comic con

SDCC 2014 Wrap Up + Podcast Link

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It’s a week since Comic Con ended and for GR’s 20th year there, it was another success. I’m not sure how to measure that word these days, but while we struggle to make sense of “trends” especially in the micro economics of the world around GR, which means toys, figures, art, t-shirts and other coveted objects, we still manage to have a decent time. It’s like a camping trip where you’re together with others, each pulling and pushing in their own ways. It’ll never be perfect, and that’s not how it’s supposed to be. Yet, I know it’s fun when the 6 days we’re away flies by as fast as any week I’ve lived through. Comic Con for me isn’t about panel discussions, stars from the Game of Thrones, LEGO, Mattel or Hasbro. It’s also not the many smaller booths.

Comic Con is what you make of it. For each person walking in the doors, it’s sort of DIY. You might miss out on the most coveted panel, but there’s so much else to do that it’s best to move on. The place is huge, the services are vast. There’s not much to complain about. We’ll be back in 2015 and we’ll refine ourselves a little bit more.

Some highlights and some lows

1) This year, Linkin Park played for free out Petco Park. Their “five song” set turned into something like 9 songs. Great job Mr Hahn for the show and his now sold movie. The Mall.

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2) Friends and artists came through the booth. I didn’t have to leave.

3) Downtown is too crowded, so leaving the area is a pleasant thing to do.

4) Cosplay gets better and better. Cosplay is also at times, quite bad. Both are highlights.

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5) LEGO won’t sell to anyone with a vendor badge. We are people too.

6) Freeman Company’s service is great, thanks to whatever deal they have with Comic Con.

7) I made a podcast appearance for KPBS. Guest Host Amy Nicholson (of LA Weekly) interviews KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando and Giant Robot’s Eric Nakamura. Here’s the link.

8) The designer toy section changed a lot, many vendors weren’t there, and that left a gap that might not ever be filled again.

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9) Luke Chueh Head Space prints kicked ass.

10) The many SDCC exclusives at our booth. For some reason, it’s fulfilling to have a bunch of special items.

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11) Yokohama Yakitori Koubou, the best meal of the weekend. It puts a smile on everyone’s face.

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GR X SDCC – 1729 – Exclusive 1 – BABY CE by MAFIA FACTORY

I’ll be posting our Exclusives and getting them up on social media as well. Hope you don’t mind these transmissions. This collaboration is a fun one. Imagine keeping in touch with a person you’ve never met in person. That’s how our relationship with Mafia Factory in Thailand has developed. My contact there did send his friend and family to come visit me at GR2. I felt awful since they were on vacation from Thailand but the five member family seemed to enjoy the bus ride.

Is a figure, a figure when it’s put together? Are the sum of it’s parts equal to a whole? It’s a philosophical question, but in this case, it’s the parts displayed nicely like a model kit. Put it together or just wear it. It’s a concept that’s deep and thoughtful and puts figures in yet another situation. The big kicker is that it fits LEGO brand items. It’s the size of a LEGO mini figure and you can interchange parts and stick it to bricks. We’ll have 200 pieces.  sdcctoy



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Paul Pope on his bad-ass, kid-friendly comic, Battling Boy

The final panel I attended at this year’s Comic-Con was a conversation between Gene Yang and Paul Pope about their upcoming all-ages comics. It’s a genre that I hadn’t really considered beforehand, probably because I grew up reading comics without ever thinking that they were written for kids. From the heaviness of The Silver Surfer to the gore of pre-code E.C. Comics, it was all great. But as mainstream comics have amped up the sex, violence, and controversy to new heights in an effort to keep readers interested, offerings for kids are dumbed down, cleaned up, or just plain stupid. Those sweeping generalizations are mine and not the panelists’, but perhaps it’s time to make quality comics more available to kids–like having all-ages punk shows.

Gene talked about his Boxers and Saints books, which tell story of the Boxer Rebellion through the Chinese patriots’ and Chinese Christians’ points of views, respectively. Especially interesting, considering that Gene is a student of either point of view. His books are already out and available now.

And then there’s Paul Pope’s new book. I grabbed reader’s edition and it blew my mind with its Jack Kirby meets The Twilight Zone vibe. Main characters perish, the populace is afraid, and there are awesome monsters. The hero just happens to be a kid, and he’s kind of freaked out. This ain’t Scooby-Doo.

The first installment of Battling Boy drops next month, and I want everyone to know in advance that it rules. So here’s a quick Q&A with the creator of THB, Heavy Liquid, and Batman: Year 100 to get you excited and maybe even share with your friends.

MW: Tell me why you’re making an all-ages comic. That’s something many artists don’t do unless they have kids and are stuck reading lousy kids’ comics!
PP: I think there aren’t enough good comics which are directly aimed at a kid audience. I love the challenge of making a bad-ass comic which is kid-friendly and does all the cool shit we remember from Heavy Metal magazine and old Jack Kirby comics, and delivers in such a way as to be accessible to kids. Nothing too violent or too harsh, but still not too sugar-coated and dumbed down. Something genuine. I don’t have kids, but I was a kid, you know?

MW: Do you recall what you read as a kid?
PP: I read everything. I was a voracious reader. Donald Duck through Heavy Metal through Dune, I read it all.

MW: How do you see all-ages comics these days in comparison?
PP: I dunno, I don’t look at all-ages comics, outside of Adventure Time. But if kid’s comics means Scooby-Doo and Bugs Bunny, that stuff is like 40 or 50 years old. Those are classics, for sure. But kids need new comics. (more…)



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Music Reviews: Metallica at Comic-Con, Milk Music and Colleen Green at The Casbah, El Vez at Bar Pink, plus Adam Ant and The Go-Go’s

I don’t usually get too excited about the extracurricular events at Comic-Con but when I discovered that Metallica was going to attend a panel about their new 3-D IMAX movie and then play a secret show, I had to make it happen. Through the movie publicists, I was able to catch the Monsters of Rock play for the first time since the And Justice For All… tour. I was stoked to get a killer seat in the second row of the second level with studio folks and lucky Con attendees.

When I saw them at the Long Beach Arena way back when, I was kind of freaked out by the crowd of wild heshers that tore cushions off the seats and threw them in the air. The band went on KNAC to persuade fans to behave better during the second show. Probably for the better, Spreckels didn’t have the same sense of danger–although the set was pretty much from that era. They started with a double-shot of “Creeping Death” and “For Whom The Bell Tolls” and ended with a heavy-duty encore of “Last Caress” and “Seek and Destroy.” And if The Misfits cover wasn’t enough for Comic-Con fans, Kirk turned the Star Wars theme into a sweet solo leading into “Nothing Else Mattered” and “Enter Sandman.” Metallica has and will always rule, and it was very rad of them to play this free set for their fans (and a handful of lucky, undeserving poseurs like me).

I was psyched to visit one of my favorite venues the next night. Sadly, I missed the opener and headliner due to food and sleep reasons but mostly wanted to see the middle bands anyway. First there was the one-woman wrecking crew Colleen Green. I dig the cool, effortless style and catchiness of her supremely minimal yet hook-ridden tunes to the max.

And then there was Milk Music, a trio that plays super catchy and fuzzed-out melodies, full of primo noise an unconcerned with image. This time around, they seemed to play mostly older stuff of their essential first EP, which was once impossible to find but has been repressed. Fans of Dinosaur Jr. would dig, for sure.

I thought we were ending the best Comic-Con even by having dinner with my friends Alyasha and Kien at the Convoy Tofu House. Then Aly mentioned that he knew the DJ and could get us on the list for El Vez at Bark Pink’s sixth anniversary party. I was beat but it was impossible not to be entertained by The Schitzophonics’ high-energy set of garage rock ‘n’ roll. Taking the melody of The Fleshtones, sweat of JSBX, and out-0f-control energy from an electric chair, I had to be careful not to get clocked by the guitar neck as the singer spasmed around the low stage. Amazing.

Somehow, The Schizophonics had more than enough energy to be The Mexican Elvis’s backing band. I’ve seen the El Vez for President show and the Merry Mex-Mas show in the past, and this time it was the Punk Rock Revue. Of course, the original member of The Zeros played “Wimp” and “Beat Your Heart Out,” not to mention takes on Roxy Music, T-Rex, Television, and The Ramones. More than just delivering an aesthetic education, El Vez provides maximum entertainment and energy. A musical icon, institution, and friendly guy, too boot.

BONUS REVIEWS

Two more quickies that I don’t have proper photos for… My brother and I didn’t score preview tickets for Comic-Con so we saw Adam Ant at The Balboa instead. Holy crap, the two-hour set was awesome and full of all the old songs that Ant People would want to hear, from “Ant Music” to  “Prince Charming.” The Dandy Highwayman doesn’t kick quite as high or spin as quickly as he did back in the day, but his voice is spot on and he is full of charisma and energy. (Thanks, Greg for the iPhone pic.) I took my daughter to see The Go-Go’s at the Pacific Amphitheater the Sunday before that, too. They played all the hits, and seemed to have a great time doing it. In addition to the hits, they covered KISS and The Ramones, and even did some circle pit dancing in honor of the Cuckoo’s Nest, which was right down the street. Too bad the venue made me go back to the car with my camera, but we were too far for any decent images anyway…



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Comic Con Day 3 (fri) and 4 (sat)

Jonathan Ross. Yes, I met the journalist / jack-of-all trades genius. It turns out, he knows a lot about what little I have done with Giant Robot. We’re going to hang out one day.

Kid Koala and Dan the Automator signed last minute at our booth. It’s an honor housing two hip hop / music legends.

Mari Inukai signing.

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Comic-Con: From Set up to Day 2

The set up wasn’t tough thanks to the great help and the set up looked better than ever. Packed with exclusives, our booth feels fresh. The passers-by and friends flow and it’s always nice to see old friends.



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Giant Robot x San Diego Comic-Con 2013 – SDCC13

 

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Giant Robot SDCC13 Signing Schedule



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GR X Comic-Con 13: Giant Robot Plush by Hilda Hufalar SDCC13

GR X Comic-Con 13: Giant Robot Plush by Hilda Hufalar

There’s Big Boss Robot and the Nice Yellow Robot. 20 pcs each and all hand made.

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GR X Comic-Con 13: Nekomitaina Hone GID – Mari Inukai Signing SDCC13

GR X Comic-Con 13: Nekomitaina Hone GID – Mari Inukai Signing  

In the wonderful series of Sekaiseifukudan, it’s time to release another limited edition Glow in the Dark, and this time it’s the Nekomitaina Hone GID! A purchase will get you a free limited edition print.

Mari Inukai will be Signing and sketching on Saturday July 20th 11am!

Giant Robot Booth 1729



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GR X Comic-Con 13: Sleepin’ by Yoskay Yamamoto and Signing SDCC13

GR X Comic-Con 13: Sleepin’ by Yoskay Yamamoto and Signing

Handcast pins. If you’ve seen his handcarved wood pins, these look just like them. They’ll be painted, some in it’s natural state, but the great thing is, there will be some quantities and varieties. Meet Yoskay Yamamoto at Giant Robot SDCC.

Friday July 19th 11am

Giant Robot Booth 1729



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GR X Comic-Con 13: Remix Project: Scott Wilkowski Infected Big Boss Robot and Signing SDCC13

GR X Comic-Con 13: Remix Project: Scott Wilkowski Infected Big Boss Robot

Scott Wilkowski the creator of some of the coolest “custom” re-casts  works on the Big Boss robot for yet another sparkling series of Infected designer toys. We’re proud to work with Wilkowski and will also have him signing at the Giant Robot booth.

Friday July 19th 2pm

Giant Robot Booth 1729



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GR X Comic-Con 13: Uglydoll Caps and Beanies and New Comic “Goin’ Places” SDCC13

GR X Comic-Con 13: Uglydoll Caps and Beanies and New Comic “Goin’ Places”

David Horvath Creator of Uglydoll will sign both items and more! There should be some FREE items too. 

Saturday July 20th 11AM

Giant Robot Booth 1729



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GR X Comic-Con 13: The Serpent by Enkyskulls SDCC13

GR X Comic-Con 13: The Serpent by Enkyskulls

Locals team up! We’re proud to work with Enkyskulls, our local friends to GR1 and GR2. They’re a talented duo and the new beast, The Serpent is being unveiled. There’s no tricks or gimmicks, it’s just pure plush making skill. We are proud to carry them at Comic Con. They’ll be limited since they’re all made with love by hand.

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GR X Comic-Con 13: Dehara Yukinori mini-figures SDCC13

GR X Comic-Con 13: Dehara Yukinori mini-figure 

1.5″ tall, they’re true mini figures of Dehara’s characters! We’ll have them.

Giant Robot Booth 1729



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GR X Comic-Con 13: flat bonnie presents Batbun and Shelbun SDCC13

GR X Comic-Con 13: flat bonnie presents – Batbun and Shelbun

Giant Robot is proud to team up with flat bonnie at Comic Con 2013. flat bonnie creates with their minds, hearts and hands and we enjoy their works!

Here’s some specs on the Batbun:

BatBun info:

Flat Bonnie in costume as BatBun for SDCC.

12″ Handmade Plush – signed and numbered edition of 10

Special Giant Robot/Comic-Con sewn in tag and hangtag

BatBun Postcard, button and sticker

(Made from animal friendly vinyl pleather.)

Some Shelbun specs:

ShelBun info:

Flat Bonnie in costume as her favorite T.V. scientist.

12″ Handmade Plush – signed and numbered edition of 25

Special Giant Robot/Comic-Con sewn in tag and hangtag

Flat Bonnie postcard, button and sticker

(Made of soft fleece)

Giant Robot Booth 1729



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GR X Comic-Con 13: Totoro by Hooked Hands SDCC13

GR X Comic-Con 13: Totoro by Hooked Hands

Amazing work by Hooked Hands. Last year, we sold them out by Day 2. This year, we have a little bit more, so we’ll see if they make it to Day 3.

Giant Robot Booth 1729



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GR X Comic-Con 13: Remix Big Boss Robot (5.5″) SDCC13

GR X Comic-Con 13: Remix Big Boss Robot

The 5.5″ sized Big Boss Robot will be Remixed.

Drilone, Leecifer, Luke Chueh, David Horvath, Aaron Brown, Julie West, Jason Limon, Edwin Ushiro, Jeremiah Ketner, Nathan Ota, Yoskay Yamamoto, J*Ryu, Mari Inukai, Dehara Yukinori, Cris Rose, Kohei Yamashita, Lunabee, A Little Stranger + more

Art by Nathan Ota
Participants subject to change
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Power Babo – In Stock at Giant Robot!

Get your 2012 Comic Con special! It’s Power Babo!

 



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International comics spotlight on Brecht Evens from Belgium

Seiichi Hayashi from Japan, Charles Glaubitz from Mexico, Jason from Norway–every time I attend Comic-Con I encounter at least one international artist with jaw-dropping, original talent who seems to redefine what comics can be. This year it was Brecht Evens from Belgium. His translated, painterly graphic novels, The Wrong Place (2010) and The Making Of (2012) are gorgeous slices of life that convey the power, drama, and luminosity of life without tights or capes. Or outlines or word balloons, for that matter.

Brecht’s storytelling ranges from stream-of-consciousness to dreamy and his panels swing from hyper detailed to quite sparing. But his gorgeous, voyeuristic pages always have a natural pace, truthful tone, and resonating message about the art of being human.

After meeting Brecht at the Drawn & Quarterly table, attending his panel with no visuals but plenty of interest, and then having dinner with the same crew as him at Comic-Con, I followed up with some questions about his work via email.

MW: It was a pleasure to meet you in San Diego, and I hope you enjoyed your visit. What were some observations that you took away from your first Comic-Con ?

BE: Thank you, and thanks for showing my comic book to the actress who played the scientist who tells the President the world is going to end, in The Day After Tomorrow!

There were a lot of nice people to meet at Comic-Con, but as a place, including the area around the convention center, it felt like walking around in a shopping mall for a week. Very peculiar.

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