Transmissions from Lexington Comic & Toy Convention 2018

Another year, another trip to Lexington Comic & Toy Convention. Every year I get excited and look at the list of guests far in advance, getting more and more excited. “Lou Diamond Phillips?! Pauly Shore?!?! Kevin Sorbo?!?!?! DOUG JONES!!!!!!!!!”

I do this for every convention I go to. I get excited about the media guests, yet I rarely meet them. I know that celebrities are a big draw for some people, but I just can’t get into it unless it’s someone I love and the line is short. That’s my criteria. At our first convention we met Kristine Sutherland and got her to wear Wolverine claws, and a couple years ago I met Caroline Williams. I think that’s it. I think it’s amazing that these people travel to these conventions to meet and talk to their fans for hours/days/weeks/months/lifetimes, and I think it’s great that fans are so excited to meet their heroes. But it’s something I’ve never been super into.

I really wanted to meet Doug Jones this year because he’s incredible and I love him deeply, but one look at the line to meet him tossed that idea from my head. I did lurk around his table for a while and he seemed genuinely happy to meet every single person that came up to him. They all left with smiles on their faces. Not Gentlemen smiles, either: real, honest-to-God smiles.

But you didn’t come hear to read about my thoughts on celebrities, did you?
Did you?
Because if you did, I’ve got some thoughts.
No? Okay then. Let’s get to it.

I’ve been doing the convention thing for a while now. I am by no means a seasoned vet, but I’ve picked up certain tricks over the years. One of those tricks is this: if you want to walk the floor, check out the booths and buy some stuff, Friday is the day. The floor is absolutely packed on Saturday, and by Sunday some vendors may be sold out of certain items. But Friday? Oh man, Friday you live like royalty. There are still a lot of people present, but it’s not nearly as packed as Saturday.

This year, my best sister and favorite brother-in-law joined me on Friday. I promised them room to walk and they jumped at the opportunity. We had a blast. You can see me and my sister here, posing in front of piles of garbage and lost limbs from last year’s comic con.

The Jawas stared at us, wondering if our heads would be the next ones to join the display. I stared back at them and made myself as big as I could, as if facing off against a jaguar. They didn’t flinch. I didn’t flinch. We stood like that for a solid 5 minutes before my sister grabbed me by the scruff of my neck and dragged me towards the convention floor.

It’s possible those were not real Jawas but I don’t think there’s any way to know for sure.

If the Jawas did steal from the wrong man, they were a very short walk from the Weasley’s flying car. I doubt they could activate the Invisibility Booster so they wouldn’t be making the most conspicuous getaway, but I don’t know that they particularly care about that.

As always, the smiling visage of the Stay Puft Marshmallow man welcomed us, arms open as if preparing for a welcoming embrace. “All are welcome here,” he seemed to say, “as long as you don’t have an unlicensed nuclear accelerator strapped to your back.”

We were greeted by an extremely sassy Jabba the Hutt, hands on his hips as he judged us from atop the pile of heads of his former enemies. Doctor Manhattan, Joker, Frankenstein, Ronan the Accuser, The Incredible Hulk and an entire host of others were destroyed at the hands of the giant, slobbering slug. He was a dominant, murderous force, and now he spends his day judging the fashion choices of all who walk by. He said particularly nasty things about the shoes I was wearing, but I knew he didn’t really mean it. My shoes were baller and he knew that.

Jabba’s sass promptly came to an end once he spotted Chewbacca on the floor. He wasn’t carrying a visible crossbow, but I know it was hidden somewhere in that fur. Not only is he a good boy, he’s also a really good shot and Jabba knew better than to risk it.

I’m trying to figure out what I find quite so off-putting about this interpretation of Van Gogh. My sister nailed it. It’s almost as if someone took a body, twisted his head completely around and dressed him up as if that was the way he was supposed to be. It was a twisted interpretation of the human body and it has haunted my dreams since I first saw him.

I wish I could have taken him home with me. Maybe because I secretly loved him, but mainly because I think keeping him close may help to keep the nightmares at bay. Something like a scarecrow for his dream self. I have zero idea if that actually works or not, but I feel it would be worth a shot. And, if it turns out it does work, I have a pretty good idea of how to make a little extra money the next time Freddy Krueger shows up.

I didn’t have to walk far to get a laugh that would make me forget the nightmarish form of a twisted Vincent van Gogh. The award for Costume That Made Me Laugh the Hardest goes to this woman for her depiction of the recently deceased Carl Grimes. It’s perfect. I mean, the hat, patch and angel accessories are obvious, but don’t overlook her shirt that reads “I’m Pudding This World Behind Me.” Words can’t properly express how much I love that shirt.

I looked up at the poster that hung over the convention floor and caught a glimpse of Greedo. As a solitary tear rolled down my cheek I said, “Greedo got the last shot.”

After having just seen Greedo, I felt zero remorse for this Scout Trooper. I hope one day you’re happy again for a few minutes and then you find out where that blue milk really came from.

And on that day I will be there and I will be laughing RIGHT IN YOUR FACE.

(Solid photobomb from the super happy girl over his shoulder. I strive to be that happy one day.)

This guy’s confident take on Shirtless Kylo Ren made me laugh entirely too hard. Kudos to you, sir.

You know I love Spider-Gwen. You also know I love a costume I’ve never seen before. BAM. Gwenom. It’s a cool twist on a costume I’ve seen dozens of times.

When stars collide / Like youuuuuuuuuuuuuu and I / No shadows block the suuuuuuuun

You’re all I ever needed / Oooooo baby you’re the one

Listen man. When you walk into a building in a mask and swords strapped to your back, you’re going to have your Hello Kitty backpack searched. That’s just the way it goes. I don’t make the rules.

When I saw Gwenom, I was convinced I had seen my favorite costume of the weekend. Ladies and Gentlemen, I was mistaken. Here is your costume of the weekend. This makes the second straight convention where my favorite costume was Beauty and the Beast inspired (check out my favorite costume at last year’s ScareFest here). It’s simple, but it’s a costume I’ve never seen before and it’s wonderfully done.

Some women want to find the sensitive creature inside the beast. Others just want to escape their captors and will do whatever it takes to be free.

Let’s talk about Sweet Tooth. Created by Jeff Lemire, Sweet Tooth follows a world that lost a large percentage of adults due to a mysterious virus. The children who were unscathed by the virus were all animal/human hybrids. It’s a unique comic to be sure, one that’s equal parts hopeful and heartbreaking. I want to revisit it at some point, but I’m not sure my heart is ready.

Anyway, I don’t know how popular or well-known it is, but I love it completely and I freaked out when I saw this gentleman dressed as the titular Sweet Tooth. I yelled “Sweet Tooth?!” louder than I had any reason to, seeing as how it was a relatively empty area. He looked nervously around for Jeppard. Once he realized help wasn’t coming, he resigned himself to have his picture taken.

Those deer hybrids are a jittery bunch.

I asked if I could take this guy’s picture and he responded with, “Sure man.” He may have actually been The Dude.

I was going to ask him what was in the bag but I already knew the answer. I’m a golfer.

My favorite costumes at conventions are the ones with a little thought put into them. Something that takes a character and looks at it from another angle, or mashes a couple characters together in a way that makes some kind of sense. Anyone could go to the store and buy a costume; what I’m looking for are the ones put together with love and care.

So it should come as no surprise to you that I absolutely adore this Captain America/Rosie the Riveter costume. It’s amazing and she was so happy every time I saw her.

I love these two kids and sincerely hope they make it in this crazy, mixed-up world. We’re all rooting for you.

I had a notion to walk celebrity row on Saturday, but it was packed. Unlike in past years, the celebrities weren’t on the main floor. They were set up on the floor of Rupp Arena. It was a really great idea and freed up the main floor, but getting in during a crowded time was a bit of a nightmare. Totally worth it if you wanted to meet one of the celebrities, but for someone just wanting to look around, it wasn’t worth it.

In a really cool move, they opened up some seating in Rupp Arena. From there, I was able to sit down, take a break and take in the chaos and beauty of celebrity row. It made it feel like everyone on the floor was on display. Like some grand experiment unfolding beneath me as I sat above it all. I was their puppet master. PULL THE STRINGS. PULL THE STRINGS.

Also, there were wookies walking around down there and I was really excited about that. It’s the simple things in life.

Last but certainly not least, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out some of the amazing purchases I made there.

I recently  moved to a new house and was looking for some art to put on my office walls. They just seemed so bare. Thankfully, the great Matt Peppler was set up with his tremendous artwork. These four are now hanging in my office, but there were a dozen more I could have easily bought. Everything he does is amazing. Check out his website and pick something up. Super nice guy and extremely talented. You can pick up an 8″ X 12″ poster for $10.

I was also looking for something for my daughter’s room. She’s not quite three years old and she loves Groot. When I came across this in a booth, I could help but buy it for her room. It was made by Pat Kenrick at Amourable Art. He had a ton of different themes to choose from, but Groot and Rocket was an easy choice. Check out his website and get lost in all the amazing.

I’ll close this out with a brief story of my brush with a celebrity.
On Friday, we hit celebrity row. As we were working out a plan, a man walked right in the middle of our group and stopped, looking around as if deciding where to go next.
That man? Kevin Sorbo. Hercules himself was briefly a part of our group. Before I was able to take a picture or ask him to Sorbonate something, he was off again, most likely in the direction of his table.
Anyway, he seemed cool and I think we’re best friends now.

So long everyone! See you at the next convention!

Transmissions from Lexington Comic & Toy Convention 2017

Another year, another trek into the hallowed halls of Rupp Arena to aimlessly wander the floor of the Lexington Comic and Toy Convention. What wonders would I encounter this year? Would I see any familiar faces? Would I finally ask every former Power Ranger to the big dance? THE ANSWERS ARE INSIDE.

I got a couple press passes this year, so me and my wife – a great photographer and the best person in the world – decided to act super professional.

These are our professional faces.

We were greeted by the two-story-tall Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. He was still smiling, which meant those darn Ghostbusters hadn’t tried to turn him into marshmallow goo just yet. He was still living his best life. And now he was here, frozen in time and greeting all who entered the doors. Shine on, you crazy diamond.

As we descended to the main floor, we came across a set-up from Star Wars. Okay, so it may have been less a “set-up” and more a “thieving ring.” Any unsuspecting soul who found themselves lingering in the area were swarmed by a pack of Jawas. Within minutes, anything electronic on their person had been removed from their pockets while the Jawas fought among each other for possession of the object. Anyone who decided to try to reclaim what they felt was rightfully theirs was treated to the barrel of an AT-ST’s gun pointed in their direction.

Look man. If you’ve seen A New Hope, you know what the Jawas are about. You only have yourselves to blame.

Did we encounter any other Star Wars folks? We may have seen a few.

General Leia Organa and Rey were travelling around together and they happened to run into an Imperial Officer. Instead of fighting right there in the middle of the isle, they decided to put aside their differences and pose for a picture.

Shortly after this picture was taken, Leia and Rey escorted the officer to a dark corner and disposed of him. Imperial scum.

I’ve often said that Obi-Wan Kenobi and Xena: Warrior Princess would make a good couple. Now I have proof.

I originally thought that this was Old Man Luke Skywalker, but the robes indicated that he was Obi-Wan. THE ROBES NEVER LIE.

As you can see in this picture, we encountered the fearsome Kylo Ren with very few people around. Nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide. He lit up his lightsaber and we briefly froze. We decided our best defense was to laugh at him, talk loudly about how he’s just a wannabe Vader and repeatedly referred to him as “Poor Lil’ Bennie.” He began sobbing and ran to the nearest restroom. Ain’t so bad.

Sure, Solo blindly took out one Boba Fett. But two? I don’t think so, bucko. Into the Sarlacc Pit with you while Boba Fett and the missus live a long, happy life together.

You know what I love about Deadpool in terms of cons? Versatility. Sure, you may occasionally get a Captain America or Batman with some variation (usually depending on what era they’re repping), but there’s not a huge difference in the look. But Deadpool? Anyone can be Deadpool and it would fit in with the character and the comics.

Take this little tyke. He’s just a tiny little Deadpool and he’s wearing Batman shoes. They’re not even in the same comic universe, but I believe that, somewhere, Deadpool owns a pair of Batman shoes.

Cowboy Deadpool. I have absolutely seen Deadpool in this outfit. Throw this version of Marshal Will Kane in High Noon and that movie would have been over in 10 minutes.

I love this one. Deadpool Dixon and Carl Grimes. Deadpool is rocking Daryl’s vest – down to the angel wings on the back – and crossbow, but is still very much Deadpool.

Spider-Man would look out of place in something like this, but Deadpool can pull it off.

It has been a while since I’ve watched an episode of The Walking Dead, so it’s quite possible Daryl Dixon is actually just Deadpool now. If that’s the case, I need someone to tell me so I can start watching that show again.

I don’t love the idea of Alice teaming up with the Umbrella Corporation, but I assume there’s a good reason behind it. Maybe they’re infiltrating Umbrella so a couple of her friends are wearing stolen outfits? They would pick out Alice in a hurry in that dress, but she’s got superpowers so I guess that doesn’t matter too much.

Whatever your reason, Alice, I trust your judgment completely.

Of everyone I ran into, this was my favorite costume. It’s all the little touches. The jagged horns that look like have been torn off. The cigar she kept with her at all times. The beer in the hand. It’s all wonderful. It’s all perfect.

The dragon in the background is giving some serious side eye in this picture. Hellboy (Hellgirl?) picked up on that and smacked him around a bit after I took this picture. Negan – big, bad Negan – just cowered in the corner as it happened. He may be the big man during a zombie apocalypse, but he’s useless as a dragon caretaker.

“I knew who I was this morning, but I’ve changed a few times since then.”

You don’t say.

I’m a sucker for a good themed costume, and this one is perfect. They have the banner. They have the coconuts. They have the Rabbit of Caerbannog. While walking the floor, I could occasionally hear the tapping of coconuts in the distance. When they exited the building, I heard the familiar call of “Run away! Run away!”

The children didn’t seem too interested in crime-fighting, so I walked by them with my guard down. I found out that was a mistake when they both took billy clubs and smashed them into my knees. While I writhed on the ground, the group calmly walked away, silently laughing to themselves.

Never underestimate the strength of children.

Even without one sock, this child is infinitely more incredible than I will ever be.

We found Lego Batman at the base of the escalator. For the life of me, I don’t know how he was able to actually get on the escalator. For all I know, he’s still standing down there.

There is a whole lot of awesomeness in this picture, but it’s Little Hulk that really kills me. Really going all-out with the flex there, Hulk. I would absolutely watch a movie starring this version of Hulk and Black Widow. She looks like she is absolutely ready to brawl.

We’ve got the Spider trio of Spider-Man, Spider-Gwen and Silk. We also have Ant Man and Wasp. And there, in the middle of it all, is Squirrel Girl. I honestly thought I would see a handful of Squirrel Girls, but we only ran into this one, and she was terrific. Always happy. She seemed genuinely thrilled to be there and to have people excited to take pictures of her. She may have actually been the real Squirrel Girl, stepped directly out of the pages of a comic and into our world.

Of course, I found it a little irresponsible for all these heroes to pose for a picture while Kylo Ren casually strolled behind them. Way to keep humanity safe, you guys. You’ve been through superhero training and this is the best you can do? Shame on you. Shame on you.

I can’t imagine that Ice Man outfit is comfortable, but it looks amazing. Fashion over function, my dear boy.

Let’s talk about the act of going to a comic convention for a second. This is a ridiculously cool costume. We took this picture in the main opening, so there’s a little bit of space of maneuver, but the main floor is packed. I have a hard enough time getting through some of the aisles as a regular human being. How does one make their way through the swarm of bodies when you are a god who has arms sticking out on either side of you? Do you just not go to the main floor? Or do you make peace with the fact that you’ll just smack a lot of people in the face with your extra arms and they’ll have to deal with it?

I’ve often thought about following one of these people around to see what they do, but I have a feeling I would just get really frustrated. That life isn’t for me. But for her? Man, she looks so cool she can do whatever she wants.

Even Blade has to take a break to check his messages every now and then. That’s probably how he finds out where all the vampires are. He just searches for #vampirerave and goes from there. Vampires never learn, man. Not everything has to go on social media, you know.

Bunch of suckheads.

I’ll grant you that I haven’t been to a ton of conventions, but I’ve been attending them for a few years now and this is the first time I’ve seen Green Goblin and Cyclops. Those are fairly well-known characters, so I was a bit shocked this was the first time I had seen either of them.

Kudos to Batman for repping the gun. It may be an unpopular opinion, but I’m perfectly fine with Batman shooting some supervillains from time-to-time. Call me crazy, but I don’t think The Joker is going to suddenly become reformed after his 1,000,000th trip to Arkham Asylum.

I’d watch a team-up of these two.

Okay, I’ll be honest. I would only watch it if Punisher killed the Power Ranger 5 minutes into the movie. The Power Rangers were a bit after my time so I have no love for them. I’m old. I can’t help it.

“I can’t see me lovin’ nobody but you / For all my liiiiiiiiiife…”

The moment Michael realizes he left Jason chained at the bottom of the lake.

Where else can you see Doctor Strange riding an escalator behind a T. Rex? I mean, besides my dreams every night.

We only got a chance to attend one panel, but it was a fun one. We’re pretty big fans of iZombie, so we had to make sure we caught this one. Sadly, Rose McIver had to pull out of the convention, but we got to hear some great stories from Aly Michalka and Malcolm Goodwin.

Every year I say I’m going to go to more panels, and every year I forget. I’ve never been to a bad one, though. If you go to a convention, always make sure to do some research ahead of time and try to get to at least a couple panels.

 

Last but certainly not least, there is always a lot of great art. If I had unlimited funds and wall space, I would walk out of every convention with a truck full of art. Some of it is mass manufactured, but there is always a ton of unique, handmade art.

This Peach/Mario take on Bride of Frankenstein and Frankenstein’s Monster is one of my favorite things I’ve seen. I’m still kicking myself for not buying it.

I did walk out with this piece of art, though. We have a daughter who is getting ready to turn two and we’re looking for art for her room. I’ve been looking for Batgirl and Spider-Gwen stuff, because I’d love to get her started on some strong, female superheroes. As it so happened, Rico Renzi – colorist for the Spider-Gwen series – was at the convention this year. I stopped by his table and this immediately grabbed my eye. Rico was incredibly nice and gracious, and now I have this nice piece of art of start my daughter’s collection.


Conventions are always exhausting but we always have a blast. I’m already looking forward to the next one.