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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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DC New 52 — Let’s Talk Batman and Superman

One day my younger brother Douglas and I headed to our local comic book store. Douglas has been interested in reading comics again so I suggested he start reading the New 52. Since I already buy Justice League and Justice League International, he decided to get Batman and Superman so we could swap comics. I was really excited to hear his opinions on the new Batman and just as  excited to get my hands on his comics.

*I now interrupt your reading experience to bring you this warning: If you have not read Superman or Batman yet and don’t want anything spoiled for you, STOP READING HERE. I now return you to your regularly scheduled article.*

Batman issue #1 Cover Art

 

After Douglas read the first issue of Batman, he was really confused and a little annoyed. “I thought they were starting over from scratch? How can you do that with Damian Wayne, Dick Grayson, and Tim Drake all on the same page as Bruce Wayne??”

 

I took his comic and skimmed over the pages to see what he was talking about. I found it clear as day on page 17 of  Batman #1. I read the little info squares above each character and started thinking. Doug’s argument was that each of the three characters had so much history to them. How was it possible that they were all standing there looking like a family and on the same team?

Lucky for him, Big Sister had the answer. “The New 52 is about starting from scratch. When you read them you have to read like you don’t know any of the characters’ history. A typical newbie will know Batman’s basic origin. The things a newbie won’t know are that Dick Grayson, Damian Wayne, and Tim Drake are all from different periods in Batman’s history. Since they don’t know that little piece of information they will take what they see at face value.”

Basically, you won’t miss what you don’t realize is different. After I explained this to him, I saw the wheels in his head turning and then finally click into place. In regards to Batman, I think this was done by DC to show they were really serious about starting over. You see not only Batman’s history being re-written, but also those around and involved with him.

After I finally had his comics to myself, I sat down and started with Batman. Something strange happened while I was reading. I started to feel things I hadn’t expected. Having never read a Batman comic book before, I noticed that there was a certain darkness about it. I had some excitement in me, but I also felt despair and worried for the world I was reading about. This isn’t something I get when reading other comic books. For example, in the Justice League, the colors, humor and attitude of the characters makes me feel hopeful and ready to cheer them on. Feeling emotionally drained after reading a comic book was something new for me.

Superman Issue #1 Cover Art

My husband managed to get his mitts on the Superman comics before me. When he was finally done, he said his only problem with the Superman comics was he felt like he should be reading Action Comics alongside next to it. He saw in some scenes when a flashback was going on, that Superman would be drawn just like he looks now in Action Comics. Other than that he said he was really enjoying the storyline and was excited to see the next ones.

Reading Superman taught me something about my marriage: my husband and I have very different views on what we consider to be a “problem” in a comic. After I read the first two Superman issues, I already saw some major changes, non of which seemed important to my husband.

The biggest change for me was Lois Lane shifting jobs and sitting behind and executive’s desk. One of the things I loved in the animated series was watching Lois as a field reporter. It will be interesting to see how she fares behind the desk and what kind of “danger” she can run into now. On the upside, this opens up the character for a new world of problems both personally with Clark and professionally with her new boss.

Overall, I enjoyed reading the fresh start both Superman and Batman were given in the New 52. Even though I won’t be rushing to the store for every new issue, I’m happy to see the excitement in other comic book readers. Veteran comic book readers will notice the changes in both immediately. While some might say this takes away the legacy of the characters, I have to disagree. I think the New 52 is not treading on their legacy, it’s making it richer.

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Megacon – 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 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

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

Dan Didio and Dakster

On Saturday I went back to see the gentleman 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.

Yay! Tony Bedard signed my comic!!

Yay! Tony Bedard signed my comic!!

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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Captain America to the Rescue!

One of my geeky loves is technology accessories. If it will work with my iPod, I will fall in love. One day online I stumbled on a pair of Captain America headphones. The artwork brought me back to the earlier days of the character. As a child Captain America was one of my favorite characters. I even made up a song about him that I would walk around the house singing. I thought the headphones were looked pretty cool and figured “why not?”.

The box arrived and I was super excited to test them out.  One problem…my son saw them first. Since he is really big into boxes, I thought that is what he wanted. I was not so lucky. He wanted my headphones. I don’t like to share my geeky toys, but since I was convinced he wouldn’t like them, I let him try them on. I was wrong again. He loved them so much he declared “I think these will be mine now” and then walked off to play “Where’s my water?” on the iPad. 45 minutes later, I had to beg to get them back.

I have always wanted my son to have a pair of headphones for car trips and other times I didn’t feel like listening to “Wheres my water?” or “Sonic the Hedgehog” .  I have looked at most brands and even bought a few different pairs. He never found them interesting or comfortable enough to wear.  I had given up on the fight and felt doomed to forever hear Car’s 20 million times on road trips. It never occurred to me it would be my headphones he would want.

After I finally had my mitts on them I realized why he liked them so much. They are pretty comfy and the sound isn’t too bad either. They are certainly not Boise quality, but for a pair of stylized headphones, they are pretty nice. Unlike the new child headphones, these do not have the volume control, but since my iPod has that feature built in, I’m not missing it.

Since it is so hard to find my son headphones I am giving this one up and just going to get my own. Its amazing how I thought I was beaten and then out of the blue here comes Captain America to save the day. Now gone are the days of listening to Cars 20 million times while on a road trip. Thank you Captain America. You’re my hero!

If you are in need of a hero to save you on car trips, check out Coloud headphones website for a selection of other styles including Hello KittySponge Bob Square PantsStar Wars, and NHL styles.

“In exchange for my time and efforts in  reporting my opinion within this blog, I received a free review sample. Even though I receive this benefit, I always give an opinion that is 100% mine.”

 

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Charlie Brown Issue #1

Charlie Brown Issue #1

Charlie Brown Issue #1

While looking for the latest in DC New 52 on my Comixology app, I stumbled on a familiar face… Charlie Brown. It looks like old Charles has jumped from the comic strip to the comic book. It wasn’t quite what I expected. The first issue wasn’t one story like The Justice League or X-Men. Instead there were multiple stories, each with a little warmth or laugh along the way. The layout reminded me a lot of the Archie books my parents would buy me at the grocery store. The art is beautiful and simple just like the comic strip was.

The stories are a mix of new and old comic strip favorites. A big plus is that it’s easy enough to read that my six year old son would have no problems with it. I probably won’t buy every one that comes out, but when I want something easy and lite, this will be at the top of my list.

Next time you are in the comic book shop or click on your comic book app, check it out. At a digital price of $1.99 (store price $3.99), it’s just long enough to be worth it.

 

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Comics from a newbies point of view

When DC announced their new 52 series, I was ecstatic. I have always wanted to get into reading the Superman, Batman, Justice League comics. What scared me out of getting into it was all the history I didn’t know. The new 52 gave me what I was looking for…a fresh start with all my favorite comic book characters. I would like to think I know a lot about Batman and the others, but the truth is I am a complete virgin to their comic book worlds.

As a child I watched Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League and Superman: The Animated Series. As an adult I fell in love with The Batman cartoon series. So for the most part in the realm of the cartoon series, I feel pretty well versed.

Most comic book lovers know that what you read in the comics and what you see on the cartoons are two entirely different things. The Joker for instance went from being a murdering psycho (comics) to just a psycho who was more of a nuisance in Batman’s side (animated series). My younger brother and I would have long discussions comparing what he was reading in the comics to what I would see on TV. The fact that one character could have so many incarnations still amazes (and confuses) me.

I have started to read The Justice League and Justice League International and I love them both. Justice League hit the ground running with the team not being in formation and Darkseid being the main villain. In the first 5 issues, they already have a majority of their team introduced, so from here on out I expect it to be about kicking Darkseid’s tail and eventually proving to the world that they are the good guys.

Justice League International started a little slower. I already see issues with how the team was formed. It makes me wonder what is really going on in the U.N. They have already kicked some butt but they have a long way to being a good team. The next few issues I think it will be more about Booster as the leader and how he gets the team to be more of a team. I also expect that the issues some of the U.N officials have with the team will come to light.

As for characters, my favorite character in Justice League right now is Barry Allen as the Flash. I have always preferred Barry Allan over Wally West because I feel Barry is more adult and mature. Wally was always a horn dog in the cartoon series. The words exchanged between Flash and the other members is quick and to the point. He makes a joke and moves on. It’s also nice to see him still have a friendship with a Green Lantern like in the Justice League animated series. Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) seems to be a prick with an ego. I don’t know much about him as a lantern so I don’t have anything to compare him to. I was warned not to see the movie so I read a book that day instead.

In Justice League International, I was taken back when it was announced that Booster Gold was the leader of the team. I know Booster briefly from the cartoon series and to be honest, I was not impressed. Another a big surprise to me in Justice League International is the strong presence that Batman has. It feels like the creators are using him to draw in the readers with a popular character. It worked. In this series though, Batman seems to have had an adjustment to his attitude. He acts almost like a big brother to Booster. He doesn’t lead the team, but he does give Booster little hints at what he should do. Don’t get me wrong, he still has that “don’t screw with me unless you want your jaw in 4 pieces” attitude. He just seems a little friendlier on this team than I remember him in the cartoon series.

All in all, I never realized how fun it was to read comic books. The only downside I have found is the comics themselves are not that long…Ohh well, next month the new one will come out and I’ll get my fix again.

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A trooper’s poem

Wake up early
Pack my gear
Drive 2 hours
Get to site
Put on 20 lbs. of plastic armor
Walk out
Put a smile on a child’s face
Make a parents day
Mission Accomplished!

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Batman: Nevermore

While taking English Composition II in college, I was given one of my most interesting homework assignments. My Professor asked us each to pick a story written by Edgar Allen Poe and find a movie that has all the same Gothic elements to compare it to.

I did things kind of backwards and chose my movie first and then I found a story that had many of the same elements. For my movie, I choose Michael Keaton’s 1989 “Batman”. Despite the newer Nolan Bat I still prefer the good old classics. After reading what felt like dozens of Poe stories, I settled on “The Tell-Tale Heart”. I immediately saw some similarities. In my research of the Batman, I learned that the similarities I was finding in the two were not a coincidence. As it turns out, Batman and Poe have some real history in common.

To start the creators of Batman, Bob Kane and Bill Finger were sitting in Edgar Allen Poe Park when they came up with the idea for Batman. An ironic twist is that eventually some of Poe’s short stories would be the inspiration for themes that would recur in Batman’s adventures.

Edgar Allen Poe also created a detective by the name of C. Auguste Dupin. The character was known for his creative thinking and intellect. When the Batcomputer was first introduced in the comic book  series “Batman: Confidential“, the original nickname for it was “Dupin” after Batman’s hero. Eventually Edgar Allen Poe and Batman would team up to solve murders in a five part limited series called “Batman: Nevermore“.

Here’s a chart showing some of the Gothic elements I found in common between the Batman movie and Edgar Allen Poe’s story “The Tell-Tale Heart”

 

Edgar Allan Poe and the Batman Comparison Chart

 

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