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Posts Tagged ‘comic book culture’

Sunday May 19th 2019, we took a quick bus ride over to the Jersey side. New Jersey that is. It was to check out the annual East Coast Comic Con over at the Meadowlands Exposition Center. I didn’t have my own table, but that was okay. It was nice to check out other established artists like Rick Parker, Howard Chaykin, Peter Bagge, Stephen Blickenstaff, Larry Hama, Russ Braun, Drew Friedman, Al Milgrom, George Perez, and many others. What sets East Coast Comic Con apart is that the emphasis is on the artists themselves. Without a doubt, there was also media guests, panels and cosplayers.

You knew you were on the right place when you saw Batman on line. Guess his Batmoblie was in the shop for repairs.

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Batman in Port Authority. The Batmoblie must’ve been in the shop for repairs. Photo by Ben Herman. May 2019.

East Coast Comic Con is a three day event, but we could only check out Sunday. Which worked out fine. Plus I was personally still on that high from both the Jaz Coleman spoken word event, plus the Killing Joke concert earlier that week.

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It should be noted that East Coast Comic Con was one of the last appearances for retiring comic book artist George Perez. Which means I totally missed most of the good panels. There was panels such as one for actress P.J. Soles (Rock n’ Roll High School, Halloween), and The Book of Weirdo. I did mange to catch the panels later Sunday afternoon. That we’ll get to later.

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Peter Bagge at East Coast Comic Con, New Jersey. May 2019. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

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The first panel I attended that Sunday was about The Infinity Gauntlet comic book series. Infinity Gauntlet lead into other media franchises, such as video games and film. Most notably the current Avengers film series. The panel featured  Jim Starlin, George Perez, Ron Lim and Joe Rubinstein.

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The Infinity Gauntlet panel at East Coast Comic Con 2019. Jim Starlin, George Perez, Ron Lim and Joe Rubinstein. Photo by Ben Herman. May 2019.

Afterwards I stuck around for another panel. This one was pure nostalgia from my adolescence years. Titled Flash Gordon: Stars of An American Classic, it focused on the 1980 film adaptation rather than the original comic book series. The two stars from the film spoke at the panel: Sam Jones & Melody Anderson.

This was followed by yet another panel titled Denis Kitchen: 50 Years of Kitchen Sink Press. Being an underground and alternative comic book fan, this was an avid interest of mine. On this panel was Denis Kitchen, John B. Cooke, and Mark Schultz. Here Dennis Kitchen discussed mainly the history of Underground Comics, and Kitchen Sink’s role. Kitchen Sink later published titles like Omaha The Cat Dancer. (You can also check out info about Omaha here 

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Denis Kitchen, John B. Cooke, and Mark Schultz speak at the Denis Kitchen panel during East Coast Comic Con 2019, New Jersey. Sunday, May 19th, 2019. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Quickly ushered in after the Denis Kitchen panel was the annual Cosplay contest, held only on Sundays. The cosplay contest was broken down into two categories. The kids contest started at 4:30 pm. Below are a few highlights.

Immediately following was the adult section of the cosplay contest.

The East Coast Comic Con cosplay contest stands out, due to the focus being on the craft. The judges asked various questions in regards to materials used, where parts of the costumes were retained, if they were made by hand, etc. For the dedicated cosplayer, a lot of time and work goes in.

Although I didn’t get to meet all the artists, or attend all the panels, East Coast Comic Con is one of the better conventions to check out. Until next year.

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Michele Witchipoo (author of this blog and artist) with comic book artist Rick Parker. East Coast Comic Con, New Jersey. Sunday May 19th, 2019.

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You probably heard the news. Yesterday Stanley Martin Lieber passed away at age 95. The world knows him better as Stan ‘The Man’ Lee.

While with Marvel comics, Stan Lee collaborated with various artists. Among some of those artists were Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko. During Lee’s tenure at Marvel he worked on numerous titles. You might’ve heard of a few: Spider-Man, The Hulk, The Fantastic Four, X-Men, Black Panther, Thor, Ironman, and countless others. These various titles became many of the staples within the Marvel legacy.

After Lee retired from Marvel, he continued to stay in the spotlight. During 2006 and 2007, he hosted a reality show on the Sci-Fi Channel, now known as Syfy. It was titled Who Wants To Be A Superhero. As someone who usually hates reality shows, I absolutely adored season one. Later I got to meet the winner Feedback and runner-up Fat Momma. The contestant I was personally rooting for was Major Victory. Hugging him was one of my highlights during NYCC 2007.

Go to any comicbook related news source, and you’re sure to hear more detailed accounts Stan Lee had on modern pop culture. I was lucky enough to catch a panel Lee was on, during NYCC 2016. Moderated by film director Kevin Smith, it was Stan Lee, Walter Simonson and Chris Claremont. In my files I have a crappy photograph of the panel. However, this YouTube video will suffice.

I’ve had enough of death lately (personal reasons). So with that I’ll leave you with my tribute to Stan Lee. My second tribute which included Spider-Man, when Steve Ditko passed away a few months prior. He’s with Spider-Man, superhero from Forest Hills, Queens. Queens being my hometown. Excelsior!

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Stan Lee with Spider-Man. Sketch by Michele Witchipoo. Nov. 2018. 

 

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As you geeks know, New York Comic Con happened last month. Let’s just call it NYCC for short. I attend every year, even if my own comic book tastes run more towards alternative than Marvel or DC. I’ll go to do the ‘networking’ thang, check out the current trends, but it’s also become a bit like a mini-vacation. NYCC also reminds me why I got interested in comics, sci-fi and other related genres in the first place.

The first five years of attending NYCC, I got caught up in all the buzz, the excitement, the cosplay, etc. Things shifted a few years ago. Like last year, a lot of time was spent attending panels.

This blog post will focus on NYCC 2018 cosplay. I was surprised on the type of cosplay seen this year. Despite Black Panther being huge at the box office, I didn’t see a lot of Wakanda. There’s this photo:

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Black Panther cosplay at NYCC 2018. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Was more surprised on witnessing more Harry Potter cosplay. Doctor Who cosplay went down. Bob’s Burger cosplay went up. Star Wars cosplay from any era will always be a staple of any comic book convention. That’s a given.

 

Another reminder about many years I’ve been attending NYCC. In 2008, I saw a man outside the Javits Center play the accordion while wearing a Boba Fett helmet. Exactly ten years later, he was back!

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Boba Fett playing the accordion outside 2018 NYC. First saw him back in 2008. Renegade Accordion on FB and IG. Photo by Michele Witchipoo, Oct. 2018.

Deadpool cosplay was still going strong, but it was usually in some form of mash-up/crossplay.

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Pope Deadpool. NYCC 2018. Photo by Michele Witchipoo Oct. 2018.

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Cosplay at NYCC 2018. Photo by Michele Witchipoo. Oct. 2018.

Ending part one of NYCC 2018 is the inescapable photobomb. None other than good old Deadpool himself.

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When you’re photo bombed by Deadpool. NYCC 2018. Photo by Michele Witchipoo. Oct 2018.

This report on NYCC 2018 will be continued on another blog post. Until then, enjoy some tasty grub from the Bob’s Burgers food trucks outside of Javits Center.

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Still been very busy, so the Psycho Bunny sketch of the week might be delayed until further this week. In the meantime, here’s some news. I’m going to be having a table at Incredicon happening on Sunday Oct. 28th. The location will be in Poughkeepsie, Upstate NY, at the Poughkeepsie Galleria. Free admission.

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You can get tickets here.

Links:

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Poughkeepsie Galleria

 

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Continuing where I left off from MICE 2016 part one.

After setting up my table early in the a.m., I caught a bit of a local comic artist giving a small pep talk/lecture to the newer exhibitors.

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MICE Expo veteran giving a quick lecture to the newer exhibitors. Cambridge, MA. Oct. 2016. 

As the comic con unfolded, you couldn’t help but notice many attendees in costume or cosplay. It just happened that MICE 2016 was scheduled on the weekend before Halloween. Here’s a few photos.

Surprisingly I did good at MICE. To my left was an artist who I met for the first time at NYCC 2016. Had brought his comic at NYCC. Had no idea only two weeks later I would be sitting next to him at MICE. It’s a small world after all. He was a former school teacher who decided to follow his dream.

Also had a chance to meet someone I’ve been conversing online since the early 2000s. Michelle Kane came down to the comic con. After our conversation, she invited me for some karaoke in her area of Quincy, MA. Usually I hate karaoke, but this time the invite was accepted. Later on after MICE closed for the night, me and E.J. Barnes, who was gracious enough to let me stay at her place traveled over.

We arrived at a huge restaurant called Cathay Pacific. In my little black heart I have a soft spot for old school Chinese eateries with vintage Polynesian decor. It was love at first sight. Didn’t care how good or bad the food was. After Michelle introduced us to her buddy Stephen Jay “The Handyman” Spector, karaoke began. Have to say, all three, E.J., Michelle and Stephen all had good voices. As for me, I sat my out of tune ass down.

To be continued…

MICE 2018 fundraiser: http://fundraiser.micexpo.org/

 

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That’s right. It’s a blog post about a comic con I vended at in Cambridge, MA during Oct. 2016. Finally having the chance to post some long delayed photos from when I was lucky enough to get a table at MICE 2016. It was one of the best comic cons I’ve had the pleasure of taking part since I’ve started publishing my own comics.

MICE, which stands for the Massachusetts Independent Comic Expo focuses mostly on indie, alternative, undergound, and art house comics. Many of the comic artists were self published. The annual event takes place in Cambridge area just outside of Boston.

Despite my NYC loyalty, I’ve always loved Massachusetts. Particularly Boston, Salem and Cambridge. Best part was MICE 2016 took part during Halloween weekend. After MICE was over, I managed to zip down to Salem on Halloween day, right before taking the bus back to the Big Apple. In between MICE and Salem was a night at karaoke in Quincy, MA at some old style Chinese/Polynesian restaurant.

 

The night before MICE was going to kick off, there was a cartoonist party at HUB Comics. Located in the Somerville, Union Square area, the next town after Cambridge. Was very impressed by Hub comics. If I opened my own comic shop, this is what it would resemble. A very good mixture of mainstream and alternative comics, graphic novels and other merch. Also got to mingle with the other local cartoonists. My friend and fellow cartoonist E.J. Barnes (who helped put together the tribute anthology to Luisa Felix along with Paul Curtis) showed me around the area, and helped introduce me to the locals.

Also checked out the main drag around Cambridge. Discovered a shop called Cheapo Records, ate at a vegetarian diner, checked out and paid a visit to the Middle East.

Back to business. After setting up my table, anyone who had a table was treated to breakfast and a quick lecture, if anyone wanted to listen. Through out the day, the artists were given water and snacks by volunteers. MoCCA could use a few pointers from MICE.

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Michele Witchipoo/WitchesBrewPress table at MICE 2016. Oct. 2016.

After the first day, there was a celebratory dinner for everyone in MICE 2016 at another venue. Artists were encouraged to doodle on the wall with some free art supplies. Some even showed up in costume.

Day two was more or less the same. Breakfast and someone was doing a quick lecture on the floor before the con started. Since it was Halloween weekend, many showed up in costume.

Part two begins on the next blog post. 

 

 

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From Thursday Oct. 6 to Sunday Oct. 9, I felt as if I lived at the Javits Center. That’s because it was the annual New York Comic Con. Earlier this year I received my Pro pass for which itself felt good.

As usual it was packed and the cosplayers were out in full force.

To the left as you walked into the main entrance, there was a entire section dedicated to Wonder Woman. Not just because the Wonder Woman movie will be released in 2017, but Oct. 2016 marked the 75th anniversary of the character’s first appearance. There were also a lot more Wonder Woman cosplay than ever before.

To my relief there wasn’t as many Harley Quinns, but plenty of Pokemon characters. There was some unique ones that stood out above the others. Darth Maul looks happy here.

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NYCC. Photo by Michele Witchipoo Oct. 2016

NYCC 2016 had an increase in Bob’s Burgers cosplayers. Louise and Tina Belcher were the most seen. Occasionally you would run into the entire family.

During the course of the four day event, I checked out a few panels. Panels are very good. For one, they give you a wealth of information in regards to the comic book industry, or discuss pop culture. If all else fails, you can rest your weary feet in the seat closest to an outlet to recharge your cell.

Some of the panels I attended were: BOOM Studios, DC Comics, and IDW (where they discussed an upcoming release to benefit the Orlando Pulse shooting victims).

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Panel for IDW during NYCC 2016.

Two panels however intrigued me the most. One was for Trump magazine (NO! Not Donald Trump!!!) put on by Dark Horse and Kitchen Sink Press. In 1956, Trump Magazine was a short-lived publication financed by Hugh Hefner, and put together by MAD Magazine’s Harvey Kurtzman. Among some of the speakers on that panel were Denis Kitchen and Al Jaffee.

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The Panel for Trump Magazine (No, not Donald!), a short-lived publication from the 1950s.

The other panel that grabbed my attention was the panel titled ‘Bringing Stories To Life: Holding a Comic Con at Your Library.’ Here local librarians from Connecticut explained the ins and outs of operating local comic cons from the library.

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Librarians from CT discuss how to do comic cons at the local library. NYCC Panel. Photo by Michele Witchipoo. Oct. 2016.

Back for more cosplay.

One thing you cannot forget. The real reason why we have comic cons in the first place. To promote comics. As in artists, writers, pencilers, inkers, etc. Onward to Artist Alley.

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Walking around the Javits Center was exhausting. It was time to head home and come back another day.

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Everyone needs rest sometime. NYCC. Photo by Michele Witchipoo. Oct. 2016.

During the NYCC, I found out there was going to be a panel for the latest Planet of The Apes reboot series. Since I was a huge fan of POTA, I trekked all the way out of the Javits Center to the Theater At Madison Square Garden. That’s where they held the special events, like the one for Doctor Who earlier during NYCC.

Point blank, this Q&A ‘career conversation’ with actor Andy Serkis, who portrays Ceasar in the Apes reboot was the only letdown during NYCC 2106. This might be clarified why in separate blog post.

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Actor Andy Serkis after finishing his Q&A panel during NYCC 2016.

I stuck around however to catch the Stan Lee panel at the same venue. Which went off much smoother. Moderated by film director and famous geek Kevin Smith, the panel also had Walt Simonson and Chris Claremount. The packed house was treated to an oral recollection of Marvel comic history. Insert very crappy photo of the panel itself.

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Very bad, blurry photo of the Stan Lee panel at NYCC 2016 with Kevin Smith, Walt Simonson and Chris Claremount.

Barely getting enough rest, it was time to head back to NYCC.

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Classic Star Trek cosplay on the NYC subway. Photo by Michele Witchipoo. Oct. 2016.

Since NYCC has become so popular, expect free swag. During the weekend I got a free Monster energy drink which I usually never touch, some wafer cookies and a complimentary sample of Death Coffee.

The cosplaying continued.

The last day of NYCC was spent getting merch I didn’t need like this Muttley POP. Then off to cruise Artist Alley once more.

This year there was some new interesting talent in Artist Alley, as well as those established such as Terry Moore (Strangers In Paradise), Joe Staton, and Erik Larsen (Savage Dragon).

One person that stood out was graffiti artist Andre Charles, otherwise known as ACharlesNYC. I brought a pin from him. He was so kind to give me a second one for free. Which was a score because I was having trouble which color to choose from. Besides, it’s always good to share old school NYC memories with someone.

Another new comic I discovered during NYCC was titled Pugly.

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Also snagged a free issue of Faith, a popular comic book title now published by Valiant.

Of course some more cosplay.

Some T-Rex creatures were spotted as well.

Another trend I noticed. This year people were cosplaying with their pet dogs. I asked someone cosplaying a character from Adventure Time how he got his dog in. He replied listing your pup as a service dog. While it’s cute, I was left wondering if it was safe at all for the dogs themselves.

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Adventure Time cosplay. NYCC. Photo by Michele Witchipoo. Oct. 2016.

Another curious observation during the NYCC weekend. I kept on seeing something scribbled on the bathroom doors inside the ladies room. Later I discovered it was a quote from The Handmaid’s Tale in Latin: ‘don’t let the bastard grind you down.’  Quite fitting for these times, especially during the current U.S. Presidential election, in which NYCC was the perfect escape from. Ironically, this was the same weekend that news broke out about Trump ‘grabbing pussy.’

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Quote from Margaret Atwood’s book The Handmaid’s Tale in Latin: ‘Don’t Let The Bastards Grind You Down.’ NYCC. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

In all it was fun as always. Maybe one day I’ll have another table at NYCC Artist Alley again. Till next year.

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Superheroes resting at the shoe shine stand. NYCC 2016. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo. Oct. 2016.

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