This one time, I was on Comic Book Men.

October 14, 2013

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Earlier this year I saw a thread on an anime website for a production company looking for cosplayers. Turns out it was actually for Comic Book Men. When I started talking to a casting agent, she decided I’d do better talking about comics on the show. Why? Because frankly I know a lot about comics–specifically Archie. I did a few interviews, talked to a lot of people, and one thing led to another and I was told when to come up for filming.

So off to Jersey I went on a beautiful Tuesday. I was pretty nervous, but that’s to be expected. But then when it was go time, it wasn’t so bad. I brought in my under copy of Archie #18, an un-restored CGC 3.5. I went in with every intention of talking about Archie, and I did! We talked about the current Archie, talked about Kevin Keller, the Kiss and Glee crossover, and a few more things. However only the Glee part made it in. I understand about time restrictions but I feel they could have done more. The problem I find with many comic shops who generally don’t deal with old comics is that they gloss over GA Archie. That’s a shame since Archie is a very important comic when talk about the history of comics. When it came time to negotiate, I asked $200 for the book. That’s roughly guide for it. Eventually we landed at $100 and that’s good enough for me.

Walt, Bryan and Mike were nice, but it was clear GA Archie was a little beyond their scope. That’s ok, I love teaching people about the fantastic history of Archie comics. You can watch the episode to see what else went on. Shame they didn’t keep the part where I asked for a job application–I thought it was pretty funny. Personally I would love to see a female on the show, or any show where there’s a female who knows a great deal about comics. Wouldn’t that be fantastic!

You can catch Comic Book Men every Sunday on AMC. My specific episode is season 3 episode 1, The Incredible Bulk.

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-Lauren

 

Oh, and the Jughead tattoo I have? It’s on my hip.

Archie’s Pal Kevin Keller #8

August 30, 2013

Recently I was going through my large pile of back issues, when Kevin Keller #8 popped out at me. I admit that I don’t read Archie like I used to as a child, but I still keep up with what my favorite comic book teenagers are up too.

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Kevin Keller was introduced into the Archie universe by creator Dan Parent. Kevin was introduced in Veronica #202 as the first gay character in Archie comics. I’ve talked about Kevin in the past, and I still firmly believe he is a wonderful addition to Archie. He is a positive role model for young children regardless of sexuality.

In Kevin Keller #8 we come in at the end of a two part story. Devon, Kevin’s boyfriend, are pretty rocky. Devon wasn’t comfortable with coming out, but eventually him and Kevin became a couple. Things were then made more complicated when a former admirer of Kevin, Paul, returns to the scene! Kevin assures Devon that Paul is only a friend, but can Devon get passed his jealousy?

Kevin Keller #8 folds out like any normal Archie story. Veronica has an idea for the school play, which will be about teenagers through history. Kevin plays the lead male with Betty as the female lead. When the play gets to the 21st century it is revealed that Paul will play opposite Kevin as his boyfriend. This raises red flags to Devon who then immediately signs up to help with props in the play. His jealousy eventually gets the better of him, and Devon sabotages the play (with positive results from the audience).

This comic deals with issues and feelings many young adults have. Jealousy, insecurities, and learning to cope with these feelings. Devon feeling jealousy over Paul being so close to Kevin during the play was a perfectly normal human response. That he couldn’t distinguish real life from the play is something that happens to teenagers (and adults!) every day. Devon even asks Kevin to quit the play, but Kevin declines. Devon in a way is acting like a bully, trying to get Kevin to do what he wants or else they can’t be together. Kevin made a commitment to his friend Veronica, and he won’t be swayed by Devon’s clearly jealous ultimatum. These panels are very important as it shows it’s young readers that it is OK to stand up for yourself even in a relationship. Your friends (and lovers!) will do things you don’t agree with, but it’s important to trust them and stand by them.

Another page of note is page 9. Veronica informs Kevin that during a specific scene, he has to pull Betty along by the hair. Betty is furious at the idea and let’s Veronica know. Veronica then insists that Kevin drag her by the arm, but he’s clearly uncomfortable with that as well. What this is showing young readers is that it is not OK to forcefully take someone with you anywhere, even in a school play. To drag someone by the hair or arm is brutish, rude, and it shows a distinct lack of respect for that person. Personal boundaries are to be respected, and that no means no. 

At the end of the comic Devon is remorseful for how he behaved towards Kevin and the play. He suggests that he and Kevin break up, but Kevin reassures Devon that he won’t give up on him. Kevin does acknowledge that what Devon did was wrong, but can also see that Devon reacted in such a manner because of his feelings. Devon apologizes to both Kevin and Veronica. Young readers will hopefully take away the message that we as human beings will make mistakes. We should be able to recognize flaws and issues, but we should also be able to forgive our friends and loved ones. We can learn from our mistakes and grow! Hopefully Devon will be around for a long while as his character is only just starting to develop.

-Lauren

 

 

Ben Affleck as Batman.

August 28, 2013

As you all know by now Warner Bros announced that Ben Affleck will play Batman in the Man of Steel sequel.
Then fanboys went crazy and posted hateful stuff at Mr.Affleck and WB.
Hell,they even had a petition to have him removed O_O

What to I have to say about it?
Well,for one I didn’t go crazy about it.
I was more shocked than anything else.
He’s not the worst pick for Batman (that one goes to Clooney :P )
Affleck has earned some respect recently for his directing.
Yes,he did DareDevil but that wasn’t his fault for it being god awful (bad writing & direction were the blame)
I don’t really understand why he’s getting this much hate from fanboys.
I mean look at how much hate Ledger & Hathaway got when they were casted as The Joker & Catwoman.
And they turned out pretty good.

I think we all need to wait & see how Affleck will do as Batman before we pass judgement.
He could turned out to a great Batman,but we won’t till we see a trailer of the movie.
I hope he give a great performance as Batman (and prove the haters wrong)

-Sarah

Otakon 20

August 17, 2013

Otakon 20

Overall there was some fantastic cosplay. You can view my Otakon album by clicking the above image!

-Lauren

Otakon 2013 Is Finally Over

August 12, 2013

My 13th Otakon has come and gone. This year was almost no different than the rest, save for visiting the ER Saturday morning at 4am, leaving that same day at 10pm, and not really leaving my hotel room because this con has effectively outgrown the Baltimore Convention Center.

A few things did come out of Otakon though. Funimation announced they will be releasing a few certain anime series that Bandai Entertainment had, such as the classic anime Cowboy Bebop. Other titles they picked up are Witch Hunter Robin, Escaflowne, Code Geass, and several other anime titles.

I didn’t make it to the VIZ panel, but I did hear they were releasing Ranma 1/2 on BluRay.

Like I said earlier, Otakon has outgrown the BCC. They have cited the aging convention center as a reason why they want to move. On one hand Baltimore should put some money into the dated convention center. On the other, we really need to put out money into more important things here. However that is another topic for another blog.

The crowd and lack of crowd control at Otakon was also terrible. Hopefully this is something they can work on for next year. Or maybe they do need to cap attendance again. There were points throughout the con where you were in human gridlock and couldn’t move for some time. Also, while I understand that people should have their badges going into the con, asking for them while I’m sitting down in the Charles Street lobby is absurd. And asking to see my badge going from the con into the Hilton is also a little silly. Again, these are concerns I hope Otakon takes note of for next year.

On the plus side, the rave was good. Lots of energy and good vibes. The music mix was also really good Friday night. OtaChan was terrific (I made a Luna magnet!) and clearly had a lot to keep kids, and kids at heart, busy. The Otakon museum was a nice stroll down memory lane of Otakon pasts. The manga library was also well stocked this year. I did however miss MAT3K, which I’m still bummed about. But what can you do!

The Thursday preregistration pick up was also fantastic. From what I could tell by driving by at 9am, they moved anyone outside into a line that was indoors. That way, you could get up and use the bathroom, get food, and generally not be outside in the summer. This was a great idea. Whomever thought of this deserves a gold star.

All in all it was a good con. I can’t wait for next year!

(Pics to come later!)

-Lauren

 

BronyCon 2013

August 5, 2013

This past weekend Baltimore played host to BronyCon 2013, a convention centered around My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

There were thousands of people (around 8,400 came to this con) coming to celebrate a common thing. What strikes most as odd about this con however is that the show has attracted a large number of older men as fans. Frankly I didn’t spend a lot of time wandering around the convention. I do enjoy the show. I’ve seen a number of episodes, I like what it teaches it’s target (and not so target) age groups, and the characters are diverse. However a con like this could not attract me as an attendee. I worked at the con as a guest handler, and spent most of my time either sitting in the green room or taking my guest around the con. I also can’t ignore the fact that many Baltimoreans were dismayed and annoyed that this con came here. The negative connotations this con has also can’t be ignored, but frankly that’s another topic for some other blog.

My guest was a total blast to hang out with. In fact every VIP I spoke with was gracious, kind, and enjoyed themselves at the con. The team I worked with was also fantastic. I’ve worked at many cons, but this was without a doubt the best team I’ve ever worked with. Everyone got along and knew what they were doing, and if they were just pretending they did you would have never known. Communication between team members was outstanding, and any problems we may have had were taken care of right away. Every attendee we came into contact with were polite and not intrusive. While I may have gotten around 5 hours of sleep the whole con I would happily work in that department again. The team leaders we had were also top knotch, and I would love to work with them at any con regardless of the subject matter. Even if I may not fully understand the point of the con. They were just that good.

Will BronyCon be back in Baltimore? I’m not sure. If you went, I hope you had a good time. Below are the few photos I took of the rather diverse crowd I ran into. 

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-Lauren

 

The Wolverine film review.

July 28, 2013

Here’s my review of The Wolverine.
I can say that it’s a lot better than X-Men Origins:Wolverine hands down (story & character wise)

Pros:
I love the Japanese setting of the film (the bullettrain seen was great)
The Japanese cast were great (mostly from Rila Fukushima & Tao Okamoto)
Rila Fukushima as Yuriko was awesome (she was a fun character to watch,her being a mutant didn’t really bother me that much)
Tao Okamoto was also great as Mariko.
There are hints of Claremont’s mini-series,but the rest is just for the film.
The Silver Samurai was cool.
They didn’t shoehorned in a bunch of mutants in this film (like Origins did)

Cons:
Viper really wasn’t much of a villain(they could have cut her character out and no one would have notice)
The Jean Gray scenes confused me (is she really dead?,why is she with Logan?,why is she even in this film?)
I would have like to have seen more of Yuriko.

Overall,I loved this movie (WAY better than Origins)
4 out of 5.

Had I review Origins,I would give it 3 out of 5.

Also,stay after the post-credits to see a scene that links X-Men:Days of Future Past :)

Harassment and Cons

July 26, 2013

I grew up in the world of comics. My dad would take me to small cons and shows across Maryland. Eventually I started attending conventions with my friends, and some shows I do solo. There had been times where someone would make some off color comment, but I could never let one bad apple ruin my love for this hobby. Recently there has been a large outcry from the women (and men!) in this fandom about how they are being mistreated at conventions. From sexist remarks to blatant sexual harassment, it seems everything is imploding on itself.

Like I said, I’ve had some rather rude remarks come my way. I’m not here to divulge my dear readers into that. What I am here to share with you is this; Women and men and everyone in between are capable to enjoy and love this and any nerd fandom as they see fit. The idea of a “fake geek girl/boy” is not for any single one of us to decide. If someone doesn’t know everything about the Platinum Age of comic books, who cares. If someone doesn’t know every little detail about the TARDIS, it is not the end of the world. That does not give you permission to belittle a person.

If a man or woman is cosplaying and they so happen to be in a skin tight costume, that is also not an excuse to harass said person. If you happen to see a lady wearing a Witchblade costume, guess what, still not grounds to make lewd remarks to her. As a cosplayer I can assure you we know we will get looks. If you have something to say that may even remotely offend the person in question…keep it to yourself.

If you have been a target (be it in cosplay or not) report it to a staff member or con security. If you see something happen, get con security. If you have to intervene do not get physical. Look out for one another, and keep in mind that everyone will express his or her fandom in different ways.

In a nut shell, live and let live.

-Lauren

 

Some Archie Things

July 5, 2013

It should come to no surprise that I have an odd obsession with Archie. Thankfully a seller on eBay (who’s been collecting for 30+ years!) is starting to list stuff on eBay. Long story short, I won these awesome shirts and a Veronica sweat suit. If any of you in cyberspace has any info on them, please contact me! I’d love to know a bit about them.

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Thanks, Dad.

June 15, 2013

I get asked by people all the time “How did you get into comics? Why is Batman your favorite hero?” stuff like that. At the root of it all it the same answer “It’s what my dad liked.” My dad was born in 1950, and thus grew up in the Silver Age of comics. He read Superboy, Superman, Captain America, and Archie. He also got heavily into sci-fi and proudly ran his college sci-fi club. He attended a few cons and was overall dedicated to it. And then I was born. Now was his chance to rub some of his nerdness off onto me. (As far as his SA comic collection goes, my grandmother threw them away.)

 

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I don’t remember a time in my life before comic books. When Batman came out I was 3, and Batman was everywhere. I would come home from preschool and watch the Adam West show. If we went out and I saw anything that resembled the Batsymbol, it was imperative to my life to obtain it. When Batman Returns came out in 1991, my dad took me to see it. My mom was less than thrilled. “She won’t sit still.” She insisted. My dad knew better and sure enough I sat through it with a possibly glazed over look. Batmania had hit me hard. I gobbled up comics, toys, and whatever I could find on T.V. In my first grade Halloween party I insisted my parents buy me a Batman costume. I broke the belt and cried the whole day because of it. When I got home dad stapled the belt back together which ultimately saved the day.

We started going to a local comic shop, Alternate Worlds in Cockeysville Maryland, when I was 6. Before then we had been to other shops but now we had a place to go every week. Dad still read his Superboy and Captain America comics (and anything else that caught his eye), while I focused on the Batfamily, Archie, and eventually manga. My dad never understood the manga thing (and still doesn’t) but it made me happy so why not. In 1999 he even took me to my first Otakon! However that was a little much for my dad (something I can’t really understand) and I’ve been gleefully attending anime cons without him since. But we still went to small comic shows and sci-fi shows since that was still in the scope of things he liked. His last convention was Baltimore 2008. He got himself an Amazing Fantasy #15 and Amazing Spider-Man #1, and left a happy camper. That was also around the time we got into collecting key books, specifically Silver Age DC books. My dad still gets a kick out of buying a book he had as a kid. My grandmother kicks herself for throwing away his books when she finds out how much their worth now.

I still attend conventions, and I still read comics. My dad doesn’t read comics or attend cons anymore. He still loves the medium and enjoys it from the comfort of his own home, but the torch has been passed. If it weren’t for my dad I would have never been as involved with the wonderful world of comics like I am. Thanks dad, for fostering such a deep and passionate love for a truly wonderful medium in me.

And a Happy Father’s Day to all the amazing dads out there!

-Lauren

 

 

 


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