Showing posts with label events. Show all posts
Showing posts with label events. Show all posts

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Austin Comic Con Wrap-Up (Year 1)

So, this was the first year Wizard World had brought a Con to Austin.  There were certainly highs and lows, but its a great start and something this part of the state can use and obviously support.

My day today was very different from Day 1 as I actually spent time with people I knew.

Okay, technically, I don't "know" Captain Marvel
Jamie decided to bail on me to spend an afternoon with PalNicole, so Jason took me up on the ticket.

At the Con I met up with Corpsman MattA.  MattA and I go way, way, waaaaaaaay back.  He informed me I was responsible for his first purchase of a comic circa 5th grade when we were both reading West Coast Avengers (I know, I know).  Anyway, I hadn't seen Matt since 1990 when I moved from Austin to the Houston area.  This was all pre-email and whatnot, so, younger readers, it used to be possible to lose track of people.

...Seriously, had not seen the dude in 20 years.  Comics, bringing geeks together.

Anyhow, Matt had brought his daughter, who was terribly sweet, and we all sought out R2-D2 together.  (There was a full-sized R2-D2 replica driven by remote control.  It had all sorts of moving parts and was may as well have been the one used in the movies.  Just great detail.).

a semi-anonymous child, R2D2, MattA's loud shirt and Jason's leg and sandal
 I also met up with JackBart and his friend (whose name I can just never remember).  I also ran into a high school pal, Phil, who I hadn't seen in...  man, I don't know.

The floor was busier today, and it seemed like the dealers had gotten a little more serious with their inventory since Friday as some (not even most) of the booths looked like they had new and more stuff out.  I spent far less time today around the autograph tables just gawking, mainly because I'd already fulfilled my primary objective of obtaining Ms. Gray's autograph.

It definitely seemed like there were more people in costume and far more kids, something I hope the vendors alter the show for next year.  If kids are going show up, it seems like vendors could better cater to the little miscreants.

And then, suddenly... Phil!

I picked up 3 prints from an artist named Terry Huddleston.  He has something of a cartoony, almost Jeff Smith-ish style that I really dug.  So I now have pics of Superman, Wonder Woman and The Atom that I'm going to have to figure out where to hang.

In addition to the Jimmy Olsen and Superman back issues I found on Friday, today I found a copy of The Great Superman Book.  Its not exactly the holy grail of Superman collecting, but I'd never seen a copy of the book before (its basically a big Superman reference book from back in the day).

Cosmic Boy must have used his Legion Time Bubble to bring 80's black-suit Spidey to 2010
Artist's Alley was full of people working on independent stuff, name artists (Greg Horn, Mike McKone, etc...), and just a lot of folks who just want to be in the game one way or another.  I came very, very close to getting a Dean Trippe sketch, but he looked very swamped.  Next time.  I want to see what he does for Krypto.

And...  local Austin artist Tim Doyle was in attendance with his own work and the guys working with Intergalactic Nemesis, a sort of comics/ live-action/ multi-media project.  I really want to get some of Doyle's work, but I can never figure out where it could go...

I was stunned to learn that JackBart knows nothing about Jack Kirby's New Gods series, and so he was a bit baffled when this happened.

Despite what Jason and Jack believed, this guy is actually not just a crazy hobo
It sounds like Wizard World was happy enough that they've already rented the space for the same weekend next year.  That's good news.  I can only hope this thing continues to grow.  Austin can fully support an event like the Comic Con.

If I had one beef, its that the stars of the show, Burt Ward and Adam West, were mostly available yesterday in what was officially dubbed "Batman and Robin Day" by Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell.  Its not the fault of anyone but myself for not paying attention to the signing schedule, and, of course, I chose not to attend yesterday.

I'd lie if I said that the Con isn't good people watching.  It is, indeed, generally a good time seeing people in a good mood doing their thing, whether its looking for comics, meeting celebrities or dressing up in a convincing Catwoman suit.  And, sincerely, whether you're into comics or not, there are worse ways to kill a few hours on a Sunday.

The local CBS affiliate did some stories and interviews on Comic Con.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Austin Comic Con Day One

So...  Today was the start of the Austin Comic Con.  We haven't had a real Con here that I can recall in years and years.  Back in the day the cons were at the Holiday Inn on the river, and I was twelve and I had no idea what the hell was going on.  I do remember that it was at one of those conventions that I learned of Jimmy Olsen's solo series and his past as Turtle Boy.  And my little mind was blown.

Its probably not an argument worth having whether this is a "real" Con.  Or what a "Con" is supposed to be.  As this one is run by Wizard World, it takes on a certain format of heavy emphasis on celebrity autographs, no presence from major publishers, and no panels to speak of.  Its mostly a convention floor with lots of booths and lots of nerds running around.

The most important detail I want to share about my attendance at the Con today (I went for about 2.5 - 3 hours) is that I shook the hand of Erin Gray and got her autograph.

This likely means not a whole lot to you, but I just totally high-fived six-year old me.

In the 1970's, Ms. Gray played Col. Wilma Deering on TV's Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.   Like Ms. Lynda Carter, and Ms. Carrie Fischer, Ms. Gray was instrumental in my understanding of the awesomeness of ladies.

Ladies, the way to a man's heart is with a lycra spacesuit and a laser pistol
Anyway, Ms. Gray's booth was trafficked pretty well, but I eventually got over there and got a copy of the above photograph signed.  She was terribly nice and, honestly, Ms. Gray is still a looker.  Mostly I just stammered and smiled politely, because I do not do well in situations where I meet Erin Gray.

I also have to admit to feeling bad that I didn't pay out the sheckles to get Gil "But I was actually the star of Buck Rogers" Gerard's autograph .  Sorry, Gil.

I didn't see Adam West or Burt Ward today.  Perhaps on Sunday when Jamie and JackBart and I join forces and head to the Con.

I did see:  Lou Ferrigno, Lindsay Wagner, Ernie Hudson, Lee Majors, Nicholas Brendon (we almost collided on the floor, actually), Peter Mayhew and Joan Severance.  

Some notes if this if your first Con since the invention of debit cards and since you legally obtained a credit card:

1)  Bring cash.  I can only imagine how fast and loose these retailers are playing with their IRS claims of earned income, but most of them don't take credit cards.  I found this a little frustrating at first (until I found an ATM), as I don't carry more than $20 or so at a time.  But I also don't usually want to carry around the hundreds in cash that would be necessary for higher priced items.  That I can't afford, anyway, so I guess that's moot.

2)  Bring a camera.  I kind of wish I hadn't just counted on my crummy camera on my Blackberry for Day 1.

3)  Bring a friend.  There are two reasons for this.  A)  You're going to want someone to hold the camera so you can get your picture taken with that nigh-nude girl dressed as Poison Ivy, and B)  You're going to want someone along so you can discuss all you see.  Its one thing to say "oh, look, Lou Ferrigno!" to one's self.  It's something else to turn to your friend and say "Holy smokes, its Lou Ferrigno!".

There may also be an added bonus of having someone with you who helps you remember "You do not need that $200 item".

A shout out to the good folks at Austin Books and Comics.  They had the showcase booth of the event, complete with their new mascot, Sidekick Girl.  I was impressed.  And I bet they took credit cards.

The comic booths ran the gambit.  ABC was on the high end, and from there you could go all the way down to what appeared to be a collection of super-hero-ish stuff someone must have kept in their basement and tried to sell every two or three years.

There's no question there were some impressive comics on display (I briefly held a copy of Action Comics #252 in my hands, a comic I have always dreamed of owning, but was... sigh...  going to be $200).  And I got some decent deals, one of which I think I swung because the guy at the booth completely failed at basic math. 

Because I have tickets to the Oklahoma State/ UT matchup this weekend, I am not going to attend Saturday's Con. 

But we'll be back on Sunday for a little while, and I'll do a more complete report at that time.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

So what the @#$% was Wootstock?

A while back CanadianSimon suggested I check out Wootstock when it came to Austin on November 2.  There really wasn't much information about Wootstock online, but I considered it.  After all, the hosts were to be TV's Wil "Wesley Crusher" Wheaton, Adam "Mythbusters" Savage and then some comedy/ musical guys I'd never heard of, Paul and Storm.

The tickets were actually fairly reasonable, but went on sale when I was in a bit of a crunch, so I didn't think we'd wind up going.  Leave it to the great and giving The Dug to swoop in.  "Merry Christmas", he said, and suddenly Jamie and I had two tickets to Wootstock (good seats, too!)

And while I heard that Wil Wheaton couldn't attend (for vague and mysterious reasons), he was replaced by Neil Gaiman, who most people remember from his role as "Neil" on the mid-1980's sit-com Monkey Shines, but who has subsequently dabbled in comics writing with Sandman and a bit of fiction, such as Anansi Boys (I loved that book, by the way).

Having actually now sat through Wootstock Austin 2010, I'm not sure I'm any better prepared to say what the show actually is other than what it contains.  Its sort of an entertainment show for hardcore geeks, and the whole feel of the evening rang vaguely of a distilled day of web surfing.  I don't mean that in a negative way, but when your show includes two sets by artists of novelty/ comedy songs, readings by Neil Gaiman, readings from a Windows support guy, dozens of Youtube clips, a conversation with the writer and artists of the newspaper strip Foxtrot,   Mary Jo Pehl making an extended Crisis on Infinite Earths joke, Adam Savage telling random stories about life and working with Jamie Hyneman...  It was the kind of stuff that folks spending their life in front of a monitor can develop a taste for.

Obviously I was part of the target audience as my face hurt from laughing and the unfortunate cold I've been carting around for a few days. 

I figured this kind of show would bring out a certain audience, and the geeks do not disappoint.  Geeks all over the chart and touching on multiple points of the geek Venn Diagram made an appearance.

Nerds have come up in the world and the era of the internet has given new confidence to nerds as they realize they're a community, not lone spazs getting wedgied by jocks in the hallway at school.  In fact, I don't even know that younger geeks really understand that there was a time and place where you were unlikely to know many people who shared your love of comics, Dr. Who, Star Wars trivia, technology, etc...  and there certainly weren't too many women who fell into that camp.  All of that has, of course, changed.  Viva la internet.

I have plenty of geek credentials befitting my generation.  I'm a consumer of classic monster movies.  I've watched my fair share of Star Wars and Trek.  I can talk comics pretty much all day.  I'm less credentialed in certain web celebrities, not at all in video games, BSG, and I'm "meh" on Whedon. 

That said, I was wearing a Mister Miracle T-shirt, which none of the geeks I was talking to quite understood.*

Wootstock seems to rotate around, and I'll definitely attend again if they're in town or I'm in town where they're at. Honestly, it was a genuinely fun time, and a little weird to see all these folks in one spot (I forgot to mention the drummer of PUSA was their drummer).  I recommend.

Anyway, it was a really fun time, and I think some of you guys are prime candidates for the audience at this thing.

Unfortunately, I was feeling pretty awful through the whole show, so I can't say I recommend showing up with a head cold.  

*and I pity you if you do not know and love the wonder that is Mr. Miracle.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Austin Comic Con November 12-14

Nerds in Texas may want to know that the Austin Comic-Con begins November 12th.  I've got my pass and will be going for a bit on all three days, I think.

I'd previously mentioned that Paul Levitz would attend the Con, and that no longer seems to be true.  There's some talent showing up, certainly, but this blogger is a little sad to see Levitz struck from the list of attendees.

However, they've announced some additional guests.

Adam West AND Burt Ward!!!!  That's worth the price of admission right there!

Bill Sienkiewicz! - if you guys knew me at all back in the day, you'd know what a fan I am of this guy's work.

Lee Majors and Lindsay Wagner!

And the dude playing John Stewart in the upcoming GL movie:  Nick Jones!  That's cool.

Peter Mayhew!

Doug Jones!  - he was Abe Sapien and the SIlver Surfer

Walter Koening!

The Soup Nazi!

Lee Leffingwell - Mayor of Austin? (no, I have no idea why)

Oddly, I have not been asked to do a signing or host a panel, which I find shocking.  With readership as high as up to 18 readers, you'd think The Signal Watch panel would be a draw of up to 2 people, and that's gonna move some tickets.

Oh, well.  maybe in 2011.

This thing is going to be absoludicrous.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

"Midsummer Night's Dream" at the Curtain Theater in Austin on Saturday

A work colleague is part of a production of Bill Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream in Austin this Saturday.  Curiously, the theater holding the show is owned by spaceman/ software entrepreneur Richard Garriot, who decided to build a replica of England's Globe Theater on the shores of Lake Austin. 

So, if you're interested, Jamie and I are headed down there on Saturday and we'd love to have you join us for a play in the great Fall evening weather Austin is currently enjoying.  And:  to see Eva in a lion mask.


For a little more on The Curtain Theater.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

In November, I'm Going to Pay Money for the Chance to see Billy Dee Williams

This November, Austin is hosting a fairly sizable convention, ostensibly a comic book convention, at our Convention Center. Longtime comic nuts (both of you out there, I can hear you breathing) will perhaps tremble when I state that this convention is a Wizard World convention, and all that that implies.

Wizard World Cons sort of play off the goodwill garnered by San Diego Comic Con International (or whatever its calling itself these days) and as misinterpreted by the befuddled mainstream press (ie: non-comics press). But whereas CCI-San Diego is a geek Mecca, the Wizard World cons are sort of the cheap, imitation knock-offs, the Big Lots! discount bin of comic conventions.  It is true that there will be comics-related talent at the convention, but it is also true that this particular con will feature:

  • Billy Dee Williams
  • Jake Lloyd (this appears factual)
  • The cast of "The Human Centipede"
  • Buck Rogers and Wilma Dearing from the 70's-era Buck Rogers TV show
  • Ernie Hudson
  • a Brady
  • "Suicide Girls"
  • One of the suitcase girls from "Deal or No Deal" (I've never seen the show, so this is blowing my mind)
  • numerous people I've never heard of before who seem to be responsible for comics nobody has ever actually read
  • a few people of note from the comic industry such as Paul Levitz (seriously. Levitz.)
  • a whole mess of washed up wrestling stars and a whole bunch of women with enormous... talent who are part of the pro-wrestling circuit
  • Lou Ferrigno, a man who needs no introduction
  • The dad from Teen Wolf
  • Mimi Rogers*
  • ...and many, many more.
I have absolutely no idea what to expect, but from looking at the floor map, it looks roughly like the equivalent of a people zoo.  You walk past tables and stare at people you saw on TV once or twice, and for a few clams, you can get an autograph.

So I've talked Jamie into going for the day one of the three days of the convention.  I will probably not ask her to join me whatever day I actually do stand in line to see if I can get Paul Levitz's autograph.

Yes, that's me... in a room full of models and actors, I'll be lining up to see if I can meet a 60'ish guy in a tie because I like his Legion comics.

There is something sad and wrong with me.

I sort of thought that by now the show runners would have put out more of a schedule.  Oh, well.

If anyone is interested in joining us from The Signal Watch at the Austin Wizard World Texas Comic Convention and Human Zoo, please drop me a line.

*90's me is very excited about seeing Ms. Rogers.  She really makes a spacesuit work.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Two Events at Start of September

1) Intergalactic Nemesis - Live at the Long Center! Honestly, I have no idea what to expect. I knew artists Tim Doyle when he ran now-defunct comic shop Funny Papers circa 2001. I'd pick up his self-published work at the time, and still have copies of Amazing Adult Fantasy and Sally Suckerpunch somewhere.

Here's the description:

Austin’s favorite sci-fi radio thriller comes to life in a entirely new form! Three actors once again portray a variety of characters as sludge-monsters from the Planet Zygon invade the earth. Only this time, their adventures are accompanied by more 1200 drawings by graphic wizard Tim Doyle, projected on the Long Center’s huge screen and accompanied by Graham Reynolds’ original score. Keeping Austin weirdly wonderful!

Tickets are a minimum of $14.99. I'm likely going to do this if anyone wants to come along. September 3rd and 4th.

2) Austin Books Big Annual Sale

It's nerd manna from heaven here in Austin. Each year on Labor Day, Austin Books has a massive sale. A sale that, if not contained, could break mens' minds.

-50 - 90% Off a Chock-Full Selection of Graphic Novels n' Collections (Good stuff, too... not junk!)

-50% Off Backstock Comics! (Back Issue Bins)

-Our Infamous Manga Sale... load up!

-50% Off Hundreds of Incentive & Variant Covers

-Lots more surprises to be announced!

The trade paperback selection is always terrific, and its never less than awesome to rifle through back issues at 1/2 off.

I'm sure Austin Books would love to see you! And you should come on down and see their new addition: a to-scale, shiny, Silver Surfer hanging out over the back issues.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

In Brightest Knight! - Adam West/ Batman/ Paramount Theater

edit: You can read Steanso's post on this same outing with pics of the stage w/ West and Troubles and myself in the balcony

So this afternoon I attended a screening of "Batman", the film made with the same cast, props, effects, etc... as the famous Adam West starring TV series. If you ever remember seeing Batman's BatBoat, or Bat Shark Repellent or Batman running around with a lit bomb, desperately looking for a place to rid himself of the bomb (my favorite scene in the movie)... that's "Batman", or as some in the know call it "Batman 1966".

I grew up on Batman. I talked a bit about my history with the character way, way back in 2005 at the release of "Batman Begins".

Family lore has it that Mr. West's version of Batman aired in syndication each evening around dinner time, and as I was a restless baby, The Karebear figured out that this was the only thing I'd sit for while she tried to cook up some dinner. Further, the family lore states, my first word was "Batman". And, hell, it may be my last. And it's no less likely I'll be running around in a cape and diaper singing the theme song to Batman then.

Our Signal Corps Cinema Event was attended by myself, Troubles, Steanso, Julia P. and her beau, Bill B.

Adam West, Himself, was in attendance. The first thing you need to know about Adam West is that he is COOL. Like, Joe Cool-cool. He had on what looked to be a linen suit, he's still got that voice, and he seems to genuinely love that he gets to meet his fans. He's very witty, and he appreciates that folks appreciate his work.

I have no idea how many seats are at Austin's Paramount Theater, but its hundreds and hundreds, and the place seemed to be 95% sold out. Not bad for a movie that debuted in 1966, at that very same theater with all of the stars in attendance (Mr. West told a story that Burgess Meredith had his wife fly him in in her own plane so he upstaged their airport press conference).

The theater was full of all ages, from four years old to the elderly and everywhere in between. Austin Books made an appearance and showed up with a table full of Batman memorabilia and merchandise. Further, as the screening was part of Austin's bat-celebrating "Night of the Bat", Bat Conservation International was there with our local friends, the Mexican Freetailed Bat (it's a tiny, adorable bat that eats our local bugs) and an African fruit bat of some sort (that was inverted, very large and very, very cute).

Seriously, Austin loves bats.

Mr. West is philosophical about his role in the weird, wacky pop culture world around the character and icon of Batman. He seems to understand that Batman is bigger than anyone, or even any one concept of Batman and talked about how he thought the new movies were cool, but that was the Dark Knight. He was very happy being recognized as The Bright Knight, and I think that was a very popular sentiment with the crowd.

My preferred seats at the Paramount are in the balcony, so I did not get anywhere close to Mr. West, which is too bad. But the film print they had was awesome, the sound was better than I remember from the last time I was there, and the crowd was very, very into the movie (including the kids!).

Outside of the theater, I stumbled upon an amazing sight:

In my collection, I have roughly 35 Batmobile toys. 3 of them are this car.

I was, needless to say, delighted.

As a quick note: I am a Batman fan. I am crazy for Superman, but there's no doubting my Bat-fandom. But I honestly think I'm as much a fan of the Batmobile and its many crazy different incarnations as I am of, say, Robin. Or Alfred. Anyway, its weird to be a fan of a fictional car, but it all started with the TV show Batmobile, so seeing the car up close (yes, it was a reproduction, but a stellar reproduction) was sort of a thing for me.

I got off my posed shot. Pretty sharp.

But then I noticed that Batman had wandered off...

I only drove it around the block, like, three times (not really)

I must be a good 5 inches taller than anyone they ever expected to drive that car.

My buddy Batman poses for a shot with yours truly (that guy's costume was awesome)

Why, yes, Catwoman. I will swing by and take you out for a lovely dinner of Fancy Feast and dead mice.

The car was a reproduction created and charactered by Cy Productions. It was AMAZING.

Anyway, a terrifically fun day.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

FCBD 2010 @ Austin Books

Saturday May 1, 2010 was Free Comic Book Day across all the land. In our little neck of the woods, we headed down to Austin Books and Comics. Austin Books had a selection of over 90 possible titles, and 20,000+ comics to give away.

Troubles, Steanso and PaulT joined me for a bit over an hour at Austin Books before heading over to EZ's, where we met up with PaulT's significant other, The Amazing Erin.

Upon arriving, there was a considerable, but steadily moving line snaked around the building. Also, The Hulk was standing guard over the store.

Here's the reverse shot, which includes the tent and orange cones. I find it funny Austin Books has to own cones.

The Hulk picked a fight, and your faithful writer had to show him what-for. Man, I am pale.

Inside the tent, there were three solid walls of comics to choose from. That "War of the Supermen #0" was actually better than I expected.

Ah! The creators of "The Sixth Gun", artist Brian Hurtt and Cullen Bunn. I managed to get a signed copy, a poster, a copy of their graphic novel "The Damned", and a hearty handshake from both. Terrific fellows! From Missouri, I believe.

This was their "are we doing a candid shot?" shot. In no way was this candid.

PaulT. joins forces with The Amazing Spider-Man! Coincidentally, I think you can see a copy of "The Damned" just over Paul's shoulder.

Sometimes doing meta-jackassery about pics with CosPlay girls just comes off as jackassery. Anyway, that's also the back-issue selection at Austin Books. I picked up an issue of "Superman's Girlfriend: Lois Lane". I'm carrying issues of the new Greg Rucka series, "Stumptown".

The Dark Knight took time off from browing manga to pose.

A great day.

I picked up Superman, Little Lulu, MouseGuard and a whole bunch of others. Gotta go read some comics now.