Louisiana Comic Con 2015 (Lafayette Edition)

Lafayette, LA

For a city that has been growing rapidly over the past few years, Lafayette has yet to attract a solid pop culture convention.  Sure, there have been a few fan-run conventions, but they seem to be primarily focused on anime (LouisiAnime is a prime example).  While there’s nothing wrong with having an anime-centric convention, it would be nice to have an event that takes in all aspects of geekdom, from horror to science fiction and everything in between.

On the weekend of October 17th, AVC Conventions changed all of that for the Lafayette area.  Louisiana Comic Con (which took place earlier this year in Bossier City, LA, had its first event in Lafayette and, at least in my opinion, it was a major success.  The event was attended by a solid amount of fans, nerds, geeks, and collectors.  There was a long line waiting to enter the convention and there was also a long line for day-of-event ticket sales.

Foot traffic grew with each hour of the event on Saturday, and Sunday had a very nice crowd as well.  The venue was sized right for the convention and there was a decent mix of vendors, comic artists, and celebrities.  A few guest cosplayers were also on hand.

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A highlight for me was getting to meet Lew Temple (Axel from The Walking Dead) and Donald Fullilove (Mayor Goldie Wilson from Back to the Future).  The Walking Dead cast members have consistently been some of the friendliest celebrities that I’ve ever met, and Lew Temple did not disappoint.  I talked to him about his character’s death in TWD and his character’s death in The Lone Ranger.  I told him that he was becoming another Sean Bean and he quickly told me that he was actually killed in a film by Sean Bean (whose character later died in the same film)!  It was fun moment that bled over into talking about Carol from TWD with the people in line behind me.

Meeting Donald Fullilove was my primary goal at this convention.  Mayor Wilson (particularly 1950’s diner employee Goldie Wilson) has always been one of my favorite characters from the Back to the Future franchise. Fullilove was extremely cordial, and was taken aback by my “very Louisiana, very French” last name.  He was a very cool guy and I’m glad that I got to meet him.

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I also got to hang out with some of my friends from the Lafayette area as well as the lovely lady’s of Orion’s Envy.  The Just Us League showed up on Sunday (with the Discount Dark Knight trying to keep them in line).  On Saturday evening I attended the convention after party at City Bar.  There was an artist’s Draw Off with an auction of their work immediately after they finished working on it.

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For a first year event, there was a large amount of cosplayers in attendance.  Their level of skill ranged from novice to pro and everybody seemed to be having fun getting dressed up as their favorite characters.  My favorite cosplays for the weekend were Chef from South Park and Penguin from Batman Returns.  Sooner or later I’m going to create a decent costume and show it off at an event.

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AVC has already confirmed that they will be returning to Lafayette next year.  I’m happy to hear that.  Why?  For starters, there’s a quick drop off in conventions close to my home after Space City Comic Con in August.  Also, I don’t always get to go to CoastCon in Biloxi in March due to work and distance.  I’ve given up on Wizard World events for the most part because they are both expensive and not as fun as they used to be.  CyphaCon and Bayoucon are excellent local events in April and June, respectively.  With Louisiana Comic Con guaranteeing a return next year and Southern Geek Fest opening its doors for the first time next April, I now have five conventions to look forward to next year.  CyphaCon and Southern Geek Fest have already announced a few guests, and I’m sure that Space City and Bayoucon aren’t too far from making guest announcements on their respective websites and social media pages.

So, Louisiana Comic Con is my last convention for the year and that makes me both happy and sad.  I’m happy because the event was fun, but sad that there are no more conventions in my area until next year.  I do plan on attending a few nerdy events to end the year (including Halloween Comic Fest at Paper Heroes and local comic shops all over the country on Saturday, October 31st), but LCC is definitely a nice way for me to end my convention season.

I’ll be writing posts about any and every other nerdy event I attend this year and will most likely write a review of that little Disney/Lucasfilms project that’s coming up in December as well.  I’m also hoping to snag an interview with a cosplayer or two before the end of the year and plan on featuring more of them next year.

As always, thank you very much for reading my post.  Feel free to comment or share photos from any events that you’ve attended in the comments section and don’t hesitate to throw suggestions about things you’d like for me to blog about as well.

Late To The Game

The Wonderful World Of Pop Culture

Next year will be my fortieth spin around that big ball of flaming gas at the center of our solar system.  That means that I’ve been a nerd for almost forty years.  My passion for and dedication to certain imaginary universes throughout my life have burned bright for a select few characters and tales.  Star Wars, Doctor Who, and Batman are three fandoms that I’ve been a part of for pretty much my entire life.  Sure, there are other characters, stories, books, films, and shows that I’ve loved over the years, but those three in particular have always had a special place in my heart.

I’ve become a passionate member of other fandoms over the years, some of which have been around a whole lot longer than me.  For multiple reasons, I was somehow late to the game on these shows, books, etc.  For instance, take Star Trek.  Even though Trek has become a pretty big part of my life, it wasn’t until Star Trek II:  The Wrath of Khan that I really took notice of the series.  I was born well after the show was taken off of the air, and even though it ran in syndication and on cable television, I was unable to watch it for the simple fact that my family lived too far out of town for cable and none of the channels that we caught with our antenna showed the program.

My brother was old enough to have seen most of the old series in syndication, and he was my sole source for all things Trek until I became an unknowing (at the time) pawn in a dating game involving one of my relatives.  I was lucky enough to have a relative that really, really loved science fiction and fantasy, and that relative also had a significant other who was deemed too much of a rebel by said relative’s parents.  In order to keep my relative from going astray, I was sent with the couple on dates to act as a buffer.  That meant that I got to see all of the really cool 1980’s science fiction and fantasy films with two people that I believed were as cool as a person could ever be (and I still believe that about BOTH of them to this day).

Wrath of Khan got the Trek ball rolling in my life and whenever it was announced that Star Trek:  The Next Generation was coming to television, I was ecstatic…..until I found out that the only channel that aired it in my area was also one of those channels that I could only watch whenever the planets aligned perfectly and there was a frost on the ground!

Eventually I made it to a college dorm and cable television, which meant that I played serious catch-up on ST: TOS and ST: TNGDS9, Voyager, and Enterprise all came later and, with varying degrees of interest, I watched them.  However, TOS is, was, and always will be my favorite Trek.

Another show that I fell in love with long after its inception (and cancellation, in this case) was Firefly.  I actually saw Serenity before seeing the television series and found it to be bland and not-at-all cool in any way.  After finally seeing the series a few years ago and then re-watching the film, though, I’ve grown to love the entire series and the film.

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I consider myself a Browncoat and have a mad crush on Jewel Staite.  I’ve had the opportunity to meet her, but I’ve never actually committed to getting in line and talking to her.  Eventually I will meet her, but she’s always made me very nervous.  It’s nothing personal against her, I just get very nervous in her presence.  She’s one of a very short list of actors and actresses that make me a bit afraid to meet.

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The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis, were always at the back of my mind as a book series that I wanted to read.  I had already consumed some of Lewis’ other works such as Mere Christianity, The Problem of Pain, The Four Loves, and (my personal favorite) The Screwtape Letters, but I was two books into Harry Potter before I ever picked up my first Narnia tale.  The films that were released a few years ago whet my appetite, but I didn’t fully commit to the series until after the first film was released.  After seeing it, I decided to read all of the stories and I fell in love with them.

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Another series or, perhaps better stated, another character that I was late to take interest in was Oliver Queen, the Green Arrow.  I always viewed Oliver as a second-rate Batman and a Robin Hood wannabe.  It wasn’t until the New 52 and the CW television series hit that I took a greater interest in the character.  I actually got hooked on the show via The Flash crossover episodes.  I’ve read a few of the comics as well, but the show is what I really enjoy.  I’m working my way through the series and hope to be caught up by the end of the current season.

Finally, one show that I’ve never really gotten into but have always wanted to learn more about is the reimagined Battlestar Galactica.  Again, my brother was my sole source for the classic show, and I everything he taught me about it, but when the new series came out, it just didn’t hold my interest.  I felt that something great was waiting in the wings, but after missing a few episodes and lacking the drive to catch up on them, I gave up on the show.

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Oddly enough, Caprica was much more interesting to me.  Of course, it didn’t last nearly as long as its predecessor, but seeing how much I enjoyed it has made me wonder if I should give BSG another shot.  I have friends that love the series, so maybe I can look to them for even more inspiration.

As always, thanks for reading.  I hope to meet some of you this weekend at the Louisiana Comic Con in Lafayette, LA.  Look for Charlie Brown on Saturday and The Discount Dark Knight on Sunday.  I hope to see you there!

The Walking Dead Has Returned!!!

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After what seemed like ages, The Walking Dead finally made its triumphant return to the small screen with a brand new season and a few new characters.  While Fear The Walking Dead did its darnedest to satisfy our hunger, it can’t hold a candle to its daddy.  I hope that Fear The Walking Dead gets better with its next season, but I don’t have a lot of hope for it.  With no intentions of beating a dead horse, I just can’t commit to any of the characters.  They are shallow and forgettable, and the show’s future looks bleaker in my mind than The Walking Dead’s future.

Okay, enough about that.  Let’s get to last night’s premiere.

****WARNING!!!  WARNING!!! SPOILERS AHEAD IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED LAST NIGHT’S EPISODE****

STOP READING NOW UNLESS YOU WANT SPOILERS!!!!!

Last night’s episode opened up with a bit of craziness.  That whole quarry full of walkers was interesting to see, and my old school Whovian vibe hit full speed.  Why?  Because anybody that watched classic Doctor Who during the runs of Tom Baker or Peter Davison know that a lot of serious stuff went down in quarries for both of those Doctors.  Whenever I saw that quarry, I didn’t think about it being the primary reason that Alexandria appeared to remain fairly safe.  Nope, I figured that it was a massive walker pit set up by the Wolves.  I’m sure that they will play a much larger part during this season of TWD, and I can’t wait to see where their story will collide with Rick and the gang.

Also, the episode played with flashbacks to the setup of the walker parade with black and white footage.  While I can appreciate the artsy attempt to differentiate between the past and present, I didn’t see it as much of a help or hindrance.  If anything, I would have gone with a darker filter (maybe brown out the flashback sequences) instead of the old B&W standby.  Still, that was just a minor bug up my backside.

For the most part, the episode was very solid.  It wasn’t my favorite season opener (Season Four and Season Two are tied for that spot), but I really appreciated how it used confusion (with the flashbacks, keeping us guessing as to what really is going on), group tension (the uneasy truce of Rick and Carter and the different reactions of characters to Glenn and Nicholas’ relationship), downright idiocy (Abraham’s seeming fall into goofiness), and humor (I’m looking at you, Eugene, and that glorious hair of yours).

We also got to meet a few new characters.  I’d like to focus on two of them specifically.  First of all, let’s take a look at Carter (Ethan Embry).  Carter pops into the group as the primary source of resistance to Rick’s master plan to get rid of the walker quarry herd.  Rick being Rick, he patiently waits for Carter to screw up and, surprise, he does.  He pulls a gun on poor ol’ Eugene (who plays off the whole interaction with a “Hello” that is hilarious in the minds of the audience).  This is when Rick lays down the law and Carter meekly agrees to help him out.

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Carter almost derails the plan when he is grabbed by a walker that has somehow twisted itself into the branches of a tree just off of the road that the herd is being paraded on to their eventual destination twenty miles away.  Carter, not used to being monster meat, screams in terror and then screams in pain as the walker takes out a chunk of his face.  This draws the herd into the woods for a bit, but leave it to Rick, Morgan, and Michonne to put an end to all of that nonsense.  It must have been very fulfilling for Rick to shut Carter up!

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The other character I’d like to talk about is Heath (Corey Hawkins).  While we don’t get to see much of Heath, his few moments on the screen are golden.  From his first encounter with Eugene, who immediately recognizes him for the follicly fashion-forward man that he is, to his nervous but much-needed assistance given to Glenn and Nicholas, I can see Heath being a key character for at least a few episodes.  Hopefully he will stick around longer than Carter.

The show held my attention for its entirety and gave myself and others brief glimpses into the development of Morgan as a character (he’s a bit miffed about his peanut butter protein bar and appears to be on to Carol’s deception of the natives of Alexandria), Michonne becoming even more sure of herself, and Deanna trying to keep things together after losing her husband and a bit of control over Alexandria.

I see this season as one where a few major characters will bite the dust (my money’s on Glenn and, possibly, Abraham) and a couple of newer characters (Deanna and Heath) will take key roles in the new chaos that awaits them just outside the walls of Alexandria.

Oh, and that HORN!!!!!!!

As always, thanks for reading.  I’ll be at Louisiana Comic Con this weekend in Lafayette, LA.  I’ll be sure to post photos and a write up about the event in the week that follows.  If you are attending the event, be sure to track me down.  I’ll be cosplaying as Charlie Brown on Saturday for most of the day and on Sunday I’ll be the Discount Dark Knight along with a few other members of the Just Us League.  I hope to see you there!