Category Archives: comics

Entertaining Fan Expo Panels

I was able to see some of my favourite stars at Fan Expo last weekend. It was hard trying to figure out a schedule where I could see and do everything. But I am happy with how the weekend turned out.

Stephen Amell, who plays Green Arrow in the television series, Arrow really impressed me. He was so down to earth, answered fan questions thoughtfully, and shared memories of growing up in the area.

One fan, called him Mr. Amell and he told the audience that he didn’t like to be called mister or sir. A few minutes later, we heard a voice coming over the micriphone that addressed him as both. It didn’t seem to be coming from the main question microphone either.

The crowd erupted in applause and cheers when we finally figured out what was happening. Amell’s costar, David Ramsey, came out on stage and stayed for a few minutes. It was nice to see them both on stage at the same time.

Matt Smith talked about his time on Doctor Who and his current series, The Crown. There were lots of people dressed up in his version of The Doctor. It would have been nice to see some of the other Doctor Who stars show up, like what happened in the Arrow panel, but that is very rare. It’s hard to organize their schedules to make that happen.

John Barrowman was only in Toronto for a limited time. He actually did more than one convention that weekend. But he took time to connect with the fans, not only during the panel, but during his photo-op and autograph sessions. I wish I could have met him. He is such a larger than life presence and his panels are hilariously entertaining.

Catherine Tate really blew me away. She was provided with a moderator but carried on what was pretty much a one-woman show. She never sat down. Her energy and enthusiasm really stole the show.

I was really looking forward to seeing Billie Piper as she is one of my all-time favourite Doctor Who companions. I haven’t seen her other series but plenty of people had. The conversation touched on all aspects of her career, including her pop star years. I hadn’t even made that connection before. I vaguely remembered the singer Billie, but I didn’t know that the singer and the actor were one in the same.  It was cool to find out more about her in the panel.

I managed to find videos of each of these panels. I you want to see the panels again or watch them for the first time, click the link below.

More Fan Expo 2017 Highlights

Colourful Characters at Fan Expo

There were so many great costumes at Fan Expo this year. I wish I had taken more pictures.

This cosplayer did a great job of The Flash from Earth 2. When I asked for his picture, he went into this pose that made it look like he was running through the convention centre.

These thugs tried to rob me at the train station.

This wasn’t just a clever costume. The Cosplay Medic had everything needed to do small repairs and touch-ups. He even helped my son with his costume at one point.

And I’ll leave you with this picture of dueling sonic screwdrivers.

More Fan Expo 2017 Highlights

Cosplaying at Fan Expo

We had fun dressing up as fictional characters this past weekend at Fan Expo Canada in Toronto, Ontario.

I wasn’t sure my Arthur Dent cosplay was going to work. I was really excited to try it out though since this year I turned 42 years old. It just added an extra layer of meaning to this outfit. I made a book cover so that I could actually carry around The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy in my pocket.

My daughter had a great idea to use a safety pin to shorten my pocket so that the “Don’t Panic” text was always visible as I walked around the convention. I’m glad she suggested that. The costume was a bit hit. I had dozens of compliments and comments and one person even asked to take my picture.

We had to get out picture taken with this guy. His costume of The Silence was awesome.

At one point, I stepped out of my TARDIS and was confronted by a Weeping Angel. I didn’t blink once.

I love how both my daughter and I stepped up our cosplay game this year. She looked great as a gender-bent Matt Smith Doctor, complete with the best Fez I saw anyone wearing. And the purple shirt works better than the black one I wore the last few years for my Chris Eccleston cosplay.

My son wanted to cosplay Jason from Friday the 13th. He ripped up some clothes and tried to dirty them up for effect. My daughter also did a steam-punk costume. And I stepped up my Second Doctor cosplay with a better pair of pants, a new bowtie, and a wig to get the mop top hair right.

We went into the Doctor Who Escape Room and solved a series of challenges over the course of an hour. We had a little help from another group of Whovians since each game required eight players. But we worked together and escaped a grisly death from this Dalek.

The weekend was so much fun. I cosplayed four different characters, including a brand new one. My daughter did Mad Hatter, the Eleventh Doctor, and a Steampunk character. My son dressed up as the Scream villain and Jason from Friday the 13th. Small kids were actually frightened by the above costume that dripped blood down the mask.

We all had a blast and can’t wait to do it again next year.

Fan Expo 2017 Panel Highlight Videos

Fan Expo is always the best way to say goodbye to the summer. It’s a special Labour Day weekend comic book, science-fiction, horror, and video game convention in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

I take my kids there every year and we dress up in costumes, visit panels, do some shopping, and get to spend time with some fellow fans and enthusiasts.

One of my favourite panels this year with was Arrow’s Stephen Amell. He is such a cool guy and I didn’t even know he was Canadian. His panel was very entertaining and it made me love him even more.

Catherine Tate, who played Donna Noble on Doctor Who had the entire theatre in stitches. She was hilarious and put on a one woman show that was brilliant. The funny thing is that they provided her with two moderators who didn’t get to talk much at all. She commanded the stage, took questions, and even brought a young cosplayer on stage with her.

Tom Cavanagh of The Flash didn’t have as much energy and enthusiasm as the above two panels but he did drop a lot of behind the scene knowledge on the Flash and the other shows he has worked on.

Matt Smith, the Doctor, always entertains. His panel was a lot of fun. This was the second time we got to see him at Fan Expo and he didn’t let us down.

I was really looking forward to seeing Billie Piper. She played Rose Tyler for the first two seasons of modern Doctor Who and made me cry when she left the series. We tried to see her before at this event but she cancelled her appearance so this one was long overdue. She was a little more laid back than I would have thought, but it was still an entertaining panel.

What can I say about John Barrowman? He is absolutely hilarious and never lets up. His panel was just as entertaining, if not more, than the last one he did for Fan Expo. You never know what to expect from him. Stephen Ammel and Catherine Tate brought him up more than once in their panels as well. He is such a larger than life figure and if you ever go to one of these events and he is there, make sure you see him.

Thank you to everyone who uploaded videos of these panels. It’s nice to be able to relive these moments.

I will post more about Fan Expo 2017 later this week to show you some of the costumes we wore, the items I added to my collections, and the other activities we got to do. It was an amazing convention this year and I can’t wait to do it again in 2018.

Marvel’s Defenders – Ultimate Crossover Event

Marvel is doing an incredible job with its Netflix television department. The stellar first season of Daredevil set the tone for three additional series; Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist. And this past weekend, all four of the heroes came together in the eight episode arc of The Defenders.

This series highlights one of Marvel’s strengths; the crossover, big event that spans multiple series and includes many characters. They seem to do this every year in the comic books and have been doing it in their cinematic universe for quite some time now as well.

It was great to see how events that started in the second season of Daredevil permeated into the Iron Fist series and ultimately saw their resolution in The Defenders. While this series was short, it was the perfect length to tell the story, get all of our favourite characters together, and tell a cohesive story that will have many implications for the characters moving forward.

Daredevil is my all-time favourite super-hero but I absolutely love Jessica Jones in this Netflix universe. She is by far the strongest of the heroes and had some great lines of dialogue in this series. The way she connected with Matt Murdock was great too. My favourite scene was a pretty low-key one with both of these characters.

Jessica and Matt went to talk with the teenage daughter of a victim. They wanted to get some clues as to what her father might have been up to. She tells them a story about her dad getting quiet over the past few months and sitting at the piano, not even playing. Matt  recognizes that there is something important about the piano and he asks if she could direct him to it. He says that he did a little bit of playing when he was a kid.

Matt plays up his blindness and bumps right into the piano. He sits down and begins playing. The song he plays is the theme from his TV show. He plays a note and it doesn’t sound quite right. He plays the note again and notice the sounds isn’t clear. Something is obstructing the hammer from hitting the string.

The sound of the note echoing continues even after he stops playing it for Jessica to hear. The soundtrack for this scene is absolutely brilliant. The two heroes discover a vital clue and learn a lot more about each other in this scene.

I love how all the characters got to interact with each other. We can see Luke and Danny (Iron Fist) starting to become the good friends we know them to be in the comic. Jessica and Luke get to catch up on some things as well. And some of our favourite incidental characters are around for the ride too; Stick, Claire Temple, and Misty.

I have nothing bad to say about this series. It was great. And I highly recommend putting it in your Netflix queue.

Superhero Novels (For Eyes and Ears)

Wonder Woman: Mythos by Carol Lay

A couple go scuba diving on their honeymoon in the Bermuda triangle and the man disappears. Wonder Woman investigates and finds that there is a mysterious island that mirrors the one she is from. This one is entirely populated by men and they seem to be under some form of control. Could the God of War, Ares, be behind it? Is the prophecy Diana heard about as a kid coming true?

I am a big fan of audio books. It is a great way to experience a story when you are on the go. This one even has full cast narration. And even better it has the same voice actors from the last Justice League title I borrowed from the library.

Iron Man: The Gauntlet by Eoin Colfer

Eoin Colfer is a great writer. I absolutely loved the Artemis Fowl series. He also did a great job writing in Douglas Adams’ voice for a bonus sixth installment of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. That is why I knew his take on this superhero would be worth the read.

I don’t want to give away too much of the plot here. I knew nothing about the story going into it and that was a good thing. All I will say is that a teenage girl gives Tony Stark a run for his money in this one. If you are familiar with what is happening in the Marvel comics stories now, don’t worry, this is a completely fresh take on the hero, not related to that continuity, and a completely different girl. Yet it is equally entertaining.

I love how Colfer flips some common conventions of comics and storytelling. You can see he had fun penning this one.

My List of 2017 Reads – an annual reading log, continually updated

The Second Super-Hero Civil War

Civil War II

In the first super-hero civil war, Iron-Man and Captain America couldn’t see eye to eye. The stakes were high and there was no way around it. A clear line was drawn and it left people on opposing sides with no other choice but to fight.

Tony Stark, aka  Iron Man, was hoping that nothing would divide the super-hero community like that again. But a new inhuman with the power to see the future now upsets the balance. Captain Marvel wants to use him to prevent disasters from happening. Stark sees it as profiling and believes it is a wrong. Plus, can the visions even be trusted.

This was a good read that had tie-ins to almost all of the current Marvel titles. The new Spider-Man has a pivot role in this conflict as well. Also, Ms Marvel (one of my new-favourite heroes) and Old-Man Logan make appearances.

My List of 2017 Reads – an on-going and continually updated reading log

This Spider-Man Series is Miles Above Other Titles

Spider-Man: Volume 1 – Miles Morales 

Miles Morales is a great character and it’s nice to see that he now has an on-going series in the MCU (Marvel Comics Universe). It’s not simply a stand-alone title. This new Spider-Man is a member of the Avengers and has a pivotal role in the crossover event, Civil War II.

If you are new to Miles Morales, you might want to check out Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man for his introduction story arc and the second series that followed it. They were brilliant titles that lead into what happens in this arc.

Spider-Man: Volume 2 – Miles Morales 

Miles Morales struggles to be the good student that he used to be while being the superhero he has to be. His parents start to worry about him when they see his report card. They call in his grandmother to help set him straight and she goes as far as hiring a private investigator to figure out why his grades are slipping. She’s convinced that he is on drugs.

In one battle, Spider-Man’s costume gets ripped and a video blogger notices that the hero has brown skin. Miles can’t even figure out why that would be news. He just wants to be Spider-Man, not the black Spider-Man.

I’ve really enjoyed every Miles Morales Spider-Man story that I’ve ever read. I really wished that the new film coming out this week had used him instead of Peter Parker. That would have been brilliant.

My List of 2017 Reads – my annual reading log

Old Man Logan (Superheroes Can’t Retire)

Wolverine: Old Man Logan

Old Man Logan is a new on-going series that focuses on our favourite hero in an apocalyptic future where super-heroes are conspicuously absent and super-villains rule. I read the first volume of this series last year. At the time, I didn’t realize that this story got its start in the regular Wolverine title years earlier.

This trade paperback collects Wolverine: Volume 3, Issues 66-72 plus a giant sized conclusion. And it makes sense to read this one first.

The title sums up where the character actually is in life. He is an old man with a family and has no interest in being a hero anymore. In fact, he hasn’t even popped his claws in years. So when his old Avenger friend shows up, asking for help, he is very reluctant.

Nevertheless, he accompanies Hawkeye on a cross country trip that is sure to be dangerous. He continually tells Hawkeye that he is not a hero anymore and that we won’t fight. Of course, Hawkeye thought this was just lip service and if the situation called for it, the beast would emerge. He had no idea how steadfast Logan could be.

This was a really good read and I think it was even better than the Death of Wolverine series.

My List of 2017 Reads – my annual reading log

Darth Vader Ends It

Darth Vader – The Shu-Torun War

These comic stories take place after the events depicted in Episode IV: A New Hope, but before any of the sequel films. It’s really nice to see Darth Vader trying to figure out who he is and how he fits into the Galactic Empire. He needs to redeem himself in the eyes of the Emperor after the destruction of the Death Star.

In this story, Darth Vader goes to a planet to squash a revolt against the empire. And things get messy.

Darth Vader – End of Games

The cover art for the fourth volume of the on-going Darth Vader series is simply brilliant. I love how the Death Star morphs into his helmet. It shows that he, himself, is a powerful weapon and is still under construction.

I can’t get into the story of this one much without giving away any spoilers. I will say that the title has a ring of finality to it. Perhaps Vader is through playing games. Maybe he is coming into his own and figuring out his destiny as the apprentice of the Dark Side of The Force.

This series is very well done and much better than any of the recent films. I wish comic writers would work on the films. This is a story that would work well. Forget Rogue One, or the new trilogy. This is the story die-hard fans can get behind.

My List of 2017 Reads – my continually updated reading log