Boston Comic Con 2016

It’s that time again! When nerds across Massachusetts travel many miles in blistering August heat in heavy, uncomfortable cosplay to attend that Mecca of geek shopping and celebrity photo ops: Boston Comic Con.

My schedule only permitted me to attend BCC on Saturday and Sunday this year; I usually go Fridays and Sundays because Saturdays are insaaaaaane. This year was no exception. The crowds were out of control ginormous (and, truthfully, slightly rude and unpleasant) and the AC was not working quite as well as one might hope for an August day. Sunday was a bit better for the crowds, though the AC was still tentative at best.

I managed to persevere through adversity, though, and do what I do best—spend money. Celebrity photo ops aren’t really my style and I don’t generally go to panels, so for me BCC is really just a giant pop-up geek mall.

This year’s treasures:

Boston Comic Con haul
Boston Comic Con haul, 2016. Too many great things to fit in this caption, but note the Howard Chaykin sketch in the upper right!

I’m going to start in the upper left and kind of zig-zag down.

  • Monster Island print by Justin OrrI love me some Godzilla, and this is a great print that includes all of my favorite monsters! My bae King Ghidorah is front and center.
  • Star Trek movie poster for the BF, because I’m nice like that.
  • Nick and Nora Charles, by Howard Chaykin. I can’t even tell you how happy this piece makes me. It is such a great rendition of two of my favorite characters, and Mr. Chaykin was really interesting to talk to.
  • Flash action figure. Apparently if you put the Flash in the base you can actually make him whirr across the table, but I’m not sure if I want to open the box?? Thoughts???
  • Snow White poster print.
  • Catwoman and Flash LEGOs. (You can barely see these, they’re on the Flash book.)
  • The Best Flash Stories Ever. We’ll see about that.
  • Ponyo by Katie Cook. I get a Katie Cook piece at every con, I love her so much!
  • Batman and the Flash sketches by Jamie Jones
  • Dick Tracy: The ThirtiesMiss Fury, and The Heart of Juliet Jones. Books like these are my main goal at BCC, really. I love finding old compilations or compilations of old things. I’ve started the Miss Fury book and it is so good.
  • Slave I necklace. (Sitting on the Flash book, you can barely see it.) It’s really detailed and awesome and brings the number of Boba Fett-related items in my house up to 11, I think.
  • Totoro by Agnes Garbowska.
  • Jet Jaguar sticker by Justin Orr(It came with the poster.)
  • Betty and Veronica print by Erica Henderson
  • A pile of 50¢/$1 comics. 
  • Not pictured: A Jamie Jones sketch and a Jamie McKiernan sketch, both in my sketchbook, and this awesome book on Eiji Tsuburaya for the BF.

Whew! I think I did pretty well.

That said, I’m not sure I’m going to BCC next year. It sounds like it’s been sold and the new owners are already jacking up the prices for the tables in Artists Alley, which a) may affect whether or not artists want to—or are able to—attend and b) can only be an early indicator of what they’ll try to milk out of the attendees. I’ll have to see what happens, and what artists and vendors the new management is able to get, and whether or not the con is now being run by assholes. Word on the street is that they were trying to force artists to sign up for next year, at the higher rate, by the end of Sunday with no notice or time to think about it, so that’s not like a great start to a relationship.

But this year was fun! Now I need to go frame shopping, I guess.

Autumn/Flash Gordon approaching

And then, somehow, it was September, and Autumn was in the air.

I’ve been making an effort recently to slow my life down a bit, to make sure I take some time to stop and smell the roses—to be more thoughtful about what I’m doing each day and not just bulldoze my way through work and come home too tired to do anything other than watch MST3K and fall into bed. I’ve started doing yoga every day that I run, and some days that I don’t, and I’m trying to read more and watch less TV and cook more and just generally slow down and improve my life. We’ll see how long this lasts.

One of the things I’m reading right now is this:

photo 1
Flash Gordon: Spaceman with a Sword.

I found this at Boston Comic Con last month, buried in a 50% off box behind a bunch of $1 comics. I’d seen the Flash Gordon movie and some of the old serials, but never read any of the comics. I have to say, I’m sold. This book is amazing. Flash Gordon is going on a mission to find a missing spacecraft, and along the way there’s a jailbreak at a space prison, a sexy ice queen and crazy ice monster on Jupiter’s moon Ganymede, and then they get transported to a far-off planet and it gets even MORE crazy. The stories are completely ridiculous and kitschy and oh-so-earnest and fabulous.

One of the things I love most, I think, is the juxtaposition of the serious, masculine, realistic art with the complete goofiness of the story elements. Before you ask, no, I’m not really sure what I mean by “masculine,” either—the art just seems rugged and manly, somehow, in a way that isn’t inherent to some more modern art. There’s something funny and intriguing to me about this serious masculine style being used to represent pretty butterfly men and Flash Gordon fighting an ice monster/space triceratops.

photo 2
Butterfly men and Flash Gordon’s chin.

The back of the book has an essay by Dave Schreiner and some old pencils and layouts by Frank Frazetta and Harvey Kurtzman, but I haven’t gotten there yet.

I also have a collection of the Flash (DC’s Flash) that I’m working on right now, and then I guess I should find a book without pictures to follow up with. Maybe it’s time for some Dickens.

I hope everyone out there in the internet-land is doing well! Anyone in the middle of any good Autumn reads right now?

unpopular opinion: Captain America II is just kind of an OK movie

~~~WARNING: RAMPANT SPOILERS~~~

captain-america-winter-soldier-poster-evans-610x872Now, don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed Captain America: The Winter Soldier Rides Again or whatever the movie is called. There was wit, there was action, there were some very necessary Cap-as-a-man-out-of-time moments. I think this movie contains my favorite 30 seconds of Nick Fury ever, and small touches like Natasha wearing an arrow necklace (Black Widow + Hawkeye = OTP) really added depth to the Marvel story as a whole. The action was impeccable—the elevator! Bucky and Steve mano-a-mano! Every scene with a car!

But while I liked all of the individual pieces of the movie, as a whole they didn’t add up. I enjoyed the heartbreaking scene with old lady Peggy, but narratively it didn’t need to be there. (Maybe it would have been a good post-credit sequence?) The first third of the movie dragged for me, until the actual Plot showed up and there was a clear reason for the movie to be happening.

Mostly, the surprising/not-surprising twists annoyed and bored me. (I wasn’t kidding about the spoilers, guys, stop now.) We all know they’re not going to actually kill Nick Fury. He’s a spy. He’s the spy. Even his death lies. And we all know Robert Redford is the bad guy the instant he strolls on screen. The people I saw the movie with argued that those things weren’t supposed to surprise the audience, they were just supposed to surprise the characters. OK. That’s a perfectly valuable narrative device—except that for the entire movie the audience knows that the Winter Solder is Bucky Barnes and is waiting for Steve to figure it out and react to it. You can’t hang all of the major points of the movie on the same narrative device. You just can’t.

On that topic, I was also disappointed in how little Bucky Barnes actually meant to the story. That assassin could have been anyone and the only thing that would have changed was the final “I won’t fight you” fight scene. There was so much going on, and I think the Bucky story suffered in the grand scheme of events, which is a shame because there was so much potential there.

As an entry in the Marvel universe, the movie is overall satisfactory, and I’ll definitely rewatch it and enjoy it. However, I’ll be rewatching it the same way I watch, say, Watchmen—because aesthetically I enjoy all of the individual scenes, characters, and jokes, but not because I enjoy it as a movie event. Which is a shame.

The Guardians of the Galaxy trailer looks amazeballs, though. Bring it, Marvel.

comics TBR pile(s)

Soooo what with the moving and the traveling and the whatnot, I’ve fallen pretty far behind with the comics reading. If you don’t believe me, here’s a photo of all the loose comics lying around my apartment that I haven’t read yet, finally sorted into piles:

comics
In the time it took me to get the camera, Watson decided to sit on Hawkeye. Cats, man.

Intimidating, when they’re all laid out like that. I guess I know what I’m reading on my commute this week.

(I’d like to point out that in my last post I promised a cat picture or comics, and I have managed to deliver both!)

MICE

This was my first year going to MICE (The Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo) and it was HOPPING. I hear it was dead at the beginning of the day, but Saturday afternoon was downright bustling. I mostly just swung through to visit some friends who were tabling, so this can’t really be a proper Review of the Show, but I had a good time and it looked like everyone else did, too.

There were some artists that I recognized from Boston Comic Con, and I think the fact that they weren’t competing for attention with the likes of Mike Mignola or Scott Snyder or movie stars or cosplayers made them a little more at ease. Sometimes walking through BCC can feel like an exercise in avoiding desperate eye contact; MICE was a lot more relaxed and friendly. Layout’s a little weird but, hey, free.

So, if you have an interest in or curiosity about non-Big-Two comics, definitely check out MICE next year!