female cast) and the aforementioned Ms. Marvel have solo titles, it’s time for another leading lady to get her own series; Storm debuts this summer, written by Greg Pak – an interview from C2E2 can be found here.

Not even a year after the series’ Felina, and we’re still mourning the legendary Breaking Bad. Fans should check out this 8 minute-long tribute (seriously, whoever made this should win a freakin’ award) to the Heisenberg; while you’re at it, read our Breaking Bad Week articles. You’re God Damn Right.

Image Comics (The Walking DeadSagaDeadly ClassBlack Science…..) is trying to get some much-deserved cred with Humble Bundle, a site that lets users choose how much they pay for these works (sorry, there is a minimum payment lol). Here are some more details on the deal.

2014 is the year of the Bat…man 75th Anniversary, and July 23rd has been officially dubbed Batman Day! To celebrate, go to your local shop and pick up a FREE issue of a reimagined Detective Comics #27; Batman Day also coincides with the release of Grayson #1 and Robin Rises: Omega #1. Ah, it’s a good time to be a Bat.

The DC New 52 run of Batman has been arguably the best comic out since it went to print in 2011. A line of Greg Capullo-inspired action figures will be released soon (Batman and Talon coming this month). I want to buy an army of Talons, but I will likely settle for two.

Saturday morning cartoons meets Sunday night slow jams! Check out this awesome rendition of the classic Ducktales theme song.

Spider-Man is definitely the topic of choice this week, but DC and Warner Bros. can’t let Marvel steal all the shine. Zack Synder has been announced as the director to a Justice League movie to be released after Batman vs Superman.

Classic Frank Miller graphic novel, Ronin, is getting picked up by the SyFy channel. Hell yes.

Just in time for Star Wars Day, the initial cast for Star Wars: Episode VII has been released. What do you think?

To continue to expand upon its appeal to fourteen year old boys (just a good ribbing from a PlayStation person), X-Box One has launched WWE Network on consoles.

The Disney-Marvel connection will be in full effect this fall when Disney Infinity brings the big guns to its platform for its second iteration, Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes. I haven’t gotten a chance to play the game, but it seems like a great game for kids.

DC’s adult alter-ego game, Injustice: Gods Among Us, is rumored to be getting a sequel out next year. I’m not too sure how a new installment will be justified, but I’m excited, nonetheless. We’ll have more news on that as it develops.

Village idiot Joe Dirt may be getting a sequel. Yeah, that’s where we’re at with comedies…