By Jason Harris
The Seventh Annual Boston Comic Con happened this weekend at the Seaport World Trade Center. It was originally scheduled for the weekend April 20 through 21 at the Hynes Convention Center, but was postponed because of the lockdown following the Boston Marathon bombing.
The convention organizer’s expected this year’s attendance to be 15,000. There were artist and event panels. There was also an Independent Film Festival on Saturday and a Zombie Film Festival on Sunday.
Boston Comic Con’s biggest celebrity guests were Laurie Holden of The Walking Dead and Kristen Bauer of True Blood. The other guests included Aidan Turner and Dean O’Gorman, who play the dwarves Kili and Fili respectively in The Hobbit movies.
The convention had many comic book artists such as Mark Bagley and James O’Barr. It had celebrities for the reading crowd too such as authors Joe Hill, Christopher Golden, and Steve Niles, who have all written comic books.
There were authors there that are not involved with comic books.
Author Estevan Vega isn’t new to big conventions. He was meeting fans and signing books at last year’s Rhode Island Comic Con.
If you went to the convention to see what attendees were dressing up as then you weren’t disappointed.
Pictures of the crowds, vendors, game players and groups at this year’s Boston Comic Con.
Boston Comic Con is over, but I’m looking forward to the 2014 one.
by Stacey Longo
This week, Jason and I watched Star Wars, Episodes I through VI. Watching all of these movies back to back made me realize two things: one, Jason and I have too much time on our hands. And two, these movies are really all about the life and times of one tragic hero: Darth Vader.
I’m not really sure why Anakin Skywalker gets such a bad rap. It’s not like he asked Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi to land on Tatooine and rescue him from slavery. I didn’t hear him begging to leave his mother and train to be a Jedi. No, all he cared about was fixing his pod racer and building himself a protocol droid, two perfectly normal activities for a well-adjusted, content boy. It was those rotten Jedis who insisted on ripping Anakin from his home and family to train him in a career that perhaps he was a tad emotionally immature to embark on. Can’t blame Vader for that – he was just a kid!
As soon as Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan get this forlorn boy on their ship, that’s when that sleazy seductress, Padme, starts to work her cougar magic. Before this stupid kid can stop himself, she’s entranced him with her wily seductive powers, which is a little gross, quite frankly. Really, how old is he? Eight? Padme was like a cat in heat, chasing after that child! She should be in jail instead of ruling over Naboo like some sort of pillar of society.
Well, the Nabooan tramp got her way, because by Episode III, she was pregnant with little Anakin’s twins. Poor Vader now had to figure out how to support a wife and family, and as we all know, Jedi Knight is one of the lowest-paying professions in the galaxy. When the Emperor offered him a higher paying job (and really, Dark Sith Lord is right up there with lawyers and doctors on the pay scale) what other choice did he have but to accept the position? Obi-Wan didn’t take Darth Vader’s resignation very well at all, trying to burn him to death for his efforts. Remember, folks: employees don’t quit their jobs, just their bosses — and we can certainly see why Darth wanted to quit that toxic tyrant!
Padme the pedophile dies, and Vader’s twins are hidden away, which is just a crappy thing to do to a new (and recently widowed) father. Luke and Leia grow up not knowing their dad, until Vader puts it together that this kid named Skywalker who looks just like him (maybe that’s a stretch) is his son. So what does Vader do? He asks — nay, begs! — his son to join him on the dark side. Great pay, good benefits, and sure, you have to be the Emperor’s lap dog, taking orders all day, but you get to live on a really cool Death Star. All he wanted to do was see his son follow in his footsteps. But Luke, little ingrate that he is, refuses to listen to his father. Darth Vader is killed for his efforts to try and connect with his boy, and those insensitive Ewoks actually hold a big party now that Darth Vader is dead. Quite frankly, Luke and Leia didn’t deserve to have a father like Darth. Hard working, sharp dresser, eager to work with his son and rule the galaxy…what more could a kid ask for? Apparently, if you’re Luke “I killed Yoda” Skywalker and Leia “I’ll kiss a wookie if the price is right … just like my mother” Organa, all of that wasn’t enough. They were clearly ashamed of their father, maybe because of his chronic asthma.
This entry comes from Stacey Longo, the New England Horror Writers organization’s chairperson, website.
When did steampunk become so popular, would someone tell me? I went to Arisia for the first time this year, which, for those who don’t know, is a yearly science fiction and fantasy convention in Boston. Now, admittedly, my convention-going experience is limited. When I was a kid, I used to go to some of the local comic book and Star Trek conventions, but that was over twenty years ago. Last year, I went to a horror convention called Rock and Shock, in Worcester, Massachusetts, and a horror writers’ convention called Anthocon in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Neither one of those prepared me for the spectacle I would find at Arisia.
I had expectations for Arisia. I’ve seen these kinds of things on tv, so I thought I would find a bunch of people dressed up like Starfleet officers, Klingons, Jedi, Hobbits, Elves, and Battlestar Galactica pilots. My expectations were, however, blown out of the water. Instead, it seemed like every science fiction fan woke up one morning and said, “Hey, I finally get that 1960s television show, The Wild Wild West. You know the show, right? Robert Conrad and Ross Martin were James West and Artemus Gordon. These two were a couple of James Bond types during the time of the Old West. It was half science-fiction, half western. The gadgetry they employed was far in advance of what you would expect for the period, with things like cyborgs, force fields, flamethrowers, and batman-style grappling hooks. The 1999 version starring Will Smith and Kevin Kline really sucked, but they played up the whole steampunk angle even more than the series. So that’s what steampunk is, this blending of Old West and Victorian era time period with science fiction elements.
If the the Arisia I attended is representative of what it is usually like, they could just call it a steampunk convention. There were plenty of people dressed up in costume, that’s true, but most of it had that steampunk theme. I saw one Starfleet uniform, one hobbit, and a couple of guys who might have been Jedi, but they didn’t have light sabers, so I couldn’t be sure. Dressing for the occasion seems to be the way to go at one of these things too, as I would say a good three quarters of the convention-goers showed up in costume. I was in the minority. It was fun to go there and people watch, though. Let me tell you something; nerd girls dress up in some of the, ah, *ahem*, most appealing costumes you could imagine. I’ll admit they surpassed what I expected. There may not have been any Slave Leias, but there was a scantily clad elven archer from the Lord of the Rings or Skyrim, a seductive assassin from the video game Assassin’s Creed, and a very revealing Poison Ivy from Batman wrapped in only, you guessed it, ivy.
All right, so I still decided I would go in there and enjoy myself. I like Doctor Who, Star Wars, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica and Babylon Five as much as the next geek. Stepping into the dealer room was like entering some alternate universe, where geeks didn’t even know who the Doctor, Captain Kirk, Han Solo or Starbuck were. I wandered around and checked out everything they had to offer, but nothing really jumped out at me. I’m amazed to say that I walked out of Arisia without purchasing a single thing. When I went into the dealer room, however, it seemed the dealers got the same memo that everybody else did. It was Steampunk Central in there. I’m an introvert by nature and I have to admit that I found the place to be a bit overwhelming. I think I could have settled in better if I found some of the familiar Harry Potter and Star Wars elements that I expected to, but those things were almost non-existent, except for one notable exception. One of the highlights of the day was a life-sized stormtrooper cake that was on display. Towards the end of the day, it was sliced up and served to a very long line of hungry Star Wars fans. I passed on that, because hey, how good could it really be? If it was Darth Vader cake, maybe, but stormtrooper? It was probably just a cloned recipe, anyway.
The biggest lesson I learned from this convention, was that I should have made myself familiar with the schedule before I even walked in the door. There were hundreds of events that included movies, seminars, discussion groups, and even combat sword training. I know I would have enjoyed a bunch of those, and next time I intend to have a plan of attack. I missed the discussion I had planned to attend, which was a panel of critics wrapping up the science fiction movies from 2011. A friend of mine, Woody Bernardi, had what they call a “fan table.” Woody started a group called the Boston Science Fiction Association, which is really just a bunch of fans who get together and hangout sometimes. He got the fan table to drum up some more interest in the group. So far we’ve mainly been getting together for lunch at the Tavern at the End of the World, in Charlestown, Massachusetts. I agreed I would take a turn watching the fan table for Woody so he could go to some of the discussion groups that interested him. I think he was particularly interested in a tribute to Anne McCaffrey. I was happy to sit down and unwind a bit. I actually talked to more people sitting at that table than I had wandering around the crowded dealer room.
I look forward to the next one, though, now that I’ve had a chance to process the experience. As a writer, I dream of a day when people will be dressing up as characters from my fantasy novels. That would be something to see. Would I go in costume? I don’t think I’m ready for that yet. Of course, my ultimate goal is to be one of those guys sitting behind a table with a long line of people waiting to see me. I’ll be serving the Darth Vader cake, of course.
There was no sleeping in this morning. No enjoying the extra hour of sleep gained from falling back a hour for Daylight Savings Time. The day started at 5 a.m. Sunday morning for Author Stacey Longo and myself. We left around 5:40 to get the SouthCoast Toy and Comic Show in Fairhaven, MA. On our drive to the show, we came across this site.
We arrived at the Seaport Inn and Marina without any problem. Once there, Longo performed her magic and had the table set-up in no time. This picture is of the second version of the NEHW table. There were two more set-ups as different authors arrived. Thanks to Longo, Dave Goudsward, Kasey Shoemaker, and Rob Watts for participating in today’s event. Thanks goes out to Nathan Wrann and Kristi Petersen Schoonover for having their books and dvds at the table.
The Toy and Comic show had many draws today from George “The Animal” Steele, Brian Harnois, Penny Dreadful and Gaoru, Uncle Fright, and Thom Christopher (Hawk on Buck Rogers). There were also sideshow performers and paranormal researchers.
Along with the stars and guests to see and meet, there were also convention attendees who came in costume.
Books were sold and some great networking opportunities were made. The show was a lot of fun and I know the NEHW will be back at this show in the future.
It was nice meeting Rick Silva of Dandelion Studios today. He will have a table at Anthocon next weekend.
Watts, Longo, and Goudsward will be attending Anthocon next weekend in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Be sure to look for their books at the NEHW table at the convention.
Enjoy the following pictures from the SouthCoast Toy and Comic Show.