Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Wolverine (may contain minor spoilers)

My daughters were both home this weekend, and asked to go to see The Wolverine. The greatest trick as a parent, is to raise kids who genuinely like the sorts of things you like, while still being 100 percent their own people. My girls are like that, as I am sure I have suggested in the past. The first thing my oldest asked when we picked her up from the Girl Scout Camp bus pickup on Friday, was 'can we see Wolverine?'. Actually, it was the second thing after... 'Let's get something to eat...', which I was also happy to hear and oblige.

We went to a regular matinee showing of the movie, and got away for just 21 bucks, so I didn't feel cheated or anything to begin with. I was seeing this movie with both of my girls, and we all had fun. Based just on those facts, this movie gets an above average rating from me. Having fun, or being able to enjoy something on some level that my girls also enjoyed is a primary factor in what I think of a movie.

Having said all of that up front, I really enjoyed the movie. It was not a perfect movie, but it hit an awful lot of the right notes, if not exactly how I would have hoped, it at least made an effort. I am not a super Wolverine fan, or a wolverine comics historian, but I was reading X-Men and getting wolverine mini series back in the 80's, and I did like Wolverine in Japan quite a lot when I was younger.

The movie gives us a solid wolverine in Japan experience. He meets a lot of significant people from the comics, and fights versions of recognizable villains from the comics as well, modified somewhat to fit into the movie reality. We get ninjas and some intrigue, in addition to seeing different aspects of the country it is set in.

I liked that it was sort of a checklist of wolverine character notes:
Wolverine is a wildman who has lived apart from people
Wolverine is a top of the food chain predator, but is respectful of animals and they are respectful of him.
The guy has a code, and pity the fools that violate it.
Wolverine is loyal and a good guy at heart. He will stick up for people in danger and jeopardy wherever he can
Wolverine is a soldier, and always has been. at his core, fighting for a cause is a thing he will always come back to.

I thought the movie showed good character insight, had enjoyable interactions, a bit of humor, and good action. It was easily worth seeing at the matinee.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

SPX - Small Press Expo is this Weekend. I will be there today. My Daughter and I are  volunteering from 3-7. Jaime AND Gilbert Hernandez will be there, among many other distinguished guests, and awesome smaller press comics' creators. Check out their site at http://www.spxpo.com/

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Infinity Con

ECCC 2012 was one of the best experiences I have had in a long time, and for someone who is wildly uncomfortable around people, the best part was being surrounded by like-minded friends that I generally spend my days with on the internet, but many whom I never expected to meet in person. Good people of varying levels of comic book geekery, but every one of them my type of people. One thing I was overwhelmed by was the sort of caring compassion and acceptance that is always a little bit of a surprise, but never ceases o make me feel better about the world that I am often fairly cynical about. Just a lot of nice people and a lot of fun.

The Convention itself was a good solid con, and I hope to write more about the experiences there somtime, but it won't be anytime soon

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Long Con, Part 4: Comics People

It's the week of the con now, and I have meaning to post this installment for a while. The problem is that I don't have a great deal to say. What I want to say is that I am super excited, and looking forward to meeting all sorts of cool creators, and getting them to sign things. I am pretty sure that if I take anything with me it will just be one or two books. Maybe I will try to get The Last Iron Fist Story signed by both Fraction and Brubaker, or something like that. A Mice Templar signed by Oeming and Glass would be awesome, or a Mouse Guard signed by Peterson. Those things aren't exciting me all that much at the moment, and it doesn't change my opinion about wanting to fly out to Seattle at all.

My interests go in very well defined waves at times. Often there is a har line between one thing and the next, and I will burn super hot on something, like comics, until I burn out and something else takes its place, like movies or video games. I have always been like this for the most part. Today, out of an acknowledgement of my waning interest, and an acceptance that it will cost a good bit of money for my oldest to start college this fall, I cancelled my folder at my local comic shop. I picked up 16 dollars worth of comics and thanked my friend at the store. I have just finished reading them, and enjoyed them, although nothing really blew me away.

Despite not having much spending money, I am still very excited to fly out to Seattle and attend ECCC. I am looking forward to reconnecting with friends, and meeting a bunch in person for the first time, but I am also excited about having time at a convention again to really just take the whole thing in. I want to see everything and engage, hopefully without annoying everyone.

Here are some of the guests I am pretty excited about:
Kurt Busiek - Astro City is just awesome comics
Scott Wegener - I have 3 Atomic Robo shirts, wish Clevinger was able to be there still
Adam Warren - Funny Cheesecake in a way that isn't insulting
Bruce Timm - Bruce Timm for crying out loud
Dan Slott - Responsible for so much that has been good and funny in comics.
Bill Sienkiewicz - I was a kid when he ruined New Mutants for me, but I later learned to appreciate his amazing work, und understand that other people would kill New Mutants for real, way worse than conceptual art possibly could.
Bryan Lee O'Malley - Neat guy, Scott Pilgrim is a masterpiece. look forward to anything he chooses to do.
Colleen Coover - blown away by her pieces in Girl Comics, love her art in general and need to pick up more of her work.

So there are folks I am happy will be at ECCC, just not sure how outgoing I will end up being, etc.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Long Con, Part Three: The Guest List (media)

My primary motivation for going to Seattle to attend Emerald City ComicCon, isn't really the con itself, as I have mentioned in earlier posts. That doesn't mean I'm not excited about going to a big comic convention again. I'm as psyched about that as I am about seeing friends again/in person for the first time. In preparation for the big event, which is now less than a month away, I have been pouring over the guest list and trying to figure out who I am most excited to meet, and also, exactly what I want to take with me to get signed.

I've Never been super comfortable with celebrities at cons. I don't know what to do with them. I don't like having to pay people to talk to them, and that seems to be what media people at cons are there for. I don't have as much of an issue with artists and writers, because I like the product they create and can ask to have it signed and say hello while that is happening. I get that there isn't a connection created in that moment, and I don't care. I get something out of being able to thank people for the work they do, and that I admire. If I pay for anything, I can pay for something they have made, and artists will usually do a quick sketch of some sort under those circumstances. There is just no comfortable equivalent I can think of with actors. 30 or 40 bucks for a signature, 30 or 40 bucks for a picture. Not a single person there is worth that kind of money, when I could be spending that same money on comics, or food from local joints, or alcohol for my friends so they keep me entertained and forget they don't really know me.

All that being said, and despite a large group of entertainers I am pretty fond of: Adam Baldwin, Summer Glau, George Takei, and Christopher Lloyd, the place I think ECCC looks strongest in regard to Celebrity appearances is in the Voice Talent that will be there. Batman, Bubbles, Pinky & the Brain,Bender & Fry, and Wakko Warner will all be appearing in voice form at least, and that is just a fraction of the great characters performed by that group. Maurice LeMarche is particularly interesting to me, as the 9th annual Rodney Dangerfield's Young Comedians special was kind of a milestone for me, and I remember how cool it was that the guy who did an almost entirely hack comic impressions set went on to do just an insane number of really great characters as a voice actor.

I'm not a very good stalker, and am intermittently shy in person, so most likely unless someone is really trying to attract people to them, I will not be meeting any media people while I am there. I go to these things in part to break out of my comfort zone, but most often I just retreat in horror to the heart of my comfort zone and comfortably avoid contact or interaction.

Also, Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith will apparently be in or around ECCC doing things for money as well.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Long Con, Part 2: Why ECCC?

My friend that was helpful in cultivating my most recent comic book revival, and responsible for getting me to go to Pittsburgh ComiCon, kicking off the era of me going to cons, has a podcast. He and his friend and frequent collaborator actually have two podcasts, both of them very good. The first is called Sarcastic Voyage, and is a great mix of humorous chatter and funny bits on any just about everything. The second is Post Atomic Horror, and it is an ambitious Star Trek themed Podcast that started with The Original Series, and is working its way through lovingly irreverent recaps of  all the episodes of all the series', as well as the movies. Both podcasts are a lot of fun, both are on ITunes, and  neither are for the overly prudish.

My friend lives in Seattle, and I have wanted to get out there for Emerald City Comic Con for a while. This year is a big year for the podcasts, and He and his co-host have a lot planned for ECCC. One of the nice things about following his creative efforts is that it has afforded me the opportunity to interact online with a lot of other friends and listeners of the shows, and develop friendships with many others who have similar interests and sensibilities. This will be the largest 'meet up' that I have ever been a part of, and I am very much looking forward to it.

I went to Seattle, once before for about a week. It's a beautiful city, but I didn't spend a lot of time in the city itself, as I was attending meetings at Microsoft, and was staying on Lake Washington, but I had a car and drove around it some. This time I don't know that I will see a lot more of it, but we'll see.

My trip this year almost wasn't going to happen, but there were just too many people I really want to meet in person for me to miss it unless it would bankrupt us, and I don't think it will. I definitely need to budget carefully, but I don't think this one time will kill us. My Flight is booked, my hotel accommodations are handled. I am now in the early panic and planning stages, which I will continue to discuss in future entries here.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Long Con: part 1 - An Introduction

I haven't been to that many comic conventions, and never until relatively recent. I've been to Pittsburgh, and Heroes in NC, and SPX in Bethesda. I only went to Heroes once, but it was with both of my daughters and was a particularly good experience for all of us. We stayed in a nice hotel, we took our Wii with us, we went to a couple Triple D restaurants, went to a movie, shopping, etc. and it was just great. My youngest met and hit it off with several of the creators at Top Shelf, and I got to meet Jaime Hernandez for the first time, and Matt Wagner signed a copy of Mage for me. SPX has been a pretty great show for me as well, and I have gone to it several times, including twice as a volunteer. My youngest went with me as a volunteer as well, and it's a whole different angle on comics. Even if you don't think of yourself as a traditional, or mainstream comics fan, I recommend attending a small press con at some point, and if they take volunteers, you should try it, at least once. The combination of DIY, Small publishers, students and collectives really creates a sort of festival feel. Everyone is accessible, and nearly everyone is excited to just get their work in front of people, and mix with fans of the medium, and even moreso to mix with their fellow creators. If your view of comics is solely Super Heroes from Marvel and DC, then you will either hate it, or it will open your eyes to what else is out there.

Pittsburgh Comicon was my first real comic convention, I went as a way to see one of my best friends from High School, and to meet in person and support a friend of mine that I had only ever met online. I know I have discussed some or all of this previously, but please indulge me. My first experience at a con was awkward. I was giddy, but nervous, and didn't feel comfortable approaching anyone. My friends had more experience than I did, and had some insight to things that was helpful, and I got the courage up to approach one or two people eventually, but mostly I just stared at people from 50 feet away.

I went to Pittsburgh a second time, and took my oldest daughter with me. This was still before going to Heroes with both of my girls, and the presence of one of my kids gave me at least a sort of borrowed courage to approach some people and engage them to some degree. We met Gigi Edgely and Marc Singer, and had a great time eating wasabi peanuts and talking toKristy Bourgeois and the Noses Optional crew. We also stayed for the cosplay roundup on Sunday before we went back home, and that was something that my daughter and I still reference 5 or 6 years after the fact.

This has all been a preface up to this point. This post is a kickoff to what I hope will be a series of posts relating to my anticipation of, preparation for, and ultimately attendance at: Emerald City Comicon 2012, which takes runs March 30 - April 1 in Seattle, WA. I have secured a place to stay and booked my flight already, so it is going to happen. I am very excited about this, and plan to share just about everything relating to it that I can, so we all have that to look forward to, apparently.