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Megacon 2012 – DC Comics and Me

Recently I had the opportunity to go to Megacon 2012. I was super excited to see that DC Comics was going to be there and made a point to sniff them out.

*I now interrupt this article to give you a special insight…I am a newbie to this whole comic book thing. By newbie I mean I know that DC Comics owns Superman and Batman. I know that Marvel owns the X-Men and the Avengers. Through my husband, I know that George Perez has drawn Superman and my brother has taught me that Geoff Johns is a big name in the Lantern world. I don’t know who the other publishers or the artists are.  My main focus is learning the story and the characters. I now return you to the main article.*

While walking around Megacon on Friday, I had the first highlight of my weekend. I got the opportunity to talk to Bill McCray, a gentleman working George Perez’s booth. I started out just asking him some questions about what kind of work George might be doing on the New 52. He gave me some interesting insight as to how some of the artists have been mixed around into different jobs and some who use to ink the characters are now doing the concept sketches.

He was excited to hear that I was a newbie and just trying to learn about the different aspects of how the comics come to my digital screen. I shared with him my story and an article that I wrote that DC Tweeted and put up on their Facebook a few weeks ago. He was really interested and also disappointed at some of the fan boys reactions to it because comics are for everyone.

JL Free Comic Book Day, courtesy of DC Comics

Later that day I went to my first ever Megacon panel “DC Comics: All Access”. Talk about being a fish out of water. I looked around and in a room of over 100, I saw very few women (and some looked like they had been dragged). DC Comics Co-Publisher, Dan Didio, was the man in charge of the panel. One of the first questions he asked the crowd was how many people did not like the New 52. A flood of hands instantly went up.

After they all had their moment to express their concerns, he asked how many people liked the New 52. I raised my hand high and he called on me to give my reasons why I liked it. I explained that “I’m a newbie to comics and I really enjoyed having that fresh start.” He replied back to the crowd that “that is why we did it!” and he expressed his excitement about my new found love of the comics.

During the panel I learned a few things:

1. The DC comics and DC animated are separate groups. Dan Didio admitted that until an animated feature comes out, he knows about as much as we do.

2. Characters change with the times. A good example is Power Girl. Recently with the New 52 World’s Finest, Power Girl’s look was dramatically changed. Changes like this are made to keep the character current, modern, and fresh.

3. Make a really big note to visit a comic book shop on May 5th (aka Free Comic Book Day). DC Comics is releasing a new comic specifically for it.

After the panel was over I had the chance to talk to Dan a little about the New 52 and what I was enjoying about the comics I reading. The one on one conversation with him was the second highlight of my weekend.

Dan Didio and Dakster

On Saturday I went back to see the Bill at George Perez’s booth while in my 501st costume. I was excited to hear this time that he had shared my story with a friend of his who was also disappointed at the fan boy’s reactions to me. In his friend’s opinion it’s the fan boy’s harsh reactions towards the female fans that keep more women from reading. I am happy to say that I met enough friendly fan boys at Megacon to say “whatever” to the rest from now on.

On Sunday I finally had the chance to look around at the different comic book vendors. I found a 4th print of the New 52 Justice League (4th print I learned means it’s the 4th release of the comic after selling out three other times). Since it’s my first comic series, I decided to get it and frame it for my office. As we walked back to George’s booth to say bye to the gentleman I had been talking to earlier in the con, I noticed that one of the artists didn’t have a line. I remembered him from the panel on Friday and he looked friendly enough so I jumped over to say hi. I learned his name is Tony Bedard and he currently draws Green Lantern. While I was there he signed my comic and we had a nice little chat. He fell back in his chair when I told him the New 52 Justice League was my first comic and that it was the New 52 that got me reading comic books. We talked about the newbies point of view and how it was a nice change for me.

Dakster and Tony Bedard signed comic book

Dakster and Tony Bedard signed comic book

He said that one of the reasons they did the new 52 was it gave the characters and new readers a fresh start. One example he gave was the Batman comics. When a newbie was reading them they wouldn’t know that the Robin in the story was actually the 5th version of Robin. You almost needed a chart so you would know which incarnation of the character you were reading about.

I made the comment that my little brother and I were looking at a poster one day and my brother remarked that it was Dick Grayson wearing the cowl. I couldn’t help but reply back “When the heck did Dick become Batman? They never covered that in the animated series.” Another comic book fan standing by agreed with me that it could be confusing for new comic book fans to understand anything with all the history involved.

Overall my comic book experience at Megacon was AWESOME! I really enjoyed learning more about my new hobby and the creative people behind the scenes. The artists and higher ups were really nice and down to earth. I felt like they really listened and understood where a newbie like me was coming from. Knowing that there are people behind the scenes that love the characters as much as I do, adds just a little more enjoyment to my reading experience.

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Megacon 2012

Wow!  Megacon was amazing this year. We arrived on Friday and like most conventions it was relatively slow for a while. We were able to comfortably walk the vendors and artist tables. There was an endless supply of vendors selling everything from costumes to used toys.

Photo taken by Zach Winnermark, 501st Legion

With over 50 troopers in attendance the 501stlegion had a very strong presence this year. The booth showcased some of the finest helmets in the legion as well as some of the various costumes worn by members. Backdrops and weaponry were also on display, all built by fellow members of the FLG.

Along with a booth showcasing some of the best the Florida Garrison has to offer, we also hosted Shoot a Storm Trooper. For $1 anyone could shoot a 501st legion trooper with a Vulcan Nerf gun. For $5 we handed them the Rambo of all nerf guns.  By the end of the weekend we raised $1,500 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society. The kids and adults had a blast and some even came back for 2nds, 3rds, and 4th rounds.

I also got the chance to meet two guys from Ghost Hunters International. My husband was totally star struck and almost didn’t talk to them. He finally got up the nerve to talk to them  and learned a few things. Later, while in our costumes, we went back and got our pictures taken with them. They even asked if they could take a picture with our buckets (helmets) on.

My husband enjoyed going to the Ghost Hunters International and Star Trek Voyager panels. The rooms were large enough to hold the crowds and the timeframe was just long enough to keep me from looking at my watch. Personally I preferred the DC Comics panel, (talk about feeling like a fish out of water). The DC panel was my first panel at Megacon and it was pretty interesting.

Photo taken by Dakster Sullivan

The highlights of my weekend were getting to meet Dan Didio (Co-Publisher of DC Comics) and Tony Bedard (DC Comics artist and writer). It was fun talking “newbie” comic shop with both of them.

My son Brandon, (6 years old), had a blast while Shooting the Storm Trooper but other than that he wasn’t really interested in his surroundings. We managed to find a toy from “Cut the Rope” game and an angry bird he didn’t already have that made his day. By 3pm on Sunday me and my son were ready to head home. My husband admitted that he could stay forever, but realized it was time to head back to reality.

All in all we had a blast. The costumes were amazing all three days. My favorite costumes were Iron Man and the Gundam. I’m still on cloud nine about getting my New 52 Justice League signed by Tony Bedard and getting my picture taken with Dan Didio. It was a great weekend and can’t wait to go again next year.

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Countdown to Megacon 2012

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…MEGACON TIME! To me, it’s one of the highlights of my trooping season. Geeks from around the country come to Orlando for 3 days of happy geeking out. You can see anything and everything at Megacon and I look forward to it every year.

Last year the 501st legion appeared in full force. We helped raise over $1,000 for the Red Cross with our Shoot a Stormtrooper activity and this year we plan on doing it again for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. We are joined again by the Rebel LegionSouthern R2 Builders Group, and Costumer’s with a Cause. Stan Lee is also scheduled to be back again this year for autographs and a panel to talk about his career and Marvel Comics.

If you come in costume, be prepared to be flashed…by cameras that is. Last year it took me about an hour just to walk into the con because I was stopped every 10 feet (I think at one point I had a short line). A silly Megacon tradition is the carrying of free hug signs. Look for them as I am sure some fan boy or fan girl will be wearing one. As with most cons, if you plan on attending buy your tickets online ahead of time and get there at least one hour early. This will give you plenty of time to get your tickets and see some of the amazing costumes before heading into the panels or the exhibitor hall.

I’ll be incognito each day so I’ll see you there…even if you don’t see me. 😉

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The Greatest Show on Earth

Did you know the term geek originated from the circus?  It was originally used to describe “a performer engaging in bizarre act.” Even some of our comic book heroes owe their look and some abilities to the circus. Dick Grayson is a perfect example. Before his parents died, his family was the circus. The skills he learned as a trapeze artist would later help him as Robin, Nightwing and in some circles as Batman. The big top tent and the three rings you see in the comics are now part of history, welcoming in a new circus for the newer generations.

When I told my grandmother I was visiting the circus with Brandon she got all nostalgic. The circus coming to town was a big deal when she was a kid. Back then the circus was still performing under the “big top”. As a child she would go to the train station to watch the circus train come into town. She could recall watching the men put up “the big top”, the smell of the saw dust, the feel of the bench seats and the sounds of the house band playing.

America's Favorite Cowboy

America's Favorite Cowboy

I started to think about my son’s experience. We drove to an arena, parked in a garage and walked into an air conditioned building with soft seats. You couldn’t smell the animals, let alone any saw dust. Instead of a tight rope walker, we saw a tight rope riding motorcycle and aerialists. The special effects were amazing and in perfect synchronization to the events in front of us.  There was no lack of souvenirs to purchase as well as popcorn, cotton candy, and any other junk food you wanted to devour.  One thing I was surprised to see was a nine piece house band!

Just like in the old days, they are still a “traveling city“. The circus train is a mile long and carries all 80 performers from show to show. They even have a nursery and a school for the kids that tour with their parents. The performers travel with each other for the entire two year run of the show. I guess when you live within two inches to someone for that long; you become a family pretty quickly.

My son, Brandon, (6-years old), went nuts over the animals in the pre-show. During the show he showed a little less interest. I’m guessing it was because the animals were much further away this time. As they set up for the big cats, we were treated to the tight rope portion of the show. This wasn’t your grandmothers tight rope walkers. Ringling Brothers had tight rope riding motorcycles with aerialists underneath! The really amazing part was when the motorcycles rode the rope upside down and did a full 360.

Dragon Wisdom

Dragon Wisdom - Martial Artists

The funniest reaction Brandon had all night was with the fire jumpers. The martial artists brought out a circle of swords and jumped through with scary ease. One of the jumpers took out a metal hoop and placed it in the middle of the wheel. The performer then lit the hoop and set the wheel to turn. Another performer put on a black hood and got ready to jump thru. As soon as Brandon realized what was about to happen he yelled “DON’T DO IT!” The performer accomplished the feat with not so much a singe and my son relaxed again.

I have to admit the big cat trainer had me worried a few times. Those cats looked like they wanted to bite his stick in half. In the end he survived and the cats did a great job. The cutest part of the act was when Prince, one of the tigers, went up on a big disco ball and stood up on his hind legs. The ball started to turn and he kept perfect balance as if to say “Look at me, aren’t I cute?”

Tiger "Prince"

Tiger "Prince"

I knew the elephants would have a special part in the show, but I had forgotten just how neat it was to watch. Just like in the movies they walked the floor and did their balancing act. A pretty girl in a sparkly outfit rode on one of their trunks and eventually on their back.

During our backstage tour we got to see just how much is put into the show.  With everything we saw I was really amazed to hear that in only 18 hours they can have a venue set up and ready for the show. The setup of our new arena in Orlando is very different than what they have had in the past. Space is limited so they have to store a lot of the animals across the street under the parking garage. To get the animals to the show they have to stop traffic and walk them all across. Could you imagine driving down the road and seeing a lion, some tigers, and a few elephants blocking your path?

The clowns were by far my favorite part. I had the chance to meet a few and they were really down to earth. My favorite skit they did was after the martial artists. They came out and re-enacted the entire martial arts skit and it was hilarious. They never brought out the traditional small car, but I didn’t miss it. I was to busy laughing while they danced to “Kung Fu Fighting“.

Despite the many changes over the years, I think my son still had some of the same amazement in his eyes that I imagine my grandmother had at his age. The show might be longer, the performers and the effects different, but it is still an American classic and the Greatest Show on Earth!

“In exchange for my time and efforts in attending shows and reporting my opinion within Geekmom.com, as well as keeping you advised of the latest discount offers, Feld Entertainment has provided me with complimentary tickets to Feld shows and opportunities to attend private Feld pre-Show events. Even though I receive these benefits, I always give an opinion that is 100% mine.”

Circus Then and Now Comparison

Circus Then and Now Comparison

To experience Ringling Brothers in your town visit here.

To Get tickets for just $12 (plus facility and handling fees) by using promo code MOMMY at checkout on ticketmaster.com. This offer is available for all tickets except Circus Celebrity, Front Row and VIP. Some performances may be excluded from this deal.

For those looking for something really special, try the VIP Family Four Pack, which includes 4 VIP tickets, 4 small Lemonades, 4 small Popcorn Boxes, and 4 jumbo Lollipops. The package is $170 and is a savings of over $50! To get this package use promo code FAMDEAL at checkout. Some performances may be excluded from this deal.
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