Nailed It. Highlights From Wizard World Des Moines 2015.

At least now the world knows. YES. Iowa – little old, in the middle of the country, surrounded by cornfields, home to James T. Kirk & Clint Barton, Iowa – can most definitely support a large-scale comic convention. The weekend was so successful that Wizard World has already announced their return in May of 2016.  3-Day Passes sold out weeks before the event (much to the detriment of one procrastinating blogger) and Saturday passes were sold out by Friday. People have wanted this for so long and we had something to prove to those Wizard World Execs. Pretty sure we nailed it.

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Based on my experience, the event was very well-organized & the venue was highly conducive to the flow of such a convention. Vendors and Artists set up booths in the main exhibition area, while celebrity meet-and-greets/photo-ops were housed in a smaller, adjacent area. Panels could be accessed either from an escalator within the photo-op area or via the main escalators in the lobby. The smaller breakout rooms were packed & made it easy to find whichever panel guests were interested in attending.

I’m thrilled by the success of this event and cannot wait to return year after year. It’s a single step towards getting all kinds of large-scale events to come to the Midwest AND for showing the world what kind of crazy fun us nerds can have when we all come together to celebrate our fandoms.

And now, the weekend in photographs:

Friday

We spent the majority of Friday just exploring the exhibition floor & getting in lots of selfies with our favorite cosplayers. I met the greatest Spock impersonator I’ve ever seen & obviously HAD to get a photo. I was honestly a little intimidated (dude was 6’7″!) and maybe acted a bit of a fool, but whatever. Happens, right? I was excited.

My girl KiT & I made one large sweep of the autograph area, where we ran into Miss Iowa 2014, Autumn Weaver, dressed as Wonder Woman! She is such an inspiration & a total doll. I spied her on Saturday dressed as Slave Leia (I think it was her) and then again as a member of Starfleet.

There were a number of Clark Kents floating around, but this was by far the best. I was really struggling with my camera here, thus the ridiculous faces.

When we headed back to the bar, we ran into this all-female Guardians of the Galaxy group & definitely had to get a picture. And then hubby snuck up on us & gave us the best photobomb of the weekend. Because of course hubby was at the bar. I should have known.

The best part of Friday, though, was ABSOLUTELY the 41st Chapter of the Mandalorian Mercs, Vhett Manda Clan, who were taking bounties & arresting members of parties for a small donation to their charity. We arrested KiT’s husband since we had lost them & didn’t feel like scouring the hall to find them. Instead we paid $5 & waited for them to come to us.

Hahaha. I giggled for a long time.

After the convention closed for the night, we all went out for a group dinner at Quinton’s (because Zombie Burger had a 1.5 hour wait…obviously). Look how cute we are!

Saturday

Saturday was the only day any of us Cosplayed, and we had 3 very different characters. One of these times, we’ll have to figure out a group thing, I think.

I have to say, for pulling hubby’s costume together so last-minute (we’re talking Wednesday night), I’m pretty damn proud of myself on this one. I give you: Matt Murdock (and the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen, just for good measure).

I had never done SFX makeup before, but I’d say this turned out pretty rad. I did  a couple trial runs on myself Thursday night, just to make sure I knew what I was doing. I still had a few difficulties with the prosthetic Saturday morning, but it all came together in the end 🙂

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Of course, then you’ve got my iteration of Days of Future Past Quicksilver! This was a costume hubby wore for Halloween last year, but since I wanted to color my hair silver anyway, I decided to just hijack the costume.  We even found my twinsie (although from a different universe) and I slowed down long enough to get a photo. The rest of the day I must have been moving too fast, because I don’t have any other pics of my cosplay. Oops.

Of course, then you have the most in-character cosplayer of the day: our Joker, aka RyanTheGr8. He was hamming it up for the camera all day. The kids loved him (except for the one that screamed bloody murder….oops) and the professional photographers loved him, so he’s in a bunch of official Wizard World photos from the weekend, too.

Here’s that time he found the rest of his villain buddies & Batman.

And that time he got his head chopped off by Revan.

That time he got REALLY excited about finding Carmen San Diego & Waldo.

That time he protested against vegetarianism with Poison Ivy.

And that other time I slowed down enough to be caught on camera.

Haul

Last, but not least, my comic con haul – not as big as I would have expected, but that’s probably for the best considering our current financial situation:

My first and only purchase on Friday was this Spike Funko! I mean, obviously.

We passed the Colorworld booth on Friday & I just KNEW I needed to buy something from them, so I rushed back over on Saturday. We found out they had a discount for people who have the ConTV app (which I do), meaning I got a free paper print with my purchase of 2 bookmarks (which only cost $5 total)! These bookmarks are AMAZING. They are printed on aluminum & appear holographic. They’re just gorgeous. I got a Boba Fett (which I don’t have a pic of) and this Hermione Patronus one. I’m super obsessed & will probably buy more from them in the future. Also, the Colorworld book sounds so interesting & is now on my TBR.

The paper print I chose from the Colorworld shop was this Super Smash Bros. print – it’s so epic & will look great in our guest room, but it did get a little bent before I had the chance to buy a protector for it. Womp womp. Hopefully it won’t be noticeable in its frame. If so, I’ll just have to go ahead & buy another. Because I lurrrrve it.

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Sorry for the absurdly long post today, but it was such a great weekend. I don’t even think I recapped 60% of it here, but these are the only photos I ended up with. Lol. SOOO that’s what you get. Because I’m a bad blogger. It’ll be better next time, I promise!

Until Next Time ❤

5 Fandom Friday: Fictional Characters I Identify With

I think the best part about being a fiction lover is finding a character that resonates with you on a molecular level. I’m pretty sure I’ve talked about all of these characters at one time or another, but my personality is a blend of all of them & it’s kind of like they’re a part of me. Without further ado:

5 Fictional Characters I Identify With

1. Zoe (Fanboys)

Equal parts nerdy and crass, Zoe is basically me. My nerd culture knowledge is probably a few lightyears behind hers, but I might be able to out-crass her, so I think it evens out in the end. She surrounds herself by nerdy boys all day long and acts as kind of a den mother to them. That is definitely an experience I can relate to.

2. Cisco Ramon (Flash)

Aside from the fact that I consider myself merely of  average intellect, everything else about Cisco’s personality resonates with me. He is quirky and loyal and unapologetically himself.  He isn’t afraid to show his excitement over anything and frequently geeks out in the most hardcore ways. He is just a joyful person, which is something I absolutely strive to be.

3. Bianca Piper (The DUFF)

I haven’t seen the movie, so I’m not sure this all applies to Mae Whitman’s portrayal of the character, but I see Book Bianca as snarky and intelligent, albeit slightly cynical. While I realize I’m being contradictory by identifying with the joyfulness of Cisco Ramon and the cynicism of Bianca Piper, isn’t that what humans are? Walking contradictions? There are days when I just FEEL like Bianca. Insecurities and general grump-itude. Nothing a little sex therapy can’t take care of though, #amiright?

4. Jess (New Girl)

I’m actually SUPER behind on New Girl, but this still holds true. Jess is quirky af. No denying it. She’s super passionate about a lot of things, but especially about her friends/family. Sometimes they look at her like she has two heads, but they love her back, and just as fiercely. THAT is something that hits me way down deep. Sometimes I’m talking to my husband or my mom or my best friend & I can see their eyes start to glaze over. It doesn’t mean they don’t love me, it just means they’re overwhelmed by my extreme passion for that particular subject matter. Which is basically all subject matter.

5. Charlie Bradbury (Supernatural)

A nerdy badass with a taste for adventure. I just ADORE Charlie, and have since her very first appearance on the show.  *NO SPOILERS, PLEASE* because I’m way far behind on Supernatural right now, too. But Charlie’s character development over the last few years has been one of my favorite things to watch. She’s constantly exploring and learning new things about herself to become the person she’s always dreamed of being. Even if it’s a risk & could potentially backfire. Plus, Felicia Day, so…

Honorable Mention: Nora (The New Guy)

This was one of my favorite movies when it first came out & there’s just something about Nora that has been so relatable. Maybe it’s just the fact that Zooey Deschanel is super relatable to me, but idk. She plays bass & is a hardcore feminist & not afraid to speak her mind. I love her.

Clearly I identify most with quirky-yet-social types, because that’s just me. If someone’s willing to put up with my weird, we’ll be just fine.

How about you? Check out the twitter tags for 5 Fandom Friday (#fandom5 & #5fandomfriday) to see what everyone else thinks!

Until Next Time ❤

Five Fandom Friday: My Fictional BFF’s

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Well, I’ve been AWOL for a hot minute, I know. That’s a really long story that we probably don’t need to get into right at this moment. BUT, this week’s 5 Fandom Friday prompt was way too good for me to miss – Fictional BFF’s!

1. Sydney Sage (Bloodlines) – Sydney is a hardcore academic with some serious compassion & loyalty. She fights fiercely for the people she loves & I think we’d make excellent besties.

fancasting for a film adaptation that will never happen, but wouldn't this be perfect?

fancasting for a film adaptation that will never happen, but wouldn’t this be perfect?

2. Hermione Granger – Another badass bookworm; who wouldn’t want to have Hermione in their corner? This is a no-brainer.

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3. Zoe (Fanboys) – I love a crass woman, and Zoe definitely fits the bill. Plus she’s a hardcore geek & I could definitely use a girlfriend to geek out with.

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4. Willow Rosenberg (Buffy) – I clearly gravitate towards like-minded academia lovers, huh? Willow has been my dream BFF since I was 10.

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5. Cisco Ramon (The Flash) – I can’t help but smile any time Cisco is in a scene on Flash. He’s my absolute favorite. I love his cheesy nicknames for meta humans & his bad jokes. He just is who he is & he never apologizes for it.

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Every single one of these characters is intelligent, a little quirky, and insanely loyal/compassionate. Those are the three most important characteristics to me in a friend.  Imagine the hijinks we’d all get into together….muahahaha.

 

Until Next Time ❤

OGF Signature

 

NewBo Con 2015

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Well, this post was a little slow in coming to fruition, but I wanted to put together a quick recap & review of NewBo Con 2015 in Cedar Rapids, IA.The convention was held on February 7 at the NewBo City Market in the New Bohemia district of Cedar Rapids. It only ran from 10am-6pm, but in that time saw over 3,500 visitors.  This was the first year for this con and, in my opinion, it was a remarkably successful event. There were a lot of things done well – especially considering the whole event was organized by a single person.

I have to say, I was pumped for this event & waiting in anticipation for MONTHS. Like, since it was announced in October (I think that’s when it was?). Going to Wizard World Minneapolis last year was what really jolted me back into obsessing over all these things I love – and even got me thinking more & more about comics in general. I was thrilled to hear that Cedar Rapids was getting its own convention AND that it was free admission, making it easy to convince everyone I knew to at least consider going.

If you can’t sense my enthusiasm about this event, you’re completely blind. So, without further ado, here are some of the highlights from NewBo Con ’15.

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*sidenote: I was trying to corral my 4-year old daughter in the morning & my slightly inebriated friends in the afternoon, so I didn’t take any photos. Most of these photos were hijacked from the NewBo Con Facebook page*

The Venue

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NewBo City Market is a great venue – and It was the perfect choice for the first year of this event. NewBo has a huge following of people who visit every single weekend. These non con-goers increased attendance and (I can only assume) sales for the vendors just by letting their curiosity bring them over to the convention side of the market. I think this was an incredibly smart decision on the part of the organizer to tap into a demographic that normally wouldn’t have any interest in attending such an event. Really, it was mutually beneficial because peckish con-goers could just walk across the market to any of the regular (exceptional) vendor locations & get a drink, snack, or a full-blown meal. Top-notch choice for year one.

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Unfortunately, the size of the venue was not adequate to support the amount of interest this event generated from convention vendors.  There were a total of something like 30 spaces available and 80 interested vendors had to be turned away. That’s huge. I know they’re looking into bigger venues for next year, making the name “NewBo Con” & the totally rad logo now obsolete. Collector’s item. Doneski. I’m just really pulling for the new “Cedar Rapids Comic Con” to be held at our new Convention Center. There are multiple spaces that would be suitable to the event and I just feel like it’s the right place to host the event going forward. Unfortunately, cost could easily affect the likelihood of this happening, as I know the organizers want to keep the event free for the foreseeable future.

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Bye, bye, logo </3

Vendors

The downside with the way this event was organized was that all vendor spaces were first-come, first-serve. I get it. That seems like the right way to do things the first time around. I just feel that we ended up with too little variety in the limited number of vendors that were set up. Don’t get me wrong – the majority of vendors were awesome & their products were well-curated and/or well-crafted. I’m not here to bash on anyone, but I will say that there were a few items for sale that really caused me to raise an eyebrow & I hope there’s some level of screening for next year’s vendors. Here are a few of the stand-outs for me:

I know I’m (incredibly) biased here, but I genuinely feel that Geek City Games had one of the best booths. I could barely walk up to the table at a few points throughout the day due to the crowds gathering around to check out the merch. They had games, collectibles, omnibuses (omnibi?), boxes upon boxes of comics, and even had 2 guest vendors sharing their space. It was really well organized & the displays made everything easy to find. Good work, boys!

A to Z Toys & Collectibles was right next door to Geek City & instantly captured the attention of my husband & friends. They seemed to have a great selection of vintage collectibles, as well as some new items. Now, I know nothing about vintage toys & whatnot, but the boys sure seemed impressed, so I give you a thumbs-up, A to Z Toys & Collectibles!

Candle Light Press. Now, I didn’t get to chat with the guys like I would have liked (again, due to the inebriated state of certain companions and general tomfoolery afoot) but these guys had it going on ALL. DAY. LONG. scores of people walked up to the booth, chatted, and walked away with mad stacks of comics. I’m gonna need to get my hands on some of those in the near future.

Lastly, 515 Comics seemed like a pretty awesome vendor. I didn’t even glance at his booth until the end of the day & I saw what turns out to be my favorite item I couldn’t buy that day (because he was sold out). It was this glorious shirt, and I am ordering it very, VERY soon.

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I also bought this pretty cute steampunk necklace and a Rainbow Dash keychain (for the kiddo) from another vendor, but alas, couldn’t find any information on the shop responsible for such cute tchotchkes. Womp womp.

Conclusion

Overall, I was SO impressed by this event. It was incredibly well-organized and just made me happy to spend my Saturday there. There are clearly a few improvements that could be made for subsequent years, but I’d say for its very first con, Cedar Rapids gets a 10/10.

If you live anywhere in the Midwest (or farther, I’m not here to pigeonhole you) and are looking for a fun, casual convention – check out the Cedar Rapids Comic Con webpage & sign up for email updates so you can come visit in 2016!

 

Until Next Time ❤

OGF Signature


 

CURRENT OBSESSIONS:

  1. Book: The Duff – Kody Keplinger
  2. Comic: Saga, Vol. 2 – Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples
  3. Music: Talking Dreams (Album) – Echosmith
  4. TV: Gilmore Girls, Season 7
  5. YouTube: Lauren Fairweather
  6. Blog: The Book Nosher

5 Fandom Friday: Fictional Couples

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Well, I decided to join in on 5 Fandom Fridays with Super Space Chick & The Nerdy Girlie. I have been following both for only a few weeks, but I love reading everyone’s roundups on Friday mornings – so I thought I should be a participant, rather than a lurker.

This week is all about love, because Valentine’s. Duh. So here’s a list of my top 5 fictional character pairings. I don’t usually ship characters myself, so I’m just going with favorite couples that are actually couples. And….go.

The Ruby Circle | Richelle Mead

1. Sydney Sage & Adrian Ivashkov (Bloodlines). I’m only halfway through the 3rd book of this series, but I’ve been obsessed with Adrian since Vampire Academy. I was really rooting for his happiness in that one, but I think it’s definitely going to happen in this series. For real. I love Adrian’s enigmatic personality & how he completely balance’s out Sydney’s neuroses. I’m a wholehearted believer of the “opposites attract” trope when the characters are solidly planted at opposite ends of the personality spectrum.  I can’t wait to see how this relationship plays out in the last half of the series!

Lafayette & Jesus

2. Lala & Jesus. True Blood consumed a lot of my life while it was on the air, and I loved nothing more than watching Lafayette & Jesus fall in love. They are so devoted to one another & it kills me to think how happy they could have been if they had only lived ANYWHERE other than Bon Temps.  I love Lafayette SO much that I can’t bring myself to read the books because I’ve heard he’s not in them. WHAT? Unacceptable. I’ll probably still read them, anyway. Obviously.

Felicity Smoak + Oliver Queen

3. Felicity & Oliver. Dear GOD, just be together already! You want it, we want it. Just do itttttt. It makes my heart hurt to think about how close they are to perfect happiness.

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4.  Windows & Zoe. Ok, I’m getting to squee levels in my head, here. I can’t even express how much I love the movie Fanboys. And it’s even harder to explain how much I love Windows (Jay Baruchel) and Zoe (Kristen Bell). This is one of those relationships that plays out in an exaggerated version of how it would have happened in real life (I mean, the whole movie is just over-the-top, so what do you expect??). I love that Zoe can hold her own with the boys  in the comic shop & that she swears like a sailor and isn’t afraid to show her boobs to prove a point. I love that Windows is so laser-focused on his online girlfriend that he’s oblivious to anything going on around him. And while the culmination of their feelings for one another is a little cringe-worthy, it’s still got a lot of heart & makes you believe in love for nerds everywhere. I could probably write an entire tome about this movie.

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5. B’Elanna Torres & Tom Paris. The ultimate OTP for me, is B’Elanna & Tom Paris (Star Trek: Voyager). This is the first adult relationship I watched unfold on screen & it’s among the most realistic fictional relationships I think I’ve ever seen. They are completely devoted to one another, but that doesn’t mean they like each other all the time. Their personalities clash & there is some pretty intense drama, but they always come back because they love each other.

Top 3 Honorable mentions:

Buffy + Spike

Buffy + Spike. I knew this one would cause a lot of controversy, but it’s one I’ve always felt strongly about. I’m currently re-watching the series & will hold my opinions until I’m all the way through, since the last time I saw it I was around 16 years old. Re-watching as an adult has changed my opinion of a lot of things about the series, so far. But as of the middle of Season 5, I’m still team Spike.

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Jason Stackhouse + Eric Northman. Come ON. This was so hot. Who didn’t love it?

The One

America & Maxon. Oh god, The Selection series. How it has invaded my mind on many a sleepless night. Seriously. I finished The One way back in May and I STILL have dreams about the characters. Maxon Schreave is probably one of my biggest fictional crushes.  America’s a little too flip-floppy for me though.

There you have it. All in the mood for romance this weekend. This was really fun & I can’t wait to participate in next week’s 5 Fandom Friday! How about you? Any OTP’s that you’re super passionate about?

Until next time ❤

[#ogf]