Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Another Regina Fan Expo is In The Can


...and I was honoured to be a part of it.  I think I've recovered my regular sleep pattern so now it is indeed possible to make this blog post.

This was my display table.
This was table number.

And this was my name tag.
The money I made in no way made up for what it cost to reserve a table there, but I would say that it was definitely worth it.  Because of my presence at this event, that many more people are aware of my comic book and the Censor Monkeys who have the potential to intern tell others about it. Any and all exposure is better than none.

I sadly couldn't get anywhere near any of the celebs that visited the expo because I had to stay at my table the whole time, but I did hear about a few things from people who had walked by and talked to me.  One of those things said was that Brent Spiner was a no show.  No-one knew why he cancelled at the last minute.  My guess is that since he's a robot his parameters were set to "disappoint people".


I also was told that at this expo Dirk Benedict was grumpy.  Hmmmmmmm


But yet at the same time, Grumpy was not Dirk Benedict.  Interesting how that works out.


That's all the expo 'scuttlebutt' I heard.  So now I'd like to talk about my experience at this event: people's reaction to my book Censor Monkeys Have No Class.  They were varied and intriguing to say the least.  I remember one person calling my work "creative".  Another person had a similar sentiment saying it was "unique and appealing in a million different ways".  There was also a guy who said of my work "the SJW's will be in an uproar" which is pretty much the point really.  One guy flipped through my book and loved what he saw which inspired him to buy it.  Upon doing so, he showed it to his girlfriend whose reply might have been something like "why would you buy that?"  I was too far away to clearly hear exactly what she said but I could see that sentiment in her facial expression.  My favourite response came from two girls in high school (or University) who said "we should get this book and put it in the school library".  My response to that was, "tell me the name of your school and I'll do it".  You know what, I might just do that.
The reaction I found the most baffling was that of a man who identified as a feminist.  He found the book "problematic" of course, but his critique of the Feminist Monkey made me almost jump back a little bit.  He claimed that this particular monkey was 'highly sexualized'.  Um................. what???


I....................... would not "tap that".  In fact, for me that would be one of the least tappable creatures imaginable.  Oh well.  Everybody has their own bizarre fetish.

Like I've done at other comic book events in the past, I took pictures of everyone who approached my booth while in a costume.  The resulting pictures like always are posted below:

Saturday


Actually, the first costume I'm posting is not from a patron but moreso a mannequin.  The girl in the booth beside me made her own costumes for sale and this majestic pirate costume was one of them.  I just had to take a picture of it.  I personally can't even sew a button on without making my thumb bleed so I admire her skill and patience with her creations.  Damnit I forget her name.


Here's a big man with a big gun.  A more jealous wag would indicate that he is "trying to over-compensate for something".  Forget that!  This is one badass costume.  This man should feel proud.


This guy had a wicked cool Deadpool costume, but started walking away before I could ask him to pose for a picture.  So, I snapped this little candid shot as quick as I could.  I think I'll sell this to TMZ later.


Here's a nice neo-victorian number.  Beard-o looks triggered.  PHHHFTT!!!


This lady right here is no mere attendee.  She's actually a rather accomplished singer and youtuber named Tara St Michel.  She was there making her own documentary of the Fan Expo and was nice enough to stop by my table.  Her youtube video of this event is embedded below:


Also check out the rest of her youtube channel.


Here's a nice lovely couple.  I'm not sure what the guy's costume is.  From the looks of it, the lady's costume seems to be someone who fondles the breasts of short invisible women.  That sounds like a fun thing to be.


I believe these are school girls from Hogwarts.  No, I didn't ask which one of them was Tootie.  They wouldn't have got that anyway.


A Rei costume.  There were a lot of those at this Fan Expo of course.  


Again, I'm only guessing at what the costume could me.  I have no idea about the guy.  My guess for the girl's costume is that she is someone who fixes all the flat tires on her bicycle with a cut out piece of her pants.  That's an interesting concept for a super hero.



Here are some friends of mine: Jim and his wife Darla.  Like the sign says below, they are indeed 75 cents each.  Believe me, that is a bargain.  Go pick them up at your favourite Dollar Store today.


Another Hogwarts student.  Hey, does Voldemort know that a few of his students cut class to come to this event?  I'm not sure what the penalty for truancy is at Hogwarts but I'm betting it can't be good.

And that was my Saturday.  I made a few sales and all was good.

Sunday

After leaving the Fan Expo on Saturday I went home to have a bit of supper.  Then I lay down for a bit before heading off to work my night shift job.  My job ended a little after 7 am.  From there I went straight home, had a shower, got redressed and headed right back to the Fan Expo all during the time I should have been sleeping.  Then I had to be awake for the rest of the Expo until 5 pm when it was time for everyone to go home.  So, needless to say I was a bit wired that day.  But, in the mean time, I enjoyed the following costumes that came my way:


I saw Marvin!!!!  No, I didn't 'make him angry'.



This little girl was dressed like Rick Moranis from The Little Shop of Horrors.  Wow!  She wasn't even born when Rick Moranis retired from show business.  I feel old.



I think a French mime just got married to a Gestapo agent.  I really don't want to know what the kids will look like.


Okay, this little joker never actually approached my table.  However, he was constantly mesmerized by my artwork.  He stared and stared at it for I think collectively a half an hour.  I'm not sure what could have held his attention that long.  Go back to my table display photo at the top and try to figure that out.

Here's an elvan princess.  Dressed in purple to mourn Prince's passing obviously.


Here we have Super Girl.  Buying that purse made out of kryptonite was probably not a good idea.


This girl right here is dressed for the prom.  Weird because it's still only April.  I guess she's so confident that she passed all her classes that she's celebrating early.  Get down with your bad self, girl.


Also, this little princess came to my table.  She didn't buy a book at all because in her opinion 'the monkeys are too scary'.  Yes, little girl, yes they are.  These monkeys are the scariest creatures EVEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!  If you see them in your neighbourhood get rid of them by any means immediately!!!


Hey, look!  The CBC news crew came down my aisle.  So if you watched footage of this event on the CBC you probably saw my table in the background somewhere.

And that was my Regina Fan Expo experience.  I hope you enjoyed reading about it as much as I enjoyed being there.  Hey, if you were at this event on either day and you saw yourself in any one of these photos, definitely give a shout out of "OMG! THAT'S ME THAT'S ME THAT'S ME THAT'S ME......" in the comment section or wherever.

I'm definitely looking forward to next year.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Here I Come, Fan Expo

That's right.  I'm going to be at this year's Fan Expo in Regina on April 23 & 24.  However, I will not be some mere costumed attendee just hanging out having some fun.  There's nothing wrong with being one of those of course.  Hell, I myself want as many of those people there as possible.  I say this because I will occupy at table in the Artist's Alley selling my most recent comic book Censor Monkeys Have No Class.  Posted below is the overhead map of the general area at Evraz Place.  I have highlighted in red where my table will be.


My table is labelled "a53".  I have no idea who the other artists are that will be beside me, behind me or in front of me.  So, if anyone reading this has also been lucky enough to receive a table either in Artist's Ally, the Retailer's section or the Community section, feel free to shout out your table numbers here.  Then we can all know who we are and be fast pals or something.

Besides my book, I'll have other swag and merchandise for sale.  Definitely come on over and buy something for yourself or as a gift for someone you love.  Let's all have a good time.

Of course, there's bigger reasons to come down to the Fan Expo as well.  There's a few celebrities that people in the Queen City may want to meet in person:

James & Oliver Phelps
They play the twins Fred and George Weasley in the Harry Potter movies.  I'm sure they have something "on the side" with those Full House twins.  Who knows.
Verne Troyer
He of course became famous for playing  Mini Me in two of the three Austin Powers movies.  But he also plays Griphook in the Harry Potter movies. 
Brent Spiner
He's most known as Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation.  He also played the villain in the ill-fated Dana Carvey vehicle Master of Disguise, but I'm sure if you mentioned that one to him he'll punch you.
Matt Frewer
He's best known as that super cool dude character Max Headroom.  For everyone who is Generation Y and younger and thus would have absolutely no idea who that was, I have embedded a clip of him below.  Enjoy!

Yes, it was the '80's!

Dirk Benedict
Best known as Face on The A-Team and Lt. Starbuck on Battlestar Galactica.  I am so stoked for him being there.  The A-Team is easily a childhood favourite of mine which I still enjoy today.
Sean Astin
He became most famous as Frodo's friend Sam in the Lord of the Rings movies.  He was also in such films as Rudy, Encino Man, and got his big start in The Goonies as a kid.
Trina Nishimura
She has done numerous voices for anime shows.  Her most recents examples are Ellen Mira Mathers in Date A Live II and Miyabi Azumaya in Dimension W.  (Yes I had to look those up)


Jamie Marchi
She's another anime voice actress.  Her most recent work are Yuka Amado from Maken Ki! 2 as well as Akira Aoi in Selector Spread Wixoss

It looks like fun will be had by all.

Another thing to keep in mind when you see me at my table is that I'm doing this while still working a full time job.  On the weekends that job happens to be a nightshift position.  That means for me Saturday day will be fine, but then I'll have to work all of Saturday night.  Then soon after I finish that night shift I'll have to go back to Evraz Place to be at my table all day instead of sleeping.  Following that, I'll be going back to work to do another night shift again instead of sleeping.  So on Sunday, I could be pretty wired.  Oh well, I did that same thing at Hal Con back in 2011 and at the AubCon back in 2014.  I am definitely prepared to go through that again.  Oh hey, I'd better give a nice shout out to my "sponsor" then.


...when sleep is not an option!
So, come one come all to the Fan Expo.  Wear a costume and have a good time.  I know I will.  I think I'll even live tweet the event just for a lark.  Of course, like I said, since I'll be coasting on little to no sleep on Sunday, some of those Sunday tweets could be to say the least interesting.  I'm sure we're all looking forward to that.

See you there!


Saturday, February 27, 2016

An early screwball gem from Tex Avery

It's February 26th again, a day inwhich if Tex Avery had drank some kind of 'immortal live-for-ever juice' he would be celebrating his 108th birthday.  So, like I try to do every year around this time, I will once again reiterate how much of a genius Tex really was.  For this post I will do that by giving my impression of one of the first black & white Porky Pig cartoons Tex did: The Blow Out


But first I'll start with a very general definition of the screwball comedy.  Quite often the stories involve two or more impossibly ambitious characters whose individual ambitious pursuits interfere with each other.  The friction between the characters is heightened by their own rigid dedication to those pursuits and are thus blind to most anything else around them.  This causes many of them to jump to hasty conclusions based on their own quick observations and act immediately on those conclusions thus adding more chaos to the conflict.  Whether the ambitions are selfish or noble, whether the pursuits are of romance, money, glory, or even just their own safety, all screwball comedies have those same elements.

Of course, the undisputed champion of the screwball comedy is Mack Sennett:



He brought that genre almost to perfection more than 100 years ago with Charlie Chaplin coming along  bringing it to full perfection.

Tex Avery's The Blow Out is a great example of the screwball genre easily up there with anything Mack Sennet, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Charlie Chase, The Three Stooges or anyone else has ever done.

The cartoon starts with a newspaper headline introducing the first ambitious character.


His goal is to terrorize the city with his massive amounts of timed explosives.



It's a very lofty and vainglorious goal to say the least.

Next we are introduced to Porky Pig depicted here as a young innocent child.  His big ambition is to get an ice cream soda.


He's very excited to see that he has 5 whole pennies.  However, each ice cream soda costs 10 pennies.



At first Porky is distraught that he can't afford that thing he craves.


But when he picks up a cane for a kindly gentleman...


...he is then rewarded with a shiny new penny.


This action reinvigorates Porky's ambitiousness.  From this point on he takes every opportunity he can find to pick something up for someone in the hopes of receiving a penny in return.



So now the two characters are fully introduced with their own ambitions established.  As you can see, one ambition (Porky's) is small, noble, and innocent whist the other (the terrorist's) is grandiose, sinister, and malicious.  How this two characters will intersect in a screwball way will unfold quite soon.
But first I'd like to give a little background information about what inspired the terrorist character in this cartoon.  Since the big Communist revolution that encompassed Russia in 1917, there were bomb threats from communist anarchists all over the world.  By the 1930's, there were even threats of that nature in the USA.  So the bomb-wielding anarchist in this cartoon is not just some abstract concoction,  he was a direct spoof of a real threat to civilization.  That just shows how outrageous and daring Tex Avery and everyone at Termite Terrace was willing to be.  They even included a spoof of that threat in one of their Christmas gag reels.


The guy holding the bomb is an animator with the last name of Ignatiev I believe, here having fun making sport of his own ethnicity.  I'm not 100% sure of his identity.  If someone could help me out that would be great.

Now back to The Blow Out so you can see how their ambitions clash.  The terrorist starts to carry out his plan by planting the biggest bomb he's ever made at the steps of an important building.


Porky just happens to walk by and see this object.


Remember that Porky knows nothing about this anarchist's intentions.  All he cares about is earning enough money to get that ice cream soda.  So, to that end, Porky picks up the object and returns it to the terrorist hoping for a reward.


However, Porky is a little bit confused when the terrorist instead has more of a panicked reaction and of course no reward.


So, in true screwball tradition, Porky is relentless in his pursuit of his penny reward.  No matter where the terrorist runs to hide, Porky always shows up with the ticking bomb and politely waits for his gratuity.

They run through the street

There's Porky

He climbs a tall building

Porky's waiting for him at the top

and at the bottom

He tries to hide in a dark sewer

But Porky finds him in the darkness

He tries to trap Porky in the sewer

takes some time to address the audience through the 4th wall

Porky is willing to ride on the terrorist's coattails if necessary

The police spot him

He panics

and runs, all while Porky continues to hold on 

The cops even respect how Porky has "the nerve" to go after a villain like that

Porky even goes into the terrorist's hideout in order to achieve his goal.


This is the final straw for the terrorist as he wilfully gives himself up to the police.


But Porky is still not done.  So, he throws the bomb in the back of the paddy wagon FINALLY achieving his goal of returning the guy's property to him....


...and then politely waits for his penny.


KABOOM!!!  The villain is vanquished!


For his daring capture of this fiend, Porky receives a reward of $2000 (or 200,000 pennies).


And of course, we all know how Porky spends that money.



And that's The Blow Out, easily one of many of Tex Avery's underrated gems.

Like I've said here on this blog and in many other places, besides gags Tex Avery was also a genius at premises.  Really, gags are only as good as the premise they are in.  By themselves, gags can be nicely amusing but when placed within an ingenious premise they can easily be uplifted to many heights of hilarity.  I think that definitely happens in this case.  I love how Porky's innocent goal overpowers the terrorist's grand anarchistic goals just through sheer determination.  I can only hope to make something half as brilliant as this someday.

If you want to read more about this and other Tex Avery cartoons, I would recommend Frank Young's blog here.  He's been making posts about every cartoon Tex did at WB starting with Golddiggers of '49.  So far he's up to Land of the Midnight Fun but I'm sure there's much more posts to come.  Definitely check that out whenever you have time.

And do enjoy the full Blow Out cartoon embedded below.


Porky Pig - The Blow Out (B&W) by musicradio77