Comic Conventions in 2018 I Have Covered

2018 was a great year for the comic convention and entertainment industry as a whole and I am happy that I got to witness many of the events. Raging from the big movies such as Avengers: Infinity War and A Quiet Place to the great seasons of our favorite television shows, and the headlines that made the majority of the audience react on social media and on a platform such as YouTube, we are in an age of information that can be shared and watched by millions. In that same time, the comic convention scene has become bigger in a larger scale and it has drawn many attendees of different fandoms all packed into one giant building. I have covered many of them over the years and last year was the most I have covered in one year as part of the media. Here are five that I will write about on my experience in the convention scene.

C2E2

The biggest show in Chicago every year and they do not disappoint at all. C2E2 (Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo) takes place at the McCormick Center in Chicago and you will have to take a bus to go to the center. When I went there in 2017, It was very warm the day that I went there. In 2018, the weather was a little cold and I would recommend to wear a jacket when you go there because the convention center itself is near a body of ocean. The show is great and there are two floors of the show and they are very large and it is filled up by different vendors and artists and gaming areas. Of all the conventions I have went to, this one is floor friendly the most as you would not feel lost or cramped in areas at all. The panels I have attended that week featured Guardians of the Galaxy, Tom Kenny of Spongebob Squarepants, and Khary Payton of The Walking Dead. I have also interviewed the cast of Daphne and Velma as well and we all had a blast talking. Call me weird, but as a guy from New York, I prefer Chicago style pizza and I love it!

Wizard World Philadelphia

Up next, is Philadelphia and Wizard World’s biggest show is in Philadelphia and the best part of the location is that it is right across the street from the Reading Terminal Market. You would not have to scatter around the convention center to figure out what food that you want to get since the market has a huge amount of options that you can choose. Wizard World itself is usually a great show with a great amount of celebrities that you can meet. I wanted to meet Natalie Dormer of Game of Thrones, but I did not have the time at all since I was covering the show. I did got the chance to interview Erica Schroeder in which we talked about her role in Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon and The panels I have attended featured Ezra Miller and Ray Fisher of Justice League, Sebastain Stan, and the voices of Overwatch. The cosplay over there was actually great too with some mind blowing ones that caught my attention that I still do remember to this day.

San Diego Comic Con

I have not been to SDCC since 2012 and when I went there to cover it in 2018, It has changed  and I was amazed with the huge presence over there. This was not like other conventions where only parts of the city were comic con themed, The ENTIRE area of San Diego was comic con themed from the minute you walk out of the airport and onward. I even seen it on taxi cabs, buildings, The Trolleys and theaters, and even the line of the Conan tapings that week. It was massive to see how big it has become since I was last there and there are also offsite events related to comic con for the press and attendees for everyone to enjoy such as the Jack Ryan escape room experience, Amazon TV’s museum, The Walking Dead’s showcase, South Park escape room, and much more. This is all outside of the convention center and they are at different parts of San Diego even though a few of the events are across the street of the convention center. Speaking of the convention center, you cannot even go to the sidewalk of the convention center unless you have a badge and that is a great move to prevent scalpers from trying to rip people off. The building itself is very huge and when I was there on preview night when there were a small amount of people there, It took me a whole fifteen minutes to walk from one side of the building to another. Imagine being there when there is a huge amount of attendees. The show itself was great and the media interviews I have been part of was The Walking Dead, Fear The Walking Dead, Crazy Ex Girlfriend, Better Call Saul, and much more. I did however seen the dreaded Hall H line and I was stunned to see how many people were on the line that camped out for a few days. Hall H is where the bigger panels take place for television and movies and even surviving the line is a task. I have never went inside Hall H and I do not think I can put my body through it. All in all, SDCC I highly recommend for you to go once in your life.

Keystone Comic Con

The newest one of the convention scene is Keystone Comic Con and it is also in Philadelphia as well. Every convention has something unique and this one is the first comic con to have a wrestling ring with wrestling matches from Tommy Dreamer’s House of Hardcore. I was not surprised to see that there was a large crowd each day of the matches that took place there and it actually turned out very well. There were wrestling legends there such as Tommy Dreamer, Bully Ray, Jim Cornette, and Jerry Lawler with a few new faces such as Lance Anaoi. Speaking of wrestling, Me and my girlfriend got the chance to not only meet WWE Superstar Nikki Bella, but we spoken to her for nearly ten minutes about different topics. There was also a large gaming area in one of the rooms and there were set up by different eras of gaming consoles. There was also a costume contest that I enjoyed and different vendors of comics as well. I hope in 2019 I can cover it again!

New York Comic Con

I have covered NYCC every year since 2012 and each year I love it more than the previous year. New York is a flooded city where it does not sleep but what did sleep this year, was the MTA as the 7 Train was not running the entire time during NYCC weekend and that frustrated me a lot. Other than that, I bought a large amount of comics at this show this year other than interviewing celebrities.But the day before NYCC began, I was invited to attend the red carpet event of DC’s Titans along with a screening of the first two episodes. Also, E! Network had a truck outside where they were giving away free donuts to attendees after they place their vote on the upcoming awards show at the time. I have went to that truck at least five times per day during that week. Celebrities I have interviewed ranged from shows such as Batman:The Animated Series, The Gifted, Legacies, Lore, and The Man in The High Castle. I also did my 200th episode of my podcast there with guests Jason Solomon of The Solomonster Sound’s Off, Jon Draper of Wrestling Soup, and Ray Flook of BleedingCool.com. I also ran into Brandon Davis of Comicbook.com and Kirsten of Insider many times during the week as we talked about various news about the show. If you are in New York, NYCC is the place to be during the fall.

My first show that I will cover will be C2E2 2019 so I will report from there

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Double-Double! The Death of Superman/Reign of the Supermen Double Feature!

Fans will soon have two options to watch the two-part DC UNIVERSE feature-length animated films, “The Death of Superman” & “Reign of the Supermen” TOGETHER!

First, Superman’s greatest adventure – his death and rebirth – will be unveiled in a special two-day exclusive theatrical event as Warner Bros. and DC join forces with Fathom Events for a double feature presentation of the previously released “The Death of Superman” and the first in-theater screening of the all-new “Reign of the Supermen” nationwide. The films will screen in more than 500 select movie theaters on Sunday, January 13 at 12:55 p.m. and Monday, January 14 at 8:00 p.m. (all local times) through Fathom’s Digital Broadcast Network (DBN). Tickets for The Death of Superman/ Reign of the SupermenDouble Feature can be purchased at www.FathomEvents.comand participating theater box offices. 
And later this year, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the two movies as a single, full-length film with never-before-seen extended footage and a collectible item within the box set. Details will be released in the coming months.

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Gotham Season 5, Episode 2 Review

Last week, we left the shattered remains of Gotham City with an exhausted boy begging Jim Gordon for help. With a profound lack of Penguin this week, Episode 2 instead focuses predominantly on Bruce Wayne and Jim Gordon as they embark on separate missions to save those in need of help. While the episode lacks the same big set-piece driven action and meaningful plot development the first episode had, the final few scenes are likely to be a highlight for fans of the show. In many ways, Trespassers follows the rigid formula of Gotham episodes gone by with the added danger of feeling like Gotham could implode at any moment.

The story this week sees Jim gather his limited forces at the precinct, determined to drive into The Dark Zone where a whole group of kids are being held captive. It turns out they’ve been forced to dig a tunnel to the mainland at the hands of a ruthless gang. After navigating a myriad of dangerous locations, Jim finds himself caught in the crossfire between two rival gangs who erupt into a flurry of gunfire. It’s at this point where Jim finds help from the most unlikely of sources with one promise in return – kill Penguin and end this nightmare.

Interspersed between Jim Gordon’s heroic rescue are two predominant storylines, one involving Bruce Wayne and the other, The Riddler. The latter sees Ed wake up chained to a bed, patting himself on the back for beating his sleep walking problem. Only to find out he’s captured and evidently tortured a street gang member who’s left tied up in his bath. After some less-than-friendly negotiations, the gang member reluctantly takes Ed to his hideout only to find someone’s been there before him and left a message on the wall, with all fingers pointing at The Penguin.

Rounding out this trio of stories is Bruce Wayne’s journey into the depths of Gotham’s underbelly to find The Witch to help Salina. Once he arrives, it turns out the witch is actually Poison Ivy who’s ensnared various people who’s stumbled into her territory. After a tense confrontation, she agrees to help for the sake of Salina, giving Bruce something that’ll help herget better. It’s at this point where the episode cuts to the final credits, teasing the beginnings of Salina’s origin story and her destined transformation into Catwoman.

While the episode itself doesn’t push the overall narrative of Gotham forward, it does set up some intriguing questions going forward. In true Gotham fashion, the episodes are chock full of action accompanied by many twists and turns along the way. If there’s one thing Gotham’s always done well, it’s embracing the manic nature of Gotham’s various colourful inhabitants and this episode is no exception. The Riddler is one of the stand outs here, and has been since very early in the show’s run. Given there’s only 12 episodes to play with this season, it’ll be a real shame if the bulk of that time is used up with his amnesia rather than the manic Riddle-obsessed villain we’ve come to know over the years.

Along with the great acting that perfectly captures the persona for many of Gotham’s heroes and villains, it’s worth mentioning the underrated camera work and use of colour here too. There’s some really nice 45 degree angled shots throughout the episode and they’re used perfectly to really capture the off-kilter feel of Gotham. The use of colour, although slightly predictable, changes from dull and grey to full of vibrant brightness toward the end of the episode too, a nice touch to reflect Jim successfully completing his mission.

With a profound lack of Penguin this week, the trio of stories at play here work really well together. These are perfectly balanced through the majority of the episode’s run time too and for the most part, does well to hold your attention until the final scenes. This is likely to be the talking point this week though and it’ll be really interesting to see where they go with Bruce Wayne’s story. Of course, a lot of this season has been focused on the various villains and the ongoing feuds that are gripping Gotham’s new world order but Bruce’s transformation into Batman is something everyone is waiting to see. I’m guessing we’re going to be given a fair amount of character development for Master Wayne this season, perhaps ending with Batman saving the day in the finale. It’s still early days though but like the inhabitants of Gotham City, we’re hungry for more. Also to note, Part of this episode was filmed only two blocks from where my girlfriend lives and this was great to see on screen.

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Julian’s Thoughts: Black Mirror Bandersnatch Review

For the most part, I don’t tend to rush and watch Netflix’s original films unless the reception is very high. most of them typically feel like movies that are either not good enough to make money at the box office or bizarre concept films.  I guess “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” falls into the bizarre concept category.  Still, as a fan of “Black Mirror” and someone intrigued by the premise of an interactive film, I had to check this film out as soon as possible.

The amount of options you have is amazing and leads to fascinating paths.  The premise of the film is also delightfully meta as it focuses on a game designer in 1984 developing his own make your own adventure game.  Seeing how the filmmakers play around with this concept is genius. I used to read some of the choose your own adventure books when I was younger so I fully knew what I was getting into. The acting was great in the film.  I thought Fionn Whitehead and Will Poulter really pulled you in.  Through different choices, Whitehead and Poulter manage to display varying states of emotions and mental statuses. “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” has at least five different endings and one of them cannot be accessed as of right now and It may never see the light of day until someone figures how to trigger it (many speculate that it branches from the five number password selection).  There are countless numbers of possibilities the story can take with reports that not all scenes have been unlocked by viewers. Some of the choices from the beginning of the film will be referenced later at some point as well. If you watch this movie on a gaming console, Your controller will rumble to let you know when it is time to make a choice. I watched some different paths with some different endings and they vary quite a bit. The theme of this movie is also how one person can be controlled in different ways even though they would not notice it and that played very well during this movie. The film is one of the most ambitious projects ever to be filmed.  That same ambition I admire might also be the only complaint I might have because it would be almost impossible to see all the different paths that can be taken.  Some critics said the film was too gimmicky but I disagree.  I think it could be the future of streaming films if they are done right.

With so many possible story outcomes, it’s hard to dismiss the fun you have controlling the direction the story takes.  Also, with seamless editing, the film never “feels” like an interactive experience.  “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” manages to pull off the rare win for original Netflix films, I just hope it becomes the first of many. I would also like to note that you cannot watch this movie with older streaming devices or an Apple TV as of right now.

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Gotham Season 5, Episode 1 Review

 

I am happy that Gotham is back, but I am also sad that the show is coming to an end very soon. No matter if you have watched one episode or all of them, this show is severely underrated. Contrasting this are some of the best episodes in any superhero show and Gotham’s attempt at fleshing out a prequel for The Dark Knight has been extremely enjoyable. Most of this has been thanks to the excellent origin stories given to the most iconic villains in Batman’s illustrious history. Season 5 begins strongly, with a tease of what’s to come and a look ahead at the chaos now gripping Gotham City.

The story begins with a welcome recap, reflecting on the events leading up to the start of this final season. It’s been 391 days since the government blew the bridges to Gotham, effectively trapping everyone inside and preventing anyone from entering or leaving. After a brief opening few shots, we’re shown the forces of good and evil coming together; “For Gotham!” Jim Gordon screams and the screen erupts into a strobe of gunfire and anarchy.

It’s at this point where we skip back to 87 days. Gotham has broken down into a lawless, anarchistic state. All the villains have carved out their own plot of land with Scarecrow, Victor Freeze, Barbara and more all going it alone and fighting over dwindling resources. Jeremiah is no one to be seen and seeking the chance to capitalize on this anarchy is Penguin. Continuing to manipulate those around him, Penguin controls a prolific enterprise of ammunition which seems to be the leading currency for negotiations.

The government has all but abandoned Gotham by this point. Jim Gordon and a very thin line of police officers hold up at the GCPD, trying desperately to get supplies for a continued flurry of refugees who have got caught in the crossfire between gangs and weren’t able to evacuate. After a desperate plea to the forces outside the city, there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel in the form of a Wayne Enterprises helicopter. In true Gotham fashion, the extent of chaos is fully realized when a mysterious figure shoots the chopper out of the sky and various forces converge on its location.

This then leads to different gangs coming to blows over the supplies and the extent of Gotham’s ambitions for the season ahead fully realized. Knowing this is the final season, the stakes are higher than they’ve ever been before and during this fight, more than one casualty is realized as the battle lines are drawn. Tabitha is also killed in this episode which is the most shocking moment of the entire episode. It’s a bold move from the writers too and something that appears to set the tone going forward. We also see more of Scarecrow here too although given his brief appearance last season, we’ll hold our cards close to our chest before presuming he’ll be a focal figure for the season to come.

The episode ends with a look ahead at what’s to come. Penguin continues to antagonize, putting out a bounty on Jim Gordan’s head. Barbara has been pushed over the edge and seeks vengeance while Bruce Wayne is determined to follow a new path to help Selina recover from her paralysis. The Riddler is waking up in different places around the city and seems even more agitated than usual. All of this while Jim Gordon follows an ominous message from an exhausted child who passes out soon after revealing his message. There’s an awful lot to chew over for the week but there’s no denying that this episode sets a very high bar for the season ahead.

The fifth season of Gotham opens with a real banger of an episode. There’s some explosive action and crucial questions raised for the forthcoming season ahead. If there’s one thing Fox’s superhero prequel has always done well, it’s the characters and this episode does not disappoint. In the season where we finally close the curtain on Gotham, the first episode gets off to a flier and it’ll be interesting to see if the show can keep this momentum going next week when we return to the lawless streets of Gotham City.

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TV Shows to Binge Before The Winter Break Ends

Happy 2019 everyone. I hope that everyone that is reading this enjoyed their time off during the holidays. 2018 was a great year for television with current shows such as The Walking Dead, West World, Gotham, and Legends of Tomorrow and new shows that landed on television and the streaming services. Some are a hit or miss, but they are watchable during the winter break. When the winter break ends, it is back to reality for the world to get back to either school or work as the normal life resumes. But it does not have to be all normal as you can still do some activities after the day ends. Although there will be minimal time during the week, the weekend is where you can do whatever you want and one of those things is watching television. Gone are the days of sitting in front of your TV staring at commercials every seven to ten minutes as you can pause the show you are watching on your streaming account. Today, I will recommend a few shows to watch during the winter break. It is January now and many people will be inside (if you are in the northeast region) due to cold weather so why not binge a TV show.

Black Mirror (Netflix)

This series can challenge the viewer’s mind in many different ways and the best part about this show is that you can watch all of the episodes in any order that you want to. It is one of those shows where you do not have to watch the first episode since each episode has a different story. There are also mind bending plot twists on some of the episodes of this show that will have your mind blown. A perfect example is the ending of the episode “Shut Up and Dance”. I will not spoil the ending, but it makes you think of how far can you go to hide a secret. Give Black Mirror a chance and recently, a movie called Black Mirror: Bandersnatch has made it’s way to Netflix and it is an interactive movie with five possible endings.

Everything Sucks (Netflix)

 

This show takes place in the year 1996 at Boring High School in Oregon (I am not joking, that is the name of the high school) and most of the show’s plot revolves around the A/V club in that school. The characters on this teen comedy has different personalities and one of them is also closet gay which becomes another sub plot of the show when the way it was revealed during the show. Another good aspect of the show is that it was not just about how everyone looked at the 90’s as it felt natural and not forced in your face. The acting of all of the characters during that time period fits the narrative of what the show was about. And this is the freshman year of high school so there is also drama with other students and parents as well. I recently found out that Netflix pulled the plug on this show due to high production costs and I was bummed to find out about that news. Take a chance to watch this show as I think that it is underrated.

Gotham (FOX)

The fifth and final season of Gotham premiers this week and this is another show where I feel that should have not ended this quick. Gotham showcases the characters of the Batman comic book series in their younger days as Commissioner James Gordon and Harvey Bullock are the main stars of the show. There is intense action in every episode that will keep you on the edge of your seat. We are also shown the younger versions of Bruce Wayne, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, The Riddler, The Penguin, Scarecrow, and even The Joker. There was a concern about continuity issues since most of the stoylines from the show that are in the comic happens when all of the characters are older, but it blended in well on the show especially The Court of Owls plot arc on the show. If you want to see a young Batman on television, then this show is for you. It is also not connected to the Arrowverse shows at all so you will not be confused with trying to catch up with the other shows at all.

Unreal (Lifetime/Hulu)

Another good show with an interesting concept as it is about a production of a “Bachelor/Bachelorette” reality show. This is not a reality show at all and I was intrigued about it. The head of the production is a woman named Quinn and her on and off again producer is Rachel and they have a team with them to produce the show. You will find out real quick who is the enemy and who is not and the show has many moments that will make you laugh especially when Quinn makes funny comments about the contestants as she sees them from her production room. I will not spoil too much about the show, but there is also drama with the cast and the contestants and it all makes up for good TV. If you are into TV production, I would fully recommend the show. Plus, I know that reality shows are over produced, but it was not until this show where it exposed how over produced those reality shows are.

You (Lifetime/Netflix)

If you want a psychological thriller that is based off a novel, then this show is for you. Taking place in New York City, This show is about a male that stalks his love interest with social media and he does everything he can to be in a relationship with her and to protect her. He does this by killing people that are close to her such as her boyfriend and her best friend. The best parts about the show is the narration sequences that blends in with the scenes to give the viewer what is on his (and sometimes hers) mind as the scenes go forward. The concept is interesting and this show took advantage of the use of social media the most out of any scripted show from the first episode, to the season finale. Good thing that Netflix picked the show up because season 2 is coming soon.

The Edge and Christian Show That Totally Reeks of Awesomeness (WWE Network)

Of all of the WWE Network original shows, this show I would recommend the most. Edge and Christian are a former tag team in WWE in which they have won the tag team championships together seven times. They would both have a successful careers without each other winning multiple World Heavyweight Championships on their own. The team was known for their highly praised comedy skits inside and outside the ring and a show about them doing comedy skits is so totally worth watching. There are great skits on this show that breaks the fourth wall such as “Will WWE Talk About It” which is the funniest part of the show. During the episodes, Edge and Christian go on a mini adventure and there are also sometimes Easter eggs that are included in their dialogue. For example, one of their most recent episodes, they traveled to a dark cave and everyone in the scene commented about how dark it is inside the cave. Then Christian says “are we in the impact zone?!” and I laughed to tears hearing that unexpected line. There are also game show skits within the show such as the “Chumpstain Challenge” as Charly Caruso is the host and Edge and Christian answers themed questions. This show has a mix of everything packaged into one show on the WWE Network.

 

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The Walking Dead News: Another Character is Crossing Over to Fear The Walking Dead

The first news of the year of The Walking Dead universe is a great one. Austin Amellio who has played as Dwight from Seasons 6-8 will reprise his role on the sister show Fear The Walking Dead.

The news broke today as many fans speculated when he would return and if he would return on the main show or the sister show. Austin Amellio said in a recent panel at Walker Stalker Con New Jersey that he would love to return on the show to reprise his role.

He last appeared on the Season Finale of the eighth season of the show as Daryl exiled him from Alexandria and he was looking for his wife Sherry ever since. With the current show doing a six year time skip, Fans would wonder how and where he will make his appearance on Fear The Walking Dead but hopefully, our questions will be answered in a few months when the show returns. In fact, how would Morgan react to seeing him return on the show? Dwight will also be the second character from the original show to cross over to Fear The Walking Dead and it looks like that more characters could cross over in the future.

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