Heating Up The South!

Somewhere in Mighty Mississippi

The southern United States isn’t necessarily the first place that comes to mind whenever someone mentions geek culture, but geek culture is definitely thriving in key parts of the South.  Almost all of the southern states have successful fan-run conventions.  Some states, such as Louisiana and Mississippi, have multiple successful fan-run events.  Larger cities in the South have attracted the likes of Wizard World as well.

With that in mind, I decided to pose Ten Burning Questions to Tim Nicholas.  He’s one half of the dynamic duo that heads up Southern Geek Fest, a fan-run convention that’s celebrating its second year in 2017.  It takes place in Hattiesburg, and I was fortunate enough to attend the first SGF, and I have to admit that it was an excellent event.  You can read more about my time at that event here.  I’ve been friends with the second member of that duo, Rafe White, for quite a while now, but I’m still getting to know Tim, so I showed no mercy to him with these Ten Burning Questions!

Read on to find out some juicy tidbits about Tim and Southern Geek Fest!

1. You’re a big part of Southern Geek Fest. What exactly do you do with that convention?

Along with Rafe White, I am one of two promoters. At our last SGF, I was in charge of vendor relations, floor planning, volunteers and a hundred other things. Basically I do everything that Rafe doesn’t do.


2. Rafe White or Snow White? Who is the bigger diva?

Rafe is definitely the biggest diva!! He is constantly needy. I think he made an SGF volunteer pick out all the yellow M&Ms before he would eat the bag.


The Dynamic Duo of Southern Geek Fest, Tim Nicholas (L) and Rafe White (R).

3. Which celebrity have you always wanted to meet but haven’t had the opportunity to see in person?

Jackie Chan is probably highest on my list right now.


4. What is the most fun part of running a convention?

It has to be all the women throwing themselves at your feet!! Wait, that was a dream I had. The fun when running a con happened for me after the show, getting the feedback from all the attendees and vendors that we put on a good show.

5. What is the toughest thing about running a convention?

The unexpected. All the multiple fires that had to be extinguished.

6. Black Sabbath with Ozzy or Black Sabbath with Ronnie James Dio? Who do you prefer and why?

Sabbath with Ozzy. I love Dio, but I’m all the way Ozzy!!


7. Read any good comics lately? What is your favorite title?

I really haven’t read anything lately. I keep telling myself that I need to get back into comics, but I just haven’t done it.

8. What is your favorite fandom and why?

I’m a huge Trekkie and I love Fantasy novels . Star Trek was a favorite of my parents. I guess them introducing it to me as a child made me love it for my entire life. When I was in high school, a local video store went out of business. I took every dollar a could get together and bought the entire original series on VHS from them. I still have all those VHS’s.

9. In your opinion, has The Walking Dead jumped the shark? Why?

I don’t think so yet. This season has not been very good so far, but I think they are trying to move the show in a different direction. You can’t turn the Titanic on a dime, and I think the same thing goes for mega shows like Walking Dead.


10. A volcano is about to blow and the only way to save the village at the foot of the mountain is to blast Miley Cyrus tunes at the lava? Do you crank up the Cyrus or die a painful death?

“Came in like a wrecking ball!!!”


Mega, happy, deluxe bonus question: Is there a webpage or social media pages where folks can learn more about Southern Geek Fest? If so, share them here and I’ll include links!

Facebook group at Southern Geek 

Our webpage is southerngeekfest.com

@SGeekFest on Twitter and Instagram.

I hope that everyone enjoyed reading about Tim and Southern Geek Fest.  For the record, this is the first time that Miley Cyrus will be featured on a tag in one of my posts.  Thanks for that, Tim.  Be sure to click on all of the links above and follow Southern Geek Fest to get the latest on their wonderful event.

As always, thanks for reading.  I have a few more victims lined up for Ten Burning Questions, and I’ll be getting to them very soon!

Saa-Winggg, Battahh, Battahh!

Pee-Pee Pants City

Unless you’ve been under a massive rock for the last six months, you’ve probably heard a thing or two about a dude named Negan and his girlfriend, Lucille (she’s not really his girlfriend, for you non-TWD fans).  You might not even be a fan of The Walking Dead, but I’m sure that you have at least one friend who is that hasn’t shut up about it recently.

In any case, let me get you up to speed if you don’t know what is going on with the TWD season opener.  Basically, last season ended with a cliffhanger.  It was a glorious cliffhanger in my opinion because it baited folks for the season seven opener.  That’s what cliffhangers do.  Despite no new shows (unless you count the forgettable Fear The Walking Dead), TWD stayed in the headlines on a lot of social media and entertainment pages because everybody was trying to figure out who met the business end of Negan’s barbed-wire wrapped bat, Lucille.  There were a lot of other people (products of the instant gratification age) griping that the cliffhanger was the worst possible way to end the season because they didn’t know who died.  Yet I’m pretty sure that all of them showed up on Sunday night to find out what really went down.

Well, Sunday night finally arrived and we all got the answer.  Sure, folks who’ve read the comics had a pretty good idea about who might meet their demise, but the show has been known to go off on wild tangents in the past just to keep things interesting.  There are characters that have died early on in the series that are either still alive or died later in the comics and a few characters have been knocked off in place of other characters.

Warning:  Reading beyond this point means spoilers await you.  STOP READING NOW if you do not wish to find out who died in the season seven opener!!!


The latest episode brought us back to Negan’s world, where he has a whole bunch of Rick’s group on their knees.  Some are scared, some defiant, and none of them knowing what to do.  Negan is pacing in front of the group and explaining to them in fairly clear terms that he must punish one of them for stepping out of line in his world.  In his hand is Lucille, his beloved dealer of punishment, and he begins to play a game of Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Mo with the group (just like at the end of last season).  He points his bat at each member of the group and finally makes his selection.  He swings, compliments his victim for taking it like a champ, and then swings some more.  Crunches, screams, tears, groans.  All are present while the beating is going down.

The show managed to carry out the suspense for a bit longer thanks to flashbacks to the events that lead up to the thrashing.  We also see Rick tell Negan that he is going to kill him…..eventually.  This leads Negan to take Rick for a ride in the RV and then proceed to verbally and mentally torture him throughout the rest of the episode.  This particular string of events has become quite controversial, as well as the violence shown on screen during the beatings, but I’ll get to both later.

The victim, if you don’t already know, is Abraham.  Before his untimely demise, he manages to flash a peace sign at Sasha, which makes her break down into even more tears.  Negan proceeds to pound in Abraham’s skull.  We are only shown a couple of the whacks on Abe’s noggin before they cut to Negan’s face and an occasional glimpse of Lucille as she becomes laced with gore.  The production uses sounds to deliver the gruesomeness of the scene, and they do so with perfection.


But wait!  There’s more!

Whenever Abraham goes down, a lot of people are understandably upset.  The character has quickly become a fan favorite during his run on the show, and Michael Cudlitz has given us more one-liners in his time with the cast than pretty much all of the others combined.  Cudlitz also seems to be a genuinely cool dude in real life, so seeing his character go was tough.

However, The Walking Dead has always killed off fan favorites.  This is nothing new.  It’s the nature of the show and I highly doubt that it’s going to change any time soon.  Yes, Abraham and his brilliant “dolphin smooth” phrases are gone, but life goes on.

After Abraham’s death, many folks gave out sighs of relief because their favorite, whether it was Daryl, Carl, Maggie, or one of the other members of Rick’s crew, were still breathing.  But Negan wasn’t finished with them yet.


We bounce back to Negan’s torture of Rick for a little bit and we witness him break down everybody’s favorite zombie apocalypse deputy even more.  Negan is relentless, forcing Rick to go after his ax amongst a horde of walkers engulfed in fog.

Then we cut back to the lineup and we find Negan realizing that he just pounded in the skull of Rosita’s former lover.  He begins to taunt her and this pushes Daryl to the limit.  He jumps at Negan but is quickly subdued.  Negan’s men hold Daryl down and Dwight aims Daryl’s crossbow at him.  But Daryl lives to fight another day as Negan tells his men to put Daryl back in the lineup.

That’s when the shocker happens.

Negan reminds the group that he let the first attack on him slide because it was a very emotional time for the group.  But this second attack would not go unpunished.  Negan pontificates a little bit more about his rules and then, out of nowhere, he pops Glenn in the noggin.  This actually caught me off guard.  I wasn’t expecting a second death (despite having caught wind that multiple cast members might be dying in the season opener.

Negan continues to pound on poor Glenn, even making one of his eyes pop out of the socket.  Glenn tells Maggie that he’ll find her and then he succumbs to the multiple swings of Lucille.


But that’s STILL not all!

Negan continues his torture of Rick.  He forces Carl to the ground and draws a line across  the arm of Rick’s son.  He then gives Rick his ax and tells him to cut off Carl’s arm at the line.  Rick is at a loss.  We get to see him fall to pieces and beg Negan to let him cut his own arm off (hinting at a moment in the comic that involved the Governor).  Negan pushes on, demanding that Rick do it or he’ll bash in Carl’s head with Lucille.  Carl tells his father to “just do it” and Rick lifts the ax, only to be stopped by Negan at the last moment.


I immediately thought of the Old Testament story of Abraham and his son, Isaac.  For those of you who don’t know, Abraham’s faith is being tested by God, and He asks Abraham to kill his own son when no other sacrificial animal is available.  Abraham then proceeds to bind Isaac and is about to kill him whenever an angel stops him.

Perhaps this event during the show was meant to show the god-like power that Negan held over not only Rick, but his entire group.  It also could have been meant as a nod to the Biblical story and Abraham, who had been killed by Negan.  Perhaps it was just director Greg Nicotero’s way of making people talk even more about a show that seemingly everyone is talking about????

In any case, Rick is broken, Glenn and Abraham are dead, and the group finds themselves at a point where they have no plan of action and no real way of winning….at the moment.  Maggie, despite just witnessing the death of a friend and of the father of her child and being sick due to complications with her pregnancy, picks herself up and tells Rick that they have to go back to Alexandria and figure out a way to fight Negan.  The group carries off their deceased friends, and the episode ends.

The Aftermath (And My Two Cents)

I know of no other episode that has caused as much friction with the fans as this one.  Many people have publicly decried the episode for its violence despite the fact that there have been decapitations, people ripped apart while alive, machetes through skulls, the shooting of children, and many other violent acts throughout the entirety of the series.  Others have complained that the payoff for the cliffhanger wasn’t satisfactory because (all of a sudden) they knew who was going to die in the first place and that the last six months of speculation were wasted.  Some have even gone so far as to say that the show has become a “kill of the week” series, where character development has died and gore and violence have become to focus.

To all of those people I say, “Where have you been?”

From the beginning this series has been about the living characters (the real Walking Dead).  We’ve witnessed Rick go from being an honest and ethical man to a person who is forced to do things that he doesn’t want to do but must in order to survive.  We’ve seen him make good choices, bad choices, and a few stupid moves as well.  He’s learned from all of them.  He’s gone a bit crazy at times as well, but who can really blame him?

We’ve seen Carol go from a meek, domestically abused mother to the literal mother of all butt kickers.  She, too, went a little crazy, but I’m sure she’s going to be back on track soon enough.

Carl, Abraham, T-Dogg, Merle, Maggie, Daryl, Glenn, Beth, Eugene, Lori, Andrea, Morgan, Deanna, Lizzie, and almost every other character that had any decent amount of screen time was changed in some way.  That’s still happening with characters like Enid, Gabriel, and even Dwight.  If you don’t see these characters developing, you’re looking in the wrong direction and focusing on the violence.

For those of you that feel cheated by the cliffhanger ending and/or the cliffhanger payoff, I have to ask you what did you really expect?  The cliffhanger was meant to force you to talk about the series while it was on its break.  You say that you felt manipulated?  Yep, you were.  That’s what cliffhangers do.  You felt like something bigger should have happened?  Exactly how many skulls did Negan need to bash in to get his point across to you that he is a bad man?  Why did Glenn or Abraham have to die?  Hello!  Zombie apocalypse where all sense of order has broken down?!?!?!?

Yes, the episode was extremely violent, but I’d bet you ten dollars that the people griping about the lack of character development were also the same ones griping that episodes that focused on one character (like the Morgan episode) weren’t violent enough.  Also, Negan’s character developed more and more with each swing of the bat.  It was violent character development, and I’m pretty sure that we all now know just how nasty Negan can be without a doubt!

Also, for all of those people that instantly claimed that they called the death of two characters, I highly doubt that you actually picked them both.  Sure, you might have called Glenn’s death or Abraham’s death, but I seriously doubt that many people actually thought that Negan was going to kill two people from the lineup.  Sheesh, the interwebz can fluster me so easily sometimes!

I’m sorry.  I had to get on my soapbox for a bit there.  I promise that I’m finished for the moment.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Well, once the dust settles on this latest season opener of The Walking Dead, we have this guy to look forward to:


You see?  That’s how this show has always worked.  Characters live.  Characters die.  New characters arrive to add to the story.  The season opener was pretty good, but I definitely think that the rest of this season of The Walking Dead has a whole lot more surprises waiting for us.

Are you ready?

As always, thanks for reading.  Comment below if you disagree with me (and I bet that a few of you do) and feel free to share this post with your friends.  Oh, and here’s a photo of me and Steven Yeun from a few years ago.  He was a cool dude and I’ll miss him on the show.  Thanks for being a great part of the show, Steven!


Ten Burning Questions

On Fire!

Welcome, fine readers, to the first ever Ten Burning Questions post!  This post will be the first of what I hope will be many to cover ten hardcore questions that range from the serious to the silly.  I’ll be asking questions to friends, cosplayers, authors, convention goers, convention runners, volunteers, etc.  Hopefully I will also get a celeb interview here and there as well!

So, without further ado, here are Ten Burning Questions!!!!

Our first guest is JJ Shipman of RedTop Cosplay.  Let’s pick his brain with Ten Burning Questions!!!!

1. What comic titles and/or television shows are you currently following?

Preacher and Gotham

2. Which character is your favorite to cosplay and why?

Joker.  It’s my favorite villain, specifically Suicide Squad Joker.

3. Which conventions are your favorites? Why?

New Orleans Wizard World.  Big and lots of guests!

4. Who has better hair, Thor or Chewbacca? Explain your answer.

Thor.  He uses Thoreal because Hemsworth it!

5. Where do you hope to see yourself in five years as a cosplayer?

Where I am now.  I’m 100% satisfied.

6. What is your earliest nerdy or geeky memory?

My first episode of Doctor Who.  I was sold.

7. Favorite band or solo artist?

Need To Breathe, great band!

8. If you were stranded on an island, would you rather be stranded with Natalie Portman or Felicia Day?

Natalie Portman


9. When cosplaying, do you take on all aspects of the character, or just the look?

All aspects.

10. Favorite movie monster?

Alien Queen


Super Mega Bonus Question 11: Do you have any websites, social media pages, or contact info that you’d like to share with my readers?

RedTop Cosplay on Facebook.  Click the link to be taken to JJ’s page!


I want to thank JJ Shipman for being the first guest on Ten Burning Questions.  Each time I post about this particular topic, the questions will change!  I hope you, good reader, enjoyed this as well.  I’ll still be posting my standard posts like I always have, but I’ll try to have the Ten Burning Questions segment biweekly.
Thanks for reading!

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.


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.

Shiny! Celebs That I’ve Met Over The Years (And A Couple Of Funny Encounters)


I have been fortunate enough to meet quite a few celebrities in my day.  One of my favorite memories from childhood was the chance to meet and take a photo with Benji (yes, the dog) at a local drugstore in the Lake Charles area.  He was the main attraction, but there were a few other “celebrities” there like He-Man, Skeletor, and Tinkerbell.  I was scared to death of He-Man and Skeletor, and firmly rooted my feet into the concrete of the store’s sidewalk when I saw both of them walking to the store.  My mother eventually convinced me to get a high five and a handshake from He-Man, but I didn’t want anything to do with Skeletor.  I’m sure that my mother has the photo with Benji somewhere and I also believe that I took a picture with He-man, but I guess you could say that my interaction with Benji was the first in what has turned out to be a long line of celebrity meetings over the years.


One of my biggest fanboy moments occurred when I met Sylvester McCoy, the Seventh Doctor from Doctor Who.  I grew up on the classic Doctors, so the chance to meet one was very exciting.  Mr. McCoy was extremely courteous and joked around with my son about the pronunciation of his name.  I was a tad bit speechless when I first saw Mr. McCoy, and was very glad that he decided to speak with my son for a bit.  To this day McCoy is the only person that I’ve ever paid to have a professional photo-op with, and it was done with the TARDIS console from the television movie from the 90’s.  Hopefully I will get to meet more of the Doctors as the years go by.

Another celebrity that I entirely fanboyed over was Jeremy Bulloch (pictured in the featured image).  While most of the celebs I have met over the years have been very nice, Mr. Bulloch went out of his way to be super friendly to all of the folks that came to see him.  When he saw me walking up to him, he noticed my Cybermen shirt and talked to me about it.  He mentioned that he was also on Doctor Who and, being a typical nerve-rattled fanboy, I cut him off and told him that I owned one of the serials he was featured in on DVD.  He laughed, talked for a bit more, and posed for a photo.  He was a truely nice gentleman.


The most recent celebrity that I met was Mary Kate Smith.  For those of you who might not recognize Ms. Smith, she’s from Season Two of King of the Nerds.  She was extremely friendly, extremely positive, and I’m glad to say that I met her.  She’s an excellent role model for not only young girls, but for young boys interested in science and engineering.

Some other celebs that I have met over the years include Hacksaw Jim Duggan (pro wrestler), Brent Spiner (Data from ST:TNG), LeVar Burton (Geordi from ST:TNG), Michael Dorn (Worf from ST:TNG), Chase Masterson (Leeta from DS9), Ray Park (Darth Maul from SW Episode I:  The Phantom Menace, and a ton of other films), Daniel Logan (Young Boba Fett from SW Episode II:  Attack of the Clones), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Jon Bernthal, Michael Rooker, Steven Yeun, and many, many more.

Meeting Chase Masterson actually got me into the local newspaper.  They took a photo of us while I was handing Ms. Masterson a photo to autograph.  She is another celeb that is very nice and goes above and beyond to make sure that her fans have a good time with her.  I can also say that the cast members from The Walking Dead that I have met over the years have been very cordial as well.

Two celebrities in particular that I want to mention are Zendaya (pop singer and Disney Channel star) and Marina Sirtis (Troi from ST:TNG).  I met Zendaya a few years ago at an auto show in New Orleans.  I was actually attending a Wizard World event on the same weekend and overheard that she was at the auto show next door.  Knowing that my daughter was a huge fan of Zendaya, I paid the small entrance fee and stood in a line with a friend of mine for roughly twenty minutes.  Needless to say that we were the oldest (and only male) people in the line.  Roughly estimating, I’d say that the average age of girls in the line was twelve.  When it was my turn to get an autograph and a photo with Zendaya, she was noticeably shaken by the appearance of an overweight dude nearing forty in the line.  My face went red and I immediately said that I was there because my daughter was a huge fan.  She laughed and said something about that being sweet of me and signed the autograph.  One of her handlers, a massive mountain of a man with a deep voice, looked at me and said, “Come on, man.  You know you love Zendaya!”  It was an embarassing moment, but the look on my daughter’s face after giving her the autograph was more than worth it.


Finally, I have to mention one of my favorite celebrity encounter stories.  It was at Comicpalooza in Houston, TX a few years ago.  I was standing in line to meet Marina Sirtis of TNG fame.  There were a couple of people ahead of me in line and no one behind me at the moment except for this one person who doesn’t have the best personality on the planet.  We are former friends, and I’ll leave it at that.  When I approached Mrs. Sirtis, she introduced herself and called me “Love.”  That right there was really all I needed, but I was there for an autograph, so I started to look over the photos she had to offer.

There were many photos to choose from, and it was taking me quite a bit of time to decide on which one I wanted.  She and I made small talk until the acquaintance behind me said, “Hurry up and pick one!  Just pick one!”  In one sharp movement, Marina turned to the dude and said, “You shut up.  He can take all the time he wants!”  She then turned to me and said, “Take all the time you need, sweetie.  Pay no attention to that nasty man.”  It took everything I had to stifle my laughter.  What made the moment especially funny was that the guy is a massive TNG fan and he just got owned by Counselor Troi!

When I finally picked a photo for her to sign, I chose one from Star Trek: Nemesis.  I’m a big fan of that film despite the fact that a lot of people, including the schmuck behind me, dislike it very, very much.  He again opened his mouth and said, “Nemesis?  Nemesis?  You picked a photo from Nemesis?” to which Marina once again snapped at him with, “He can like Nemesis if he wants.  Leave him alone!”  She signed the photo for me, said, “Here you go, love,” and told me to be extra careful with it since she used a silver marker and it takes longer to dry.  The scolding of that “nasty man” made getting that autograph one of my favorite moments of all time.


Sadly I didn’t have enough money on me to get a photo with Mrs. Sirtis, but if I ever run into her again, I plan to recount the story of my first meeting with her and will definitely get a photo with her.

As always, thanks for reading.  I’ll post more celebrity encounters later.

It Has Begun!!!

Lake Charles, LA

It’s convention season again, and my alter ego, the Discount Dark Knight, will be in attendance at a few conventions this year.  He has a little contest going on over on his Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/discountdarkknight, so feel free to check it out if you’d like.

The first event that DDK will hit is Louisiana Comic Con.  It will take place at the Bossier Civic Center in Bossier City, LA.  Louisiana Comic Con looks to be a pretty cool event, especially for a first year event.  Guests include author Greg Burnham, illustrator Marcus Williams, comic artist Rob Guillory, anime voice actress Trina Nishimura, Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake of old school WWF fame, and the lovely Mary Kate Smith, best known as a contestant on TBS’ King of the Nerds Season Two.  Of course, there are tons of other artists, celebs, and cosplayers attending, so be sure to check out the convention’s website at http://www.louisianacomiccon.com.

The second convention on my hit list is CoastCon in Biloxi, MS.  Although it’s one of my favorite conventions, it has been a couple of years since I last visited this wonderful event.  CoastCon will take place March 20-22 and I’m positive that it will be a great event.  This year guests will include Battlestar Galactica alum Aaron Douglas, Tony Amendola who has portrayed a multitude of characters in film and on television, author James S.A. Corey (Daniel James Abraham and Ty Franck), anime voice artist Tiffany Grant, cosplayers Destine Magique Cosplay, and other artists, authors, and gaming gurus.  Hopefully I will be able to attend this year.  To find out more about CoastCon, visit http://www.coastcon.org.

One event that I will be sure to attend after Louisiana Comic Con is CyPhaCon in Lake Charles, LA on April 17-19.  It’s the best convention in the Lake area and one of the fastest growing conventions in the Gulf South.  It’s a little convention with big aspirations, and they always go above and beyond for their guests and attendees.  This year is their fifth anniversary and to celebrate, they’re bringing in Miltos Yerolemou (Syrio Forel from Game of Thrones), anime voice over artist and actor Chuck Huber, Larry Nemecek, who knows just about everything there is to know about Star Trek, and cosplay guest Marie Doll.  Also in attendance will be the Suzaku 7, an epic anime band that has played the convention before.  They do not disappoint!  CyPhaCon is still adding to their lineup, and it looks to be a big year for this convention, so check them out at http://www.cyphacon.org!

Late last year I blogged about my reasons for skipping over Wizard World New Orleans, so my only major event this year might be Comicpalooza in Houston, TX.  I won’t nail down any plans just yet, but you can definitely check out this event http://www.comicpalooza.com.

Whether or not I make it over to Houston for Comicpalooza, I definitely plan to attend Bayoucon in Sulphur, LA June 19-21.  This event has bounced around venues over the years (all of them were in Lake Charles at various locations) but this time it will take place at the West Cal Arena & Event Center in Sulphur.  Guests for this event will include anime voice artist Todd Haberkorn, Michael Koske, a featured Walker from The Walking Dead, and stuntman/actor/cosplayer John Mangus.  Hopefully Orion’s Envy will also be returning.  As of right now, Bayoucon has not had a lot of updates or additions to their website, http://www.bayoucon.net, but hopefully my favorite green ladies will be added to the mix soon enough!

Last year I attended the Houston Con in Houston, TX in August.  The website for that particular convention has been very quiet (their Facebook page, too), but the bunch over at http://www.thehoustoncon.com were very quiet last year as well until right before the convention.  When they did speak up, they did so loudly and proudly.  The Houston Con was one of my favorite conventions last year and I hope they return.

I’m also going to attempt to attend a few other conventions this year that I’ve never attended before.  MechaCon and Louisianime are on my “to do” list and hopefully I’ll get to them this year.

I’ll be sure to post reviews of all of the conventions I attend this year and will definitely post photos.  If you’re attending any of these events this year, let me know and maybe we can meet up and chat for a bit!

Thanks for reading.  I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything, but now that the new year is a few weeks old, I’m ready to blog my brains out!  See you all very soon!

Wizard Wipeout????

In Dark Corners Of The ‘Verse

For over thirty-eight years now I have been a geek, a nerd, the odd man out, and that shy kid that never drew much attention to himself.  While many kids were playing baseball or jumping rope, I was watching 3-2-1 Contact, Doctor Who, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Super Friends, and anything else that the four local channels (sometimes five if the weather was right)  had to offer.  I read books about the Universal Monsters and the making of films like Star Wars.  I also loved to draw superheroes, write my own stories involving said superheroes (and at one point a lengthy set of Indiana Jones adventures) and use my imagination a lot when playing with my toys.

Over the years I acquired a very small group of friends.  Some of those friends are gone now.  Many of them moved away with their families or their futures.  One good friend died in a car accident.  Others simply lost interest in me or I lost interest in them and we faded out of each others lives.  Throughout all of those friendships, though, the one thing that bonded us together, nerdiness, has remained.

I started hearing about San Diego Comic Con earlier in this century.  I became very interested in this seemingly wonderful event.  A home for all things nerdy from comics to science fiction novels to films and beyond.  It sounded wonderful.  I wanted to go to this event or something similar to it, but never did I expect that any type of comic or pop culture convention would make its way to southwest Louisiana.

That very thing happened in 2009 when a local Star Trek fan group put on ConDuLac.  It was a very small event, but it was the first of its kind (as far as I can tell) in the Lake Charles area.  The media guest was Richard Hatch of Battlestar Galactica fame, and other regional conventions came in to assist with the event.  It was pretty cool, especially for it being so new to the area.

Fast forward to 2011.

With only one other event under my belt (ConDuLac 2010), I attended my first major event, Wizard World New Orleans.  There were tons of vendors, comic artists, and cosplayers in attendance.  There were also plenty of media guests including the likes of Ray Park, Billy Dee Williams, Adam West, and Burt Ward.  A few castmembers of the a little show that had just started up on AMC, The Walking Dead, were there too.

It was a really cool event.  It was loud, crowded, and I met a lot of people (many of which I consider friends now).  It was Mecca as far as I was concerned and I was in love.

Wizard World New Orleans gave me the convention bug, and soon enough I was attending events like CoastCon, CyPhaCon, Space City Con, and Comicpalooza.  I even ventured into the world of convention running in 2011 when I became the vice president of BayouCon, created when a member of the crew that started the now defunct ConDuLac started his own event.  My marriage with that event was short, however, and I left a much wiser man.

Jump to the present.

The fourth edition of Wizard World New Orleans is just a little over a month away.  Sadly I will not be attending this event.  It will feature a few media guests that I want to meet and some comic artists that I’d like to buy from, but at $75 (pre-ordered online, $85 at the door) for a three-day general admission pass and anywhere from $30 to over $100 for autographs and goodness knows how much for photo-ops, I just cannot afford to go to this event.  While I understand that Wizard World sets prices to maintain some sort of control over the size of the crowd, it makes me wonder just how greedy they are when there are smaller events with similar guests and attractions that are offering weekend passes for fifty dollars and autographs that are ten to thirty dollars cheaper than the same autograph at Wizard World.

On top of this, Wizard World is now demanding fan groups to shell out around $650 to have a table at the event despite the fact that most, if not all, of them are non-profit and sell nothing at the convention to recover any costs.

Greed is an ugly thing, people, and Wizard World looks mighty greedy to me.

I plan to attend more smaller conventions in 2015, and will most likely return to Comicpalooza for the first time in a couple of years.  They will get the dollars I would have spent at Wizard World, but I just cannot justify shelling out so much money to an event that seems to care more about the bottom line than the fans that made it the massive creature it is today.

While I won’t tell my readers that they should boycott Wizard World or any other event, I will suggest that they take a look at what these events stand for before deciding to attend one of them.

Thanks for reading!