New York Toy Fair 2015 Favorites

Well New York has once again hosted their annual Toy Fair for 2015.

There were plenty of surprises, plenty of updates or already known items, and quite a few more disappointments than I or anyone would have anticipated.

Before starting with my favorites, I will point out one of the major disappointments (especially for Star Wars collectors) with Hasbro’s announcements (or lack there-of) for The Black Series. Hasbro has been pretty shaky with their 6″ figures, sending out more repacks and delaying more figures than we anticipated. Some may point to the dock strikes at the port of Long Beach, but those have nothing to do with the “production” or “establishment” of these figures. Hasbro stated they have been thoroughly enjoying the Black Series line, and have plenty planned for the future. But collectors have been waiting for updated waves, and especially an update for C-3PO, facing the challenge of what paint or what materials to use for the figure. There were also no updated for the Luke and Wampa set, or any confirmation of further waves down the line.

Now, granted I was not capable (or quite frankly) not interested in looking into every single company and every single announcement in attendance, but now I will focus on my favorite moments and announcements from the show!

Unofrtunately due to lack of space which WordPress allows me to have, this will be the end of the post and below is a link of photos to my favorite announcements! Like my page and discuss the figures on Facebook!

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All photos courtesy of Figures.com
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Walker Stalker Con – San Francisco 2015

Walker Stalker Con San Francisco is done!

Below I have url’s to my photo gallery and video of the Walker Stalker Cast event on Friday night!

I will include a write up/summary of the weekend’s events shortly, but for now take a look at the links provided!

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Stan Lee’s Comikaze 2014 is a wrap!!

Ah Stan Lee, Mr Marvel, the Generalissimo, the master of Iron Man, Hulk, Spiderman, and more! He has brought his name, likeness, and, well, himself, to Los Angeles for another year of Comikaze!

Previously, I have only attended once before, in 2013, on a friday evening, and after spending about 1.5 hours in traffic, my stay lasted just about the same time as my drive time. It was not a good day and because of it, I did not have the same joy or excitement, or even the same experience as I normally would. This year however, I planned accordingly and, not attending friday, left early on Saturday and Sunday to get to the show when the doors open and have time to do what I actually wanted!

Comikaze is held at the Los Angeles Convention Center, right next to the Staples Center and NOKIA theatre; it is a very large center, but slightly smaller than the Anaheim Convention center (which houses WonderCon) at 1.1 million square feet, while the LA Convention Center is over 700,000 square feet. But similar to Anaheim and San Diego, there is a space outside the main entrances of LACC to host food trucks, outdoor hang-out spots, and a place to roam; but it is right on major streets and parking lots across the way run $10 in the morning, shooting up to $35, and fluctuate between $15-25 throughout the rest of the day; you can park in the center as well for $20 flat rate.

LACC is spatious enough for the convention, and Comikaze does a great job at actually giving space for the exhibit floor; I unfortunately did not have the chance to view any panels this year, so I can not and will not comment on those rooms. However, the layout of the exhibits, artists alley, main stage, and the rest is fairly eel organized. One improvement I would like to see is possible keeping Artist Alley to one side, as the main stage in the center-back splits the convention into two sides. The main-stage, as I keep mentioning, is also a little something different than the usual Comic-Con. This is where big name panels, mini-concerts, and other events take place; Stan Lee makes appearances multiple times here, as well as guests such as Rob Liefeld, Marc Silvestri, Jim Lee, Duff Goldman, John Romita Jr., Game of Thrones cast and crew, and more. Personally, I see it with pros and cons. The pros is that, it is different and unique to Comikaze, it allows for almost a Hall-H impersonation with the big name panels, you do not have to wait in a crazy line, and if you are in line for something else with a good viewpoint, you can catch the event too. The cons are the setting/placement of the stage, being so close to the exhibit hall, sometimes the crowd fills into the booths and exhibits, causing traffic, or if you get there just too late, you can not really see much. Also when a band is playing, the music echoes from wall to wall and is actually more annoying than fun.

Giving a run down of my days, I arrived around 8:00 am Saturday, received my badge and entered the lines just inside the Convention hall, but right off the exhibit floor by roped barricades. I was expecting a smooth flow into the convention with the line, but after a 10 second countdown, all the barricades were pushed down and the mob just rushed in. Not sure if that was the plan but hopefully no one got hurt! I rushed over to Stan Lee’s booth first to get an autograph ticket, ($60 for autographs) then ran to Top Cow to snag a sketch ticket for Marc Silvestri, but of course, yet again, for the fourth Con in a row, I was too late!
Next con Mr Silvestri is attending, his booth will be my first destination, no matter the lineup! It has always been a wish to get a fantastic sketch by him, and one day it WILL happen!! So, after that let down, I merged back over to the other side and hopped in line for J Scott Campbell. I brought along Amazing Spiderman #1 2014 Campbell variant to get signed by him and Stan, and I did! After a 3 hour wait for Campbell (rumors said he would arrive at 10:30, we did not see him until 12:00) then 2 hours for Stan, it was a day of lines! While waiting for Campbell, I noticed Rob Liefeld had set up a “12:30 signing” poster, and a line began to form; I made some friends and hopped back and forth, eventually getting to Campbell first. LUCKILY because I was getting my comics CGC’d today, the CGC witness brought me right over to Liefeld to beat the line! He is a great guy, brings his kids to the show, and I had Deadpool’s Art of War #1 variant as well as Death of Wolverine #1 Variant with Deadpool signed! After this I did a short roam of the floor, grabbed lunch at a hot dog cart outside, then returned for Stan Lee’s signing at 3:00; another 1.5 hours of that line before getting AMS #1 signed and sent to CGC! Lastly for my signings, I headed over to LenWein as well to get the Death of Wolverine #1 variant as well as Death of Wolverine #4 signed and CGC! (#4 is my favorite cover of the four issues, so I wanted to get it nice and cozy in a case!)
Once all my signings were completed, it came around 4:30 and I spent the next few hours roaming the floor, visiting friends, and picking up an awesome Godzilla vs Pacific Rim Jaegers print titled “The King Has Arrived” [picture below in gallery] by Michael Matsumoto. Eventually the day came to an end and I headed out by 7:00pm.

Sunday was a little more relaxing day; I had the pleasure to bring my girlfriend this day and we arrived around 10:15, to a somewhat slower day than Saturday. There was still a good crowd but definitely more space to walk the exhibit floor. I did not pick up anything this show, (other than the print) due to the unexpected CGC pricing! Nothing to complain, just my mistake in pricing and understanding.

Overall, Comikaze is slowly but surely growing into a great show. For the most part, everything runs smooth, efficient, and things are well organized. What seemed to be the ‘unorganized’ aspect would be schedules of guests, some giving no updates or no continuous updates to their arrivals. But, other than that, everything was great!

 

Click Here to see the photos from Comikaze 2014

 

Halloween Horror Nights 2014 – Universal Studios, Hollywood

It is that time of year again! The color changing leaves, fresh autumn smell, harvesting the pumpkins, pumpkin everything, to say the least, and of course, zombies, ghosts, the horror, the spooky, and the Halloween! Each year, Southern California attracts hundreds of thousands of guests and fans throughout theme parks, mazes, haunted houses, and other Halloween themed events to get their scares and screams out! It seems Monsters, Inc was not the only company collecting screams. This year I had the wonderful chance to return to Universal Studios, Hollywood for their annual Halloween Horror Nights! The last time I had the opportunity was in 2011, when the park featured mazes and haunts from feature films such as Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Psycho. For 2014, Universal Studios brought the onslaught of Horror for a total of seven mazes; from themes such as Alien vs. Predator, The Walking Dead, and American Werewolf in London. The night is full of fun, scares, laughs, screams, sometimes cries, and all together an incredible night. I surprised my girlfriend this year for her birthday, which was on Friday as well, and we set out to Universal’s HHN! The park closes down and reopens for HHN guests, when regular admittance is 7:00 pm, while VIP admittance is 6:00 pm. However, I found it interesting and useful that the park allows regular-attendees early access as well if you enter through a side gate to make the Terror Tram (Studio Tour Tram) your first ride. But the best part, this line is not really ‘cut-off’ or separated from the park, so you are essentially free to roam to any part of the park! That was pretty awesome, as we entered the park at 6:15 instead of what seemed to be a 7:00 opening. We made our way down to the lower lot where Jurassic Park, The Mummy, and the [fairly] new Transformers rides are located. Also down below, the mazes include The Walking Dead, AVP: Aliens vs Predator, From Dusk Till Dawn, An American Werewolf in London, and Clowns 3D: Music by Slash; [the lower lot also featured one of five scare zones, this location holding The Walking Dead scare zone.] Our first stop was AVP, which in order to get to, you go through The Walking Dead scare zone, through tunnels, broken down cars, gated areas, and a few stairs and hills. Luckily our AVP wait was only 10 minutes, as well as the other mazes; soon after, the wait shot up to over 115 minutes for the popular mazes! AVP was a pretty fun maze; cool Alien props of the face-huggers, broken containment shells as well as some with face-huggers in them; a cool entrance of a crashed ship; as well as in the beginning, the Predator from the end of AVP, with a burst chest and the glowing green blood everywhere! Throughout the maze, Aliens and Predators would burst through windows and doors, while face-huggers slammed against windows, and a few spots where real actors were being attacked or some fake bodies either skinned or already being eaten alive! Towards the end, the Queen rests against the wall waiting for dinner (you) to arrive! Overall, however, I was a bit disappointed with this maze; After watching videos of the AVP maze in Universal Orland0 (here) it is clear that Universal Hollywood is not up to par whatsoever (Hollywood video here) You would think being the ‘movie capital’ Hollywood would have the better mazes with more interactions and features, but, oh well, at least we got an AVP maze!

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Next up we had The Walking Dead maze which is right next to AVP;  this was set up to the prison scenario as in Season 3 and 4. It was overall a very well designed and fun area! Walkers at every corner, bodies being eaten, crashed cars burning areas and everything you would want in a Walking Dead maze! Not much to say, let alone complain about this one, but definitely an attraction NOT to miss for fans of The Walking Dead or simply fans of zombies! The only ‘confusing’ thing I would say, is the initial walk down to the maze, there are signs for Terminus as well as inside the maze, different sections relating to Terminus . . . so it seems they mashed the two when I personally would have liked just one or the other. After the first two mazes, we set way for the Transformers: 3D ride, as well as Jurassic Park, the classic and favorited ride in Universal Studios! This was our first time on Transformers, and overall I give it a 9/10! Fun filled ride hunting down and battling Decepticons, sitting/riding in a random autobot (well not random, but I forgot the name). It is an actual roller-coaster like ride, similar to The Mummy, but with the Simpsons ride feel as it goes through different animated and film screens along with built sets. Throughout the bottom-lot, costumed walkers roamed the area, on stilts, they were dressed in goat-like and other cattle like creatures! Full gowns, masks, and amazing stilt-walking skills! They were not so much as scary but more fun to watch and run around with.

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Heading back up to the top lot, we merged over to The Simpsons Ride, (an all time favorite, yet I am still saddened that E.T. was removed!) So far lines have been short and no issues there! A quick stop through the Kwik-E-Mart for a look around then it was off to The Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride! This was the longest line of the night et, almost an hour waiting, but totally worth it for a first time rider! I love the outdoor displays and design, as posters were set up to resemble a WWII style propaganda to join “Gru’s Army” as a minion. Prior to boarding the ride, a another waiting area is set to resemble Gru’s living room, and large screens above the doors to show Gru introducing you to the start of the ride! Riders are placed in separate cars similar to The Simpsons, BUT all the cars are in one room and it is just like the old Terminator Ride (another I am saddened to see gone). Again, I would give this ride a 9/10, it is fun, cute, silly, if you are a fan of Despicable Me than you will love it; only complaint here is that it is just too short of a ride!!

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Throughout the rest of the park, we encountered a few more ‘scare zones’; as mentioned before, The Walking Dead  zone is in the lower lot, and the upper lot has the Masquerade theme and Dark Christmas themed zones. The masquerade is a victorian style scare zone; ol’ wigs, englishman, women in large gowns showing the enormous hips, hangings and an ol’ dinner table full of dead diners! Then the ‘Dark Christmas’ theme, my personal favorite of the scare zones! Evil creepy elves, Santas, Mrs. Clauses, zombie reindeer, evil giant nutcrackers, and more! It is a step-up from a ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ style, but so much fun to be around! It truly is a “nightmare” before Christmas! The main entrance, well almost to that, had a Purge themed scare zone; I am not fully familiar with the Purge films, but there was a ‘spokeswoman’ on a stage of bodies, with masked men running around chasing you with chainsaws! And of course, bodies, bodies, and more, bodies. christmas 1  purge 4     unnamed-48  unnamed-51      victorian 4unnamed-71 unnamed-72

The last three mazes we went through this night were Sci Fi’s Face/Off, From Dusk Till Dawn, and Dracula. From Dusk is actually a tv show (who knew? I did not!) and they had scenes playing on a screen outside the building and a few actors who would go through the lines reenacting scenes from the show too. The maze itself is in essentially a strip club called ‘Twister’ with creepy bloody strippers and strip-club-attendees attacking you. Then the Dracula attraction was a bit more pleasant; essentially vampires and ghouls and goblins jumping out chasing you throughout Dracula’s mansion area. . . BUT Face/Off was absolutely incredible!! One of my favorite attractions for the night, and I am so glad Universal Studios brought this theme into the 2014 HHN! From Sci Fi’s hit television series, Face/Off brings makeup artists in a competition to design, build, paint, mold, scrap together the best creatures, monsters, beasts, aliens, any sic-fi related being! And all the previous designs were brought into this maze! Each creature had their own theme, then before exiting, it becomes  a giant rave with strobe lights, heavy EDM music, and a big ol’ party! Definitely the mazy to hit on the way out to end the night on a good, I mean, great note! As for the rest of the night’s adventures, I was happy and surprised to see Star Wars merch in the gift shop( including the awesome Yoda Jedi-training back pack!!), snagged the giant Lard Lad’s Donut from the Kwik-E-Mart, and found some cool Minion displays, tried on Arnie’s jacket from Terminator 2, as well as won some Minion plushes for my girlfriend!! I also included a photo of the wait times to show how much the wait had increased early in the night. (My apologies for this and other blurry photos, it is hard to snap good photos on an iPhone when running through a theme park!) This night was not just a fun filled, Halloween adventure night, but also a night for my girlfriend’s birthday! Shoutout to Mayra, my beautiful churro (yes I’m cheesier than nachos) hope you enjoyed it babe! And hope all my followers and readers also enjoyed the post and get a chance to visit the park!

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LBCC 2014 is a wrap!

Another con, another year, and another weekend which Long Beach has become a growing center for Con goers and comic book lovers.

This is the fourth year , (if I remember correctly) returning to Long Beach Comic-Con (LBCC), and another year of fantastic fun! This year did see a few changes, but nothing too dramatic, nor anything to sway you away from attending the show next year!

LBCC has been constantly growing over the years, with last year’s 5th Anniversary Show being one of the biggest to date! It almost feels like a mini-WonderCon – less crowded, but still full of fans, collectors, readers, vendors, artists, writers, special guests, cosplayers, panels, and more!

To start with the few ‘negatives’ of this year, there were no movie cars outside the convention center! Unless they were on display for Saturday (I only attended Sunday) usually the movie cars are available both days. Made the outdoor patio seem a bit empty. Another downfall (not the fault of LBCC, just a resulting issue) were the absence/unknowing-arrival of guests. Certain artists and writers would just have signs on their tables stating “so and so will not be here today” or just an empty table . . . also some guests I could not find at all, with no table numbers or notice of their “spot” in the program online.

NONETHELESS, LBCC 2014 had some fantastic pros and bright sides! For one, the new “signing area” implemented in the back right corner of the center; though a little less traveled, it is a great new feature to the show to highlight special guests for their own signing times and areas.
Another great thing is the space . . . LBCC doesn’t try to pack as many vendors and tables and areas into the already smaller convention area. They space out the setting, allow for free room to move around, and plenty of air circulation! (that doesn’t mean you should forget the deodorant!) Also, the special guests, writers, artists, and freelance artists also appearing had some pretty impressive displays! I encountered numerous artists (unfortunately typing this away from home, so I do not have their business cards to add) who had amazing work on Pacific Rim and Godzilla mashups, Star Wars, Minions, and more!

And of course, you can not forget the cosplayers! Smile X Villain Co, Trinity All Stars, Lonstermash, Mini Boba Fett, and more of the usual fan friendly and cosplay loving groups! (Photos are included below!)

There we have it folks! LBCC 2014 is a wrap, and next is already set for September 12 and 13, 2015!

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LBCC Photo Gallery:

 

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WonderCon 2014 Cosplay Photos

WonderCon has come and gone again to Anaheim, CA. This was my third year attending and each year of WonderCon is even better than the last! Of course, one of my and everyone else’s favorite parts of WonderCon are the vast array of Cosplayers! Young and Old, DC and Marvel, Anime and Video Games, thousands of cosplayers coming together for the love of the convention! Below I have the full gallery of my photos taken during WonderCon, as well as a link to my Facebook page with the album! If you see yourself or a friend in the photos, please feel free to share or download them! ALL I ask is that you please mention me/my blog/my pages of where you got the photo from! I am still an amateur and plus having a passion for it, I won’t charge or restrict anyone’s photos if they are in it! My simple request is a mention/tag/shoutout of my page! Hope you all enjoy!

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.305431079609768.1073741839.249160655236811&type=3