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cradlecon

The first weekend of June 2019 was Cradle Con. Cradle Con is an annual comic con taking place at The Cradle of Aviation Museum in Long Island, NY. I had a table in artists alley for June 1st and 2nd, 2019. It was also the ‘official’ debut of my latest self-published comic ‘The Temptation of Squeaky.’ In all, I actually did very well.

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My table at Cradle Con 2019. June 1st & 2nd, 2019, Long Island NY, at the Cradle of Aviation Museum.

Cradle Con was totally geared towards the comic book, pop culture and cosplay crowd. Even the guy who’s known for doing Peter Griffin cosplay was there. Yup, he was there along with a woman cosplaying at Lois Griffin. You can follow Robert Franzese on Instagram.

Here’s some other photos from that weekend. I plan to be back at artist alley next year. See you then.

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Television personality (MeTV) and host Svengoolie at Cradle Con 2019. Photo by Ben Herman.

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Comic book artist and musician Dave Fox. Cradle Con 2019. Photo by Ben Herman.

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Comic book artist and illustrator John K. Synder at Cradle Con 2019. Doing a Beautiful Dream sketch.

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Comic book artist and illustrator John K. Synder at Cradle Con 2019. Doing a Beautiful Dream sketch.

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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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Talk about really catching up. Way back in October 2018 I had a table in the first ever IncrediCon. Taking place all the way in Poughkeepsie, Upstate New York. I was invited to take part back in the summer. Now I’m glad I did. Turns out I needed to get out of NYC, even if it was only for a day.

Usually I’m not into having comic cons in malls. IncrediCon took place in the Poughkeepsie Galleria. The Galleria looks like every other mall in America, with the same stores and the same type of food courts. Regardless, the comic con worked. Most of the participating artists were local. My friends Ray Felix and Robert j Sodaro had tables. Also got to meet the voice over actor who worked on the Cartoon Network program “Courage The Cowardly Dog.” (Amanda Stephen, the actress from “Orange Is The New Black” had to cancel.) There was a few cosplayers sprinkled about. Most of the mall shoppers thought the cosplayers were there due to Halloween being around the corner.

The highlight was doing a commission. The request was for a goddess sketch, similar to what I used to draw for Babalon Babes. I decided to do Mama Quilla, a Peruvian moon goddess. Thought the commission came out okay, despite having limited time to do the sketch.

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Commission of Mama Quilla, a Peruvian moon goddess. Photo taken while the sketch was in progress. Done by Michele Witchipoo. Oct. 2018.

So traveling to Upstate NY was much needed. I could even imagine myself moving there. It would be a nice change of pace. The older I get, the more I like to be surrounded by nature. However, reality called. It was time to head back to NYC.

The Metro-North train going towards the Poughkeepsie area was smooth and peaceful. Taking the Metro-North back to Grand Central was a different story. The minute I boarded the train back to NYC, chaos ensued. There was a trashy woman who looked like she was probably 19 or 20. She argued with her boyfriend on her cellphone loudly throughout the entire ride. As much as I tried to block this out by listening to music on my iPhone, the cellphone battery was dying.

A few stops later, two men boarded the train. They were the African-American equivalent of Jay and Silent Bob. These two men were totally lost. The gentlemen looked completely lit, and had no clue where they were heading. Of course, they had to sit next to me. The black Jay was roasting on his friend black Silent Bob. He was roasting black Silent Bob for anything. For not knowing where they were going. For wearing a fisherman’s hat. For not responding to his roasting. Black Silent Bob just shook his head, probably used to his friend’s antics.

The black version of Jay stopped for a second. We listened to the woman who was STILL arguing with her boyfriend in public. So black Jay started yelling at the woman to shut the hell up. The woman completely ignored him. The guy went from busting on his friend to loudly insulting the angry woman. The woman was too wrapped up into her bickering, so this turned into an impromptu comedy routine. To fair, the woman was getting on my nerves as well. Since my cell battery died by this point, I chatted with the two gentlemen. The two gentlemen took a shine to me. They kept on calling me “sis” and trying to get me to party with them. I politely declined. At least it was entertaining. Black Jay told me that his adult daughter just graduated from UCLA. He was also a designer, but his designs were ripped off. When I asked about what it felt like having his work stolen, he offered this advice. He basically told me to never give a fuck. The way 2018 has been, he probably has a point. It’s sort of like when the Buddhists say not to have attachments. The two men bid me a gracious farewell as they got off at the Yankee Stadium stop. Welcome back to NYC and reality. Here’s to not giving a fuck.

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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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Back in April 2018, the East Coast Comic Con took place over at Meadowlands Exposition Center. It only took a quick bus ride from NYC’s Port Authority station to Secaucus, New Jersey.  I never had a table here. The three times I’ve attended (Westchester, NY, then later moved to New Jersey) it was strictly as a spectator.

Again, as with Terrificon, this event focused mostly on comics. There was media guests, but the emphasis was on more established comic creators. The guests include Howard Chaykin, John Holmstrom, David LloydJim StarlinTony Isabella, Paris Cullins, Bob Almond and more.

The attendance from this particular comic con seemed to have increased from previous times. Perhaps because East Coast is one of the better comic cons in the tri-state area, even if the comic creators have worked on more mainstream titles.

Of course, who can ever forget the cosplayers. Observing those who took part in cosplaying, their game was very strong. I’ll leave the cosplayers for last in this blog post, when I get to the contest.

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Amazing cosplay of Ghost. (Ghost as in the band). Not a fan of Ghost’s music, but this is great cosplay.

First, I’ll show some photos of comic book artist Paris Cullins with his love. Nothing is sweeter than two people who genuinely enjoy being with each other.

There was plenty of panels, but only managed to catch one. Missed a panel about Sci-fi writers. As the day was winding down, I was pretty exhausted. That’s why I decided to check out the cosplaying contest. It was really about finding a place to sit down.

 

Observing the cosplaying panel and contest was more fun than originally thought. While I admit, I was semi-roasting from the comfort of my seat, there was a lot of talent in creating those costumes. A lot of work went into all the various cosplaying.

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Ghostrider cosplay. East Coast comic con 2018.

So the contest begins. There was plenty of good contenders. Once two cosplayers walked into the panel room as Warhammer characters, you pretty much knew they were going to win the contest. In which they did. Those Warhammer outfits truly impressed me.

Here’s some other honorable mentions, posted in the photos below.

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Next year’s East Coast Comic Con already looks promising. The guests for next year include Peter Bagge, Drew Friedman, Kaz, Simon Bisley, Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, George Perez, and more to added later.

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The day after the great CAKE and Ben Folds Five concert, me and Ben headed over to Connecticut. There was a comic con happening that weekend over at the Mohegan Sun casino. Terrificon was good that it’s focus was more on the comic book creators rather than obtaining celebrities autographs. That particular artist alley featured established comic book writers and artists, as local talent. Of course there was plenty of cosplay to be found. There was a few known media guests such as model/actress Pom Klementieff, who portrayed Mantis from Guardians of The Galaxy 2. She was sitting next to Henry Winkler in the autograph section.

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No, I didn’t have a table. This time I went as a spectator. It was also an excuse to get out of NYC for a few hours. Despite the dismal Greyhound bus ride, I’d say it was worth the trip. Even if the bus was delayed for over thirty minutes. The passengers were mostly disgruntled Anita Baker fans, trying to catch her concert also happening at Mohegan Sun later that evening.

It was a relief to find a comic con featuring more comic book professionals rather than pop culture personalities. Before the comic con winded down on Saturday, there was a panel honoring comic book writer Roy Thomas. Thomas was presented with an award for his contribution in the sequential field.

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Panel featuring comic book writer Roy Thomas. Prior to receiving an award. Photo by Michele Witchipoo, Aug. 18th, 2018.

Apparently a few exits before Mohegan Sun, there’s a Pez museum. The kid inside me loudly acknowledged this, as I spotted the billboard through my bus window. Sure enough, there was a Pez vendor table at the Terrificon. Kinda wished I had never discarded my old Pez containers. Especially the reissued Star Wars and Halloween editions.

Among some of the comic creators in artist alley: met Bob Almond again, who created the Inkwell Awards, Ray Felix who does Bronx Heroes Con, Barbara Friedlander who I unfortunately missed by the time I arrived at the venue, Art Baltazar, Neal Adams, Afua Richardson, Scott Hanna, C.F. Cebulski, and many others. Below are photos are David Thorn Wenzel and Tifa Chii.

The cosplayers and gamers weren’t left out. Here’s a few other cosplayer photos to round out this blog post.

Last but not least, here’s a cosplayer doing a mash-up of Booster Gold and Goldstar.

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Terrificon is highly recommended as a comic con. If given the opportunity I would attend again. It’s geared towards more mainstream comics rather than self-published and indie. Then again, it’s still a good excuse to get out of NYC for the day. Didn’t spend much time in Mohegan Sun itself. Pretty much all casinos reek of desperation and spilled soda on carpets. As for the return ride to NYC; that was purgatory. Some jackass held up the bus for almost two hours. If there’s anything I learned, the bus drivers that work for Greyhound have the patience of saints. Seriously. That day I witnessed two drivers who had more than enough reason to lose their tempers. Had they done so, it would’ve been justified – but yet they didn’t. So kudos to them. Greyhound itself however, truly sucks. Even those cheapo companies like GoBus, BoltBus or MegaBus seem to have smoother rides. My advice for next year is to get a Zipcar or arrange a carpool. Seriously.

Enough kvetching. In late October I’m going to have my own table at a local comic con. Details forthcoming. So with my luck, I’ll probably end up taking Greyhound again.

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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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