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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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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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Memories of a ridiculous debate.

Back in the ’90’s, I had this part-time job. It was pretty much a slacker gig, doing telephone surveys at night. Yeah, I was that person interrupting dinner with those annoying phone calls. That job was perfect cause it meant no stupid office dress code. Anyway one night it was kinda slow, and someone mentions Hanna Barbera animation.

What started out as nostalgia turned into a heated debate about who was better – Penelope Pitstop or Josie and The Pussycats.

Seriously.

I took the position of Josie and her crew against someone who thought Penelope was better solely based on her looks and sexual appeal. The person defending Penelope the most – wait for it – was a man…yeah, it gets predictable from here. The man was Australian, and to be honest, I found him kind of arrogant. Had he been American, most likely today he would’ve been a Trump supporter.

My stance regarding Penelope was “Well yeah, but why would someone want to be a victim all the time?” Penelope always found herself in helpless peril, dependent on a man to save her. Meanwhile Josie and The Pussycats a) played their own instruments, b) according to the story line, was a successful pop band c) hold their own as they traveled through space, and finally d) still looked good while doing it. I mean, who wouldn’t want that?

Nope. According to the Penelope fan, Penelope was the prettier one, and due to that, she gets the prize. I disagreed. Long story short, the guy who was so into Penelope somehow got insulted. As this debate continued, he started to get a bit angry. No matter how I counter-acted with Josie’s merits, he stood firm. His only reasoning being this; Penelope was sexier. 

When the guy’s voice raised, the supervisor had to break it up. I remained calm, but remember thinking ‘WTF?’

It’s a good thing this happened during the early ’90’s. Had this been posted online, all the seventh-wave internet feminists would’ve pounded him.

Unless you’re into bondage, I just can’t imagine siding with Penelope Pitstop.

That I believe, was my first encounter with geek sexism. You can laugh, or you can cry. It all depends on interpretation. 

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Usually I don’t like to go back into the past. The only thing I tend to get nostalgic for is music. Usually people think I’m much younger. Once someone talks to me about music, bands I’m into and concerts I’ve seen, thus my true age is revealed. Music is one of the few things that tends to date me. Outside of music and fashion, I don’t like to look back. Much rather live in the present.

Back in March 2004, I had a one day gig. The time I was an extra for a FOX network show.

Jonny Zero never really had a chance, as it was canceled just after eight episodes. Back in 2005, the show was put in the Friday night ‘death slot.’  As an action drama it really had no fighting chance against the popular reality shows.

Me as an extra at the Jonny Zero TV shoot. March 2004. Here you can see me kinda cranky, since I had been up since 6:58 am in the morning, so I could arrive in full outfit for a shoot beginning at 11am.

Me as an extra at the Jonny Zero TV shoot. March 2004. Here you can see me kinda cranky. Need my caffeine. Had been up since 6:58 am in the morning, so I could arrive in full outfit for a shoot beginning at 11am. Among some of my accessories was my beloved vinyl bat shaped purse. Still miss that bag.

As my recollections would have it, I remember having to get up around 6:58 am to be on time for the 11am shooting. The location was at a now defunct club located on West 14th street, known for having goth and fetish parties. As a non union extra, I was told during the audition to bring two outfits for the taping. On set, it was easily seen who were the ‘lifestyle’ Goths and the actors under the SAG banner. The SAG extras had the cliche’ touches such as black lipstick, badly applied eyeliner and layers of ultra white face makeup. The true Goths had the Frankenstein platform boots, for example, popular within that subculture during the first 2000 decade. Think New Rock boots.  Used to own a few platforms myself.

Me at the Jonny Zero filming, March 2005. NYC. My time as a 'Goth' TV background/extra.

Me at the Jonny Zero filming, March 2004. NYC. My time as a ‘Goth’ TV background/extra. What ever happened to this outfit?

Among the SAG extras, this pretty platinum blond lady with a long fake ponytail sat next to me.  “What’s your name” she demanded. I replied “Michele. What’s your name?” With a swish of her fake ponytail extension, her response was “I’m bitter.” Another swish, she snorted “I’m too old for this shit.” Okay…thus set the tone. Continuing the one side convo, she began name dropping. “I’m friends with Voltaire.” The singer, not the philosopher. I was not impressed.

Non union 'Goth' extras at the 'Jonny Zero' filming. March 2005. NYC. Photo by Michele WItchipoo.

Non union ‘Goth’ extras at the ‘Jonny Zero’ filming. March 2004. NYC. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

I found better company among my own crew, the non union real time Goths. A few club kids were roped in for Jonny Zero as well. In between camera takes, I mostly hung out with Grace. We had both worked at both the same punk clothing store on St. Mark’s Place and the Rave clothing shop on West 8th street. This was dating back in 2000, and later again in 2001. Same owner, same shady business practices. As Grace gave me the update about the owner and the wholesale manager (both who I suspect later got deported back to Israel), we overheard the script’s dialogue. It was dismal. No wonder the show got canceled after only eight episodes. We kept the snickering to a minimal before doing the dancing scenes. Which took take after take after take…after take…after take…after take. Is it any wonder the show got the ax after eight episodes.

Another sign things weren’t going well for Jonny Zero. My friend who helped me get the gig saw someone from the crew get hit by an SUV. Right outside the club where the episode was being filmed. Yikes.

Usually when you do a shoot for television or film, expect to stay at location for the entire day. As filming continued, the extras were sent to a building across the street to change into their second outfits. Afterwards we were to wait for word as to when the extras were needed. So we waited quite some time.

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Me, March 2004 at the Jonny Zero filming. My time as a ‘Goth’ extra. NYC. When I was younger and thinner.

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Me, March 2004 at the Jonny Zero filming. My time as a ‘Goth’ extra. NYC. I loved that dress. It was a sleeveless number, and had added the extra shirt for the contrast. Now wondering: whatever happened to that dress?

When you’re on set, they give you free food. If you’re there for the entire day, you get breakfast, lunch and dinner. In the case where SAG and non-Union are on the same set together, the SAG members always eat first. When SAG and the camera crew were done, the non Union was allowed to get their dinner. Of course when it came to our turn, there wasn’t much food left. If anything can be learned from this blog posting, go SAG.

Waiting on set during the Jonny Zero filming. March 2005, NYC. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Waiting on set during the Jonny Zero filming. March 2004, NYC. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

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During in-between takes during the Jonny Zero television filming. March 2004, NYC. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

After dinner, both extras and non extras continued to be holed up in the building across the street from filming. As the saying goes, the natives were getting restless. The natives being the real non – Union Goths while the SAG extras behaved themselves. Some of the Goths and Club Kids were becoming slightly rowdy. Boredom was kicking in, as the more mature SAG members sat quietly away from the non-Union crowd.

Can’t remember much afterwards. Think we pretty much hung around until dismissed. Some came back to finish the scenes a week later. The show was broadcast, in which it sunk without a trace. The funny thing was, don’t think I ever saw the completed episode. Me and a friend tried to watch it in his apartment, but we missed most of it. My friend was featured in some scenes. As for myself, I was told you couldn’t see me. Just as well.

Despite my kvetching, Jonny Zero was the most fun I had on a television set. Prior to that, I had done extra work for a NYC Lottery commercial in 1999, and other scattered stuff. It would be years before I got on television again, and that might have been for a Queens public access show during one of the New York Comic Cons, around 2008. By then I had put all my energy into my self-published comics, which eventually led me to get published by others. Things have a way of working out.

I’ll leave you with this video clip.

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On March 23rd, 2014, Dave Brockie , better known as Oderus Urungus from the band GWAR passed away. He was only 50 years old. Brockie was the second GWAR member to pass way (Cory Smooth, aka  in 2011), and since his death, GWAR’s future remains in question. 

Here’s my own tribute to Oderus Urungus. My watercolor illustration from when GWAR was a guest on The Jerry Springer Show back in 1997. The episode was called “Shock Rock” and had concerned mothers confront these bands about their influence upon America’s youth. El Dulce from The Mentors was also on the panel, but Brockie and his crew clearly reigned supreme.

As I started to do this piece, chants of “JERRY! JERRY!” started going through my head. It was apparent that doing a trash program like Springer was really beneath GWAR. In end, something was gained. you can bet that this episode gained them new fans, saving them from a mundane existence. Hell, even Springer became an honorary ‘Scumdog.’

I could post a clip from YouTube, but in the few years I’ve been doing this blog, videos seem to get torn down. So I suggest you Google the video yourself. Meanwhile, please enjoy my Brockie illustration, done in glitter watercolor, ink and pen. It’s been a while since doing artwork I was proud of. For that, I’d like to thank Oderus Urungus as he travels through the gladiatorial arena. 

Oderus Urungus from GWAR on The Jerry Springer show, 1997. Episode "Shock Rock." Illustration done by Michele Witchipoo 2014. Gliter watercolor, ink, pen.

Oderus Urungus from GWAR on The Jerry Springer show, 1997. Episode “Shock Rock.” Illustration done by Michele Witchipoo 2014. Gliter watercolor, ink, pen.

 

 

 

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I’ve been attending the New York Comic Con every year since it’s first inception back in 2006. Since then it’s moved into a powerful second place right next to the San Diego Comic Con. Just like with SDCC, the NYCC has developed into mass marketed con going across the board with not just comics, but with film, television, toys, videogames, cosplay, fashion, etc. Pretty much anything and everything, really.

The NYCC of 2013 was no exception. One good thing the NYCC did was to make the artist alley section bigger, locating that part to the other side of the Jacob Javits Center. Smart move. Back when I had exhibited in 2010, artist alley and the rest of the con was all on one floor, just separated by sections. Making it hard for fans to locate artists, get sketches, etc. While some indie comicbook publishers, organizations and artists can still be found on the main floor, the artist alley department can be easily reached now. So thanks to NYCC for making the smart move in 2012. The result has made artist alley a lot more calmer and successful.

I’ll get back to Artist Alley 2013 in another post.

The NYCC 2013 overall seemed to focus on media, like with television. Luckily one of my current favorite shows is Bob Burgers, and some of the key players associated with Bob’s Burgers was having a panel.

A fan waiting to ask a question at the Bob's Burgers panel at NYCC 2013. Many were dressed like the characters Louise and Tina. Photo by Michele Witchipoo, Oct. 2013.

A fan waiting to ask a question at the Bob’s Burgers panel at NYCC 2013. Many were dressed like the characters Louise and Tina. Photo by Michele Witchipoo, Oct. 2013.

Safe to say, the two most popular characters from Bob’s Burgers are the two daughters. There’s Louise, the cynical and defiant yet charismatic youngest daughter. The oldest daughter Tina is the melancholy lovesick misfit who likes to write fan fiction. On line there were quite a number of Louise clones, but fans dressed like Tina could also been seen.

On the panel was the show’s creator, Loren Bouchard along with H. Jon Benjamin who not only does the voice of Bob Belcher, but also of Archer, another animated program. Representing Tina Belcher was Dan Mintz, whose regular speaking voice sounds just like Tina. Unfortunately the actress who does the voice of Louise couldn’t make it, as with the case of comedian Eugene Mirman who voices middle brother Gene. However John Roberts was on Linda Belcher’s behalf. Filling out the rest of the panel was Larry Murphy who does both voices of Mort the funeral director, and Teddy Francisco the diner’s loyal and sometimes only customer.

A rough clip of an upcoming Christmas episode was shown. The true highlight was when a fan who dressed and walked exactly like Tina requested that someone one the panel read her “Erotic Friendfiction.” Dan Mintz was happy to oblige, as he read the fantasy of the panel being so impressed, that they paid off the person’s college loan. Yes…le sigh…if only it was that easy.

Fan rush to get Dan Mintz's autograph after panel ends. Mintz does the voice of Tina Belcher, one of the most popular characters from the television show Bob's Burgers. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo, NYCC, Oct. 2013.

Fan rush to get Dan Mintz’s autograph after panel ends. Mintz does the voice of Tina Belcher, one of the most popular characters from the television show Bob’s Burgers. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo, NYCC, Oct. 2013.

Bob's Burger creator Loren Bouchard after the NYCC Panel Oct. 2013. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Bob’s Burger creator Loren Bouchard after the NYCC Panel Oct. 2013. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

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“On November 13, Felix Unger was asked to remove himself from his place of residence. That request came from his wife. Deep down, he knew she was right, but he also knew that someday, he would return to her. With nowhere else to go, he appeared at the home of his childhood friend, Oscar Madison. Several years earlier, Madison’s wife had thrown him out, requesting that he never return. Can two divorced men share an apartment without driving each other crazy?”

I grew up watching reruns of “The Odd Couple.” Really didn’t pay too much attention at the time. Although I do remember the chemistry of putting opposed personalities together. In real life, combining roommates who are polar opposites would spell disaster. Yet for television it was comedy gold.

Actor Jack Klugman, who portrayed the proto-type slob Oscar Madison, passed away recently. He died Christmas Eve, December 24th, 2012. Hearing about his death made me curious about watching The Odd Couple again. So on New Year’s Day I watched the marathon on TV. Finally I got my money’s worth subscribing to basic cable. It was then I realized what a great show The Odd Couple actually was. Based on the play and film written by playwright Neil Simon, it showed the drastic difference between classic programing and today’s reality show fare.

Along with Klugman was actor Tony Randall. Randall portrayed Felix Unger, the personification of O.C.D. During it’s original broadcast supposedly the show never cracked the top ten in the ratings. Yet years later The Odd Couple is now considered classic television. One of the best Odd Couple episodes was “My Strife in Court.” Originally broadcast on February 16, 1973, Felix ends up in court when he gets falsely accused of scalping Broadway theater tickets. ‘Cause after all…when you assume, you make an ass out of you and me.

Sadly Tony Randall is also no longer with us. He passed away May 17, 2004. So while maybe Klugman and Randall are performing skits in the sitcom afterlife, I did this pen and ink sketch.

Enjoy my fan art of The Odd Couple.

The Odd Couple.  Pen and ink sketch. Done January 2013.  Drawn by Michele Witchipoo

The Odd Couple.
Pen and ink sketch. Done January 2013.
Drawn by Michele Witchipoo

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