Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Force Awakens



CAUTION

THIS IS A SPOLIER LOADED REVIEW

(But really, you should have seen The Force Awakens already)

There is a cheesy part of me that want’s to say “This is the Star Wars you are looking for.” True as that statement may be, it is a bit eye rolling. Anyway… Star Wars: The Force Awakens is what we fans have been hoping for. Full disclosure, I am in the camp that wasn’t too thrilled with the prequels. Obviously they are popular enough to be successful. But I never felt the heart with them that I felt while watching the original trilogy. But this is about the new film. And I thought it was great. Not perfect, but it does bring back the feelings I had for the originals. So let’s break down the movie.

The general plot. Okay… It is a bit of a rehash of A New Hope. The First Order, which is kind of like a cult of the old Empire, converts a planet into a Super Death Star, able to destroy entire systems, not just a single planet at a time. An in the end a hand full of fighters are able to penetrate the defenses and blow it up. Oh, and the protagonist, one of them anyway, grew up on a desert planet and escaped on the Millennium Falcon. There is a bit more to the story, but that is basically it.

So the characters:

Rey

Basically Rey is the new Luke Skywalker. It’s no coincidence that she is on Jakku, a desert planet and has talent with the force. There is a mystery about Rey. Who are her parents and why was she left on the planet when she was so young. It seemed to me that Han knew something about her. But it’s plainly obvious that she is strong in the force, so strong that thing like the Jedi mind trick come to her without any training. I almost want to say she is Luke’s daughter. That would be more interesting and a good story. Mabey a bit obvious maybe.

Fin

FN-2187, aka Fin, was conscripted (kidnapped) by the First Order when he was very young. He doesn’t even remember his family. He was raised, trained, and indoctrinated by the First Order to become a Stormtrooper. But on his first mission, Fin could not be who the First Order wanted him to be and defected. Some made a big deal that Fin is portrayed by a black actor, but I don’t get the problem. All the Stormtroopers lose their faces and identities. Evil has no color. Or you could just say The First Order has an excellent EEO policy. Side note, if you were paying attention, one of the other Stormtropers was female. And I’m not speaking of Phasma.

BB-8

Poe Dameron’s BB series droid who went on the run and came across Rey and then Fin. As with R2-D2, the filmmakers were able to get a lot of emotion out of something that doesn’t technically emote much. In this case, a ball with a floating head. With electric beeps and minor movements, BB-8 comes to life, has a personality, and gives another layer of heart and humor to this film.

Poe Dameron

The Resistance X-Wing pilot who is the best fighter pilot in the Republic. He is a bit of a hot head, but we really don’t get much character development out of him. Poe is sort of being positioned as the new dashing rogue that was Han. They make it obvious that Poe is an ace pilot, but hopefully we get a little more development for his character in the next film.

Kylo Ren

Okay, the big reveal. Kylo is Ben Solo. Son of Han and Leia. He was one of Luke’s students who apparently went rogue and destroyed Luke’s school of new Jedi. Nothing is mentioned of what happened to Luke’s other students or even how many there were. Anyway… Kylo is a MAJOR fanboy of Darth Vader. He somehow missed the memo that Vader reverted to Anakin at the end. Kylo’s biggest issue is that he is more unstable than the young Anakin. Like lightsaber wrecking everything, super tantrum unstable.

General Hux

Hux is the commander of The First Order’s forces. He is also Kylo’s chief rival in the First Order pecking order. We don’t get much time and information about Hux. He and Kylo have a sort of grudging respect for one another. Mostly they don’t like each other.

Captain Phasma

Captain of the First Order Storm Troopers, we really don’t get much time to get to know about Phasma. She is the Boba Fett of The Force Awakens. She looks fantastic and her awesomeness is implied, but we don’t really get to see it.

Supreme Leader Snoak

The big mystery. Snoak’s existence is not a secret, but his identity is. He is the head of the First order and the one pulling the strings behind the whole operation. Many fan theories are out there about if he is actually a new character or not. But don’t expect any answers until maybe the next film at the earliest. I won’t join the speculation on Snoak’s identity, there is enough of that out there.

You know the rest. Leia is now General Organa. Han is still a rogue. Somewhere along the line they drifted after Kylo/Ben went all dark side. Chewbaca stick by Han’s side. There are still some questions that need answering. We know Luke disappeared after Kylo destroyed the Luke’s effort to rebuild the Jedi order. We don’t know if there was a formal Jedi school or how many students Like even had. More importantly, is Rey Luke’s daughter or was she a most talented student? And of course, does Kylo know who she is? Another interesting question is why isn’t Leia a Jedi? Presumably she was busy with the New Republic government and didn’t have much time for training. Speaking of The Force, is Fin force sensitive? There are subtle hints that he could also be somewhat strong in the force. Of all the Stormtroopers, how is he the only one that we know of that was able to resist The First Order’s indoctrination? Kylo also stared at him briefly after Fin didn’t fire on civilians when his unit was ordered to. I could be nothing. Like Rey, he seemed to have some luck with things.

All in all, it is a great return to Star Wars. It really goes back to basics as far as archetypal characters like the original and generally the story was pretty simple. The prequels felt a little over thought. The Force Awakens will be a solid foundation to build this new phase of the Star Wars mythology. We just have to see if Lucasfilm (under Disney) can deliver more quality films with more original stories. But the future does look promising.


Monday, November 16, 2015

High Frontier Trilogy


Chris Claremont made name for himself as a comic book writer for the X-Men comics. Much of his work on Marvel’s mutants has become some of the most influential work on the X-Men and the Marvel Universe. His work has also inspired much of the X-Men movies. But Claremont did not limit himself to comics. He also co-wrote a book series with George Lucas dealing with events that happened after the Willow film. Claremont also wrote three original novels that have come to be known as The High Frontier Trilogy. These books are First Flight, Grounded, and Sundowner.



First Flight follows Air Force Lieutenant Nicole Shea on her first space mission in command of a ship and crew in the earliest says of humanities first steps into interstellar travel. This first mission was to lay beacons within the Earth’s solar system to help with future space travel. Her mission runs into a mysterious rogue group of heavily armed and equipped mercenaries called a Wolfpack, and then onto first contact with an alien race.


Grounded further explores the mystery of the Wolfpack and a plot to kill Lt. Shea. All the while Shea is helping to further build the alliance with the feline race called the Halyan’t’a. While the Hal, as they are called, are a slightly more technically sophisticated species, they still have some technical hurdles to overcome and an alliance with humanity is formed to trade technology and expertise. The mysterious conspiracy that is keeping Shea grounded on earth puts her deeper into a wider conspiracy that could derail the alliance with the Hal.


In Sundowner, Nicole Shea, now a Captain, is completing her work as the head of a joint Human / Halyan’t’a project to make a new space ship that will benefit both species. But even when one conspiracy ended in Grounded, a new threat emerges from a group who wants Humanity to be free from alien influences. The story continues onto earths first faster than light star ship, the Constitution, and then to the Halyan’t’a’s home world. The story ends with the unraveling of the conspiracy and the origin of the Hal’s religion.

Claremont created an amazing universe with these books, and as he has done while working with Marvel, created amazing characters. The world he build in this series is not too far from our own to seem impossible. This Earth taking its first steps into interstellar travel is in our not too distant future, so the technology is not too far fetched to understand and the politics and motivations of the players are not things we are unfamiliar with. Lt. Shea I would describe as similar to Ripley in the Aliens movies and Starbuck in the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica series. Although Shea is much more a stable personality than Kara Thrace. Though Shea does have a love interest, this is more of a subplot and she spends most of the series figuring things out on her own.


In a way, the universe Claremont created in this series feels like the beginning of the word of Star Trek when Humans and Vulcans first began working together. While the series ends before anything like the Federation or Starfleet happens, it is easy to see how a natural continuation of this story would lead to a Trek like existence. If I had to make a criticism, it’s that the end of the third book got a little too much into the religion of the Hal and that even though there was a resolution to the story, I felt like there should have been more. It does though end in a place where if he wanted to, Claremont could continue the series. If you are looking for a good story with a strong female character, you might want to give these books a try. You’re not likely to find them in stores, my copies are from a used book store. You can, however find them online at sites like Amazon.

This article originally appeared on SciFiPulse.Net

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

5 Comic Book films Guillermo Del Toro should direct


Guillermo Del Toro has made a name for himself with dark fantasy and horror movies. Most notably Pan's Labyrinth and the Hellboy franchise. He also directed the sci-fi giant monster vs. giant robot action film, Pacific Rim. Del Toro also has many writing credits to his name. He has a talent for horror, supernatural, and humor. So as to not drag this out too much, here are 5 Comic Book films Guillermo Del Toro should direct:

1. Midnight Sons


There is a Justice League Dark film that was going to be directed by Del Toro, but he dropped out due to scheduling concerns. A similar potential project exists with Marvel. While they are not the Dark Avengers, The Midnight Sons are a supernatural team of Marvel heroes that have battled dark and demonic forces. I have mentioned a Midnight Sons film before as a potential Marvel film now that the rights to three key members are back under MARVEL Studios control (Doctor Strange, Ghost Rider, and Blade). Del Toro has done a Blade film already, FYI. Blade II. Just putting that out there.

2. Rat Queens


Rat Queens is begging for some sort of adaptation. Del Toro was close to directing The Hobbit films and Rat Queens would give him the opportunity to work his magic on a fantasy project that is kinds close... ish to middle Earth. Rat Queens is a little more edgy in tone and humor then Tolkein, but it would be pretty close to what he did with Hellboy. Dee, Betty, Hannah, and Violet are a team that parties as hard as (if not more so) than they fight. And they are the best around at getting things done. Magic, mayhem, mystical creatures, monsters, giant god squids in the sky, and some drug humor. It would be epic.

3. Joe the Barbarian


I have raved about this series too. It's kind of like a darker Never Ending Story. So imagine what that film would be like if Guillermo Del Toro directed it. He has already done a film with a young protagonist in Pan's Labyrinth. This story of Joe, a teen diabetic who starts to hallucinate after his blood sugar gets too low, is an epic story filled with amazing creatures and characters. Joe goes on a quest with his rat guardian Jack to save his home and protect a fantasy world of toys from King Death. And who wouldn't want to see Doug Jones bring an human sized armored warrior rat to life?

4. The New Mutants: Demon Bear Saga


A New Mutants film is in the works at Fox already. But Del Toro could add a new dark spin on the X-Men universe. This would be a second or third film in a franchise. The Demon Bear killed the parents of New Mutants member, Danielle Moonstar, and then came after her. It has the ability to transform people into demonic Native American warriors and does so when the whole team comes to Moonstar's aid. The story was written by Chris Claremont so you know it is good already. Del Toro could do wonders with this story.

5. NausicaƤ of the Valley of the Wind


Yeah. Let your mind consider this one for a bit. Guillermo Del Toro filming a live action version of a Hayao Miyazaki classic. If this one doesn't fan the flames of your inner fanboy/girl you are either lying to yourself or you are dead inside. NausicaƤ is the princess of a small kingdom that gets caught in the middle of a war between two larger nations. The world is already dying due to the spread of a toxic Forrest and the giant insects that inhabit it and now the conflict of two warring nations threatens the survival of the Valley of the Wind. Giant monsters, part fantasy, part dystopian future, and Del Toro has already given a nod to anime with Pacific Rim, this more than anything else could be huge if (huge IF) could ever happen. It is already a fantastic animated feature.

I doubt any of these project would happen with Del Toro being as busy as he his. Though, chances are these projects all could happen at some point. Again, The New Mutants is already on the slate at Fox.If sometime in the distant future when Guillermo Del Toro has free time between his own films and other big studio projects, maybe he could give one of these a shot.


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Could Identity Crisis make it to film?


Would DC and Warner Brothers be brave enough to film Identity Crisis? Odds are no. But lets break this down a little. Marvel has unquestionably set the bar high with The Avengers franchise. DC is understandably building it's own Justice League franchise in response. And why wouldn't they? Fans want it and it's just good business. Even though the Justice League universe was started with Man of Steel, it won't really start to form until the release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which will also introduce Wonder Woman and Aquaman. As for other characters, rumors are pointing to Doomsday as being the force that brings everyone together. But that is just a rumor at this point. Warner Brothers is also expending the DC cinematic universe with the Suicide Squad film. So we have the Justice League origin story ready to go. But where to from there?


As is the case with MARVEL, there is a lot of iconic source material to choose from. Honestly I hope Kingdom Come will eventually be filmed. If it happens at all, it will not be the first story DC approves. And it's more like a years down the road, Infinity War kind of thing. But another part of me wonders if another direction could be taken. What if DC tried to tell a story that was more personal? Something that is very humanizing. What if they chose to adapt Identity Crisis? If you didn't read that miniseries, it is really good. The spoiler free description is someone kills the wife of one hero and threatens the lives of the loves ones of other heroes. Some heroes and loved ones don't make to the end.


The story reveals dark secrets and decision that question the ethics and moral standing of the League. The question is would people want to see their favorite characters in a murder mystery thriller? It could be done with a similar tone as Captain America: The Winter Soldier. There wasn't a whole lot of super powers in that one and it was brilliant. It would also take the introduction of a few more League members to fill out the story. Identity Crisis on film is a long shot at best. At most we might get moments inspired from the story or subtle nods to it. But in another world, it would be a fantastic film.


This is an updated version of an article that was originally posted at SciFiPulse.Net

Friday, October 16, 2015

FX picks up Y: The Last Man


I’ve been talking about it. If you are a fan, you’ve been talking about it. Now it’s finally going to happen. After years in movie land development hell, Y: The Last Man might finally show up where it should have all along, on television. The FX network has picked up Y: The Last Man for development. Created by Brian K. Vaughn. Y is about Yorick Brown, the only human male survivor of a plague that wiped out all male life on the planet in a bloody instant. The only other male survivor is his Capuchin monkey, Ampersand. He is on a mission... to find his girlfriend. Keeping him alive and humoring him along the way are a group of women trying to save the the human species.


Two things may directly contribute to Y actually making it into production. First, The Walking Dead. While hit zombie series hay yet to get any love from any award show, MILLIONS watch the post-apocalyptic series. And like TWD, Y has a lot of diverse characters and a great story that could hook viewers. Second, Mad Max: Fury Road. It was labeled a feminist movie (which could be valid, but I just thought it was a great action film), but beyond a few guys on the internet, no one cared. Y is a story with only one male in it. The entire cast, leading and supporting, is female. And TV viewers will be introduced to Agent 355. Think TWD's Michone as a secret agent with special operations military training.


Hopefully if it does go into production the series will mirror The Walking Dead in character building. Because the characters are what will sell the series. It's post-apocalyptic, but there are no monsters. Essentially, Y is one long road film with many character studies. The cast of characters are very interesting, but if not done right, a TV series could feel flat. What it also has going for it is that the characters are racially diverse and the story crisscrosses the United States and takes us to different countries. It would gives us looks into how different people and other cultures would deal with a global crisis. The series has the potential to be groundbreaking drama. There is definitely humor and some action. But what made the series fantastic is the characters. Hopefully FX will bring it to life and pull it off.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Claremont and the X-Men Films


Chris Claremont wrote key moments in the history of the X-Men that continue to influence the Marvel universe. It is no surprise that the X-Men film universe has been influenced by him as well. X2 (X-Men: United), the squeal to the first X-Men film,  was inspired by the graphic novel, God Loves, Man Kills. The third movie, X-Men: The Last Stand was loosely based on The Dark Phoenix Saga. X-Men: Days Of Future Past is based on a story of the same name that appeared in the pages of Uncanny X-Men. Even The Wolverine, the second Wolverine solo film, is based on the Wolverine limited series written by Claremont.


Claremont was the writer on Uncanny X-Men longer than any other writer. In his 17 years on the title he co-created a lot of the iconic and well known female characters that have become an important part of the films. Rogue, Kitty Pryde, Mystique, and Emma Frost can all thank Claremont for playing a role in their existences. Another character created by Claremont, Jubilee, will feature in the next X-Men film, Apocalypse. Claremont was also a creator for Sabretooth, Mister Sinister, Pyro, the Phoenix Force, and of course Gambit who will be getting his own solo film in 2016 with Channing Tatum playing the mutant Cajun.


There are many more Claremont stories that could be mined for screenplay material. The New Mutants, a title Claremont helped launch, has been green lit by FOX and will be written and directed by Josh Boon, director of The Fault In Our Stars. Demon Bear Saga anyone? If it follows the comic, The New Mutants will be a new young team of characters who could potentially carry the X-Men banner after the actors in the current films retire from the franchise.


Chris Claremont didn’t set out to make a career in comics. He wrote novels and hoped to become a Director when he began his career at Marvel as an editorial assistant. He has become one of the industry’s most influential and respected writers and creators. His work on the X-Men has become part of the foundation for one of Hollywood’s biggest franchises.

This is an updated version of an article I wrote for SciFiPulse.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Oh, Hell Vol 1


This is a minor SPOILERY type review.
High school can be hell. Then there is the real Hell. Then there is the boarding school that is actually  Hell that turns teens into soul hunting demons. Zoel is a troubled teen and her adoptive parents think they are doing her a favor by sending her to The Academy. The goal is simple. Learn how to get humans to trade their souls in exchange for their wildest dreams and desires. Success gains you demonic powers. It's pass/fail and failing means losing your own soul.


 Zoel can't understand why her parents gave up on her. She isn't alone of course. There are a lot of students in this class. And teens being teens, they fall into the usual high school roles. Zoel even manages to find a nemesis in the form of the popular pretty girl, Alesse, who is all too good at bringing out the worst in people. She also delights in baiting Zoel's temper. Not that it takes much to ignite her temper. But it's especially easy when it comes to Zipper.


Zoel's roommate/potential love interest (if they can manage to get over their anger and self destructiveness) may be the only bright spot in The Academy. Their troubled pasts help them form a bond. But it is hard to hope for anything in Hell. Everything is hard in Hell. And despite a hair trigger temper and lacking faith in humanity, Zoel is just not cut out for stealing souls. People may betray and judge her, but she can't bring herself to condemn others. And that fault is about to make things even crazier. Zipper pulls off something that shouldn't be possible, harvesting a demon soul. Zoel tries to save him from from going over to the dark side and unintentionally pulls off something even more unprecedented. She breaks out of hell.


Things are happening that should not. Zoel is on the run, her classmates are hunting her, and Zipper has to decide if he is worthy of Zoel and a human life or staying an agent of Hell. Even Hell is having trouble keeping things normal. The story is inspired by writer George Wassil's work with at risk youth and a screenplay he was working on with screenwriter, Michael Connell. Along with artists Dave Hamann, Michael Birkhofer, and letterer Troy Peteri, Wassil brings this story of a fifteen year old girl fighting for her soul and the soul of someone she could care for. It's a dark and original story that is an interesting take on hell and high schoolers. It's hard not to get wrapped up in something this original. Each character is layered very well. Zipper is the tortured street thug with the heart of gold who might find hope if believes he deserves it. Zoel's nemesis, Alesse is more than just a spoiled mean girl. Well, she is a spoiled mean girl, but she is also devious, smart, and patient.


It's an impressive work that has attracted the attention of a major publisher. I won't drop a name until it happens. But Oh, Hell could be headed towards bigger distribution and exposure. Check out the pages online at OhHellComics.com where you can also buy the collected edition of Vol. 1. CHYRSALIDES.


Friday, October 2, 2015

Mystery Babylon 3 - 4


So... the apocalypse is happening. Well, the Final Apocalypse. One apocalypse already happened and at some point the demons of Hell were sealed up in the Pit by Kick Girl. Her psycho ex, Kill Boy, kinda got sealed up in there too. Things were supposed to stay that way. Kick's biggest problem should have been living anonymously for the rest of eternity. But of course there had to be a prophesy that she would open the pit and there has to be a weird cult that wanted her to do it. And as much as she wanted to keep things all sealed up nice and neat... Well it's not her fault the Final Apocalypse has begun.


Needless to say, the forces of good are taken by surprise and don't quite have a good handle on the situation. Kick girl finds herself still stuck with Zero, the priest who is still way out of his league out in the world who manages to get by because Red, an angel of Heaven, seems to like him. Kick also now has the company of Delilah, former leader of the cult who wanted Kick to open the pit. Now that the Pit is open, the Final Apocalypse isn't exactly turning out how Delilah thought it would. There is also the not so minor problem that Kill Boy is out of the Pit as well and is on a Terminator like mission to kill Kick.


The fun still hasn't stopped in the pages of Mystery Babylon. Val Hochberg (Val Brazier now actually) has stayed consistent in this post-post-apocalyptic tale of Kick Girl, which is very loosely inspired by the Mystery Babylon in the Book of Revelation. It doesn't seem like the most likely place of inspiration for an anime style comic wit a lot of humor, but it works.


As luck would have it, Val attended Alamo City Comic Con again where I picked up chapters 3 and four of the web series. I enjoyed the first two chapters and  was looking forward to collecting the next two. I'm kind of old school, I like holding paper in my hands. Despite the ominous inspiration for the series, it is essentially a humorous buddy cop/road trip kind of story. No, Kick and Zero are not cops. But the story has that element of two people from different backgrounds with different personalities being forced to work together and eventually they will be best buds..... Or at least Kick is developing some sort of reluctant grudging respect for Zero. Zero just sees her as his best friend because that's how Zero is. We're also getting more flashes of Kick Girl's back story and what life was like before The Pit got sealed. The time between the Apocalypse and the Final Apocalypse seemed to settle down and get pretty normal. There was enough time for society to bounce back. The picture of what happened before Kick's story pick up in Chapter 1 one keeps getting be filled in as the series continues. In Chapter 4 we even get to see Kick's old place.


While there is an over all arc to the story, it seems as though at best this is possibly the beginning of the midway point. Maybe. But I'd bet on the series continuing for quite a while. Val has said before that there is no exact timeline for how things will happen. Besides, there is still a lot of good stuff going on right now. Look for the pages of Chapter 5 online as they are released on Kick-Girl.com.

Read my review of chapters 1 and 2 HERE

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

ACCC 2015 Con Stuff



This year in addition to my normal convention review, I’m going to highlight various things my wife and I purchased from artist and vendors. We don’t always buy things at conventions, but I thought it would be good to show off what some people have to offer. Some vendors and artists can be found touring pretty regularly at many conventions while others stay pretty close to home. Each convention will have its own mix of local and national people selling things.


Digital Art Tree
Jamie Owen specializes in art and calligraphy on pages from books and newsprint. It gives the art a very unique look.
raineforest@gmail.com
Facebook: Digital-Art-Tree


Jessica Von Braun
We’ve bought prints from Jessica before at other conventions. She covers a lot of different fandoms and genres with her unique style. Some prints can be found at every con she attends and some are limited editions.
solocosmo@gmail.com
Etsy: Solocosmo
Tumblr: Solocosmo
DeviantArt: Solocosmo
Twitter: @solocosmo


Marcus Rocco
We bought three small cards, but Marcus has plenty of larger prints. We'll probably be buying more form him in the future.
roccodoestheastro@gmail.com
Twitter: @marcusrocco
Instagram: @marcusrocco


Val Hochberg
Val is an artist and writer. We’ve bought her prints before and I’ve been reviewing her web series. Mystery Babylon. This is just one print of many she has done covering various series, shows, and movies.
Twitter: @kickgirl
Tumblr: Kick-Girl
 DeviantArt:valval

Gifts and Blessings
Though we only bought a crochet owl from Jed Marshall (made by his wife ), there are a lot more mand made and crafted items that can be purchased from Gifts and Blessings.
 720-232-3360
Jed.marshall@giftsandblessings.com


Katie Cook
Katie is the writer and artist of the comic Goonk. We bought these two small cards at the con, but she has larger prints, posters, as well as her comic for sale.
katiecandraw@gmail.com
Twitter: @katiecandraw



Literary Alterations
There was a lot of things to look at. Jewelry, boxes... a lot. More custom work can be found on their site.



The Wolf and The Dragonfly
JR Warren and Meredith Voghtman specialize in custom jewelry and designs. These pendants were made using vintage stamps from around the world.
832-458-9069
info@wolfanddragonfly.com

Each person or store had more things available. These are just the items we purchased at this convention. Check out their sites and visit their booths to see more.

Alamo City Comic Con AAR


2015 is the third year of the Alamo City Comic Con. The Con has maintained the momentum of the first two years with celebrity guests and artists. Attendance was high again and the amount of cosplay has been stepped up yet again. Not everything was smooth though. Over all, it was still a good con. More peole showed up in cosplay and the crowd seemed to be bigger than previous years. Also the layout of the floor was better, making navigating the con easier. Now let’s start with the panels. Unfortunately with most big conventions, you can’t sit in on every panel you want to see.

FRIDAY

COSABILITY: DISABLED & PROUD


There are three big reasons why I have to respect Kristen Passmore. One, she cosplays. Two, she is a teenager hosting her own panel at a large convention. Three, she is treating her disability as a tool to spread understanding and give courage to other people with disabilities. With the assistance of her father and cousin, she talks about how she and her family turned a wheel chair into an opportunity to make some great cosplay. At ACCC, her was made up to look like the chair of Davros, the creator of the Daleks in Doctor Who.


BACK TO THE FUTURE


Claudia Wells, the original Jennifer Parker in Back to the Future, and James Tolkan, Principal Stricklend, spoke about their experiences making the Back to the Future films and answered audience questions. Tolkan had some difficulty hearing some questions, but took the time to stand up and make a more personal approach at addressing questions direct towards him. He enjoyed talking about Back to the Future, Top Gun, and even Problem Child 2. Though Wells was only in the first film of the franchise, she enjoyed the panel and had fun with the audience, answering questions and not so subtly plugging her website and men’s store, Armani Wells in Studio City, CA.


LORD OF THE RINGS / THE HOBBIT


Billy Boyd (Merry Brandybuck) and John Noble (Lord Denathor) were joined by Manu Bennet (Azog The Defiler). All three had fun in the panel. Boyed had to keep dodging requests to sing as he didn’t remember lyrics enough to do the songs justice. He was still appreciative of the questions though. Noble tends to look serious, but he has a good sense of humor and has fun with his costars. Bennet is a fan of his fans an enjoyed talking about how a lot of his work on The Hobbit was mostly doing motion capture in front of a green screen.


HODOR


Kristain Nairn (Hodor) spoke about Game of Thrones and his music. Nairn was asked a lot about Game of Thrones. Unfortunately a lot of the questions were about future episodes which he didn’t know anything about and/or could not answer. He also spoke about his primary career as a DJ and about his other great obsession, the game Warhammer.


SATURDAY


THE WALKING DEAD


Lawrence Gillard (Bob) spoke for most of the panel and was joined later by Jon Bernthal (Shane) and Michael Rooker (Merle). Gillard spoke a lot about his time on the show and about his role on The Wire. Bernthall and Rooker showed up close to the end of the panel. But they showed up with enough time to have fun. Bernthal went along with one woman’s request for a hug. Rooker then brought her back up on stage to get hugged by him and Gillard.



COSPLAYING


Pro Cosplayers Ivy Doom Kitty, AniMia, and Leeana Vamp answered questions and spoke about their experiences in cosplay. The fielded questions about technical aspects of cosplaying such as tips and techniques for constructing costumes and about body positivity. Each spoke personally about how they started in cosplay and both the negative and positive experiences they have had.


ACCC COSTUME CONTEST


One of the big events of any con is the costume contest. It was hosted by Comic Book Men’s, Ming Chen, and cosplayer, Leeana Vamp. The judges were Ivy Doom Kitty, AniMia, and Krystal Starr. Prior to the contest start, the Trident Award was presented to the San Antonio local chapters of the 501st Legion and Rebel Alliance. The Trident award is in honor of San Antonio cosplayer, Jonathon “Aquman” Vela, who was dedicated to community service visiting patients in hospitals. The cosplayers showed up for fun and upped the effort in skill and craftsmanship. First place went to a huge Chaos Space Marine.



SUNDAY


SPOTLIGHT ON RAY PARK


Ray Park has been good in every panel he has taken part. Even though there was not enough room for him to show off some moves (which if you have seen him at cons you know he like to show off some moves), he was still entertaining talking about Darth Maul and his other roles outside of Star Wars.


EDWARD JAMES OLMOS


Meeting him in person is intimidating. But during his panel, Edward James Olmos was comfortable and very relaxed answering audience questions. He showed his fondness for his fans and spoke highly of not just Battlestar Galactica, but also of a film held in high regard to San Antonio and South Texas, Selina, and also about his activism. You can also quote him that Jennifer Lopez's breakout performance in Selina was her best performance in all her movies.


ACC COSTUME CONTEST (KIDS)


Hosted by Krystal Starr, the kids costume contest was judged by Kaylin Syren and Cup Kate. The kids costumes have been getting more detailed just like those of the adults. And the performances have gotten better. First place went to Foxy from Five Nights at Freddy’s.

I wish I could have gone to more panels. Maybe if even media had not been cleared out of the ballroom every time, I could have. I wasn't the only person with a Media Pass that was frustrated by this. Generally though, ACCC was a good experience. Unfortunately, there still seems to be some coordination and communication issues within the con staff. Especially with regards to organizing the lines for Ballroom B panels. Another issue was rules for lining up seemed to change day by day. Not by a lot, but enough to cause confusion. Also, The Lila Cockrell Theater was no longer being used for panels as it is now home for the Alamo City Film Festival. To me, losing use of the theater took away from the con. There also could have been more smaller panels, which I was hoping for after last year. There is a wealth of people and topics that can be sources of excellent panels that can be entertaining and/or educational. It's my hope that as ACCC continues, it will expand it's panel offerings. I do appreciate the difficulty and complexity of running such a large event. I know I would not want to be responsible for one. One other important note, however. It was noticed that stages and panel rooms were not wheelchair friendly. Chairs had t be moved during panels to accommodate and there was no ramps for wheelchairs to get on stages. This left some cosplayers in the Kids Costume Contest to be stuck moving in front of the stage, out of sight of a lot of the audience. Hopefully next year these issues will be solved. And all things considered, this is a fantastic convention. I can't wait to see what is in store next year.
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