ComicCon-Ing: Space City Comic Con in Houston 2016

Cristina will share her experience of Space City Comic Son in this blog. Kurt’s experience will come tomorrow, with an editorial the following day.

Kurt and I had plans to attend MegaCon this year, but due to budgetary restraints, and the fact that we’re going to Wizard World Philadelphia next week, we decided to stay home. On a whim, we applied for media passes to Space City Comic Con (SCCC). We attended in January 2014 when it was in Galveston, TX and thoroughly enjoyed it. Luckily, we were accepted and found a cheap hotel close to the NRG Center. Since it was our anniversary weekend, May 28th marked five happy, nerdy years married, I decided to make sure Kurt had a great experience by meeting some of the Sons of Anarchy cast. SOA is one of Kurt’s favorite television shows and over fifteen people from the show were attending the con. SCCC pushed buying autograph tickets ahead of time and in order to ensure that we stayed on budget, I bought autograph tickets for Kim Coates (Tig), Ryan Hurst (Opie), Drea De Matteo (Wendy), and the elusive Charlie Hunnam (Jax). Kurt was going to have a wonderful anniversary present and we’d have a great time covering the con as media! Or so we thought… Continue reading

ComicCon-ing: Artists Spotlight For Space City Comic Con

Comic cons have evolved throughout the years. Some people will say that most aren’t comic cons shouldn’t be comic cons anymore because the focus seems to be on media guests and not the artists.  That may be but I haven’t been to a con yet that didn’t feature artists.  Every con I’ve been too has always had talented artists. Space City Comic Con in Houston is no exception.

I’ve already written a blog on Fred Van Lente and his work writing The Comic Book History of Comics. It’s an amazing book that has me looking for more comics that are works of non-fiction.

 

Darryl Makes Comics DMC No. 1

Darryl Makes Comics DMC No. 1

Darryl McDaniels, better known as DMC from Run DMC, has created his own line of comics called Darryl Makes Comics.  I’ve read issue #1, and its fantastic.  Set in the 80s, there is a vigilante going around helping people who is known as DMC. There are plenty of references to lyrics from the seminal rap group, but they never force it. In addition, it calls into question about who do superheroes answer to. In this comic, a “hero” has to answer to a shadowing rich person at the end.  I can’t wait to read all issues, especially if they are as good as the first.

 

Dave Dorman Star Wars Variants

Dave Dorman Star Wars Variants

Dave Dorman is an artist who often does work for Star Wars. We have been collecting the new Marvel Star Wars comics since they started, and Mr. Dorman has done quite a few of the variants. His work is amazing and we have a few comics for him to sign. Of course, if he has others to purchase, we will probably buy a few as well. (Probably means definitely).

 

Doug Hazlewood, Inker on The Death of Superman

Doug Hazlewood, Inker on The Death of Superman

Doug Hazlewood has been a long time inker and you can find lots of his work in hardcover and trade paperback. In fact, he was the inker for the best-selling comic book ever – the Death of Superman. The inkwork on that book is fantastic as is the work that Hazlewood did with Grant Morrison on Animal Man.

 

The Paybacks written by Donny Cates

The Paybacks written by Donny Cates

Donny Cates is a comic book writer.  I just purchased the first volume of his work The Paybacks because it sounds, well, original. It’s about a group of heroes that act as repos for other heroes who spend more than they earn.  Superheroes need all those wonderful toys, but not everyone can be Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark.  Some have to buy on credit and some over extend themselves.  Now doesn’t that sound like a great comic?  When I’m done with it I’ll write a review…unless I decide I need to read the complete set first.

These are just a few of the artists that will be at Space City Comic Con. I can’t wait to see all the artists and their work.  My budget might not like it but my Nola Nerd Couple Headquarters still needs some decorating!

 

 

ComicCon-ing: Orlando’s Megacon

Nola Nerd Couple is not going to Megacon this year, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.  If you are in the central Florida area, go!  It’s a great con with plenty of guests for autograph seekers, artists, and vendors.

Tom Felton and Jason Isaacs will be there along with the Phelps twins for the Harry Potter fans.  Trekkies will be able to meet William Shatner, George Takei, and Nichelle Nichols. Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes will doing a special stage event on Saturday night. For you NOLA nerds, they will be in New Orleans on Wednesday. John Cusack will also be there, but since I won’t be it hurts too much to talk about. I mean, I try to be Lloyd Daubler on my better days.

One of the main reasons that you should go is to meet Stan Lee. He is one the comic book greats and if you are an autograph collector he should be in it.  It is still amazing that at 93 he attends three days of a con.  However, it seems that his con days are coming to an end, so get his autograph while you can.

Of course, there are plenty of artist, panels, shopping to do at Megacon.  We always come home full of stuff. We highly recommend that you stop by Mrs. Nola Nerd Couple’s sister’s booth: Geekella.  She is a fantastic artist and has great pieces for you to buy.  We have quite a few of her works at Nola Nerd Couple Headquarters. We also highly recommend Purrito Press for your nerd art needs.  Both will be located in artists alley!

Megacon opens today at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando and runs through Sunday.

Have a happy con!

 

Reviewing: A Comic Book History of Comics

I had The Comic Book History of Comics on my wishlist for a while. I really wanted to read it this summer.

Then I saw author Fred Van Lente was going to be at Space City Comic Con and moved it up on my reading list. It did not disappoint.

The book runs a little over 200 pages and is written in comic book form with drawings by Ryan Dunlavey. They pack a lot of information into those pages and cover comics humble beginnings to digital downloads with everything in between. Even though very little space is wasted, it is a very quick read. Lente and Dunlavey assert that this is a creator’s medium even if they are controlled and exploited by the companies. Without the creators, the companies wouldn’t have had the characters and stories to build their empires.

The book takes you through waves the comic book industry has ridden over the years. People want superheroes, and then they want romance, and then crime and horror, etc. The comic creators had to follow supply and demand.

By focusing on the creators, often you see their struggle. Upfront is their struggle to control their own artwork. Van Lente and Dunlavey do a great job of explaining work for hire and copyright laws. So good, that if I was teaching civics instead of computer science, I would use those chapters to explain those concepts. Of course, the artists are often going up against the big companies, but the authors don’t shrink away from creator vs. creator struggles. More than any other account I’ve read, they have told the Ditko-Kirby-Lee story in the most nuanced manner.  Ditko and Kirby are definitely given their due in this account. Lee, here, gets the most balanced treatment I’ve read in a while.  For those of you that just know Stan Lee from the movies and think he created all those characters, read this book. Then do some more research. It’s not as cut and dry as you would believe.

Nor do they just focus on DC and Marvel creators. Robert Crumb and the underground comics movement get a good share of panels. This was an area I really haven’t shown much interest in, but after reading this, I know want to read his illustrated version of Genesis.

The authors also do a great job of showing how comic books have gained respect as their own art form. They do point out that in the US this isn’t as true as it in such countries as France, but you can seek the arc of how they went from lowbrow entertainment to where it reaches the heights of Alan Moore’s Watchmen.

Thankfully, this is not just a fact only history book. Like any good historians, they provide their opinions based on the facts. They don’t shy away from criticizing their subject matter when it needs criticizing such as the economics of comics since the 90s. They also show the creators as they were and don’t romanticize any of them (now I know why Wonder Woman gets tied up so often). They also don’t make this overly academic.  In other words, it is always interesting…even the anime chapter.

Biggest complaint: the book is too short. There are too many stories to tell that are left untold. Each chapter deserves its own book. This is a compliment to Van Lente and Dunlavey, especially since I want them to tell these stories.

In the final chapter, they discuss how comic books help us make sense of the world. I really wish they would have taken it further. In fact, I really wish more people from other disciplines would follow this book’s lead. As an educator, I feel the comic book is an untapped form for learning. As they state how a comic book can make the Theory of the Cave understandable, comics could do these across many mediums. By writing their history of comic books, Van Lente and Dunlavey prove that comic books can be a viable medium for any academic field.

Reviewing: Damien

The Omen was one of the first horror movies I saw.  I can’t remember if I saw it in the theaters or if I saw it on HBO.  One of the things I loved about my parents is that they didn’t try shielding me from good movies even if they were scary and had me checking my scalp.

When I grew older I watched all three movies again.  The two sequels are decent.  They had very good casts who helped elevate poor scripts.  But it’s still the first movie that  is the masterpiece.  The only problem I had was some moments in the score.  The chanting is fantastic, but there are moments of cheesy horror movie scoring.  If they music would have played it straight, the movie would have been strengthened.  With a straight score in some of the scenes, it could have been more mysterious as to whether Damien is who we think he is.

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Bradly James’ Damien as a war photographer courtesy of A&E

In the new A&E series, Damien, that young child is now a war photographer. The series posits itself as the only sequel to the original movie.  Using some sort of Marvel sliding timeline, Damien starts off not knowing much about his past besides the fact he lost his parents at an early age.  The series deals him coming to grips with his past.  Warning, spoilers after the jump.

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Concert-ing: The Cure at UNO Lakefront Arena on May 11, 2016

Plainsong”* by The Cure is the greatest opening song to any album. Ever.  I’m not saying it’s the best song; I’m saying it’s the best first song for an album.  It opens Disintegration, The Cure’s magnum opus, and it sets the entire tone for the rest of the masterwork.  It was the song I wanted to hear more than any other song.

The night before they played one song from Disintegration. This would rectify that.

 

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The Cure as Plainsong Started

 

 

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