Month: June 2015

The Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con June 2015

The Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con (ALVCC) took place June 19-21, and from all appearances it was hugely successful.  Comic and pop culture fans descended upon the South Point Hotel and Casino on the southernmost tip of the Las Vegas Strip for three days of fun in the summer heat.  (Yes, it was over 110 all weekend long, but we were able to stay inside with tons of air conditioning, the way Mother Nature intended…)

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I arrived in Las Vegas on Thursday evening.  My plan was to have a day to relax prior to the convention, and this was a great idea.  It’s important to pace yourself in Sin City.

Friday morning I woke up, got some work done, and had a nice buffet lunch.  Press passes were available at noon, but a very helpful staffer gave me the program guide early so I could study it over lunch.

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By 3pm the South Point was buzzing with comic con fans.  Seeing Elsa from Frozen in the casino surrounded by excited kids on vacation gave me a hint of what was to come.

The ALVCC Exhibit Hall took up the entire South Point convention area, as well as part of the arena concourse.  They also used concourse space for the main panel room, which was very convenient, but not very practical.  (More on this later)  Given the excessive heat outside, you’d think it could be warm inside, but it was actually quite comfortable in the massive Exhibit Hall.  At times it was even chilly in there.  Even at the busiest point on Saturday, the con floor was never unmanageable.  The event organizers did a great job with spacing the booths to allow for easy crowd flow; there was an open perimeter around the outside to allow for ease of access when you needed to go quickly from one end of the room to the other.

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ALVCC boasted over 200 artists in Artist Alley.  There were two rows of spaces that spanned from one end of the Exhibit Hall to the other, and artists were lined up on both sides.  At times it was overwhelming to see so much great art displayed at once because it made choosing what to buy even harder.  In addition to Artist Alley, there were over 150 exhibitors selling must-have toys and collectibles.

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Saturday programming included the highly-publicized panel with Deadpool creator Rob Liefield, as well as a panel with the always charming John Barrowman.  The only downfall was that the big panels were held on the concourse in a curtained off area.  The big panels were standing room only, even though the area could have been expanded.  I think that it would be great to make the area bigger, since the space was available and not limited to the confines of a room.  The noise level was also an issue because there were booths and games directly outside of the curtains.

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The last event of the night on Saturday was the costume contest, where all of the cosplayers came out to display their awesome costumes.  The judges were looking for more than just costumes; they also took into account the craftsmanship of the costumes.  The best in show winner was Oberon Martel, from Game of Thrones.  Oberon was wearing a handmade leather costume that he hand-tooled himself.  It was quite impressive, and it was nice to see that his hard work paid off.

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In my opinion, ALVCC is the perfect comic convention in terms of size, content and exhibitors.   There was enough going on to keep me busy all weekend.  I don’t know the final attendance numbers but I do know that the parking lots were full on Saturday, and yet I didn’t get the claustrophobic feeling in the Exhibit Hall that I’m used to at SDCC.  There was plenty of space for everyone, and having that space made it easier to meet and greet artists and exhibitors.  And having a “self-contained” convention was nice, too.  The South Point has a midnight breakfast special, and there was a huge line of ALVCC people waiting to get in.  It was awesome.  Every elevator, blackjack table, and restaurant was full of costumed fans.  Vegas is fun in and of itself, but add a comic con and it gets even better.  At one point we were out on the Strip late at night and we ran into a trio of Halo cosplayers.  It was great.

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If you haven’t been to Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con, make plans to be there in 2016.  It’s, well…amazing!

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The Selfie Stick: Stopping Rides and Breeding Idiots

I just read this article about a guest at Disneyland who pulled out a selfie stick on a roller coaster and forced the ride to shut down.

Here’s the thing: As a culture, cell phones have been permeating into our lives more and more over the past twenty years, and the problem is only getting worse.  People on their phones walk into open manholes.  They stop and take selfies in the worst places.  And now selfie sticks allow people to film themselves doing all kinds of things.  In some cases it’s purely innocent, but when it comes to roller coasters, selfie sticks are a real threat to safety.  I’ve seen people taking selfies while driving.  Selfie sticks make it easier to take selfies, and so naturally people want to push the envelope and take more outlandish pictures.

Disneyland and Disney World have banned selfie sticks, and selfie sticks have been axed from San Diego Comic Con as well.  I think it’s a good step. Some people clearly aren’t capable of making good decisions.

What do you think about selfie sticks?

“We were somewhere around Barstow…”

“…on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.”

No, I don’t do drugs.

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And, sadly, we haven’t reached Barstow yet because of an hour-long delay in San Bernardino.

However, while in San Bernardino I did see a very large woman with most of her very large tank top down around her waist, with her very large breasts hanging out.  Well, it is 90 degrees, but still…

This bus trip has been positively fascinating. I’m seeing parts of my state that I would probably never see otherwise. 

Though we’re still on the bus heading toward our destination, I can safely say that this has been “a savage journey to the heart of the American Dream.”

To be continued…hopefully in Barstow…when we get there….

On the Edge of the Desert: The Road to Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con

Well, the ol’ bus is making its way toward Las Vegas.  We’re due to arrive in just over five hours now, and so far I’ve managed to read half of a book.

I’m looking forward to checking in at the South Point and getting a lay of the land before the show opens tomorrow.  I’m also hoping to be able to write two book reviews before I go to sleep tonight…we’ll see…

Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con: Pre-Trip

I’m getting ready to leave for Las Vegas.  This trip to Amazing Comic Con in Las Vegas promises to be absolutely, well, amazing.

Oh, and it’s 110 in Vegas this weekend. The weather app has a burning match to drive that point home, in case the number wasn’t enough…. (I’m sitting in the cool San Diego coastal breeze as I write this, pondering my sanity to undertake such a journey under such extreme conditions, but it’s worth it. I have a press pass!)

This is going to be an epic adventure. I am covering the event for a variety of websites and I’ll be sure to post links here so you can see them. I’ll also have lots of original content here as well.

Oh…and there’s one other thing… I’m really serious about an epic adventure.  I’m taking a Greyhound bus.  This was a much better alternative to driving solo, and the bus has free wi-fi and power outlets, so you can expect full coverage along the seven hour journey.

I mean that. Full. Coverage.

As in Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas full coverage.

“But our trip was different.  It was a classic affirmation of everything right and true and decent in the national character.  It was a gross, physical salute to the fantastic possibilities of life in this country–but only for those with true grit. And [I am] chock full of that.”

To be continued….

Let the journey begin!

Cover Reveal: AJ Linn’s A Gentleman’s Fate

As many of my readers know, author AJ Linn is a friend of mine. You can find my other article about him here. Everything AJ Linn is doing is a testament to why it’s so incredibly important to support independent authors. Not only does he dream up and write books, but he formats and publishes them as well. He’ll tell you how hard it is, but he does it because he loves it (no matter how much he grumbles) and he does it for his fans. I am honored to be a part of the big reveal (albeit late…) of the cover to his newest book, A Gentleman’s Fate.  Read on for an excerpt from his new book, and learn more about this amazing author.

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An Excerpt from A Gentleman’s Fate

We arrive at the dock, and before us is the hard-not-to-miss gondola, filled with red roses and surrounded by dozens of tiny white flickering votives. The priest and the gondolier are standing by, making the big surprise even more obvious with their shit-eating grins. It quickly becomes apparent to Scarlett what’s happening, and she doesn’t say a word. She just stands there, stunned, speechless, and horrified.

“Come aboard, happy couple!” the gondolier says, attempting an American accent, not overshadowing his own thick Italian. “We have-a da champagne on ice for da celebration of this most joyous of occasions!”

“The celebration? Donovan? What’s going on?” she asks, not taking her eyes off of the priest. “What is this?”

“This, Scarlett, is me trying to marry you. The romantic shit that you hate, remember?”

“Donovan?” A confused, terrified look sweeps across her face.

About AJ Linn:

A.J. Linn published his debut novel, A Gentleman’s Affair, Volume 1 of The Gentleman’s Series, in May, 2013.

Since that time, he has continued protagonist Donovan Hart’s story in A Gentleman’s Secret, published in December, 2013, and revealed Donovan’s earlier life in a prequel, A Gentleman’s Memoir, a novella published in August, 2014.

The series quickly became very popular with fans of his RP/character blog, which he’d been writing for almost a year. He credits those fans with this series, since they were the ones who encouraged him to “write a book” and dedicated the books to them.

With his unique voice and writing style, the popularity of the series began to grow, despite the promotion and marketing challenges facing a self-published indie author.

In an original and creative idea, he gave his readers the opportunity to submit “characters” for A Gentleman’s Secret and A Gentleman’s Memoir, which he crafted into the story. The results were intriguing and sometimes hilarious, as he paid the ultimate compliment to his fans and readers…making their characters part of Donovan’s story.

While having full-time job and a very busy life make finding time to write a challenge at times, his readers are in agreement that he has done a fantastic job: four books in two years is quite an accomplishment.

The paperback editions of the series can be found on Amazon. The ebooks are available on Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes.