Ottawa Comiccon 2015 – Day Three!

It’s finally here! The thrilling conclusion to my adventure at Ottawa Comiccon 2015! Okay, maybe it wasn’t that thrilling, but it sure was fun.

Since it was Mother’s Day, before heading to the convention I decided to make pancakes for my wonderful wife, Sarah. I don’t want to brag, but they were pretty delicious.

Anywho, fairly early in the day I ran into another of my favourite cosplayers, Becky McKercher, who was dressed as Princess Bubblegum. She was accompanied by her friend Katie. Here is a picture of all of us together.

What are your intentions with those rubber gloves, Princess Bubblegum?

What are your intentions with those rubber gloves, Princess Bubblegum?

I don’t know Katie, but I think I have now been in two pictures with her at Ottawa Comiccon, which pretty much makes us best friends.

Later on, I ran into my friend Sarah again, who this time was dressed as John Constantine. Here’s a picture of her and I chillin’ like villains… or maybe, more accurately, anti-heroes.

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Right after this picture was taken I dropped my wife’s camera on the ground. The lens wouldn’t retract back into the camera, and I was pretty sure I broke it. But when I got home my wife was able to fix it (because, as I have said many times before on this Blog, she’s the greatest). Disaster averted!

It was on the third day of the con that I saw what may be my favourite cosplay of all time. Two parents were dressed as Lara-El and Jor-El and they dressed their baby up as Superman. Being a parent myself, I now have a newfound appreciation for parents dressing their kids up in costumes.

In terms of activities, I spent most of the day bouncing around from panel to panel. I sat in on a session where comic creators Bob Layton (Iron Man, Hercules), Mike McKone (Exiles, Fantastic Four) and Ian Churchill (Marineman, Cable) talked about some of the more controversial things that have come up in comics lately, like the Rafael Albuquerque Batgirl cover, and the Milo Manara Spider Woman cover. Their views were pretty much the same as mine: Artists should be able to create whatever they want to, but it’s up to editors to make sure that only appropriate things get put on the shelves. It doesn’t seem too complicated to me. Bob Layton went off about all the things he doesn’t like. Believe me when I tell you that it isn’t a short list.

I finished my con experience by partaking in two panels in a row. The first was a panel on writing female characters in horror. In my writing thus far, I have made a conscious effort to give my female characters (what few there are) a little depth, but I thought it would help to learn from someone who knows what they’re talking about. As a quick aside, it was in line for this session where I had the “pleasure” of speaking briefly with a guy who said he didn’t qualify for the VIP pass for the con because he showered on a regular basis. Thanks for believing in the stereotype, douche. But in his defense, it did get pretty ripe under tent when people were lining up to see celebrity Q&As. Anyway, the session on writing female characters was pretty good. It taught me to be a little more cognizant of some of the tropes that often befall female characters. And as an added bonus, I got a cheat sheet so I didn’t have to memorize everything!

The second, and final, panel I attended was about misrepresentations of minority groups in geek media. While I really wanted to learn something about groups of people I know almost nothing about, I had a difficult time understanding what the panelists were talking about. I don’t know if it’s because I was exhausted or because you needed a pre-existing knowledge in order to understand what was being discussed, but I found myself getting lost a lot of the time. In the future, I think it would be useful to explain things a little more to those of us who know very little about this sort of thing so that we can fully appreciate the topics at hand. That said, it was still very interesting.

So that is it for Ottawa Comiccon 2015! I also bought a bunch of stuff, and normally I would share pictures with you, but I am feeling way too lazy. So you’re just going to have to imagine what a bunch of Funko Pop Vinyl figures and two comic books (Marvel Zombies 5 and Challengers of the Unknown) look like. That’s it! Use your imagination!

Until next year, Ottawa Comiccon…

BAMPF!!

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Ottawa Comiccon 2015 – Day Two!

Welcome back!

The second day of Ottawa Comiccon started with a delicious breakfast that was prepared by my beautiful wife, Sarah. Nothing beats a Johnny Cake (which is basically cornbread with sausage in it). Yum yum yum! Not only did my wife make me a breakfast of champions, she fed a bunch of our friends as well! That is why Sarah is the best person in the world. I highly suggest you get your own Sarah to cook for you too.

Speaking of Sarahs, I ran into one of my favourite cosplayers, Sarah Boutcher, early in the day. Here is a picture of her in an awesome Winter Soldier costume, and me in a sweet Green Arrow t-shirt.

Me and the Winter Soldier

Me and the Winter Soldier

After walking around the convention floor for a while, our little group decided to head to the Wil Wheaton Q&A session. In answering a question from the audience, Wil got into some of the mental health issues he dealt with when he was younger, and how playing board games with friends helped him get through some tough times. I know what he means. Playing games with friends helped me through some tough times when I was a kid as well. Friends really are the best medicine.

The Wheat

The Wheat

Once we were done being entertained by the man who played Wesley Crusher, my group of friends and I attended the cosplay does not equal consent panel. The message is pretty simple: Just because someone is dressed up in costume, doesn’t mean you have any right to touch them, take their picture without consent, or harass them in any way. You have to treat them, you know, like any other human being. The panel also covered ways that you, as an observer of harassment, can help stop it. It’s too bad that such a thing needs to exist. While I think having this panel is a good idea, I think the only people who are likely attend are those who already agree with the message. I think it would be a better idea to run a little video or something before every celebrity Q&A in the big hall that conveys the message that cosplaying is not an invitation for harassment. That way, you reach a bigger audience, and maybe educate some people who really need it.

After even more walking around the convention floor (and not being able to acquire food due to the ridiculously long lineups at the far too few food vendors), we headed over to the Star Trek: The Next Generation Q&A session featuring Jonathan Frakes (William Riker) and Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi). While listening to both of them talk about their time on the show (and whatever else tickled their fancy… soccer for example came up a fair bit), it became clear that these two have done this sort of thing a million times, and that they have developed a great rapport with each other during that time. And what I really took away from the panel was that these two friends absolutely love each other. In the four years that this convention has existed, this may have been my favourite celebrity Q&A.

BFFs

BFFs

When the session was over, my friends and I left as fast as we could to get some food. Thankfully we beat everyone else to the makeshift food court and didn’t have to wait that long before buying our incredibly overpriced food (who doesn’t love a $7 chicken sandwich?).  Would it hurt to have some more food available?  I mean, just hire some food trucks or something.  Anyway, after eating, our little band started to dwindle, as people decided they had enough of the con. By the end it was just me and my buddy Adrian, taking in as much as we could before the day ended and we were forced to leave.

Before heading home, however, we went to what has quickly become my favourite thing to do at Ottawa Comiccon: BattleCOM! BattleCOM, for those of you not in the know, is like a stand-up comedy version of a rap battle, with a decidedly geeky twist. Nothing makes me happier than being able to judge people on their comedic talent (which I get to do at BattleCOM!). This year’s edition was as great as it’s ever been. That said, there were probably too many vibrator jokes for a room with 10 year olds, but whatever, a good time was had by all.

And that was the end of my second day at Ottawa Comiccon 2015. I was so exhausted, I was in bed and asleep before 10 PM. Do you know what was even better than getting to sleep before most young people have even gone out for the evening? My kid slept soundly the whole night. It. Was. Awesome.

What crazy adventures did I get into on my third day at the con? And more importantly, what did I spend all of my money on? You’ll just have to tune in next time to find out. Until then…

COMICCON BAMPF!!

Ottawa Comiccon 2015 – Day One!

Hello Everyone,

It’s that time of year again. It’s time to talk about what happened at this year’s Ottawa Comiccon!

There was so much cool stuff to see and do at this year’s convention that it was impossible to see and do it all. So let’s not lolly gaggle. Let’s talk about my time at Ottawa Comiccon 2015!

Day one:

Unfortunately, things did not start out on an awesome note. I decided to take the bus to the event on Friday, and based on my understanding (as well as the understanding of a bunch of other people who took the bus with me), the 99 bus was going to stop at the convention centre. Boy, were we all wrong on that one. We all ended up getting dropped off in the middle of nowhere and had to wait for a bus to come in the other direction. Luckily, a bus came fairly quickly and things got back on track.

Things went off the rails again however when in within the first hour of being at the con, I spent way more than I had budgeted for on Funko Pop Vinyl figures. Going in, I had intended to buy five specific figures, but when all was said and done, I had acquired a total of eight. By the end of the weekend, I came to terms with buying all those little guys, but at the time I felt pretty bad about myself.

That said, I cheered up immediately when my wife and son arrived. My kid loves people watching, and there is no better place on Earth to people watch than at a comic book convention. I’m always impressed with how my son handles being in big crowds. He never fusses or cries or panics or anything like that (knock on wood). He usually just smiles and looks around. The funniest moment was when we decided to take a picture with some of the members of the 501st Legion. A Wookie tried to give my son a high five, and my kid tried to back away as far as he could while grinning from ear to ear. It made both my wife and I laugh out loud. Anyway, here is our new family portrait.

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Awesome, right?

Anywho, after a while my family decided to head back home and leave me to my own devices. After bouncing around looking at the wares of numerous vendors, I went to the Malcolm McDowell Q&A and listened to an absolute legend talk about his time in Hollywood. Sometimes these panels can be rather dry, with the celebrities answering questions with one cliché after the next. Mr. McDowell on the other hand was very engaging.

As interesting as Malcolm McDowell was, I am a big comic book nerd at heart, so just before the session ended I headed to a panel on the difference between comics now and in the past. This panel was initially supposed to be led by Ty Templeton, but because of his recent health issues (I’m guessing, I could be wrong) he was unable to attend the event. In his place, we had Yanick Paquette and Marco Rudy (both of whom are amazing artists who worked on one of my personal favourite books, Swamp Thing) talking about how they have seen themselves and the business change over time. They did a pretty good job in my opinion, especially since they didn’t appear to have anything to work from ahead of time. I always like listening to comic book creators talk about their experience, and what they like and dislike about the comic book industry. I won’t get into what they said they didn’t like about the way things are going in the world of comics and related entertainment, but I will say that it was hard to disagree with them.

The last thing I did on day one of the convention was watch the Crystal Basement Improv group perform. I saw these folks perform last year and they were just as good this year as they were last. But like all improv troupes, when they are playing a game that requires members of the audience to yell things out in the middle of a skit, they are at the mercy of a crowd who may or may not have the sense of timing it takes to know when it’s a good time to jump in and when it’s a good time to shut up. And this particular crowd didn’t know when to shut up. Regardless, the troupe did a fine job of taking their cues from the audience when need be, and ignoring those times when it didn’t make any sense. As great as the improv was, I had the “pleasure” of sitting next to someone who must have had some sort of plague, because he wouldn’t stop coughing the whole time. I’m looking forward to my plague symptoms showing up at some point in the near future.

Shortly after watching improv, I started to make my way home. I took a bus from the convention to a major hub near my home, where I proceeded to wait for a ridiculously long time for a bus to take me home. I waited so long that I decided to walk the rest of the way. Of course, as soon as I got far enough away from the stop, I saw the bus I had waited for zoom past me. I was so annoyed (and tired) that I decided to stop at McDonald’s for dinner.

It was there in the house of the golden arches where I witnessed something that really bummed me out. A mother was at the counter ordering a Happy Meal for her kid. The clerk asked “Is it for a boy or a girl?” The mother replied it was for her daughter, and the clerk handed her a princess toy or some such shit. I mean, what if the kid wanted the Transformer toy instead? Shouldn’t the guy behind the counter just have asked what toy they wanted, instead of the gender of the child? Ugh. It still bums me out just thinking about it.

And that was it for my first day at Ottawa Comiccon 2015! It wasn’t smiles and rainbows the whole day, but the convention itself was still pretty great. I’ll write about days two and three of the con in the next little while, but until then:

COMICCON BAMPF!

It’s a good time to be a Batman fan

Hey there, folks!

So, did you see it? Did you? You know what I’m talking about, right? I am of course talking about the amazing trailer that was released last week for the upcoming Batman v Superman movie! You must have seen it by now. Everyone I know is talking about it (because I make them).  In case you’ve been living under a rock, here is the trailer:

Pretty dope, right? I mean, you don’t get any sense of what the plot of the movie will be, but whatever. You see Superman, you see Batman, and, most importantly, you see Batman in the armor suit that he wears in the Dark Knight Returns. It. Is. The. Shit.

Now, I wasn’t particularly impressed with Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, so I worry about what he’ll do with Batman v Superman.  But it’s okay. To make me happy, this movie only needs one thing. All it needs is one scene where Batman punches Superman right in his stupid handsome face.  I am almost positive I’ll get to see that, so this movie has pretty much already won me over.

I’m curious how it’ll all go down.  I believe this movie is supposed to lead to the Justice League, which means that at some point the Dark Knight and Big Blue will have to put aside their differences and start working together. Maybe they’ll start by fighting each other, only to realize there is a bigger threat. Like… I dunno… Braniac.  That would be awesome.

Anyway, the trailer wasn’t the only Batman-related movie news that came out recently.  We also got to see our first full look at Jared Leto as the Joker.  Again, allow me to remove the rock you’ve been living under.

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I dig this look a lot. It reminds me of this:

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There ain’t nothing cooler than a Joker with tattoos.  That said, I don’t know how I feel about the tattoo on Joker’s forehead. It’s seems a little… distracting. I’m also not a big fan of the silver teeth.  I just think that the most distinctive feature on the Joker’s face should be his smile, not the teeth behind the smile. Regardless, I think he looks pretty cool.

I also think it’s neat that this version of the Joker will be introduced in the Suicide Squad movie, rather than in a Batman flick.  My guess is they wanted to give people a reason to go see a movie about a team no one outside of comic book fans (or fans of the Arrow TV show) have ever heard of.  Good thinking, Warner Bros. Good thinking.

And if that’s not enough Batman-related news for you, there was also an announcement this past week that Frank Miller is going to do another sequel to the Dark Knight Returns called “The Master Race”.  Here is the promo art:

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I mean, c’mon! What is not to love about that! Looks like we’re going to have even more Batman-punching-Superman action! What’s even better is that Miller is working with Brian Azzarello, who, among many other things, wrote the Joker graphic novel, and absolutely crushed it on Wonder Woman. This dude is the real deal, and him working with Frank Miller means that this book has the potential to be one of the greatest Batman stories of all time.  I am hella excited for this to come out.

Well, that’s all the Batman stuff I have to talk about right now. As you can see, it is clearly a good time to be a Batman fan.

Until next time…

BATMAN-BAMPF!

Indie Indie Represent!

Hello internet!

You may have figured out that I like to read comic books. I’ve probably mentioned it once or twice. Recently, I’ve cut out a number of DC and Marvel titles from my pull list, and started reading a lot more independent titles. I thought I would bring a little indie spirit to my blog by using this post to talk about some of my favourite books that aren’t published by the big two (and that aren’t based on an already well-established franchise).

So without further adieu…

Lazarus
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Michael Lark
Publisher: Image

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In the future, the planet’s most powerful families have risen up to take over the void left when the world’s economy and governments collapsed. In order to protect their interests, each family has a Lazarus: A genetically modified family member that is designed to defend the family’s land, resources and other assets. They are basically trained killers. The main character of the book is Forever, the Lazarus of the Carlyle family. Forever does her job as best she can to support her family, but things change when she learns that she may not be the person she thinks she is.

You may remember Greg Rucka and Michael Lark’s work on the awesome Gotham Central book they did for DC Comics. While the DC Universe provided a fantastic sandbox for Rucka and Lark to tell their stories, the great thing about creator-owned books is that the writer and the artist get the opportunity to create the entire universe. While that may seem like a daunting task (I mean, I know it only took God 6 days to do it, but he had the power of Jesus on his side… I think) it all comes together nicely with Rucka’s strong characters and a plot that makes you want to beg for more, and Lark’s gritty art style that really makes the dark and dirty world they’ve created come alive.

This book is still early in its run, so it’s not too late to pick this one up. If you are a fan of dystopian fiction, you will love this book.

 

A Voice in the Dark
Writer/Artist: Larime Taylor
Publisher: Top Cow

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What happens when you’re a young college freshman who has murdered someone, and now you have the urge to kill other people? You start a late-night radio show to help suppress your dark feelings. But what if someone really pisses you off? Well, in that case… you imagine killing them, obviously. And maybe you do a little more than imagine.

A Voice in the Dark is written and drawn by the incredibly talented Larime Taylor. If you want an example of how great he is, look no further than the issue where the entire book is basically just a telephone conversation between two people. Think about that for a minute. An entire comic book of just two people talking who aren’t even in the same room as each other? In the wrong hands, this issue could have been as dull as mud, but Taylor is such a good storyteller I didn’t feel bored or disinterested at all. Another great thing about this book is that almost all the main characters are female, and Taylor draws them all like real women. None of the characters are drawn with the ridiculous hourglass shape that most women in comics have.

This book is seven issues in, and I understand the eighth doesn’t come out for another couple months. That means you have plenty of time to catch up. If you like strong female characters, clean art, and, you know, serial killers, this is a book for you.

 

The Woods
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Michael Dialynas
Publisher: Boom! Studios

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Remember when you were a kid and your high school was magically transported into the middle of the woods on a moon in a faraway solar system, and those woods were filled with some of the most terrifying creatures you could ever imagine? And do you remember that time that you and a bunch of your friends decided to explore the woods to try to figure out why your school was brought to this awful, awful place that has already killed a few of your classmates? Man, those were the good old days, weren’t they?

Well guess what? Today is your lucky day because James Tynion IV and Michael Dialynas have created a book that will remind you of all the great times you had back in the day. I was already familiar with Tynion from his work on the back-up Batman stories as well as his run on the Talon book, so I fully expected to like this story, but Dialynas’ art was a very nice surprise. That guy knows how to draw scared kids and scary monsters like nobody’s business.

Only a couple issues of this title have been released so far, but it’s already one of the books I most look forward to every month.

 

Caliban
Writer: Garth Ennis
Artist: Facundo Percio
Publisher: Avatar Press

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I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I hate comic books that take place in space. It’s weird because I love regular books that are set in space, and I love space-themed television shows and movies, but for some reason I can’t stand comics in space. Maybe it’s because comic books only present static images and I always think of space as a place where things are constantly in motion. Or maybe it’s because when I think of space comics I think of Green Lantern and when I think of Green Lantern I get really angry (because Green Lantern is super lame).

Anyway, that all changed when I picked up the first issue of Caliban. Caliban is the name of a spaceship that for some reason suddenly finds itself merged with an alien craft, which results in all the people in cryosleep being dumped into the emptiness of space. More craziness happens and one of the surviving crew members ends up being possessed by some sort of entity. I don’t want to give too much away, but the possessed person ends up breaking every single bone in another person’s body. The visual? It. Is. Fucked. Up. Well done Garth Ennis and Facundo Percio, well done.

If you like sci-fi horror (and messed up visuals), you will like this book. I guarantee it (guarantee not guaranteed).

So there you have it. Those are a few of the independent titles I’m reading right now. You should read them too. If you don’t, that probably means you have poor taste… or that you’re just not very bright.

Thanks for reading!

INDIE BAMPF!

X-Men and the Days of Future Past

SNIKT!

Hello fellow readers of words, welcome to another edition of Chris Lackie – The Blog!

This time around I thought I would talk about my all-time favourite superhero team. No, not the Powerpuff Girls (although they are pretty awesome… did you know that Bubbles is the joy AND the laughter?) I am of course referring to those marvelous mutants: The X-Men.

Why are they my favourite team? Well, as the old saying goes, you never forget your first (superhero team). When I was a kid (and, who am I kidding, now) I watched a lot of cartoons, and one of my favourites was the X-Men. I think what really captured my imagination was that they killed Morph, one of the team members, in the first episode. I mean, how ballsy is that? It’s a show aimed at children and one of the first things you do is kill off one of the heroes? That’s a bold move. Spoilers: It turns out that Morph didn’t actually die.

Ever since then, I’ve been in love with the Children of the Atom. Well… not in love, but, you know what I mean.

After the cartoon, I started getting my X-Men fix by playing a bunch of their videogames. X-Men: Children of the Atom is a fighting game I remember playing a lot in university. There was a code you could enter that would put the characters in beach clothing, and Juggernaut wore a bucket on his head. It was awesome. I’m also pretty sure you could play as Professor X… in a fighting game. I’ll let you think on that one for a while. I also remember playing an X-Men side-scroller on Game Gear (for you kids out there, Game Gear was Sega’s version of Game Boy… and it was in colour). The final bad guy you had to beat was Magneto, and I still remember the key to beating him: Use Iceman.

Moving from consoles to the cinema, I remember being really psyched to see the first X-Men movie when it came out. My friends must have really wanted to see it too, because I remember going to a theater in Ajax on a Tuesday night, only to find that it was sold out, then driving to Pickering, where it was also sold out. We gave up at that point. The first time I ended up seeing the X-Men movie was in my friend’s basement when it came out on DVD. After watching it I thought to myself, “this is the greatest movie that has ever been made.” Admittedly, by that point I had only ever seen two movies: X-Men and Indian in the Cupboard. But still, the sentiment was true.

Now I can’t recall if this happened, but if X-Men One was the best movie ever, than its sequel, X2, must have exploded my stupid little brain. As the kids say, that movie is total boss (I assume kids talk like dumb people). The opening scene of X2 where Nightcrawler is bamfing all over the white house and taking people out left and right is easily the best scene in any X-Men movie.

Of course, it hasn’t all been “Jubilee” and “Dazzler” in the X-Men cinematic universe. The third X-Men instalment isn’t nearly as good as the first two. I mean, why was Angel even there? And why did they kill off Cyclops? He’s the field leader of the team for chrissakes! That said, the moment where Wolverine kills Jean Grey is heartbreaking. It really tugs at the heart strings. Of course, it isn’t nearly as heartbreaking as Wolverine Origins (or whatever it’s called) when they take Deadpool’s mouth away (he’s “The Merc with the Mouth” for goodness sakes). And who can forget the fact that they gave him laser eyes. Oy vay. At least they somewhat redeemed the Wolverine stand-alone movies with The Wolverine, but I certainly wouldn’t call that one a great film either.

My favourite X-Men movie has to be First Class. It has such a unique style compared to the other X-films, and easily some of the most iconic scenes. I mean, do you remember the scene where Magneto pushes a coin slowly through Sebastian Shaw’s head? Ahhh man, it gives me chills just thinking about it.

Now, the whole reason I bring up the X-Men in the first place is because I recently saw Days of Future Past, a sequel to both First Class, X-Men 3 and, in some ways, the after credit scene of The Wolverine. Days of Future Past is loosely based on the Days of Future Past storyline in Uncanny X-Men #141 and #142, written by Chris Claremont. Before I get into the movie, let’s talk a little bit about these two comic books. I want to point out how incredible it is that this iconic story only needed two issues to tell and it was told within the confines of a regular monthly book. Nowadays, all “epic” stories get their own limited series and they run for 6 or 7 issues (with 20 or so tie-ins), and they usually aren’t all that memorable. In other words, it takes a team of writers almost 30 issues to tell the kind of story that Chris Claremont can tell in two, and that team of writers can’t do nearly as good a job as he can.

Anyway, I don’t want to give too much of the movie away, but it took them 7 movies to do what they should have done in the first 7 minutes of the first film: Mother Effin’ Sentinels! And these giant mutant killing robots do what they do best: Kill mutants. They even made the first version of the Sentinels purple. Just like the comics.

Like any sequel to a superhero movie, there are of course new characters introduced in Days of Future Past. While I think most people will say that Quicksilver (the really fast guy) stole every scene he was in (which I would agree with), I think my personal favourite new character is Blink.  Blink is a woman who can create portals which allow her, or other people, to teleport short distances. She didn’t have much in the way of character development, but she made the fight scenes in the movie way more awesome than they would have been otherwise.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie, but it wasn’t nearly as good as First Class. That is why it’s upsetting that, given it looks like the X-Cinematic Universe is going to be focused on the original X-Men film cast going forward, we won’t get to see any more from the First Class group. Oh well. The next movie is going to focus on Apocalypse and the Four Horsemen. It’s going to be awesome (maybe).

In summary, if you like the other X-Men movies you’ll like this one. It’s not as good as First Class, but it’s way better than the Wolverine stand-alone movies. And, if you didn’t like the third X-Men movie, don’t worry about that anymore. Trust me. 😉

And if you don’t like the X-Men movies in general, you should see this one anyway. I mean, Jennifer Lawrence wears nothing but blue body paint. What more do you want?

MYSTIQUE BAMPF!

Ottawa Comiccon 2014!!!

It’s May in Ottawa, so you know what that means, mofos! What? No, I’m not talking about Tulip Fest! It’s the third annual Ottawa Comiccon!

Like last year, I decided to go for the entire weekend, but this time I upgraded to the “deluxe” pass. The deluxe pass allowed me to enter the convention about an hour or two before all the “normies”.  I must say, it was the best money I’ve ever spent. Conventions are always so jam-packed full of people, it’s nice to get some time to look around without bumping into someone every second.

Just before the convention started, it was announced that the artists from Breaking Lead would be giving away a limited number prints. I was lucky enough to get all three. They gave away a cool print of Snake Eyes fighting Darth Maul, and a wicked print of Freddy fighting Jason. My favourite though has to be the TMNT print. Look at how beautiful it is.

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Can you believe they gave that away for free? Very generous.

In terms of other freebies, being a deluxe pass holder entitled me to an exclusive comic book. There were a few different ones, but they gave them out randomly. I was given the exclusive X-Files cover which featured Mulder and Scully standing next to a filing cabinet.

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Exciting, right?

I was less than thrilled with this, so I went to the con store and bought the exclusive G.I. Joe cover, as well as a Neal Adams Amazing Spider-Man cover he did for a Montreal Comiccon a while back.

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A little better, I think. After picking up these books I did a little more shopping.

It is no secret that I have a mild (er… major) Funko Pop Vinyl addiction. With the time I had left before the normies came into the con, I scoured the hall for the best deals to expand my collection. Within an hour and a half, I picked up 9 new figures. Yup, you read that right. I bought 9 more Funko Pop Vinyl figures. As if I didn’t have enough already, right? Anyway, my first purchase was the complete Pulp Fiction set.

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Doesn’t Jimmie look awesome? And isn’t awesome that there is a Jimmie figure? One final question: Where’s the gimp?

After buying the Tarantino-inspired (inaction) figures, I found a booth selling these little beauties.

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But here is the figure I am most proud of.

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It’s the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man! Isn’t he great? He’s like… 3 times the size of the other figures.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: Where’s Winston? Apparently he isn’t available in Canada yet, but when he is, he’ll come with an Ecto-1. It’ll be worth the wait, yes?

In addition to spending all of my money, I decided to sit in on a number of panels. The first was a panel where someone discussed their research into what is known as the 100-Yen myth. The story goes that the arcade game Space Invaders was so popular in Japan it caused a shortage of 100-Yen coins. Of course it’s completely untrue, but it makes for an interesting story.

I also partook in what has become sort of an annual tradition for me at Ottawa Comiccon: The Neal Adams Panel. Neal Adams is always incredibly entertaining. If you ever get the chance, you should listen to him speak. He is completely honest and he pulls absolutely no punches. It’s one of my favourite things to do every year.

I finished my Friday by going to something called BattleCOM. Basically, it’s a cross between stand-up comedy, improv and a game show. The best part was there were people who appeared to be actual stand-up comics competing against people who literally came in off the street. It was both beautiful and horrible at the same time. It was so amazing, I went to their second show on Saturday.

Speaking of Saturday, I spent most of it in Q and A sessions and other panels. The day started with the Summer Glau Q and A session. In all honesty, it was kinda boring. She was funny and charming, but the questions weren’t exactly stellar: What was your favourite role?… What got you into acting?… etcetera, etcetera. Unless you get some interesting questions these things can be rather dry affairs. The best question of the panel was something like, if you were a piece of kitchenware, what would you be? Answer: a ladle made of olive wood.

Anyway, what lacked in the Summer Glau panel was easily made up for in the Bruce Campbell panel I attended next. It further solidified my opinion that Bruce Campbell is a genius. Instead of asking him questions, he invites interesting people in the crowd to come up on stage and form a panel. Then he invites people in the audience to ask the panel questions while he moderates and makes fun of everyone. It was pretty amazing.

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On Sunday my wife and son joined me at the convention. It was my son’s first con and he was very excited. And by excited, I of course mean sleepy. But before they arrived, I waited in line for close to two hours for the opportunity to meet Summer Glau and have her sign something. The something in question was my DVD copy of Serenity.

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If you can’t read it, it says: “For Chris, Serenity always – Summer Glau”. No big deal. I mean, we’re probably not going to run away and get married or anything, but you may want to watch your mail for a “save the date” card just in case.

My family arrived just after my meeting with Ms. Glau. We walked the floor a bit and had our picture taken with some Star Wars characters. Unfortunately, at the time of this posting, the photo is not available. Sad face.

After lunch (five dollar hotdogs, what?), we made our way to the panel room to watch some real artists play Sketcherades. It’s basically Pictionary… but, not called Pictionary. It’s amazing how talented some comic book artists are. Yanick Paquette drew a recognizable Alien (from the movie Alien) in under 5 seconds. It even looked pretty cool. I can only imagine how awesome his Alien would look if he had some time to work on it.

After Sketcherades, we stuck around for the Crystal Basement improv group. My wife and I are big improv fans, and it’s cool to see a group that focuses on geeky things.

Before we left the convention, I bought a couple things for my son. I bought him a Flash onsie and a Batman t-shirt he can wear when he’s older.

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Look! It comes with a cape!

One of the best parts of any comic book convention is looking at all the cool costumes that people wear. Typically I don’t want to bother anyone, so I usually don’t ask people to take pictures with me. However, a couple of my friends are cosplayers and I decided I didn’t mind bothering them for a few photos.

Here’s a photo of me with Indie Red (aka Sarah).

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Here’s a photo of me with Rebecculous (aka Becky).

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And here’s a photo of me with Sarah, Becky and Supergirl (sorry I don’t know your name 😦 ).

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Wasn’t it nice of Becky to give me all those throat hugs and noogies? 🙂

The convention seemed to be organized well, but if I were to have one criticism it would be that absolutely nothing I went to started on time. None of the panels started on time, none of the Q and A sessions started on time, and even the doors to the convention hall itself didn’t open on time. Other than that, I had a great time. I can’t wait to do it all again next year! If you like this sort of thing, you owe it to yourself to make your way to a comiccon. You won’t regret it.

COMICCON BAMPF!