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Posts Tagged ‘pop culture’

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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I’m half asleep while typing, but wanted to send a quick reminder for tomorrow.

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If you’re in the Upstate NY area, come check out this comic con. If all goes well, I’ll have a new mini-issue debuting tomorrow. We’ll see. So buy my comic you bastards! Anyway, admission is free. See you tomorrow.

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It happened yet again. Last Friday I received a surprise text on my cell. Apparently I won tickets to see Wasabassco’s House of Deveraux: Tribute to Led Zeppelin. This was the second time this year I won tickets to an event (double bill Judas Priest and Deep Purple), and third time winning tickets in general (to see Kite back in 2016). What luck! A few hours later I hopped on the subway to (Le) Poisson Rouge.

2018 has become a Led Zeppelin themed year. A few months ago I saw Robert Plant perform at Forest Hills Stadium. Since then I’ve been on a Led Zeppelin kick. Even if I still skip ‘Stairway To Heaven’ when using Spotify. House of Deveraux blended the art of strip tease dancing to songs like Kashmir effortlessly. All the burlesque performers did their own take of each Led Zep tune to a packed audience. Here’s a review of the show on Brooklyn Vegan.

Which leads to the weekly Psycho Bunny sketch of the week for Sept. 19th, 2018.

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Psycho Bunny takes in some burlesque! Based on the comic book written and drawn by Michele Witchipoo, on WitchesBrewPress. September 2018.

Social Media time!

Facebook: pages for Psycho Bunny and for Michele Witchipoo – WitchesBrewPress.

 Twitter: One account for me, and one for Psycho Bunny.

Tumblr: World Ov Witchipoo

Instagram: there’s WitchipooArt.

Get yourself some cool stuff on RedBubble, featuring my designs. There’s dresses, tee shirts, notebooks, etc. The notebooks, and the Quentin Crisp tees seems to be one of the best selling items.

Come back next week for a new Psycho Bunny sketch.

 

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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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A few weeks back I attended the Culture Club and The B-52s concert over at Forest Hills stadium. It wasn’t my first seeing both of these acts live. It was more that both groups were such a part of my early teen years, and that it was right in my own backyard in Queens, NY.

When I was about 11 or 12, I brought the first B-52s album. I was the first kid on the block to have that record, and most likely the only one. It was early ’80’s in lower working class Queens. I was considered the school weirdo. Having this album only solidified my case. Not that I really cared.

When my friend used to come over, I introduced her to Rock Lobster. I made her wear old wigs dug out from my mother’s closet, which my mom wasn’t too happy about. I wasn’t happy because the wigs weren’t styled like in beehive hairdos. In my bedroom we pretended to be Kate and Cindy, wearing mom’s old forgotten wigs. We danced to most of the songs on side one, because vinyl still ruled in those days. That album cover is still pretty iconic to me.

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Eventually I grew out of The B-52s. By the time “Love Shack” hit the charts, I was more into Post Punk, Goth, Industrial and anything non mainstream.

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Concert attendee at the Culture Club/B-52s show at Forest Hills stadium. Sat. July 28th, 2018. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Fast forward to July 2019 in Forest Hills stadium. (Wasn’t the band’s first time. The B-52s played Forest Hills stadium back in 1983. Most of the crowd was dancing to such classics like ’52 Girls’, ‘Planet Claire’, and what surprised me was ‘Mesopotamia.’ Of course they played ‘Love Shack’ and ‘Roam.’ You can see their set list here.

Thus leads to the first of the two latest sketches of the week. Decided to throw in two instead of one, due to last week’s absence.

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Psycho Bunny’s friends as The B-52s. Based on the comic written and drawn by Michele Witchipoo on WitchesBrewPress. Aug. 2018.

After The B-52s came Culture Club. I’ve mentioned dressing like the two women from The B-52s. However, it was the arrival of Boy George that took it from the bedroom to public display. I began to copy the Boy’s look. While going to class, I wore the hat, the baggy clothes, etc. Even had his dance moves down. Once again, I was the first kid on the block to embrace Boy George and crew. Also one of the very few. Boy George wasn’t very popular in the junior high I attended. In fact, that’s when I experienced homophobia.

Dressing like Boy George gave people the impression that they could insult me. Everyday I heard nasty remarks from other schoolmates such as “You know he’s gay, right?” “Why do you like him? He’s a man dressed like a woman!” “Boy George is a fag!” “Fag lover!!!” “You look like a freak!” “Hahahaha….” It was usually followed by “Why don’t you be normal, and listen to Michael Jackson like the rest of us?” Which led to my distaste of anything remotely related to Michael Jackson. To this day, if I hear just a few notes from a Jackson song, it makes me nauseous. I just equate Michael Jackson to general hypocrisy. Jackson is dead, and I still can’t stand the guy. It’s not his fault. It was my junior high classmates. The association. His music and image still reminds me of everything fake in today’s pop culture.

Because of all this rude behavior, it influenced me to look beyond my immediate Queens surroundings. I applied for those magnet high schools just to get away from all those rotten close minded classmates. Eventually I got accepted into the High School of Art and Design. Thanks to Art & Design, it lead me straight into a path of downtown Manhattan subculture, discovering Greenwich Village, stumbling upon small import record shops, cool clothing stores, and of course, Punk and Goth. Thus my high school years fared a helluva lot better than junior high.

I’ll never forget when word came out that I was not heading towards that local war zone, Byrant High School. Some guy quipped “oh, so you’re not going to the same high school as everyone else? What’s the matter? You’re too good for us now?”

Uh actually, when I think about it…yeah.

Not going to Byrant was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life. From what I heard years later, my suspicions were all confirmed. Thanks, but no thanks. This should explain my misanthropy.

‘ “Why does everybody gets so excited when we go back into the past? It just amazes me. It’s just metaphorical.” ‘ – Boy George during the Culture Club concert at Forest Hills stadium, New York. Saturday July 28th, 2018. 

But high school is high school, and life is a lot more than that. It’s still nice to reflect, take in some nostalgia, acknowledge your influences. To be ruled by the past though, is a prison you don’t want to be trapped in. Boy George definitely didn’t want to relive his past. In fact, most of the songs on the Culture Club set list was more like a rock and soul revue than Culture Club’s greatest hits. The opening song was a cover of David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance.” Fret not, they still did some of their greatest hits.

‘ “We’re a living, breathing soap opera. The amount of collective drama on this stage would kill a beginner.” ‘ Boy George during the Culture Club set at Forest Hills Stadium, Saturday July 28th, 2018. 

I appreciated that Culture Club didn’t want to rest of their retro laurels. Boy George himself waxed philosophically that night on the Forest Hills stage. He came across as intelligent and witty. There were times you sensed that he’s acknowledged lessons learned from his past experiences. This was evident with their recent single “Let Somebody Love You.” You never would’ve guessed he assaulted a male escort back in 2009. Then there was the time when he rebuked my friend’s request for an autograph that was meant to be for his mother. His mother was in her final stages of MS.

 Oh that Boy George. He’s such a Gemini.

Despite his shitty transgressions, I will always be thankful for his influence upon my life. It was a positive influence. His public image taught me that it was okay to think outside the box, to be yourself. If it wasn’t for him, Siouxsie Sioux, Joan Jett, Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol, and David Bowie, my outlook might’ve been very different. Probably a lot more bleak.

While I did accomplish a lot, I’m still residing in Queens. For now anyway. As someone who once wanted to ‘escape’ Queens, it’s now become the complete opposite. No thanks to the overall gentrification of NYC. I’ve learned to appreciate all the different cultures within my borough. Manhattan just isn’t the same anymore. Let’s not even talk about what happened with Brooklyn. The Bronx and Staten Island is too far away from everything. So Queens is where I stay. For now.

If you’ve made it this far, thank you. Here’s part two of the Psycho Bunny sketch of the week. Psycho Bunny as classic Boy George.

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Psycho Bunny as Boy George from Culture Club. Based on the comic written and drawn by Michele Witchipoo on WitchesBrewPress. August 2018.

The very next day after the B52s and Culture Club gig, I went to see Slayer over at Jones Beach, Long Island, NY. Talk about one extreme to the other. That will be discussed in next week’s blog post.

…and now. Memorize these social media links:

Facebook: pages for Psycho Bunny and for Michele Witchipoo – WitchesBrewPress.

 Twitter: One account for me, and one for Psycho Bunny.

Tumblr: World Ov Witchipoo

Instagram: there’s WitchipooArt.

Get yourself some cool stuff on RedBubble, featuring my designs. There’s dresses, tee shirts, notebooks, etc. The notebooks, and the Quentin Crisp tees seems to be one of the best selling items. Just in time for Pride.

One of my hobbies is documenting what goes riding the NYC subway lines: Wildlife On The MTA. Cause if you can’t laugh, you’ll cry. MTA passengers know what I’m talking about. Even better: My WildlifeOnTheMTA Instagram is active once again.

Come back next week for a new Psycho Bunny sketch. Remember to bring in good karma.

 

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Starting from June 1st to August 31st, Sketch Lottery is having a free-for-all. Basically for summer 2018, draw any of the past Sketch Lottery subjects. Which meant I finally had a chance to sketch Alf.

Alf had this thing where he ate cats. So it’s only fitting that Alf met his match with Grumpy Cat.

 I met Grumpy Cat once. During the summer of 2014. A Barnes and Noble book signing, located in the Union Square area of downtown Manhattan, NYC. Tartar Sauce (Grumpy Cat’s real name) was asleep. Tartar Sauce’s human liked my shirt. Here’s a photo of me when I was platinum blond. Before I went with my signature blue hair.

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Posting with Tartar Sauce, better known as Grumpy Cat. June 3rd, 2014, Barnes and Noble book signing/meet and greet. Union Square (Manhattan) location.

Anyway, back to the sketch. Originally I was going to ink the piece, but liked how the pencil work was coming along. So I kept it just the way it was. Really like this one a lot. Besides. Grumpy Cat is sort of like my spirit animal.

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Alf meet Grumpy Cat. As seen on Sketch Lottery. Pencil art by Michele Witchipoo, July 2018.

You can see my sketch, along with other sketches on Sketch Lottery.

 

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