Xwraith's Con Report - Stuff I Got at RICC

Although I didn't do one of these for the last con I went to, I decided it would be a good idea to make one if I wanted to share the stuff I got with Comic Vine. For some reason, almost all of the things I bought were posters (I'll start with the things that weren't though).

As mentioned previously, I got some autographs (two of which could probably fit into the print/poster category).

And now all of you know my real first name.

Most of the prints I got were from an artist named Tyrine Carver. His art was very popular, probably because the prints were only five dollars a piece.

I'm pretty sure a lot of us have been wanting to see this.
I did not expect to see a Code Geass picture, but I knew I had to have one once I did.
You might have seen the one on the right here before. Carver said that his art gets shared on Tumblr and other sites a lot (I can't remember exactly where I first found it though).
These were actually by two different artists - Tyrine did the one on the right, and the other was by Mark McKenna.
I've seen it a bunch of times, but TMNS never gets old.

That's it for the newest edition of Xwraith's Con Report. Hope you liked it, and I also hope you all won't need to wait a year for another one.

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Xwraith's Con Report - Rhode Island Comic Con 2014 Encounters and Panels

As with the New York Comic Con, there were a lot of people I got to meet at the Rhode Island Comic Con this year.

One of the ones I was most excited about was Vic Mignogna, probably best known as the voice of Edward Elric (I think everyone here knows that I love FMA). He was the first person I got an autograph (and picture) from there - and I'll let you know that it was not easy moving around the autograph area for most of the day.

I'm laughing in this picture because of something I'd said before it was taken.

I let him know that I was also at NYCC, but I had passed on getting an autograph there because I knew I'd be seeing him closer to home. I also asked him something I've been thinking about for over six months - who would win in a fight between Ed and the Winter Soldier? (He said Ed.)

About an hour or so after that, I went to a panel he was hosting, focusing on his series Star Trek Continues. I learned that he's been a Star Trek fan since childhood, and that it was his inspiration to become an actor.

But the one thing that I'll remember from that panel is that my phone kept ringing because the other people there with me wanted to know where I was. I felt bad about it, but everyone got a good laugh out of it. When I asked a question at the panel, he even said "Yes, my phone buddy!" My questions were "What was your reaction to Spock dying in Wrath of Khan?" and "Do you think Edward would make a good starship captain?" His answers were that he "bawled his eyes out" when Spock died, but that he felt cheated when he was resurrected only two years later. As for Captain Elric, he said "he'd need a few extra steps up to the captain's chair", which got a huge laugh.

The other person I was most excited for was George Takei. My phone happened to ring (again, because someone wanted to know where I was) right as I was picking out something for him to sign (it gave me a lot of trouble that day). He jokingly asked "Is that President Obama on the line?" It wasn't, of course. I told him that I had read his autobiography earlier this year, and that I greatly enjoyed it. He added that it was the inspiration for the musical Allegiance, which will be premiering on Broadway next year.

On the second day, I got several more autographs. The first of them was with Nichelle Nichols, who was originally supposed to be at last year's show, but cancelled because of the incident at the Los Angeles airport. I had read her autobiography a little more than a year ago, and, again, I let her know that I enjoyed it. I was somewhat surprised to learn that, 20 years after first being published, it is still in print and selling regularly. I also was able to get a photo with her, which had to be taken twice (the person holding it didn't hold the button down long enough the first time). If I don't look too happy in the picture, that's probably why.

I'm well aware that I really half-assed the Vulcan salute.

The other Star Trek actor I got an autograph from was Walter Koenig. Unlike with Nichols and Takei, we didn't speak much.

After this, I made my way upstairs to George Takei's Q&A panel. I had hoped to ask a question or two, but the panel had reached the time limit before I got the chance - he tells a story with almost every answer, often quite long and barely related to the question. It was a lot of fun to hear them, though.

I also go to meet a pair of genuine comics legends.The first was Neal Adams. I got a poster of the cover of Green Lantern #76 signed by him, and let him know that a Lantern/Arrow team-up is something I wouldn't mind seeing again. I walked by his booth a couple of times after that, and he recognized me each time.

The other comics legend I met was Jim Steranko. I also got a Nick Fury print signed by him, and I asked him some questions. The first was about what he thought of Nick Fury in the Marvel Cinematic Universe - he said that while he likes Sam Jackson as an actor, he'd rather have someone who more closely resembles the original Nick Fury in the role. My second question was about a story I had heard earlier this year (although my memory was a little fuzzy about it): was it true that he once punched out Bob Kane? His response was "I never punched Bob Kane...I bitch-slapped him." He added that he waited 10 or 15 seconds for Kane to fight back, but he never did so. What he took from that was that Kane was, in his own words, "a f***king coward" (and knowing all the stories about what an awful person he was, it wouldn't surprise me). I also asked if I could get a picture with him, but he said that "I'll have to pass on that, because I only take pictures with beautiful women." I found it funny enough that I didn't have a problem with it.

The last two people met were a pair of voice actors, the first being Richard Horvitz. He's done a lot of memorable roles in his career, but I know him best as Daggett in the Nickelodeon series The Angry Beavers. I told him that that show's Halloween episode is, in my mind, the greatest Halloween special ever. I also found a need to tell him that I live right near a street named Daggett Avenue - he seemed to like hearing that.

Veronica Taylor - best known as the original voice of Ash in the English version of the Pokemon anime - was the last person I met. I let her know that, when I was 9 and 10 years old, I would start my morning virtually every day with a Pokemon episode - and that the station that showed it in Rhode Island seemed to show two episodes more than any others. Although by this point, I didn't have enough money for a signed photo, she actually signed a 3X5 card for me for free.

Once again, I hope you enjoyed it - there's still one more entry about the show on the way.

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Xwraith's Con Report - Rhode Island Comic Con 2014 Cosplay Gallery

I promised I'd do at least one blog about my second convention this year, so here it is. I had actually been waiting a while for this one - I had bought my ticket at the beginning of February. After building up nine months of anticipation and finding out who all the guests would be, I'll admit it's kind of strange having already gone.

I'd originally hoped to condense this into a single entry, but I'll be breaking it up into three because it was too big to save as one.

As with NYCC, Attack on Titan costumes were very popular. Sometimes as specific characters...

...and sometimes not.

Fullmetal Alchemist costumes were far more popular than in New York - probably because Vic Mignogna was a headliner this time around. Trust me when I say there were a lot more than just these three.

Yes, this Ed is a girl. And I actually waited about two minutes to get this shot while Winry put her wig and bandana back on.

There were of course a lot of Marvel costumes (from both the comics and films)...

This was one of the most impressive ones, if you ask me.
I always try to get groups in a single picture - even if I don't recognize them all.
This is the first time I've ever liked Gamora's new costume.
This was actually the first time I'd seen someone do this costume.
I thought this guy looks just like Chris Evans - and I apparently wasn't the first to say that.
This Spider-Gwen had actually taken her wig off by this point - I told her it wouldn't be that big of a problem. And I apologize that the picture is so blurry.

...and DC was also well-represented.

This group actually had a third member, dressed as Satsuki from Kill la Kill. She didn't want to be in the picture because of an issue with her costume.
I had a bit of conversation about Nightwing with this one. She said she wasn't happy that Dick isn't Nightwing anymore, but she'll still probably read Grayson.
I was one of the many to ask this one if the wings made it hard to walk. The answer was yes.

The 501st Legion and Rebel Legion always have a presence at RICC.

This was new for this year. I thought it looked like it could have been a room in Legends of the Hidden Temple.
I didn't learn until later that you could get a picture taken inside it - I left that part to these guys.
This was the first rancor keeper costume I've ever seen.
The lightsaber was on for this picture - I don't know why it didn't show up well.
This guy wasn't with the Legion, but I give him credit for picking a pretty obscure Star Wars character (it's Dash Rendar from Shadows of the Empire).

Remember when I said I met a Satsuki cosplayer who passed on a picture? Well, I was able to get one of a whole Kill la Kill group.

I ran into this guy at least three times. One of which was not even in the building.
Yes, that's a Nerf gun. I think he did a pretty good job modifying it.
Here's a couple of Pokemon I never ever expected anyone to cosplay as (Shedinja and Dunsparce).
This was my seven-year-old cousin's favorite of all the pictures I took.

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NYCC 2014 - People I Met

I've decided to do a second blog entry about my experiences at this year's New York Comic Con, this time focusing on some of the people I met there (as the title says). I didn't get pictures for most of them, so I feel this was mostly overlooked in my previous blog.

My first encounter was with Jeff Lemire. I first saw him when he stopped by the Valiant booth for the first time (during one of my many visits there). I recognized him pretty much immediately, and asked "Are you who I think you are?" to which he responded "That depends on who you think I am." I added "I'm pretty sure you're Jeff Lemire", and he confirmed that he was. I told him that I feel he wrote the best Green Arrow ever, which he appreciated. I added that him being taken off of that book was, to me, even more painful than the Star Wars Expanded Universe being discontinued - and I found it significant that he did not object to my use of the words "taken off". Before I left the booth, I also showed him that I was wearing my Green Arrow shirt under my X-wing jacket - it turned out he was also wearing one under his button shirt. I would see him again later in the day (I'll get to that, I promise).

After spending an hour or so on the main floor, I made my way downstairs to the autograph area. I was well aware that I couldn't afford one from everybody, but there was one guest in particular I was most excited about: LeVar Burton (the entire main cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation was there). I first got a photo with him, and moved to his autograph line after that. I got to talk with him for a bit, saying that I was really excited to meet someone whose work I have been watching almost all my life. I then asked him something I'd been wanting to know for years: how did he see out of the visor he wore as Geordi La Forge? "Not very well" was his answer. I also learned that it was his idea to replace the character's visor with bionic eyes when the TNG cast moved to movies, saying it was a "very important" change to him. Before I left the line with a signed picture, I also told him the story of how I got to New York, which he was impressed by.

The other autograph I got was Michael Dorn, who had almost no one in line. There were two things that I made sure to tell him: the first was that I loved both Regular Show episodes he guest-starred in, and the second was that, despite looking nothing like him, I was Worf for Halloween when I was four - he loved that as much as I hoped he would. I was asked if I had a picture of me in that costume, but I did not have one with me.

I then returned to the main floor, and made another stop at the Valiant booth. This time, Matt Kindt, writer of Unity (my favorite current Valiant book), was there. I told him that Unity is my favorite of the Valiant line, and how glad I was that he will be writing a solo book for Ninjak - my favorite Valiant character. The last writer I met at Valiant's booth was Robert Venditti, whose work on X-O Manowar brought me into the Valiant universe in the first place. I let him know that Armor Hunters was not only the best event I've read in years, but it was the first in years to hold my interest all the way through.

After being told that Erica Henderson was at the Artists' Alley, I made a quick visit there. I congratulated her for getting the job on Squirrel Girl's book, and told her how glad I was when it was announced. Brian Buccalletto's (sp?) booth was directly next to hers, which is where I met G-Man. I made sure to let him know how much I love Comic Vine.

After leaving the convention itself, I (along with the other winners of Valiant's contest) attended a signing at St. Mark's Comics, with Lemire, Kindt, Venditti, Fred Van Lente, and Paolo Rivera. I let Lemire know that I had actually been looking all over the con for a trade of his Green Arrow (I have his run in single issues) so that I could get it signed, but I couldn't find one anywhere - and that what I got out of that was that people would rather read his stories than the ones that came before. I also asked if he was still in touch with Andrea Sorrentino, to which he answered "yes". I let him know that Sorrentino is one of my favorite artists, and that I've never seen anyone else who can do what he does.

After that, I made my way back to the Port Authority Bus Terminal, and got a bus back home to Rhode Island - it was 1:15 AM when I finally made it back, the latest I've been out in a long time.

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New York Comic Con 2014 - My Journey in Pictures

Thanks to the wonderful people at Valiant Comics, I was able to attend the New York Comic Con this year. I only went for one day (Saturday), but I still found it very enjoyable. I also found myself saying "I'm from Rhode Island" a lot.

I promised that I would get pictures there, and while I wasn't able to get everything, I still did get a lot. Hope you all enjoy them.

This was what I saw when I first walked in (sorry that it's blurry)
This was probably the most popular costume there - I saw at least 20 of them.
3D Maneuver Gear wasn't as common. And I did tell this one that Hanji was probably my favorite character (but I didn't say why... :3)
Kirito was another popular one (with this guy being the one who wore it best, IMO)...
...but I only saw one FMA costume.
There were a lot of Winter Soldiers, but with a twist: All of the ones I saw were women.
There were a lot of costumes I didn't expect, with these two being some of my favorites.
I actually expected Ryuko to be a more popular one - there were only two or three others that I saw.
I'd call this one of the best things to come out of SSB4 so far.
Yes, that's a shiny Ninetales.

Leo has never been my favorite turtle, but I still loved this costume. And yes, that chest plate is signed.
I was glad to see the most underrated Disney movie (if you ask me) get some recognition.

These next four came from the costume contest Marvel had at their stage:

Quite possibly my favorite group cosplay (even though they didn't win in that category).
Beta Ray Bill costumes never fail to impress me.
Not only does this guy look almost just like Chris Pratt, but his dance routine was the highlight of the contest.
This one took the glasses she was wearing off for this picture. I told her it wouldn't have been a problem.
This was the funniest costume I was able to get a picture of.
These were the only Gurren Lagann costumes I saw.
She actually held this for two extra seconds so I could get this picture.
I tried to fit the whole scissor blade, I swear.
This was the last picture I took before my camera battery ran out. She was in line for a presentation by RoosterTeeth, which was a lot longer than I expected.

And now for the pictures that aren't of cosplayers.These first three are from a place called "8-Bit Bakeshop". I actually entered to win one of them.

Yes, it was this one.
When I took this, I was thinking "If I can trust Jake with plasma weapons, I'd get him these".
There was a pretty big display of Gundam models.
Have I ever said that Zero is one of my favorite game heroes?
You can probably tell by my face that my legs were starting to hurt.
I'm not a fan of the Hobbit movies, but this was too awesome to ignore.
Yes, this is me with G-Man. I didn't notice I wasn't looking at the camera until I saw the finished picture >_<
And here's one last picture. I didn't get anything from here - I'm actually not even sure if it was open at the time.

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Belated 10,000 posts celebration: Starfighters of Adumar review

I'd been thinking about doing a review to celebrate 10,000 forum posts, but I was initially unsure of it.

Now that I've made up my mind, here's my review of Starfighters of Adumar, the ninth book in the Star Wars: X-wing series.

One of the things originally holding me back from doing a review was that it had been well over a year since I read this book. However, I am currently reading all the books I own by author Aaron Allston, following his death at the all too young age of 53.

December 8, 1960 - February 27, 2014

Plot

The plot of Starfighters of Adumar is pretty straightforward: the neutral planet Adumar has decided to take a side in the Galactic Civil War, nine years after the events of Return of the Jedi. But rather than use professional diplomats, the New Republic contacts Wedge Antilles to lead the delegation, for starfighter pilots are held in the highest regard by the citizens of Adumar.

Wedge takes three other pilots - and his closest friends - as the rest of his delegation: Tycho Celchu, Wes Janson, and Derek "Hobbie" Klivian. However, they quickly find things unusual on Adumar: the planet does not have a single government, and the New Republic has apparently been in the nation of Cartann for some time, as evidenced by the presence of New Republic Intelligence officer Iella Wessiri - whom Wedge is trying to rebuild his relationship with.

The New Republic pilots are not entirely pleased with the society of Cartann, as they do not have much of a regard for life - they subscribe to the belief that killing an enemy in battle is the greatest of honors. On more than one occasion, Adumari pilots try to shoot Wedge down, for no reason other than to be "the man who killed Wedge Antilles." Gladiatorial combat is also popular, with the blastsword - a sword with a blaster barrel built into the tip - being the weapon of choice. Although our heroes find the fights in poor taste, Wes Janson falls in love with the blastsword. The others eventually take to carrying them, both to blend in with Adumari society and to ward off any further assassination attempts.

A picture with blastswords, just for the hell of it.

I would go a little further into the plot, but I wanted to keep this mostly spoiler-free.

Characters

I feel that the biggest strength of the X-wing series, and Starfighters of Adumar in particular, is character interaction. In his first three entries in the series, Aaron Allston added many well-rounded characters with distinct personalities to the Galaxy, Far Far Away. And while he did not create the four pilots starring in this book, he does an excellent job with their contrasting personalities: Wedge, the committed man of duty; the harder-edged Tycho; Wes, the "funnyman"; and the cynical but also humorous Hobbie. Humor abounds with their contrasting personalities; while not specifically a comedy, Starfighters is one of the most genuinely funny entries in the Star Wars canon.

The character interaction also influenced the name of the planet; Allston stated that he named Adumar after Alexandre Dumas, after drawing comparisons with the four main characters of Dumas' best-known work, The Three Musketeers. While I've compared the pilots of Red Flight (as they are designated in the book) to other fictional teams, it's a little less highbrow in my case...

Yes, really.

Conclusions

Starfighters of Adumar is quite possibly the most fun read in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. While it tells a story very different than the films, with nary a Jedi or SIth to be seen, its well-developed, likable characters, engaging story, just the right amount of humor, and wealth of quotable lines make it very much in the spirit of Star Wars. I regularly tell people "if you only read one X-wing book, make it this one."

Also, I apologize if this review isn't the best written one out there - it's my first.

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One Year on Comic Vine

It's only been that long? It feels a lot longer. Maybe because I've managed to do a lot in that year:

-4635 forum posts (as of right now).

-7113 wiki points.

-Over 400 images uploaded.

-More people met than I can remember.

-Eight new books picked up (and four books dropped).

-One animal identified with.

I'm going to be here for many more years, you can trust me on that.

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