The Easter bunny was at large Sunday (April 5th) at Wondercon. Deadpool, Aurora, Spider-Man… nearly every flavor of character imaginable was sporting ears and a basket. I spent my day squeezing every last moment out of the exhibition floor, taking in all the amazing art, fantastic costumes and booths I missed Friday & Saturday.
After that I wandered around the exhibit hall and took pictures of my favorite costumes. Actually I took a bunch of pictures… and kept doing that pretty much all day. In case no one has ever told you, Saturdays at conventions are when the crazy costumes come out to play. Saturdays are also the days when the whole convention goes super-saiyan. Everything is turned up to eleven from promotions to panels, tournaments to television premieres. Saturday is so full of events I often find myself becoming ambivalent to all of it… my sense of wonder napping on the job. That being said I love Saturday – but at the end of the day it’s a blur.
I saw a short part of the amazing 30 min San Andreas panel from Warner Bros. Then I hung out with few dozen more cosplayers…
After that I played the waiting game to get into BBC America’s Orphan Black Panel, which entailed seeing the Falling Skies season 5 trailer. I know next to nothing about Falling Skies… but I will say the trailer looks amazing. I should really get to watching this show.
Orphan Black brought nearly its entire main cast to Wondercon and they did not disappoint. They brought numerous clips, swag and some truly fantastic conversation. Unfortunately I can’t say much more than the tweet below to keep away the spoilers, but needless to say season 3 looks to be killer… and I can’t wait.
For the last panel of the day I listened in on a discussion of LGBTQ and Disney. It was the opinion of the panelists that the LGBTQ community is drawn to Disney for quality, inclusiveness, and characters who are accepted for who they are after struggling to find their place in the world. The panel also discussed the not so friendly habit Disney movies have of presenting queer characters as villains. Hades, Jafar, Captain Hook & Smee, LaFou, Scar, Ursula… all were mentioned here… which I can entertain.Other concepts were a bit looser to reason, but it was a fantastic panel over all.
To those who beat the odds and purchased a badge, I salute you. You made it soldier, but now unless you plan on sleeping in line for Hall H each night, you need a hotel room. Comic-con’s official hotel sale is this Tuesday, March 24th at 9 am.
In 2013 all hotels were gone in 3 min.
Last year all downtown hotels were gone in 90 seconds.
Comic-Con International has said it for years, the demand simply outweighs the supply of available hotel rooms. So how do you stand a chance against the hordes vying for a room? You plan like your life depends on it.
Step 1: Have a backup (if you can)
Unless you’ve found Doc Brown’s Delorian, you can’t go back in time to reserve cheap back up accommodations downtown. That being said there are still rooms out there but they’ll cost you. Some folks split with friends or folks they meet on reddit to negate the high cost, more on that later on. Check out vacation rental sites such as Airbnb and VRBO. Many locals leave town for Comic-con week and may list their place to negate the costs of their own vacations. There are several hostels in the downtown area, but do your research ahead of time. Some offer discounts for multiple people and others have private rooms, though these are usually booked months in advance.
Step 2: Practice
Yes, practice. I know it sounds crazy, but when the difference between no hotel and a dream hotel is seconds, every hesitation you can avoid counts. Memorize the order of the form and practice typing it all out on a word file. If something continually trips you up, like your phone number, have it copied and ready to paste in the moment. If you have multiple people in your party, have their info on a document to copy and paste into the form. Below is a shot of what the form has looked like in past years.
|2013 Hotel Form|
Step 3: Know your Hotels
Step 4: Share for Success
Step 5: Read up!
Do you miss Firefly? Well, join the rest of the galaxy in continuing to wait. But if you miss the actors from Firefly, wait no longer! (Or rather, wait a little longer.) The hilarious Alan Tudyk and his sidekick, Nathan Fillion, have teamed up to produce Con Man, a comedy about what it’s like to be an actor from a cancelled-too-soon science fiction series working the convention circuit. It’s a real stretch for them, let me tell you.
The promotional video on their IndieGoGo Page promises appearances from Felicia Day, Gina Torres, James Gunn and Seth Green, with more surprises to come as they raise more money, I’d imagine. Right now, the total they’re looking for is only to produce the first three, ten minute episodes, but if they smash their funding goals they’ll produce the whole series, and build a spaceship.
If that sounds like something you’d be interested in seeing, go forth! Click the link above, and give them your money!
UPDATE: As of 12:07 pm PST, they’ve already funded the first three episodes. But keep giving them your money so they can make the whole series!
For the past two or three years, the absolute highlight of the madness known as San Diego Comic Con’s Hall H has been whatever surprises Marvel has cooked up for the fans. From Tom Hiddleston showing up in full costume and character as Loki, to seeing the entire Avengers cast together on stage for the first time, they’ve always brought something to stop the show.
Which makes it interesting to think that this year, they may not be there at all.
In answering a fan Q&A session on his personal Facebook, James Gunn dropped this particular bomb:
Cue the fan freak out. In response to whether he might be playing with his fans or trying to trick us, Gunn said the following:
“@starglooms: @JamesGunn @DrunkenShots guys, he could be lying” I have never lied about anything to the fans, ever.
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) March 7, 2015
So what does this mean? With Avengers: Age of Ultron dropping a few months before SDCC, Marvel may feel like they don’t need to be there, although they could still show to promote Ant-Man. If they don’t show at all, the lines for Hall H could be significantly shorter this year.
Or longer, as people assume Marvel will show up to surprise them, and then riot when they don’t.
Today is a very special day for self-appointed geeks and dorks (like myself) all around the world. You know what I’m talking about. That first day where we are each given the opportunity to vie for access to that magical item which grants us each safe passage between worlds. Not just ANY magical item. It’s that Golden Ticket for which we will be permitted to access the chocolate factory of which every geek dreams. Yes, my friends, today is the very first day of Comic Con Registration. The online open registration went up today at 8:00am PST, and as usual sold out immediately – in fact, faster than ever before. Those fleeting comic con tickets bring to my attention the fact that not every geek has been fortunate enough to have completed this Odyssey. There is an entire generation of geeks and dorks everywhere who must be indoctrinated into the ways of Con. Like Athena appearing to Odysseus guiding him through his journey, that is where I appear to help introduce you to and prepare you for the comic con experience. Here are some tips and tricks I hope that newcomers (and oldcomers alike) will find helpful.
- There are always lines for panels, and depending on the size of the panel, you could be in line for hours. (Or, in the case of Hall H, a full day.)
- If your panels or events are far apart, there is a commute time to take into consideration.
- There will be a TON of things to do outside the con. You won’t believe it. Just plan at least one day outside the con…you’ll see!
- There are highlight events at con which are: The Eisner Awards, The Masquerade Ball, World Premiere screenings, Artist Talkbacks, and signings. You should keep an eye out for those.
- Plan on attending parties. There will be tons now that Hollywood, whose population generally has absolutely no idea of anything about comic books, has come and ruined comic con…ooops, did I say that out loud?
- The convention floor is massive and during busy days (like Friday and especially Saturday) can take 30 minutes just to get across. You will NEVER be able to do everything on the convention floor. So plan on spreading it out over a few days.
- You need to rest and eat at some point.
- used points for my flight,
- stayed with a friend,
- got a comped badge through a company for which I had worked,
- bought food at Ralph’s grocery store/packed my lunches,
- and used almost every free handout for stuff at the con.
Brian J. Patterson is a writer and actor splitting his time between San Francisco and Los Angeles. His house is a shrine to Wonder Woman.
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New York Comic Con, held every year at The Jacob Javits Center and ran by ReedPop, is runwith a skeleton crew of 40 blue shirt volunteers (sounds like a joke from Star Trek) risking life and limb to give us the best four days of comics, movies, tv shows and geek entertainment possible. With crowds of 150,000 on Thursday and reaching upwards of record breaking 250,000 (beating numbers at San Diego Comic Con!) on the highlight day, Saturday, this year’s show was the best yet in relation to organization, guests, panels and quality. However, it had a rocky start, with unprecedented ticket sales that were sold out in under 30 minutes online and at retailers. People were calling in every favor possible to score their passes.
The very first thing I noticed entering this years NYCC, was being able to enter a few hours early with my coveted exhibiters pass, but unlike last year, I couldn’t bring my four day pass BFF with me. The staff was stricter, and insisted she wait in the line 4 blocks back on Thursday. Yes you read right…since when has a Thursday ever had a line outside, let alone 4 blocks long?! Realization hit me then. Gone are the days of low key Thursdays at NYCC. Despite this, the line moved quick and 30 minutes later, she was inside and with me, and we were off, exploring the wonders that awaited us. Home, at last! Despite the increase in ticket holders, the space didn’t feel nearly as claustrophobic as the previous year. Last year I recall feeling trapped and unable to breathe, but somehow even on the busiest day (and I know you all know what I’m talking about-Saturday-you loathsome day! And yet, you are the day when all the best panels are held, and all the best celebrity sightings occur…alas! I loathe and cannot quit you!) I still felt able to move, and the longest lines I witnessed were for panels like The Walking Dead, (The zombie fans arrived at 5am for a 3pm panel! That’s true dedication!), which for the first time required wrist bands for entrance, making sure no overcrowding occurred (it still did, but somehow, it was more organized than before, and if you were turned away, wel,l it was your own fault for not getting a wristband. D’oh!) I did stand in an excessively long line for an autograph on Friday, only to find that on Sunday that same guest had no line, but live and learn! (Stephen Amell, You were so worth the 2 hour wait to talk about traffic patterns in LA vs. New York! And I still disagree, LA is worse) In general, the guests this year seemed to really take their time speaking with each person in line to meet them, and I personally never felt rushed out of any line by anyone, though I heard ranging stories about the security staff from peers of mine. There were some who felt they were strict and unfriendly, but that was just not my experience.
This years staff, the same who run my favorite convention, C2E2, in Chicago, were relatively on point, with only 40 in blue shirts, (those who volunteered their time) a few in grey (managers who are on staff) and a few yellow and black security provided by Javits security team. I rarely felt any staff were nasty or rude to me, and when they were, I felt able to kindly correct them, and was quickly apologized to. It was always a misunderstanding, and I was able to show them my pass and explain to them why I wasn’t moving from where I was, and again, I was allowed access, or passage, or whatever dumb (#awesome) thing I was trying to do. The most “rudeness” I experienced was from those running the Bandai booth, setting up a free signing for Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist, and this was being run by their own team, not by anyone on staff by NYCC. For some reason, line management wasn’t something this particular booth could handle, or even wanted to, and with limited NYCC staff on the show floor, there wasn’t anyone around to help. Honestly, if that’s the worst that happened? I’ll survive. I’m not trying to sound like a damn girl scout, and believe me, I’m a bi***. But, I don’t let small issues like grouchy individuals ruin my convention experience. It’s that simple, and face it, by Saturday, we’re all exhausted, waking up at 5 or 6 to put on cosplays, make up, set up booths, drive if you have to from places as far as Jersey (and I heard some people took the train from Pennsylvania). Conventions are exhausting, so I refuse to let someone who didn’t have enough coffee or sleep to ruin my four days. And again, it happened so rarely this weekend, I barely noticed. I even commended the staff on a job well done and was given a button to say thank u for being a good attendee (an amazing steampunk ferret button!), which only made me feel more welcome by this new staff. I hope ReedPop keeps this new crew on, because I have had two great experiences with them.
Somehow, this year seemed less rushed; panels were spread out, with not every big event happening at the same time. And although I’m not a huge panel attendee, if I wanted to go to Walking Dead (aside potentially having to spend all day in lines waiting for wristbands and then again to get the perfect seat in the main stage) I wouldn’t necessarily miss another “big” show stopper panel in the main stage. Of course, this also depends on what you classify as “big.” I personally felt they miscategorized a few items, (*ahem* Karate Kid*) which should have been in a bigger event space. Also new this year was main stage clearing. No more worrying if you would get a seat for the next big event, because those before you couldn’t just hang out all day in the main hall. However, the smaller event rooms weren’t cleared, and so that remained an ongoing issue still.
|…I may have been slightly biased for the Karate Kid.|
Best events? George Clooney surprising everyone with Hugh Laurie at the Tomorrowland panel! Star Trek panels and the ability to take a cast photo with 9 TNG members or meet and greet with them individually! For anime fans, three Sailor Moon panels and Dragon Ball Z! One thing I noticed this year was that were more screenings. There was a screening by BBC America of Dr. Who, a new Kill La Kill episode and a preview for The Walking Dead. Also the 20 year Crow panel that has been making the rounds at all the cons always screens some of the movie if not all of it. Walking into the show floor and being greeted by a giant head of Smaug, with mechanical eyes? I swooned. Now…if we could get it to speak….that would have been a thing! There was an entire room dedicated to The Mary Sue, fangirls and anti-bullying. In a wonderful move this year, Anti-harassment/CINC signs were posted frequently and I was only made aware of a few small incidents. They were handled by staff swiftly and appropriately, including kicking out individuals who were inappropriate. And although they didn’t involve me, I was made aware of them, and still felt safe. There are lots of forms of bullying, and it definitely occurs at these events, but I think they did a fair job of handling the major incidents I was aware of.
Now let’s talk Cosplay! Which let’s face it, as a cosplayer, it’s a big reason I go to events. I was surprised by the amount of cosplay on Thursday, but given the things I’ve already mentioned, like ticket sale increase, it makes sense. Everyone is making the most of the tickets they have. There were some really amazing cosplays! And I got to meet some cosplay heroes of mine, including Jessica Nigri, Batbunny Cosplay and Starbit Cosplay, who all brought their A game to the con. While I missed out on meeting a ton of other masterful cosplayers, too many to list, check out Flickr and Facebook, and you won’t be disappointed. There was the usual overabundance of Deadpools and Harley’s, but to be honest that has never bothered me, because they all looked amazing. Kudos to them for not giving a hoot was anyone says, and for cosplaying a character they love. The best costume I saw was an amazing Groot and Rocket that lit up and stopped traffic on the main floor. This year was the year of Street Fighter, there were tons of Ryu’s and Kens fighting all over the con (I myself was a female Ryu) As expected a dozen Elsa’s all done beautifully….surprisingly very few Master Chief’s (is his time up?). I felt the level of cosplay was really high this year, with families bringing their children all four days in full family cosplays like baby Starlords with mama Rockets and daddy Groots, and baby Iron Mans, baby Spidey’s and yes, a family of mini Cobra Kai’s vs. Daniel’s (the highlight of that panel for me! this is parenting done so epic!) What I experienced was support for everyone, no matter what the level of cosplay was. That is 100% what cosplay is and what I LOVE to see at NYCC.
This year, for me, was not spent waiting around or pushing through angry mob crowds. (Although there were some – Was anyone there for the Daredevil panel bracelet line that initially was cancelled due to excessive aggression?!) I spent it truly enjoying the crowds, the smaller panels, the show room full of happy vendors. (some of my faves: The Colorful Geek, Jordandene, and TC Toys.) They genuinely seemed pleasant and not overwhelmed by crowds who could barely move let alone shop (I heard some vendors say they made their target sales goal on Thursday!!) and meeting the few celebs I set aside the cash for. I did hear a few complaints that security was strict and uncool (one complaint was that they were pushy about line management and fire codes regarding how many bodies could be in a room) I heard some ridiculous ones about being in a crowd of people and no one stopping to say excuse me, well, with 250,000 people in a venue, that shit happens, move on. You can’t let small things like that color the whole weekend’s experience. Overall, this show was a huge success and is only getting better.
So what does it need for next year? More staff for better control of lines on the show floor. Bigger rooms for panels and longer show floor hours. With the con growing and more people coming, it needs to expand.
And of course, last but not least, are the NYCC parties. If you’re not invited to at least one, you might’ve been hiding under a rock. You don’t have to go to a NYCC sponsored event to have a great time, you can make the party! Whether you attended the costume event at Bowlmore Lanes, or the Game of Thrones event at Twins Pub, or a Vampire Freaks rave, you’re bound to find the perfect after-party event. With the newly minted Super Week, a week full of NYCC sponsored events, including concerts, sneak peeks and panels hosted by William Shatner, NYCC will never be the same. We will never be the San Diego, a city that shuts down and becomes a convention. But we are New York, and we’re damn proud of it.
Kit Cosplay is a proud cosplayer since early childhood. She’s a full time art therapist, full time cosplayer, an artist, designer, fangirl, geek and different from all the other pretty pennies out there.
Gaming conventions are ultimate meccas of nerdery, replete with so many wonderful distractions and remarkable pastimes. Previously, I wrote about making a memorable con-game and one of the nuggets of wisdom included theming your game. How can you do that? Here are some ideas:
1) Determine what your source material will be.
I’ve skinned both Avatar: The Last Airbender and Mass Effect themes over the Savage Worlds system. Both times, I chose the themes because those worlds are ones that I love. Avatar is, in my opinion, one of the greatest animated shows to exist to date. I could think of no better way to honor it than by allowing my fellow gamers to roam around in its world. When you pick your source material, pick something you are knowledgeable and passionate about. I rewatched the entire series before working on my game because I wanted to make sure that I knew my s*** and could make the experience as immersive as possible.
2) Determine where and when your game will take place in the world.
Timelines are important for the sake of games like this, because they effect things like character power level. Stating a fledgling Aang, fresh from the iceberg, is much different than stating Aang after he’s learned to bend all of the elements. I wanted my characters to feel heroic, so I chose to set my adventure after the series ended. That gave me (and my players) a lot more to work with.
As for picking a location, it comes easily if you already have a plot in mind. If you don’t, scouting locations just might inform your idea of what your adventure’s plot might be.
3) Pick a system that compliments the feel of your theme.
Savage Worlds’ tagline is “Fast, Furious, Fun!” It seemed like the perfect fit for a show like Avatar, which at its core was light-hearted and fun, while still dealing with some serious subject matter. I felt it would benefit from being paired with a fairly rules-lite system.
Once I decided on it, I immediately began thinking of the characters in terms of hindrances and edges, which made the character creation process flow nicely. Not all themes would be well-suited in a single system though, so think about which one would work well with your theme. A Sword of Truth game might work well in the D&D world, for instance. I’ve also been pondering running a Locke & Key game using the Dread system. Find the perfect match for what you plan on running, and it will have an authentic feel.
4) Add your home-brewed setting rules.
I did this before character creation, because I knew it would affect how the character stats played out. I streamlined bending, causing it to function like a Blessed’s Faith skill in Deadlands: Reloaded instead of muddling around with Power Points. I felt it much more in the spirit of the show, as bending was seldom limited. I also had to think about natural stat boosts based on what nation my characters came from. Water Tribe characters, for example, were provided with either a swimming or boating skill point for free at creation. This part requires a bit of legwork, but take some time, think about it, and maybe even have a discussion with friends who are also interested in your source material about rules that would make sense in the world.
5) Choose & Stat Your Characters.
Determine which characters you want to include in your game. Given the chance, most players would prefer to play main characters, the ones that they already know and love. It’s not always necessary, or possible, but I think you can tell that being a member of Team Avatar is far more exciting than playing as generic characters the DM created. As I mentioned, I chose to set my game after the series which meant I had to make Heroic level Savage Worlds characters, not Novice ones. This is where knowledge of your material comes in because you need to think about things like how many skill points you need to allocate to, let’s say, Sokka’s climbing skill.