Yesterday in the Nerd Verse… Jan 01, 2015

We listened and responded! We miss doing news articles as much as you miss reading them, so we will be attempting daily blurbs of random nerd happenings. Feedback is always welcome!

Our January 2015 Movie Previews are up. There are some winners and losers. Which are you most excited for?

Very soon, our comprehensive review of the Best of 2014 will be making its way to you all. Articles of awesomeness, and podcasts to boot. This is all new to us, so stay tuned! When it all goes live, you can find it here.

Tekken has further diversified their cast with the announcement that a new character named Shaheen (Translates roughly to “God of the Falcons” in Arabic) from Saudi Arabia will be added to Tekken 7, debuting in Japan in arcades next month. Source: Twitter

The fighting game we’re all really excited for, Mortal Kombat X, has released some details about characters and gameplay. We now know that the story takes place 25 years after the events of Mortal Kombat (9) and will feature a relatively aged Kung Lao, as well as an online Campaign mode that allows you to forge alliances with different MK factions. The game comes out in April. Source: Pelaaja magazine and AeroGrunt.

PlayStation Plus members, rejoice! Free for PS4 this month is inFamous: First Light. I don’t regret paying for it when it came out, but it’s definitely worth your time now that it is free.

A $50 LEGO set just dropped today that includes a Batman mecha-suit and, get this, a Wonder Woman invisible jet! Grodd does not stand a chance. Source: LEGO.com

I bet you didn’t know that Hawkeye writer Matt Fraction is actually a great guy in real life? If you visit WeLoveFine.com right now, you can purchase Hawkeye gear that supports Futures Without Violence, an organization dedicated to the eradication of violence against women and children (violence against men is still encouraged).

Thanks to 3D printing, is there really stopping anybody with a lot of money from becoming Batman? A collaboration of 3D printing companies say “Hell No!” Check out their prototype of the Arkham Origins Batsuit. Source: 3Dprint.com.

TV season is out to heat up with premieres of Agent Carter (1/6/15), American Horror Story (1/7/15) and Archer within the next week. Get your DVRs ready!

Athletes are modern day super heroes, and Marvel has created a documentary to show why. If you like sports figures as much as you like your comic book characters, check out their new documentary, 1 of 1: Genesis. Source: YouTube.

Phil Noto, artist of Black Widow, has put together a series of throwback, photo-realistic variants for various Marvel books set to come out in February. Source: ComicsAlliance.

The new Daredevil series on Netflix is gonna be bananas; we already knew that. What I didn’t know is that Marvel TV exec Jeph Loeb (yup, the guy that wrote Batman: Hush) is going for a vibe kind of like HBO’s The Wire. I don’t know how that will translate into Matt Murdock’s life, but those words can never be bad. Source: EW.

Denver Comic Con 2014 – Three Years, Three Experiences

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.

John Layman

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.

movie-bikes

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.

Hobbit-orc

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.

scorpion

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.

lego1

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.

fighting-spectators

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.

So Far This Week…June 4th, 2014

GET OVER HERE!!!! Neatherrealm Studios has announced Mortal Kombat X. The trailer is ridiculous. Soon enough, you can be murdering all your friends on your next-gen consoles.

You can’t count on Jonh Constantine, but you can count on NBC’s Constantine to hit the small screen in October.

You’ve heard it time and time again. This is Batman’s 75th Anniversary as a character. DC logic says, “How about a crap-ton of variant covers?” Done.

If you really want to be a Dothraki, you need to learn how to speak Dothraki using an official language course. Could Dothraki be the new Klingon?

Another year, another Apple iOS announcement. The newest buzz at WDCC is over iOS8 and Apple HomeKit. Check it out if you care.

There’s a new Dragonball Z movie coming out in theaters this August. The recent comeback through Kai and the DVD releases have created quite the buzz. In the new film, titled Battle of the Gods, is the first Dragonball Z movie to be canon, and takes place after the defeat of Majin Buu.

Gwendoline Christie from Game of Thrones and Lupita Nyongo from 12 Years A Slave will be joining the Star Wars: Episode VII cast.

Speaking of, JJ Abrams is getting really tired of your shit, TMZ. He wishes people would just leave the movie alone and enjoy it when it comes out. Here, here!

Guardians of the Galaxy LEGOs!

Stephen Colbert grows bad-ass Tony Stark-like mustache to support billionaires.

Batman: Arkham Knight has been delayed until next year. It does make me sad, but I want this last game to be the best it can be, so delay away! There is, however, a little eye candy to take the pain of the delay away. Plus, Far Cry 4 will keep me busy all winter long.

 

RoboCop Day is really a thing in Detroit.

Jubilee and Cable considered for X-Men Days of Future Past. Awesome, more mutants to include in the movie that would have shared none of the spotlight.

Movie history is being made, you guys. For the first time ever, the top three movies of the year are comic book titles. Thanks for millions of nerds flocking to the theaters, the three best selling movies of 2014 are: Captain America: The Winter SoldierAmazing Spider-Man 2 and X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Hercules! Hercules! (Nutty Professor voice) Check out The Rock in the newest trailer for Hercules.

 

 

Comicpalooza 2014

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

See also:

Stan Lee panel

Buffyverse panel

Greg Capullo interview

Nicholas Brendon panel

Comicpalooza Cosplay!

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

The City

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How Comicpalooza Works

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

After-Hours Specials

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Meet the Press!

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

Greetings Fellow Comic-conians!!

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

Peace and Love,

Bettie Skellington

Mage Pena

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

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

Tips for Future CP-ers:

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

The LEGO Movie Review

Genre – Animation, Comedy

Director – Phil Lord and Chris Miller

Cast – Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Mike Offerman, Alison Brie and Charlie Day

Alluring element – It’s a LEGO movie.. what else do you need?  Oh.. BATMAN!

 
Plot – 9
Acting – 10
Representation of Genre – 10
Cinematography – 9
Effects/Environment – 10
Captivity – 8
Logical consistency – 8
Originality/Creativity – 9
Soundtrack/Music – 8
Overall awesomeness – 10
 
hush_rating_91

LEGO has been in full reboot mode for the last few years, with several video-game titles, a handful of straight-to-DVD movies (check out our LEGO Batman movie review) and a full variety of high-profile brand name sets under their belts. It’s been on the cusp of over-whelming. So when we heard that Warner Bros. would be making a full-length film to be released in theaters, we were pretty skeptical. Nevertheless, we were excited to see Batman, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Shaquille O’Neal in the same movie. The main character, though, we weren’t too sure about. How could one LEGO figure make a difference when surrounded by all these other astonishing pieces?

LEGO

As it turns out, one piece can make all the difference. In The LEGO Movie, we follow our main character, Emmet, as he enjoys a extraordinary life. This is not to be confused with the extraordinary adventure he finds himself wrapped in.  Emmet is a  construction worker who breezes through life thinking “everything is awesome.”  He watches TV, follows all the directions at work and tries to make friends everywhere he goes.  Little does he know that he, and many of the other LEGO people in the world are controlled by President Business and his super-weapon, the KrazyGlue.  But, according to an ancient prophecy by Vitruvius, there is a “special” who is supposed to be so beyond creative, they are all saved from President Business and his Kragl.  Emmet meets Wyldstyle, a woman who thinks she is supposed to be the “special” who is looking for the “piece of resistance” against the Kragl.  They meet one late night on the construction site and Emmet inadvertently finds the “piece of resistance.” The rest of the film is the adventure Emmet has with his new found friends Wyldstyle, Vitruvius, Uni-Kitty, Metal Beard and Benny.  They fight the good fight against President Business, his henchman Bad Cop/Good Cop and the Kragl.

And the journey along the way was some of the best animation, dialogue and story line that hasn’t come from Pixar in a really long time.  The LEGO Movie was clever throughout, making an experience that was enjoyable for kids, but maybe even more so for adults because we actually “got” all the jokes. The props that came along with each scene added to the depth of storyline and animation.  They also in most cases added humor to the movie.  The different LEGO worlds were multi-layered and animated so well, sometimes it was difficult to discern if it was stop-motion or CGI, which for this film was a good thing.

the lego movie coffee cup

And even greater than the stellar animation and the wittiness were all the morals in the story.  Should we not always do what media tells us to do?  Check.  Should we defy the expectations others make for us?  Check.  Should we make room for others to change and forgive them?  Check.  It’s amazing how many large concepts were stuffed into a  two-hour time period.  And that they weren’t shallow morals either, but things that all children growing up should understand.  And rather than our hero being any of the number of really famous heroes who are featured, we really do root for Emmet, the LEGO piece who is just a construction worker.  By the end of the film, we know he is much more than his job title.  Even if they aren’t Batman, normal LEGO’s can do just as much (and maybe even more) good for the world.

The Lego Movie cover

The LEGO Movie really connected all the bricks; simply put, EVERYTHING WAS AWESOME! Oh, and don’t forget to check out the The LEGO Movie exclusive figures and sets.  And a word of advice, you don’t always have to follow the manual.

All photos belong to Warner Bros. and LEGO.

written by Adrian Puryear and Sherif Elkhatib

Monthly Movie Preview: February 2014

Hello, February!  This month in the theaters brings us a few action flicks, a few romance flicks and then there is The Lego Movie  Enjoy our previews and quit reeling over the Broncos.:

Feb Movie Preview

February 7 – The Monuments Men

Starring: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, John Goodman

Most of you have probably seen the ad for this movie A LOT.  You may even be sick of seeing the ads.  Nevertheless, I don’t think you can ever go wrong with a George Clooney movie.  Written, directed, produced and starring Hollywood’s most generous bachelor, The Monuments Men is based off the true story at book by Robert M. Edsel.  The story follows the Allied group of men in the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives Program.  The previews don’t make it look much different than any other WWII picture that has come out lately.  However, I always love WWII movies, but for others the actors alone are probably worth a go.  Bill F’n Murray is one of the stars, and he always gets my vote.  – A

February 7 – The LEGO Movie

Starring:Chris Pratt, Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks, Morgan Freeman, Will Ferrell, Liam Neeson, Alison Brie

Sporting an All-Star cast (both flesh-based and brick-based), The LEGO Movie is the first LEGO movie to hit the big-screen. Chris Pratt (Parks & RecreationGuardians of the Galaxy) plays the main character, Emmett, who is chosen as the Special, the lego capable of saving Lego World from the evil Lord Business, played by Will Ferrell. Lord Business’ aim is to stifle creativity by gluing the Lego world together. And somehow, Taco Tuesday fits in there. This movie looks hilarious, especially Will Arnett’s Batman. It will also mark the first time Batman is in a movie with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (hopefully not the last… still holding out for that crossover!). It’s my most anticipated movie of the month, bricks down. – S

February 7 – Vampire Academy

Starring: Zoey Deutch, Lucy Fry, Danila Kozlovsky, Gabriel Bryne, Sarah Hyland

OK, I’ll be honest; I’ve never read the books Vampire Academy is based off of.  Following the Twilight craze among teen and tween girls (and let’s face it, 50 year old divorceés) anything that was Young Adult fiction and vampires was doomed for me.  The Vampire Academy books (there are 6) have sold millions of copies and made the New York Times.  That being said, the story follows to besties who go to St. Vladimir’s Academy.  There is love, lust, teen angst and probably a lot of cheesiness.  But with the media circuit on the morning shows this week, the movie doesn’t seem that bad.  There are scenes I laughed at.  Out loud.  It may not be worth the trip to the theater unless you are 13, it’s your first date without a chaperone, and the guy you are dragging there with you thinks he might get to 1st base.  Otherwise, this might be perfect for 20 somethings to watch on Netflix, alone, and with tons of guilty pleasure.

February 12 – RoboCop

Starring:Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Samuel L Jackson, Abbie Cornish, Michael Keaton, Michael K Williams (Omar from The Wire), Aimee Garcia (Jamie Batista from Dexter)

Reboots have always been a mixed bag for people; we have a rose-tinted glasses about how we remember things. In the case of RoboCop, I have fond childhood memories of watching him fight crime with a gun that comes out of his hip. The general story appears to be the same; however, the times have changed and so have the messages this iteration brings about. Being PG-13 doesn’t mean the same thing it did when the first one came out either. Alex Murphy’s death already seems forgettable compared to the original but it won’t stop me from going to see it and enjoying every second.  RoboCop could also be the hero Detroit wants and so desperately needs.- R

 

February 14 – About Last Night

Starring: Kevin Hart, Michael Ealy, Regina Hall, Joy Bryant, Paula Patton, Christopher McDonald

Kevin Hart is really saturating the market right now as one of the few stand-up comedians that are regularly crossing over into movie comedy. Following up January’s Ride Along, Hart stars in a romantic comedy about two couples who try to play the game of love and not give in to another person. It’s based off a 1970’s movie, Sexual Perversion in Chicago. Anything with Kevin Hart and Regina Hall is bound to be hilarious, but I wouldn’t really go see it I can’t think of anything more creative to do on Valentine’s Day. Men who are forced to go see this will thank the stars that RoboCop comes out two days earlier. – S

February 14 – Winter’s Tale

Starring: Colin Farrell, Jennifer Connelly, Russell Crowe, Will Smith (the Will Smith)

Winter’s Tale is hard to predict.  It will either be a movie every couple who goes to the theaters on Valentine’s Day will see, or maybe no one will go see it.  Based off a novel by Mark Helprin, Winter’s Tale is a complicated story of a man, Peter Lake, played by Colin Farrell, who loves a woman, but gets trapped 100 years in the future trying to find her.  He also has a really cool pet horse.  Oh, and Will Smith is in it, although he isn’t in the previews.  Yeah, the Will Smith.  More than likely to be similar to The Time Traveler’s Wife, Winter’s Tale may be another one to watch on Netflix, alone, at home, in your flannel jammies, a box of tissues, and not wearing your bra. – A

February 21 – Pompeii

Starring: Kit Harrington, Carrie-Anne Moss, Emily Browning,

Pompeii could be a decent movie.  Don’t expect it to be timeless, but the poster is a little misleading.  The poster shows a lover’s embrace in front of the exploding volcano, maybe suggesting eternal love, no matter how creepy that really is.  But really, the preview makes it look like Dante’s Peak meets Spartacus.  Starring Kit Harrington, who also plays Jon Snow in Game of Thrones, Pompeii tells us the story of a Roman slave and gladiator who falls in love with a wealthy merchant’s daughter.  He must save her before the lava gets them; we probably know how that ends.  Well, maybe.  It’s genre is listed as “action/adventure”.  I have also read that the movie took so long to make not only because it is 3D, but also to make it historically accurate. I was really interested in the culture of Pompeii when I was younger, so that factual aspect really attracts me, but if it really is historically accurate, are the characters even worth getting attached to?  I’ll have to see it to find out. – A

February 21 – 3 Days to Kill

Starring: Kevin Costner, Amberd Heard, Hailee Steinfeld

Do you ever wish you had three whole days to do whatever you want?  For me – watch all the Star Wars films… three times…  While it’s not exactly the theme of 3 Days to Kill, it comes pretty close.  Ex-secret service agent, Ethan Runner (Kevin Costner), is pulled back into duty and given a special assignment.  To kill!!  His agreement to this killer task (PUN DROP) is given on the stipulation that his employers can cure a strange sickness plaguing Runner; a sickness that has left him with only three days to live!  Hence the “3 Days” to perform his task. Growing a budding bond between estranged father and daughter, conducting a killing spree and trying not to die of an unknown and crazy illness all within 3 days?!?!  Sounds like a movie to me!  Kevin Costner is making a comeback of sorts to the silver screen this year.  Following up from Shadow Recruit last month, Costner will play the lead in 3 Days to Kill and then star in Draft Day (stay tuned for April movie previews!), all following last year’s Man of Steel.  An acting veteran with this much energy in him is bound to deliver a good time on the big screen. – T

February 28- Non-Stop

Starring: Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore

Need a reason to see a thrilling movie this month?  Two words for you –  Liam Neesan.  One of Hollywood’s ultimate bad ass, action heroes will star in Non-Stop late this month.  As the plot goes, Bill Mark (Neeson), US air marshal, thinks it’s just another day in the life as he soars through the air on a transatlantic flight when he receives a perturbing text message from an unknown fellow passenger. The message – “I’m going to kill someone on this plane every 20 minutes.”  That is, unless Bill can wire $150 million into an offshore bank account before the flight lands.  Let the action roll.  As for us, the viewers, we’ll just kick back, eat some popcorn and watch Liam take us on yet another entertaining thrill ride.  This film brings a new and unexplored theme to the heist and thriller genre.  The Hush team is excited and in high anticipation for Non-Stop.  At the very least, it’ll be great to some sweet justice delivered by Qui-Gon Jinn.  It’s going to be the best airplane based movie since Snakes on a Plane!  (Only slightly joking…) – T

Written by Adrian PuryearSherif Elkhatib, Taylor Lowe and Robert Michael

So Far This Week… January 22, 2014

With the expansion of Hush Comics, we have decided to give bi-weekly news updates.  Anything we find news-worthy will be posted here every Wednesday and Sunday.  Have anything to add?  Post it in the comments!

So far this week…

Quickly following the release of the next DC Animated film which debuts in less than two weeks (February 4th), Justice League: War, it has been announced that an animated adaptation of Grant Morrison’s Batman & Son story titled Son of Batman will be released in the Spring of 2014. Chronicling the introduction of Damian Wayne, this will be a great addition to the DC Animated library. Check out the trailer below.

DC won’t be the only comic book company getting some animated love; Marvel will be releasing an anime-style movie called Marvel Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher, coming straight to DVD on March 25 I’m really excited to see a darker animated film of two of the most brutal enforcers in the Marvel universe. You can find more details here or just check out the trailer below.

Everybody holding out hope that the open world bounty hunter game, Star Wars 1313, would still be produced after LucasArts was sold are going to be sorely disappointed. Disney has officially dropped the trademark on the game’s title, essentially dropping it in the sarlack pit for good. Wanna know more about this  game changer that could have been? Click here.

Don’t be too down in the dumps, Star Wars nerds! There have been heavy talks about a Boba Fett spin-off film. Only thing is, he might not be the Fett you grew up with. If you’re intrigued by Lawrence Kadsan’s (acclaimed Star Wars producer) alteration of the great bounty hunter, check this out.

In an amazing show of love, a couple in Denmark have crafted a table-top version of a Mass Effect reaper, a world destroying drone for the popular science-fiction video-game. It’s terribly realistic, which does the nearly month-long construction justice. You can learn more about this couple and their pet drone here.

It’s a LEGO’opoly out there! LEGO and Marvel have once again teamed up to come out with LEGO sets (and assumed videogame connection) for Captain America: Winter SoldierAmazing Spiderman 2 and Guardians of the Galaxy, the latter of which will be released in August, right in time for the film. You’d think will all these sets coming out that the price would decrease.

In comics news, Dr. Who will be finding himself a new home after leaving IDW Comics (home to some of our favorite independent comics like TMNT, Samurai Jack and Locke & Key) for a lesser known Titan Comics, ending a six-year run with IDW. We’re not sure how we feel about it, but check the facts and let us know how you feel.

It’s been a while since Bruce Willis has blown something up in a futuristic sci-fi thriller (uh, you mean like in Looper?). This film, titled Vice, portrays a society where people are allowed to take out primal urges on androids. Complications arise when one of the androids becomes self-aware. There are more details here.

The script for a new Fantastic Four film, slated to release in June 2015, has been finished, with casting to begin within a month. I might be the only one who thinks Marvel is beating a dead horse with the FF franchise, but I am excited at the prospect of Michael B. Jordan (The WireFruitvale Station) playing the Human Torch. Those interested should check out this article.

So if the New 52 Justice League International didn’t work out, and the current Justice League of America isn’t working out… the next logical step is to release Justice League: Canada, right? DC Comics logic has me confused. It’s since been renamed Justice League United, and features another ensemble cast of lesser-known DC characters. Check out our reviews when this book drops April 23rd.

New trailers have been released for Maleficent and 300: Rise of an Empire, both of which are on our ‘must see’ list for 2014.

Quentin Tarantino is PISSED! Somebody leaked his finished script for what was supposed to be his next film, a Western titled The Hateful Eight. The leak caused him to go on a Pulp Fiction-esque rant, the entirety of which can be found here.

Miniature Dollhouse reunion, you say?!  It’s true!  You can watch the trailer for Lust for Love starring Franz Kranz, Dichen Lachman, Enver Gjokaj and Felicia Day right here.  Then you can squeal about Whedonverse.

Check back on Sunday to get a new round-up!

Written by Sherif Elkhatib

Lego Batman: The Movie Review

When I played LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes for the first time, it was probably the most fun I’ve ever allowed myself to have playing a videogame. You run around collecting coins, breaking bad guys to pieces and building miniature LEGO sets in fast forward time. Well, the movie is more of the same experience, but the only thing you have to do with your hands it press Play!

Before we get started, let’s clear up one thing: if you have played the game, you know the story. Except for a few added scenes to smooth everything together, the movie is essentially comprised of all the cutscenes in the videogame. That being said, the storyline of LEGO Batman: The Movie is absolutely awesome. It’s the classic tag team power match-up of Batman and Superman (and Robin – everybody forgets Robin) going against Joker and Lex Luthor. Ultimately, as the lesson is learned, Batman realizes that it is going to take more than just the two of them to defeat the duo, and the Justice League is called into the mix to fix off the baddies. In fact, my only knock of the film is that the Justice League isn’t featured more in it. I know that it would have taken focus off the relationship between Batman and Superman, but it would have been great to see more Easter Eggs like Wonder Woman’s Invisible Jet made with clear LEGO pieces. Overall though, it’s a story that would translate into pretty much any format and the writers should be very proud of themselves for creating an experience that both three-year olds and their nerdy parents can enjoy.

Quite possibly the best part of LEGO Batman: The Movie is the LEGO. LEGO Everything. Nub-heads, cheap cloth LEGO capes, and a ton of other LEGO translations that I won’t spoil are really proof that the small things matter. Somehow, with all the malarkey of  exploding LEGO chickens turning into LEGO drumsticks, the movie somehow is able to remain true to form. The Danny Elfman Batman: Returns tribute of an introduction, along with the absurd need to play John Williams’ Superman theme everytime he does something cool makes the characters feel bigger than LEGOs.

That isn't rock candy...
That isn’t rock candy…

Batman is arrogant and stoic, while Superman is a total bro. It’s a great yin-yang relationship that the Superman/Batman comics explored and I think that it translates well to a 71 minute film. While it can be a bit corny at times, the charm injected to each and every moment will have you secretly wishing for more. It’s basically your inner child’s imagining of the Dark Knight. If you’re not too cool for school, you could be in for a great time. Take your pants off in the comfort of your own home and enjoy!

Batman secretly wears Superman pajamas around the Batcave...
Batman secretly wears Superman pajamas around the Batcave…

“Listen to your… listen to your Batman” and buy this movie. It’s noticeably cheaper than the usual DC Animated movie and it includes an awesome Clark Kent LEGO piece.


SCORECARD
:
Category Explanation Score
Plot While not Oscar-worthy, the story has enough substance that it will keep you wondering what will happen next and the ending fits. 8/10
Voice-acting All voices are fitting of their characters and LEGO Batman knocks it out of the park with experienced but relatively unknown actors. 9/10
Representation of Source Material The buddy cop bromance between Batman and Superman is in full effect in this film and it pays off in the end. 9/10
Animation Again. LEGO EVERYTHING. In a good way. 10/10
Sound Effects and Music The themes that Danny Elfman and John Williams made famous return in classic form. 10/10
Captivity There are a lot of slow transitions here where you can tell it was pieced together from previous material that kind of mess up the flow of the film. 7/10
Overall awesomeness The movie does a great job at being cute versions of the things we love about the DC Universe, especially Batman. 10/10
Creativity Anytime LEGO does a project, they go all out. Half the fun is finding little details they tweaked for the sake of being LEGO. 9/10
Replayability It’s a fun movie, but I’m pretty sure it will find it’s way to the back of the collection 6/10
Special Features There are a couple of cute stop-motion shorts, and extra vault episodes are always nice, but nothing really to write home about. 5/10
 
 
hush_rating_83
 
IF YOU LIKED THIS, CHECK OUT THESE:
Superman-Batman: Public Enemies
Justice League: Doom
 
NEXT FOR DC ANIMATED:
The Flashpoint Paradox, based off Geoff John’s awesome Flashpoint run (Flashpoint #1-5), out July 30, 2013 . I personally cannot wait for this. It has an All-Star cast, led by director Jay Oliva (The Dark Knight Returns: Part 1 and 2), and an incredible take on Batman’s orgin. I’ve attached a teaser below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAc9Br_MUoU

Written by Sherif Elkhatib