DCon Logo 2014

THE DRAGON*CON CHRONICLES 2014 – AUGUST 29, 2014 – DAY 1

I wanted to start the first official day of Dragon*Con in a different way from previous years by attending to an event with more substance. So, after having breakfast I walked to the Hilton Atlanta to attend the panel offered by the Science Track called “Everything Stem Cells” presented by Michael Gilkey. It was both refreshing and revealing and I enjoyed it very much, still I left early in order to catch the last minutes of the “Welcome Panel” offered by the Comics and Pop Art Track at the Hyatt. I got there just in time to catch the last minutes of Kelly Sue DeConnick’s speech. She’s the writer of such comic books as, Captain Marvel (the Carol Danvers version) and Avengers Assemble, wonderful woman.

From Dragon Con 2014 Day 1
From Dragon Con 2014 Day 1
From Dragon Con 2014 Day 1
From Dragon Con 2014 Day 1

Afterwards I found myself walking into a Marvel Mutants Photoshoot where I didn’t waste any time taking some photos. One of my favorite cosplayers the beautiful Gillykins was there in her classic Scarlett Witch cosplay. There was also this most excellent X-Force (1990’s version) cosplay group. Around midday I found my friend Freya Fólkvangr whom I met last year. This time she was wearing her Warrior Woman (from The Road Warrior movie) cosplay.

From Dragon Con 2014 Day 1
From Dragon Con 2014 Day 1
From Dragon Con 2014 Day 1
From Dragon Con 2014 Day 1
From Dragon Con 2014 Day 1
From Dragon Con 2014 Day 1
From Dragon Con 2014 Day 1

Early in the evening I headed to the Artist Alley where I was able to achieve a long time goal of mine. I met the legendary Mike Grell, a comic book artist who is well known for his work in titles like Superboy and The Legion of Superheroes, Warlord, Green Lantern/Green Arrow (DC Comics) to name a few. He has to his credit creating Jon Sable, Freelance (First Comics). He is also one of the two artists (the other being Curt Swan who died on June 17, 1996) who worked on the very first Superman comic that I ever read in my life, Action Comics #450. I read this comic first in a Spanish translated version and in 2004 I found and bought a copy of the original version which I took to Dragon*Con for him to sign which he did.

From Dragon Con 2014 Day 1
From Dragon Con 2014 Day 1

I also had the good luck of meeting another famous comic book artist, Tim Sale. He is famous for his collaborations with writer Jeph Loeb among them I can mention from the top of my head such classics as; Batman: The Long Halloween, Superman For All Seasons & Batman: Dark Victory. He signed my copy of Captain America: White #0.

From Dragon Con 2014 Day 1

Later in the evening I managed to snuck inside the Cult Classics of the 80’s with Cary Elwes (Princess Bride, Robin Hood: Men in Tights) and C. Thomas Howell (The Outsiders). It was quite fun seeing them in action. There was even a guy from the audience (cosplaying Elwes’s character from Robin Hood) who got onstage to help Cary sing the lyrics of “Men in Tights”.

From Dragon Con 2014 Day 1
From Dragon Con 2014 Day 1

Around 3:20 PM I went back to my hotel to rest a bit and put on my Clark Kent cosplay. This would be the first and only time that I did cosplay at Dragon*Con this year. I simply couldn’t stand the heat. That costume was making me sweat a lot. Once I was ready I went back to The Marriot and saw part of the Friday Night Costuming Contest. This particular contest had an emphasis on workmanship. I left the contest early and headed to the Marriot’s Atrium Level which during Dragon*Con is pretty much the main spot to see the costumers show off their creations. Around 10:00 PM I called it a night and returned to my room at the Omni to get a good night sleep in order of getting ready for the parade on Saturday morning.

From Dragon Con 2014 Day 1
From Dragon Con 2014 Day 1
From Dragon Con 2014 Day 1
From Dragon Con 2014 Day 1
From Dragon Con 2014 Day 1
From Dragon Con 2014 Day 1
From Dragon Con 2014 Day 1
From Dragon Con 2014 Day 1
From Dragon Con 2014 Day 1
From Dragon Con 2014 Day 1
From Dragon Con 2014 Day 1
dragoncon2014 327

THE DRAGON*CON CHRONICLES 2014 – AUGUST 28,2014 – DAY 0

It’s that time of the year again, the time where I regal my faithful readers with the latest edition of my Dragon*Con Chronicles, a day by day account of my adventures in one of the best conventions that take place in the continental U.S.A. But first a let us have a couple of introductory paragraphs so that the new readers can get up to speed.

Dragon*Con is a U.S.A. based multi-genre convention. It was founded in 1987 and takes place once each year in Atlanta, Georgia usually on Labor Day weekend. Due to the growth of the event through the years, the convention takes places in five hotels the Hilton Atlanta, the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, the Marriott Marquis Atlanta, Sheraton Atlanta Hotel and the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel. Since 2013 they moved the dealer tables and exhibitor booths to The Atlanta Convention Center at AmericasMart adding this way another building that host hosts part of the official activities of this event.

If you are a geek and you are enthusiastic about a particular field (comic books, video games, cosplay to mention some), Dragon*Con probably has not just one activity but a set of activities related to your field of interest spread all over the 4 days the convention last. Let’s suppose you are going to Dragon*Con and that you like comic books. You like them so much that you not just read them but collect them, analyze their stories, grade their conditions, etc. Wouldn’t be nice to go to a convention that offered not just one but a series of comic book related events spread through its duration? Dragon*Con is that kind of convention because it has something called Fan Tracks which is the name they use when they refer to a whole set of activities that have a theme in common. In the case of comic books they call that set the Comics and Pop Art Fan Track. Dragon*Con has by my count 42 Fan Tracks that cover the gamut of all the currently relevant fields of geek interest. That means hundreds of hours of different kinds of activities, all of them running simultaneously.

The day right after I came back from Dragon*Con 2013 I bought my 4 day pass. I wasn’t able to get a room at Hyatt this year instead I made a reservation at the Omni Hotel. I also bought my plane ticket before that year ended. The plane ride to Atlanta was fast and without incident, using the airline’s iPhone app to do my check in the day before helped on that. Once I had all my bags I used the Airport Shuttle Service and saved myself about $70 in Taxi Cab fare since I bought myself a round trip. The check in at the Omni was also quick and without incident also because I did my check in online the day before.

From Dragon Con 2014 Day 0

After settling in my room I went to the Sheraton to finish my pre-registration and get my 4 day badge. It was the fastest registration for a convention that I have ever done. The guy who gave me my badge warned me that if I lose it I had to pay full price ($150) for the replacement. I left the Sheraton feeling really hungry since I haven’t eaten anything since breakfast in Puerto Rico at 4:00 AM so I headed to The Mall at the Peachtree Center to grab a bite. At the Mall I said hi to Meg Galacticat (whom I met last year) and her husband Christopher. Afterwards I had my first taste of Chicken Swarma ever at the Mediterranean food restaurant Aviva by Kameel. I was attended by Kameel himself, that guy is just awesome.

From Dragon Con 2014 Day 0
From Dragon Con 2014 Day 0

Once my belly was full I photos of some cosplayers and headed to the CVS Pharmacy at the Mall to stock up on snacks for the weekend before heading back to my hotel room for a shower, some rest and a change of clothes before heading to the  Hyatt.

When I got there both old and new friends started to appear; Janet Osburn and her husband Nate, the Hatcher sisters (Hailey & Anna), JD Stretch and Jessica Paulding; all of them members of the Battlestar Galactica fan club called The Colonial Fleet. Around 7:30 PM all these people and the rest of the members got together in front of the Hyatt and from there we all went to have dinner at Max Lager’s Wood-Fired Grill & Brewery. The food was great so were the people with whom I shared this meal.

From Dragon Con 2014 Day 0
From Dragon Con 2014 Day 0
From Dragon Con 2014 Day 0
From Dragon Con 2014 Day 0
From Dragon Con 2014 Day 0
From Dragon Con 2014 Day 0
From Dragon Con 2014 Day 0
From Dragon Con 2014 Day 0
From Dragon Con 2014 Day 0

Around 9:00 PM I left Max Lager’s and went back first to the Hyatt and later to the Marriott where I crashed into a Cosplay Playboy Bunny Party. I had a lot of fun. I cannot stress enough the fact that even when Dragon*Con didn’t officially starts until Friday, the mood everywhere was like the convention was in full swing with the main hotels filled with people cosplaying left and right. After taking a good amount of photos I called it a night and headed back to my hotel room around 10: 30 PM so I could get my minimum 5 hour REM sleep time in order to get ready for Friday morning, the official beginning of Dragon*Con 2014.

From Dragon Con 2014 Day 0
From Dragon Con 2014 Day 0
From Dragon Con 2014 Day 0
From Dragon Con 2014 Day 0
From Dragon Con 2014 Day 0
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From Dragon Con 2014 Day 0
From Dragon Con 2014 Day 0
From Dragon Con 2014 Day 0
Guardians of the Galaxy (1990) #1

CHECKING MY LONGBOXES EPISODE #11 – GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (1990)

In a few weeks (August 1, 2014 to be precise) we will see the release of the Guardians of the Galaxy movie so one more time for nostalgia’s sake I dipped again into my Longboxes to share with you some treasures of years gone by in the for of cover scans from early and not so early appearances of the Guardians in comic book form. I am including under each cover scan the title of the main story and the artists’s credits.

Also check out at the bottom of this post for the 2nd official trailer for the movie. Enjoy.

Marvel Presents (1969) #12

The Shipyard of Deep Space!
Script: Roger Stern
Pencils: Al Milgrom
Inks: Bob Wiacek
Colors: Phil Rachelson [as Phil Rache]
Letters: Irving Watanabe

Guardians of the Galaxy (1990) #1

But Are They Ready for… Taserface!
Script: Jim Valentino
Pencils: Jim Valentino
Inks: Steve Montano
Colors: Evelyn Stein
Letters: Ken Lopez

Guardians of the Galaxy (1990) #25

And Now…. Galactus
Script: Jim Valentino
Pencils: Jim Valentino
Inks: Steve Montano
Colors: Evelyn Stein
Letters: Ken Lopez

Guardians of the Galaxy (1990) #50

Coldly Sublime, Intolerably Just!
Script: Michael Gallagher
Pencils: Kevin West (breakdowns)
Inks: Steve Montano (finishes)
Colors: Evelyn Stein
Letters: Ken Lopez

Aaand here is the trailer.

CHECKING MY LONGBOXES EPISODE #10 – NINJA TURTLES NOSTALGIA

With the impending release of the new turtles movie on August 8, 2014 I thought that it would be fun to go thru whatever backissues I left in my longboxes. I share with you the results of my search.

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It so happens that I have a 5th printing (1988) from the very first issue of the TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLE comic. the following paragraph is an excerpt from a Wikipedia entry.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles first appeared in an American comic book published by Mirage Studios in 1984 in Dover, New Hampshire. The concept arose from a humorous drawing sketched out by Kevin Eastman during a casual evening of brainstorming with friend Peter Laird.[3] Using money from a tax refund, together with a loan from Eastman’s uncle, the young artists self-published a single-issue comic intended to parody four of the most popular comics of the early 1980s: Marvel Comics’ Daredevil and New MutantsDave Sim’s Cerebus, and Frank Miller’s Ronin.[4] The TMNT comic series has been published in various incarnations by various comic book companies since 1984.

The following #1 was published by Mirage Studios on 1993.
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On 1996 the turtles were briefly published by Image Comics.

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A VERY QUICK REVIEW FOR “TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION”

Movie poster for Trans formers: Age of Extinction.

Movie poster for Trans formers: Age of Extinction.

I just saw the latest Transformers movie. To sum it up really fast, it is the best robot-porn movie that you can watch this summer. It has so much robot on robot action (beating the cybertronian crap out of each other, of course) that they’ll probably make it illegal in some states on grounds of “cyber-obscenity”.

If you dig giant robots go see this movie.

TOM BELAND AT THE CHICACABRA BOOK PRESENTATION AND ART EXHIBIT – VIDEO

On June 12, 2014, the Mondo Bizarro Bookstore and Art Gallery in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico. presented the Chicacabra Book Presentation and Art Exhibit by International, Eisner-nominated, comic book artist, Tom Beland.

Tom Beland, best known for his multiple Eisner-nominated series True Story, Swear to God, brings his unique storytelling to IDW this June in an all-new graphic novel series, Chicacabra.

Chicacabra is a story infused with the humanity for which Tom’s work is so rightly acclaimed, but this time, Tom has written and illustrated an all-new cast of very human characters in a more supernatural setting.

In Chicacabra, you would think being a young woman in high school would come with more than enough drama, but for Isabel Sanchez that is a mere drop in the bucket of her life. On the outside, Isabel looks and acts like your average Puerto Rican girl but after a family tragedy and then a mysterious incident she finds herself with a monster capable of great brutality living inside her.

TOM BELAND’S CHICACABRA – MY REVIEW

Chicacabra (1)

 

Publisher: IDW

Title: “Chicacabra”

Language: English

Writer: Tom Beland

Penciller: Tom Beland

Inker: Tom Beland

Coloring: Black & White

Letterer: Tom Beland

Editor: Chris Ryall

Cover Price: $17.99

Page Count: 200 pages

Sale Date: June 11, 2014

 

Plot Synopsis

The following excerpt was taken from a post at the Comic Book Resources web page. Click here for the original article.

“In Puerto Rico, there is a girl, Isabel Sanchez, who could be like any other girl you see in high school… except for the creature who lives inside of her that’s a ruthless killing machine.”

 

Review

I bought this book with the pre- conceived idea that I was going to read a very fun, very light adventure story about a girl turns into a Chupacabra, I was dead wrong. This is not your run of the mill fantasy tale, no way, this is so much more.

This is the story of Isabel Sanchez, a girl that has lost a lot and also gains a lot; of Uncle Tony, a man who no matter how hard it may be, must be the rock from which Isabel hold’s on; of Angel Muñoz, a young man whose own personal journey crosses paths with Isabel’s. This is a story about the human condition set in today’s frantic society. This is a story about the loss of things that are most precious to us and the pain that comes with that, about how easy it is to destroy someone else’s dreams and how hard it is to achieve forgiveness and redemption on account of such transgression. The Chicacabra is the gravy of that big juicy steak of a story.

After putting together this tale Tom Beland has evolved and moved to the next level in that continuous journey that is the process of artistic growth. He has grown and evolved both as a cartoonist and has a storyteller by getting out of his comfort zone and giving us a story that is written and drawn in a very clear, very direct style in order to bring us not only the dynamic and heart wrenching journey of Isabel Sanchez and her Chicacabra but also he is giving us a most lucid portrayal of today’s Puertorrican youth with all their hopes and dreams together with all their fears and frustrations.

When you read Chicacabra you will find action and adventure, laugh and tears, triumph and tragedy, you will get it all and you will be left wanting more. Buy this book, you won’t regret it.