Archives for September 2013

DC Shows Poor Judgment With Their “Break Into Comics With Harley Quinn” Contest

580-HarleyQuinn1_rceimv4twg_by Aaron Einhorn
I have, personally, more or less written DC Comics completely off. It is clear to me from the tone of their comics, the choices made by their editorial boards, and the direction of their films and television shows, that they no longer are attempting to appeal to my cross-section of the fan base.

Marvel is quickly pulling me back in, even as DC is actively pushing me away. And that’s just the way it is. Fine, I can live with that.

But that doesn’t mean I can turn a blind eye to stupid decisions made by DC Comics/Warner Brothers. We’re not even a full day away from the debacle involving the decisions around Batwoman, which are actively pushing away the creative team of J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman. And now, in the form of something that should actively be exciting to fans, DC is once again showing us that they Just. Don’t. Get. It.

I am referring to their “Break Into Comics With Harley Quin” contest, details of which can be found here.

On the surface, this seems awesome. A chance to submit four panels of art to DC, to be judged by their co-Publishers, to be used in a page of Harley Quinn #0, a book which will be handled by Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner.

But I ask you to look at the content of the panels. Don’t feel like following the link? Ok, fine. I’ll recap it for you.

Read the following script page and give us your original artistic interpretation of what those four panels should look like on a single page:

PAGE 15
4 panels
PANEL 1
Harley is on top of a building, holding a large DETACHED cellphone tower in her hands as lightning is striking just about everywhere except her tower. She is looking at us like she cannot believe what she is doing. Beside herself. Not happy.

PANEL 2
Harley is sitting in an alligator pond, on a little island with a suit of raw chicken on, rolling her eyes like once again, she cannot believe where she has found herself. We see the alligators ignoring her.

PANEL 3
Harley is sitting in an open whale mouth, tickling the inside of the whale’s mouth with a feather. She is ecstatic and happy, like this is the most fun ever.

PANEL 4
Harley sitting naked in a bathtub with toasters, blow dryers, blenders, appliances all dangling above the bathtub and she has a cord that will release them all. We are watching the moment before the inevitable death. Her expression is one of “oh well, guess that’s it for me” and she has resigned herself to the moment that is going to happen.

Consider the tone here. We’re looking at the potential suicide of one of the most prominent female characters at DC Comics today. And it’s being played for laughs. Now, sure, the Joker and Harley do, in fact, play life up for laughs. But the audience should be in on the real joke – that what they do isn’t funny. It’s sad, pathetic and scary. The Joker and Harley aren’t strong because of their psychosis, they’re weak, broken individuals.

I haven’t read a whole lot of the New 52 version, but the original relationship between the Joker and Harley was outright abusive, and should serve as a warning to young women. So, if we’re going to see Harley contemplating suicide, this shouldn’t be a happy, madcap adventure of Harley trying to off herself in the most over-the-top way possible. This should be a counterpoint – the moment where Harley realizes that she is the butt of the joke, not the comedienne.

To top it all off? The final panel specifies that she should be naked. Obviously, for a “family friendly” comic, you’re going to have to position objects in the room, soap bubbles, etc. to cover the bits of the body that would get you an “R” rating, but we should also know that the eventual winner is almost certainly going to reveal as much cleavage and butt cheek as possible. And this from a company that is currently making headlines because it won’t allow its highest-profile LGBT character to marry her fiancé. Whether Dan DiDio and Jim Lee are actually misogynists themselves is beside the point – this creates the perception that they are, and ultimately that matters a whole lot more.

On his Facebook page Jimmy Palmiotti explains that it is out of context, and others have said that it specifies nudity to reinforce the idea that she should not be in costume – but then, it could have said that, couldn’t it?

To top it off? The terrible timing here gets worse when you consider that September (when this contest was posted) is Suicide Prevention Month.

I’m not the biggest fan of Harley. I’ve long considered an object lesson – an example of what not to do, instead of a role model, which is what she is often seen as by many young women I know. But even so, this seems cheap and exploitative.

Of course, my opinion means little. I was never going to buy Harley Quinn #0, so it isn’t like DC has suddenly lost my money. But it still makes me very sad to see that the company who once brought me characters that inspired me has fallen so low.

Is she?

by Aaron Einhorn
If you checked out my post about this campaign from yesterday, then you’ve already seen that the first two parts of this campaign began with “Is He…” and “Are they…”

Now, Marvel has given us another cryptic teaser.

IsShe__

It’s worth noting that in their press e-mail, they also included the phrase “It could be anyone. Find out who, September 18th!”

For those of you thinking it could be Skrulls? Well, here’s a little more ammo.

New Trailer Arrives for Robocop Remake

by Aaron Einhorn
So, I figure I ought to leave this here where you all can see it.

Not sure what I think. Amazingly, it doesn’t look like a festering pile of excrement, which is about all I expected from it, but it still seems to lack the charm of the original (although I do like that we see the original design, briefly, on-screen).

I guess we’ll find out more when Robocop hits theatres on February 7, 2014.

Weekly Comic Round-Up, September 4, 2013 Edition

by Aaron Einhorn
Welcome back! If you’ve followed me here from Comic Hero News, or going even farther back to Underneath My Mask, than you probably remember that one of the regular features I had was a review of the comics I’m reading that week. Full disclosure: This is not everything I read, and it’s not everything that hit the stands this week. It is, however, the books I feel merit being talked about, either because they were awesome or because there was something really, really wrong with them.

So, here we go. What came home with me from The Laughing Ogre? Read on.

battleofatom1_c01X-Men: Battle of the Atom #1
All-New X-Men #16
We’re going to handle these as a Two-For-One deal here, especially since both were written (at least in part) by Brian Michael Bendis. Even while the majority of the Marvel Universe (including several members of the X-Men) are dealing with the effect of Infinity, the X-Men find themselves in the middle of yet-another time-travelling story crossover. Time-travel has been a staple of the X-Men’s comics ever since “Days of Future Past”, so the idea of a time-travel story on its own merits doesn’t bother me. After all, one of the X-Men books I regularly read is all about the original X-Men brought into modern times.

What we have here is a team of X-Men from the future, including the Beast, Charles Xavier’s grandson, Deadpool and Iceman, arriving in the present and demanding that the original X-Men return to their proper time, have their memories of their jaunt into the modern day erased from their heads, and live out their fates. Considering that this demand comes on the heels of young Cyclops almost dying, and the teams then seeing present-day-Cyclops almost get erased from reality, it’s not an unreasonable demand.

All-New_X-Men_Vol_1_16Except of course for the fact that Jean knows that this is a death sentence to her, so when the future X-Men are found to be blocking her telepathy, she creates a stunt and flees, getting Scott to join her. And so a manhunt for Jean and Cyclops begins.
It’s a crazy little jaunt of time travel, and I’m sure it will only get crazier over the upcoming parts, and sure, it’s a blatant money grab since it’s going to cause me to buy two issues of Wolverine and the X-Men, a title I don’t normally buy, but it’s a pretty fun story so far.

fevil_cv1_var_aForever Evil #1
If you’re reading the other articles on this site, you know exactly how disenchanted I have become with DC’s New 52 universe. Still, for all that, I went ahead and picked up this issue and I’m glad I did. I don’t know that I’ll read anything else from “Villains Month,” but this issue from Geoff Johns reminded me why this man revitalized Green Lantern and Flash. I don’t know a lot of the various backstories for the villains we’re seeing here – I have no idea how the Rogues got outright super-abilities of their own, how Lex Luthor was “framed” and then had his name cleared, why Ted Kord is a schlub and not the Blue Beetle, or who half the villains in the center spread are.
I also don’t care. Because this is still a tightly enough told story that I was able to follow along. The characters were close enough to being the versions of themselves I recognized. And most importantly? It featured the Crime Syndicate.

I’ve always had a soft spot for Ultraman, Owlman and Superwoman, along with whichever alternate versions they have with them this time around (in this case, it’s Johnny Quick, Power Ring, Deathstorm and Atomica). So, seeing them back in the New 52? Well, it makes me happy. Almost happy enough to be considering adding Ultraman to my costuming line-up.
Like I said, will I add more of this story to my collection? I dunno. But this issue was worth grabbing, for me at least.

superiorspiderman17_c01Superior Spider-Man #17
Sadly, after what has generally been an excellent run of issues, in this issue Dan Slott and company have stumbled. It’s not that there’s anything bad in here, exactly. The main story focusing on Otto Parker, I mean Peter Octavius, I mean Otto-Octavius-in-Peter-Parker’s-body and his ongoing issues with Tiberius Stone and what’s happening at Horizon is fine, the continuation of the Goblin subplot with Phil Urich in his role as the Green Goblin’s Goblin Knight remains intriguing, and the story of how Miguel O’Hare/Spider-Man 2099 end up being sent to the present works just fine.

But that’s just it. It’s all just “fine.” The entire issue feels like the opening moves of a chess game. It’s putting pieces into place, but they aren’t actually doing much of anything. It’s a very unexciting issue, for all that there is plenty of costumed character sightings (although there aren’t any super battles to speak of).

I’m interested to see next issue, and to see what the fall-out between Spider-Ock and Spider-Man 2099 ends up being, but this issue on its own? Very “meh.”

Meanwhile, Earth-2: Desaad #15.1 gives us a bit about how Darkseid’s chief torturer ended up on Earth, Green Lantern: Relic #23.1 explains that the enemy of all of the ring-slingers originates from another reality which also harnessed the emotional spectrum, only to ultimately drain it completely, and in Infinity #2, Thanos sends his forces to do battle with the Earth as he hunts for the Infinity Gems, and reveals a special gambit designed to force the Inhumans to give up the most important prize…

Thoughts? Disagreements? Want to offer up ideas on what books you’re reading this week? Let us know in the comments!

Dragon Con 2013: One Geek’s Perspective, Part Four (Sunday & Monday)

by Aaron Einhorn

Sunday

Waking up on Sunday morning was a bit surreal. Where I had gone to bed in a hotel where you literally could not see the floor looking down from our room, I woke to an almost entirely silent hotel lobby. But then, this was where people had been partying HARD the night before, so I’m certain that many of them were sleeping it off.

But there was no sleep to be found in my morning. Why? Because I was off to see one of my favorite authors. Jim Butcher, writer of The Dresden Files had a book signing from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. (with a lunch break in the middle there), so right at 9:30, I was there in line.

I should have arrived earlier. The line had already snaked back and forth five times by the time I got in line. Fortunately, Christina and I were told by a helpful DragonCon staffer that “He signs fast.” We were given instructions on how to help keep the line moving quickly, and fortunately, most people seemed to listen, because by 10:45, Christina and I had gotten to the front of the line.

I wasn’t having a book signed for myself, because I didn’t actually think to bring one. But I did have a copy of the graphic novel “Welcome to the Jungle,” which was actually a Christmas present from me to my Mother-In-Law last year. I had previously obtained a signed copy of Butcher’s “Ghost Story” for her at San Diego Comic Con, but that was an instance where he had signed a huge stack of books and left them sitting at a bookshop at the convention. It wasn’t personalized. This time, I would meet the man himself.

Since I didn’t have a book to have him sign, I asked him to sign a copy of my Dragon Con badge, which he was happy to oblige me with. So, when the time came, I went up, handed him my book and badge, and told him “Although I really love all your books, my favorite has to be your Spider-Man novelization.” Butcher’s eyes lit up when I said that. “Thanks! I’m really proud of that one. Poor Rhino, he doesn’t get enough respect.”

jim_butcher_autographs

It could have been a glib response, but I like to think I left an impression on him.

1236167_10201095296637601_1225252971_n

After getting his signature, Christina and I made a trip to visit our friend to borrow a pair of red boots so that we could be both American Dream and U.S. Agent for the Big Marvel Shoot, and then it was back up to our room to change.

Arriving at the Big Marvel Shoot, the two of us went over to the Captain America and S.H.I.E.L.D. subgroup shot, which was a lot of fun, despite the threat of rain. Every time the thunder clapped, we heard a cheer from the Asgardian shoot. “Damn it, Thor!” became a common refrain.

Photo Credit: Paul Cory Photography Christina and I are in the lower right corner.

Photo Credit: Paul Cory Photography
Christina and I are in the lower right corner.

Sadly, a large bout of rain chased us away from the shoot before the actual large group shot could occur, although we later heard that it did happen, just delayed a bit.

Photo Credit: Marvel Comics We weren’t here, but it still looks like it was fun.

Photo Credit: Marvel Comics
We weren’t here, but it still looks like it was fun.

From there, we went back to the dealer’s room for some last minute purchases (new colored contacts for me), returned the boots we had borrowed, and then returned to our room to change into civilian clothes. I was going to then attempt an almost mythical action among Dragon Con costumers – I was going to go to a panel.

The panel in question was “Seriously Funny Ways to Get Rejected,” and for this author who is currently suffering through a wave of rejection notices from agents he has queried, it was exactly what I needed. It was fun, enlightening, reminded me why I need to stick with it, and gave me another agency to query. So, win-win.

From there, we made our way to the final SCF gathering.

Unlike the first night’s gathering, I was far more relaxed at this one. First off, I had now actually met most of the people at the gathering, at least briefly. Secondly, I had been shooting alongside them all day, and while I still admired their costumes, I now was able to see the costumes up close and realize that, hey, my costumes aren’t all that bad next to theirs. I still look up to many of the folks I’ve met on that board, but I now see myself as their peer, which is pretty awesome.

There was food, there was drink, there were a lot of hugs, and a lot of laughs. There were more names than I can remember, and many, many new additions to my Facebook Friends’ list. It was a great way to end the convention. As a friend of mine has long since stated in his signature file “Costumes are fleeting. Friends last a lifetime.” To many of these folks, I started Dragon Con as “the guy who wore Jack of Hearts,” but I think that by the time we left Sunday night, I was just Aaron.

Back to our room, and packing ensued. We had a 10:10 flight, which meant that we needed to be at the airport and checked in by 9:00 a.m., so we wanted to be checked out of the hotel by 8:00 a.m. Morning was going to come early.

Monday

There was some small kerfluffle with our checkout and using gift cards, but it is my sincere hope that it will soon be worked out. If not, expect me to fill in many more details here later. The flight home was uneventful, and soon enough, we were back to Columbus, Ohio with our daughters and our dog.

Dragon Con was exciting and fun, although huge and crowded. I know from crowed events, having been a several year attendee of San Diego Comic Con, but I fear that Dragon may have outgrown its space. I’d love to return next year, but for now Christina and I need to evaluate the costs versus the amount of fun we had. Seeing so many amazing costumers was great, standing in line and fighting with crowds was less so. Still, if you’ve never been to Dragon Con, I highly recommend you give it a try.

Read More:

Is He? Are They?

by Aaron Einhorn
Marvel is no stranger to weird little teasers. Right before the launch of the Heroic Age, there were a whole series of “I Am An Avenger” posts giving us silhouettes of the upcoming members of each Avengers team.

But their latest teasers, setting us up for a post-Infinity setting, have taken the cryptic to a new level.

IsHe__
AreThey_
Is he… what?!?!

Are they… what?!?!

According to Marvel, we’ll find out more on September 18th. And, ok, sure, I’m intrigued. But I’m more irritated. These are so vague, they’re right on the level of that annoying red-headed girl in second grade who would announce to the entire school during recess that “I’ve got a secret!”

Or maybe that’s just me.

J.H. Williams III to Leave Batwoman

batwoman1_c01by Aaron Einhorn
Since the reintroduction of Kate Kane into the DC Universe back in 2010, she has been one of my favorite members of the Bat-family. She debuted in 52 #7, and then took over the flagship Batman-title, Detective Comics starting with #854 and running through the events of the Battle for the Cowl.

After she left Detective Comics, Batwoman ended up in several miniseries which focused on her and her girlfriend, Rene Montoya (The Question), and even survived as one of the flagship titles in The New 52, making her easily the most high-profile LGBT character in DC Comics, and possibly in all comics currently published by the Big Two.

And for almost all of that time, she has been carefully shepherded by J.H. Williams III, along with such notable collaborators as Greg Rucka, W. Haden Blackman and Amy Reeder. And she’s been handled masterfully.

To begin with, Williams’ art is among the finest in comics today. I will freely admit that while I read a lot of comics, I’m not actually a fan of the medium. I would far prefer to read more superhero novels than to read more comics. I like superheroes, not comics – comics are simply the easiest way for me to get my fix. So, I will rarely read a comic I don’t enjoy just because the art is good. Bad art can keep me away from a book with a good story, but good art won’t bring me to a book whose story I can’t get into.

(Which, yes, is the reason I never really bought in to the early Image Comics revolution.)

Williams’ art on the other hand, is that good. I would have bought Elegy even with not enjoying the story, because the art is so beautifully done. Fortunately, I didn’t have to.

It would have been easy to make Batwoman derivative, or simply a stereotype. Rucka, Williams, Blackman and Reeder have not done that. They have given her a good set of motivations, distinct from those of Batman and his Bat-family. They have elaborated on her backstory and supporting cast, even when the insanity of the New 52 reboot took away Rene’s secret identity and totally borked Flamebird’s history. The series has even taken us to the point where Kate has proposed to Maggie Sawyer (as of Issue #17). They’ve given her a unique and intriguing Rogue’s gallery (Alice is every bit as fascinating as the Joker at his best), and all in all, they have made Batwoman an awesome and incredible character.

Now, I’m not a fan of the New 52. Before the New 52, I read about 25 DC Comics titles a month. When they announced the New 52, I gave well over half of the titles of the New 52 a try, and I am now done to reading six titles.
Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps, Green Lantern: New Guardians, Earth-2, World’s Finest and Batwoman.

I’ve been ready to drop the three Green Lantern titles ever since Geoff Johns left the Lantern family, and I think once they finish the “Light’s Out” storyline, I’m going to be done. Similarly, when James Robinson left Earth-2, that threw up warning signs for me, and while I haven’t dropped the book yet, I think it may be happening soon.

But Batwoman? I was still in love with Batwoman.

And then this and this happened on J.H. Williams III’s and W. Haden Blackman’s blogs.

For those of you who don’t feel like following the link, the important snipped of their statement is as follows:

In recent months, DC has asked us to alter or completely discard many long-standing storylines in ways that we feel compromise the character and the series. We were told to ditch plans for Killer Croc’s origins; forced to drastically alter the original ending of our current arc, which would have defined Batwoman’s heroic future in bold new ways; and, most crushingly, prohibited from ever showing Kate and Maggie actually getting married. All of these editorial decisions came at the last minute, and always after a year or more of planning and plotting on our end.

We’ve always understood that, as much as we love the character, Batwoman ultimately belongs to DC. However, the eleventh-hour nature of these changes left us frustrated and angry — because they prevent us from telling the best stories we can. So, after a lot of soul-searching, we’ve decided to leave the book after Issue 26.

This is the cover to Batwoman #25, so, not quite the final issue.

This is the cover to Batwoman #25, so, not quite the final issue.

To put it mildly, I am extremely saddened by this news. Saddened, but not disappointed. DC’s editorial board has been consistently inconsistent over the past few years, and this has shown in the pages of every single comic, in the interviews and online activity of the creators and in the plans for films and television shows based on their creations.

I’m kind of heartbroken here. I love the DC Comics characters. My first superhero costume was Superman and my third was Batman and I’ve now added Superman Blue (yes, from the crazy nineties storyline) to my line-up. I own a Green Lantern sterling silver ring, and all of the promo rings. And Justice League Unlimited remains one of my all-time favorite cartoons.

But each and every move from the New 52 has served to remind me that these are no longer the characters I knew and loved. As of Batwoman #27, I will be dropping the title – and I think I’ll finally be dropping the Lantern family books as well.

I understand that DC is trying to revitalize and excite readers about their characters, and I sincerely wish them success in that, but I cannot help but feel that they no longer care about the interest of fans like me. Meanwhile, Marvel is taking just as many creative chances, and giving me characters and stories I enjoy reading, and really enjoy seeing on film.

Regardless, I would like to thank Williams, Blackman, Reeder, Rucka and all the others who have given the new version of Kate Kane life. DC Comics may own the rights to the character, but you fine people have the rights to her soul.

Dragon Con 2013: One Geek’s Perspective, Part Three (Saturday)

by Aaron Einhorn

Saturday

The big event Saturday morning at Dragon Con is the parade. The parade is a massive, epic event, with hundreds of costumers filling the streets of Atlanta while thousands of other people watch. Not all of these thousands of watchers are attendees of the convention, obviously, but many then go on to purchase One-Day passes to the convention, making Saturday the most crowded day of the event.

And I? I did not go to the parade, nor walk in it. The SCF typically walks in the parade with a banner, and many of my friends were there. However Christina and I chose to skip out on the parade and use that time of increased con activity to go check out the dealer’s room. And I’m glad we did, because even with the number of people out watching the parade, the vendor area was still very crowded.

But it was crowded for a good reason, because there was a lot of really cool stuff to be seen. Aisle after aisle of costume accessories, books, toys, statues, games, bags and more. I’ve been to some of the biggest conventions in the world before (six years of attending the San Diego Comic Con), but even so I was impressed by the selection I found here.

And it wasn’t just stuff that could be seen. There were authors and artists tucked away throughout the vendor area, which led to yet another celebrity encounter as Christina and I found our way to the table of Peter S. Beagle, author of The Last Unicorn.

The film adaptation of that story has long been a favorite in our house, with Cordy and Mira both falling for its enchantment, and I’m a huge fan of the novelization. So, we couldn’t pass up the chance to meet Peter and purchase a signed copy of the graphic novel adaptation. Peter is a charming gentleman, who spent a significant amount of time with each customer in line, posing for pictures, and generally making himself appear to be the coolest grandfather ever.

peterbeagle

But that wasn’t all that we did in the Vendor’s room. Remember that the previous day I had managed to sell off my Ultimate Spider-Man costumer? Well, it’s a good thing that we did, because while browsing the vendor’s hall, Christina showed me a corset she had noticed the day before.

I told her to go ahead and try it on. She did. And once it was laced up (complete with chemise, short-jacket and overskirt), I was convinced to hand over our credit card and cash.

That’s right. I had finally managed to get my wife into a superhero costume, even if it was a steampunk and feminized version of a costume.

Needless to say, we finished the outfit off with a cool pair of steampunk goggles, a pair of tights, and then she stole my boots and shield from U.S. Agent. And the final result? Steampunk American Dream.

I've been trying to get her back into a costume for years, ever since we stopped doing RenFaire together.

I’ve been trying to get her back into a costume for years, ever since we stopped doing RenFaire together.

Yeah, I was excited. I didn’t even care that it meant I wasn’t going to be able to wear U.S. Agent right away. Sadly, I couldn’t spend enough time as her costume handler (she’s used to being mine) because I had to get painted red for the Giant DC Universe shoot. I have since discovered that I hate spray-in hair color, but the effect worked for the day.

The shoot was awesome and epic, and I got to meet up with my Superman Blue counterpart for some really fun side-by-side shots.

Photo Credit: Badger Studios

Photo Credit: Badger Studios

A quick plug to Mehron’s cake makeup. While wearing both Superman Red and Jack of Hearts, I never had any makeup bleed. This impressed me, quite a bit.

Following the shoot, it was time for a quick run back to the room to change and get something to eat before putting Jack of Hearts back on and finishing setting Christina into costume so the two of us could attend the Heroes and Villains Ball.

American Dream and Jack of Hearts, ready to hit the town!

American Dream and Jack of Hearts, ready to hit the town!

The Ball was a blast, despite a short line to get in. The music was good and loud, and the number of obnoxious drunks was small. We danced away happily for over an hour, although Christina and I both realized that we’re not as young as we once were, and called it a night shortly after midnight.

Dragon Con was coming along well, and if this had been the end of the convention, I’d have had no complaints. But there was still one more day of the con to go, and it would be filled with just as many awesome experiences as the rest of the event.

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Dragon Con 2013: One Geek’s Perspective, Part Two (Friday)

by Aaron Einhorn

Friday

This was my biggest, busiest day of the convention. We got up nice and early, had breakfast in the room, and then began the process of showering, shaving, costume fitting and putting on make-up to transform myself in to this:

1170732_10201077013380531_909035800_n

That’s right, kids, I was off to the fabulous JLA vs. Avengers shoot, with special Guest of Honor, George Perez! I was really nervous about this shoot. Not only is Perez a living legend in comics, but I was going to be standing side-by-side with many costumers who I consider to be idols. Margie and Ned Cox, Danny and Heather Kelly and Brian Parsley are among the people I look to as inspiration and who I routinely ask when I’m stuck on how to do something with my costumes. And I was going to be a part of a themed shoot with them.

On top of that, I was dressed as a seriously obscure character, and I was scared as hell. Jack of Hearts’ costume is, shall we say, complex. Would anyone recognize me? Would I do it right? Also, this was the first time I had done a costume with serious make-up, and I was scared that it would melt off my face in the Atlanta sun.

Fortunately, my fears were unfounded. As soon as I got off the elevator (while Christina slept in), I heard “Jack of Hearts? Oh my god, I have never seen someone do that costume before!” and my picture was taken. Then, as I traveled to the photo site, I ran in to George Perez himself, who took my picture while in costume. Suddenly, I felt like I had arrived.

The shoot was awesome and epic, and I cannot wait until the video and photos arrive online. Everyone was super nice, especially my fight partner, Sean, whose Martian Manhunter is epic, and Allen Hansard, the director of the shoot. It took us over two hours, and many of us were sore by the time it was done, but man, it was worth it.

Photo credit: Pat Loika

Photo credit: Pat Loika

From there, it was back to my room to scrub my face, hang out with Christina, and to hit the Walk of Fame. While there, we met with John “Q” de Lancie, who was an absolute gentleman and who gave us a signed picture of Discord for our daughters while Christina bought a signed photo of Q for herself.

And he did all this, even while fighting a cold.

And he did all this, even while fighting a cold.

Later on, Christina would go to meet Peter “Doctor Number 5” Davidson, while I pulled on a pair of tights to become Miles Morales, the current Ultimate Spider-Man. It was time for the Spider-Man and Friends (and Foes) shoot, and it would be the last time I ever wore the incredible costume made for me by Brad West of Outrageous Outfits. She would also hit the dealer’s room and look at some items which we would ultimately end up purchasing.

This shoot was a lot less big, but no less fun than the one earlier in the day. Sadly, I had to bail early on the shoot because I was committed to another shoot, back in the Jack of Hearts get-up. It was fun hanging with the other Spideys, however, and I will be back into some version of the Webslinger’s get-up before too long.

While I dashed back and forth from my room to the Hilton stairs, Christina met up with another costumer and sold my Spidey suit. This would come in extremely handy later on in the weekend. But I didn’t have time to think about that – I had to get my cosmic groove on.

What a shoot that turned out to be. First off, it was fun to get even more “Oh my god!” comments about Jack of Hearts. But the absolute highlight of the experience was to see Ryan Ricks’ incredible Ultron costume, alongside so many other incredible, weird cosmic characters.

marvel_cosmic_almost_nerdy

Photo Credit: Almost Nerdy
Ultron wasn’t here yet, but check out all the crazy 70’s costume designs!

From there, I went back to my room, got out of costume once again, and Christina and I had dinner at Aviva by Kameel. If you end up near the Peachtree Center mall, you have to eat here. The best mix of Mediterranean and Italian food you could imagine.

After dinner, we decided we would try to hit the Avengers Ball, which had me changing in to U.S. Agent for a time. The ball was a little quiet and tame, although we did see some really cool Formal-Dress-Female-Avengers, and I did run into several friends. Still, it was quiet enough that we headed off to attempt to hit the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Ball, which was held at our hotel.

That was the first time I really began to think that Dragon Con may have outgrown its space. The line to get into the ball went out of the ballroom, snaked down the lobby, in to a board room where it snaked around several times, and then down and around a corner where it vanished to who knows where.

Needless to say, we didn’t get to the ball. So, we called it another relatively early night, and returned to our room, but not before encountering a Dalek by the elevators.

Yeah, there’s someone in there.

Yeah, there’s someone in there.

The first full day of Dragon Con was down, but the convention was barely getting started. And the next day, I would manage something I’ve been trying to do for years…

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Dragon Con 2013: One Geek’s Perspective, Part One (Thursday)

by Aaron Einhorn
For many years now, I have wanted to go to Dragon*Con (or Dragon Con, if you prefer. They lost the asterisk when they disbanded and reformed.) Ever since I began doing superhero costuming, I had heard about the crazy and amazing times at Dragon Con from my friends on The Superhero Costuming Forum, and wanted to figure out a way to get there.

This past October, a friend of mine intended to get a booth, and so I entered into the insanity that is trying to get a hotel room at one of the “host” hotels of the convention, and wonder of wonders, ended up with a room at the Marriott Marquis – the central hub of most of the convention.

Between October and this past weekend, Christina decided to come to the convention with me, we arranged for the girls to spend the weekend at Camp Grandma, and another set of friends replaced my original friend for sharing the room.

I had major costuming plans for the convention, as you can see below.

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The plan was to wear Shining Armor on Thursday night for an informal My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic group, wear Jack of Hearts on Friday for two photoshoots, with Ultimate Spider-Man being worn midway through the day for another, to wear Superman Red on Saturday for the big DC photoshoot, and to wear US Agent on Sunday for the big Marvel shoot. I marked the Dragon Con app on my iPhone with a dozen or so panels I wanted to attend, and then off we went to sunny (and HOT!) Atlanta.

Thursday

This was our fairly low-key day. We flew in early in the morning, took the Marta train from the airport to the convention center (which was surprisingly easy), and learned what Dragon Con registration is like. For the uninitiated, trying to get over 50,000 people through a registration line is, shall we say, time consuming. When I arrived in line for registration at 9:30 a.m. (with registration opening at 10:00 a.m.), the line wrapped completely around the Sheraton Hotel. The police who were managing the line had no clue what the organization was, so the line was self-policing. Finally, at 10:00, the line began moving – and for those of us in line then, it moved pretty consistently into the center, through an immense snake, and up to the counter.

After registration, Christina and I went to the Hard Rock Café for lunch. I love the Hard Rock, and make it a point to eat at it anytime I’m in a city that has one. It still saddens me to realize I have yet to make it to the Hard Rock in my own state. But soon.

Following that, after we went back to the room to relax, we hung with some friends when I discovered that my pony costume just was not coming together. I bailed on wearing the suit, although my friend Wiccy still ran around as Queen Chrysalis.

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From there, I went to the meet and greet for the SCF. This was an odd experience for me. I was surrounded by people who I sort-of-kind-of knew from the internet, but mostly when they were in costume, which they weren’t. I had a few friends there I had met at other conventions, and a few folks I had stopped and had dinner with when we drove back through Atlanta from Disney World, but mostly it was a sea of strangers. Everyone was very nice, but I had a lot of trouble forcing myself to actually talk to people. I’m kind of kicking myself for this, because I probably could have got a lot more from the night if I’d made more of an effort to be more social, but it was still a good time.

One of the cool moments from the meet-up however would lead to a costume trade in my future. You see, my Superman Red was originally worn by Jonathan Carroll. I purchased it from him after Danny Kelly was selling his Superman Blue costume, and I was just a few minutes too late to purchase it, leading to Danny putting me in touch with Jonathan. But it turns out that the guy who bought Blue would have actually preferred to have Red, and I wanted Blue. So, we agreed that we would trade after the convention.

On the way back to our room, Christina and I ran into one of my friends from Columbus, and managed to snap a picture of her very impressive Tia Dalma costume.

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Then it was off to the room to watch some Dragon Con TV and get rest before the next morning when things would be kicking off with a bang. The day would start with me changing in to a half-alien, then becoming a teen bit by a radioactive spider, back into my half-alien guise, and then into a super soldier. Along the way, I would also sell off one costume in my line-up, meet an immortal trickster, have some of the best shwarma I’ve ever had, and ditch out on attending a ball held in honor of one of my favorite TV shows.

Here’s a teaser of what Friday held for me…

JLA

Can we say “Epic”?
Photocredit: Pat Loika

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