Wednesday, December 24, 2014

NORTHEAST COMIC CON 2014: A Vigilant Recap

NORTHEAST COMIC CON 2014: A Vigilant Recap





The Place: The Shriner's Auditorium, Wilmington, MA
The Date: December 6th and 7th, 2014

The Reason: NORTHEAST COMIC CON 2014!!

The Team: The Vigilant Geek and his band of evil comic book geniuses


         Welcome back my graphic novel gurus! My most sincere apologies for my November hiatus. Between studying like a banshee for my engineering exam this month, and getting a nasty case of the flu at Northeast Comic Con, I've fallen behind! I guess you could say that the vigilant geek hasn't been quite so "vigilant" lately. However, this month's going to be a real doozy here at The Vigilant Geek. I am kicking off this frigid December with some in-depth coverage on Northeast Comic Con, which occurred this past weekend, then transitioning into a couple of last-minute, yet extremely crucial graphic novel and web series reviews, followed by what I hope will be a highly-entertaining "Vigilant Christmas Special" and lastly, the inaugural "Vigilant Geek Awards," just in time for New Year's Eve so we may all recap the year in regards to the graphic novel medium, and give out some highly deserved accolades for outstanding comic book achievements.

            Anyway, enough about me! Let's relive Northeast Comic Con together! This was the coolest little con I've been to in quite a while. It literally had something for everyone. When my comic book colleagues and I entered the pearly white gates of The Shriner's Auditorium in Wilmington, MA, we were awestruck by the large array of comic book and pop culture exhibits, celebrity photo ops and interactive festivities. Some of the awesome attractions that we witnessed included an epic video game arena, a giant stage just for cosplay events, all sorts of different sci-fi and comic book themed trivia contests, a haunted hearse complete with REAL LIVE DEMONS courtesy of Fright Kingdom, (a horror-themed amusement park out of Nashua, NH)a heated Magic the Gathering tournament, workshops on how to draw cartoons, how to make comics, and how to make your own superhero mask, and tons of celebrity appearances by stars like Marky Ramone, (The Ramones), Nicholas Brendon, (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), MacKenzie Lintz, (The Hunger Games), Christopher Judge, (Stargate), Naomi Grossman, (American Horror Story), Butch Patrick, (The Munsters), Christy Carlson Romano, (Even Stevens), and even voice legends like Billy West, (Futurama)! In regards to panels, an impressive number of different distinctively-themed panels went on in the Wilson Room over the course of the day, such as "The Oddities Panel," "50 Years of Horror on TV," "The 25th Anniversary of Who Framed Roger Rabbit?",  "Voice Actors Script Read" and the excellent "Marvel Comics 75th Anniversary Panel.






COSPLAY EVENTS:


No Comic Con is complete without some Harley Quinn cosplay!


Some familiar faces of animation: (Left to Right) Louise Belcher (Bob's Burgers), Zoidberg (Futurama),  Tina Belcher (Bob's Burgers)


                    The cosplay events at N.E.C.C. were intense, extremely popular and taken pretty seriously by all participants. In fact, cosplay was such a big deal at this con, there was a giant stage right in the middle of the con for all sorts of cosplay events such as a cosplay dating game, create-a-character cosplay contest, create a hero/villain cosplay contest, (in which participants actually create their own comic book, anime or video game character and make their own costume for it!), and of course, the now infamous "Cosplay Deathmatch." "Cosplay Deathmatch" was definitely an original idea, and it was totally rad to watch. The premise of the deathmatch is essentially a competition between two cosplayers matched up against one another. Each cosplayer is given an a lotted time to showcase their best moves to the audience, and then the audience decides who becomes the victor based on the volume of their cheering. I hung around the stage for more than a few rounds and got a total kick out of it!



Harvey "Two-Face" Dent cosplay by professional cosplayer Chris Doherty

Poison Ivy cosplay by professional cosplayer Kuno Yuro


**"TOP SHELF" INDEPENDENT GRAPHIC NOVEL PUBLICATIONS: 




            As fun and interesting as all of the other attractions at Northeast Comic Con were, the most rewarding element of this con for me was getting my hands on some of the Northeast region's finest independent graphic novel publications. It was an enriching experience being able to talk to all of you at your individual exhibits and pick your brains just a little regarding the industry. I want to thank you all for being such illuminating people to talk shop with, and more importantly, thank you for your time! Since I made out like a bandit carrying a fat stack of indie titles home with me last week, I felt it would only be appropriate to do my part in giving these awesome titles some buzz around the web. 



RETURN TO RANDER: THE LONE SAVIOR

Tony Sedanis: Creator, Writer and Artist






         This fresh, new, epic adventure written and drawn by Tony Sedanis is far too intricate and original to be tied down to any one comic book genre. However, I will say that the book had very strong influences from both the wild west and eastern asian, (dare I say samurai?), archetypes. The first scene of the first issue of The Lone Savior kicks off in a classic western saloon with a shady character buying a beer for a man about to meet his doom. I immediately felt like I was in the middle of an opening scene to one of Sergio Leone's classic "Spaghetti Westerns," except instead of the dastardly Lee Van Cleef sending the beer over to the man in peril, it was the cold, calculated Matador! (seen in the issue #2 cover art above in the white samurai mask)
         Damn, what a villain Sedani created in him! The Matador is scary, intimidating, ruthless, bloodthirsty and will stop at nothing to track the "hero" down for reasons unknown, at least at first.. (I refer to the main protagonist as simply the "hero," due to the fact that he suffers from amnesia throughout the whole first story arc and cannot remember his name or most of his past). I often feel that especially in the graphic novel medium, the main antagonist can make or break the story. In the case of Return to Rander, Sedani created perhaps the most unforgettable villain I have ever encountered in any independent publication I have read to this day!
          The Matador was such a cool villain and kicked ass in every way, but to be honest, every character Sedani created throughout this arc was so well-developed, believable and played a crucial part in telling Sedani's story, the story of one man's struggle to find Rander, and in doing so, hopefully finding himself..

Amazing stuff Tony! I know I'm not the only one waiting in anticipation for the next big R2R story arc!


*** To obtain your copy of Return to Rander: The Lone Savior



ROADHOUSE SONS: DANGEROUS GAMBLES:


J.H. Sanderson: Creator
Allison Barrows: Script / Artwork
Romas Kukalis: Artwork
Alexandra Kukalis: Colorist, Digital Assistant
Mia Moravis: Producer



            Those that have been following my trail of rants, raves and reviews this year have already heard me talk a blue streak about this brilliant three-volume mash-up of rock-and-roll and international espionage. The brainchild of novelist and former professional wrestler J.H. Sanderson, this thrilling spy caper follows the trials and tribulations of a rock-and-roll band that was manipulated into actually becoming trained government operatives for the F.B.I.! 




ROBIN HOOD: OUTLAW OF THE 21ST CENTURY:

Matt Dursin: Writer / Creator
Mark Vuycankiat: Pencils and Inks
Tamra Bonvillain: Colors
Jamal Walton: Lettering and Production
Jason Baroody & Mark McKenna: Cover Art
Rachel Chernick: Logo & Support
Josh Lingel & Claynferno: Variant Covers



              
                This thrilling and original take on the classic literary anti-hero is the handy work of writer Matt Dursin, (leaguepodcast.com), artist Mark Vuycankiat and their creative team. In this new version of the tale however, readers won't find Dursin's Robin Hood prancing around Sherwood Forest with his bow and arrow and little green tights. This time the "Prince of Thieves" is dawning a sleek overcoat and carrying enough firepower to make a strong run at Fort Knox!
            



TWO REDHEADS AND A DEAD BLONDE:  
A RONAN MARINO STORY

Lloyd L. Corricelli: Writer / Creator
Alex Cormack: Artwork
Published by: Sky Cop Studios





          Holding down the crime noir genre in the local indie comics scene is novelist Lloyd L. Corricelli’s “Two Redheads and a Dead Blonde.” Based off of Corricelli’s crime novel with the same title, this edge-of-your-seat crime caper follows retired Air Force criminal investigator Ronan Marino through the mean streets of Lowell, MA as he attempts to find the killer who murdered his girlfriend in cold blood. As Ronan delves deeper into his investigation, more trouble seems to find him at the most inopportune moments, forcing him to call upon allies on both sides of the law. The plot thickens exponentially at the turn of each page, and readers are left with excruciating suspense at the end of issue #2. Will Ronan crack the case? I for one am dying to find out in issues 3, 4, and 5.







BABY:

George O'Connor: Writer
Griffin Ess: Artist
Tracy O'Connor: Editor
Published by: HOMELESS COMICS






          This tale of a colossal misunderstanding between man and sea monster, created and written by George O’Connor and illustrated by Griffin Ess of Homeless Comics, brought big laughs and epic fun to the indie comics scene this year. This four-issue series, perfectly lettered and beautifully colored, follows the strife one baby sea monster goes through while simply attempting to find his mommy! Things all come to a head on the shores of Atlantic City, NJ as Baby, a retiring police detective on his last day of work and an impulsive, narcissistic crypto-zoologist all attempt to do what they feel is necessary when Baby causes commotion and destruction while taking his first steps along the Vanness Boardwalk! The quality and detail of the artwork alone make this publication a must read this year; and with a story this fun and creative, I’m going to insist that you go pick it up and give it a read! I guarantee “Baby” will not disappoint!








HEALED:


George O'Connor: Writer
Griffin Ess: Artist
Tracy O'Connor: Editor
Published by: HOMELESS COMICS






              What we DO know is that illness and disease are bad. What we DON'T know is how bad things could get without them! Imagine a world where human beings were essentially "Healed" of all life-threatening diseases and illnesses. The only way humans would be able to die in this scenario would be from unnatural or man-made causes. This curse, (which may seem like a blessing to some.... at least at first), on the human race quickly becomes a grim, horrifying picture created by writer George O'Connor and artist Griffin Ess of Homeless Comics. This absolutely brilliant story gives indie readers some freaky insight on the repercussions that could occur throughout the world if the human race were truly "Healed." O'Connor gives us all a glimpse of what could happen to such societal groups and entities in this given scenario such as the clergy, the terminally ill, the pharmaceutical industry, hospitals, senior citizens and a whole lot more! Healed is by far the smartest indie read of N.E.C.C., and comes very highly recommended. This is a must-read for anyone looking to understand how amazing independent publications can be! Overall, Homeless Comics had some top notch publications on display this year. I can't wait to see what else these graphic novel gurus come up with in years to come.






RAPID CITY:
OBJECTS AT REST

Josh Dahl: Writer
Anad Kaviraj: Artist
Magnus: Lettering
Micah Faulkner: Cover Colors
Matt Bowers: Post Production
Published by: Monolith LLC.




              I'd like to dub this publication the "most refreshing" indie read of the con. Written by Josh Dahl and illustrated by Anad Kaviraj, this intimate case study on the real life obstacles one would likely face when dawning a mask and cape WILL NOT DISAPPOINT. Within Rapid City, a city already riddled with costumed vigilantes and superheroes, we meet Brian, a young aspiring superhero. All Brian wants to do is introduce his own brand of justice on Rapid City's baddies, but all of his real life obligations, (ie. the job, the girlfriend, the weird superhero social clicks), all seem to get in the way. It isn't until Brian finds his inner strength, his independence and his superhero nickname that he finally understands his destiny as "Kinetic." This awesome tale of inner struggle forces the protagonist to look in the mirror and analyze himself, and in turn, forces readers to take a good look at themselves as well, raising an important question within the story and within the minds of readers. "Monkey" said it better than anyone ever could in issue one; "You think you can step up?" Rapid City: Objects at Rest is a fantastic, original and pensive read for all ages!!



RAPID CITY:
BELOW ZERO


Josh Dahl: Writer
Shawn Langley: Artist
Micah Faulkner: Cover Colors
K.J. Kaminski: Production and Lettering
Published by: Monolith LLC.




             We now know a little about the heroes of Rapid City, (well I do anyway), but what about the villains? Surely if there are that many heroes in one city, there must be boat loads of crime to fight, right? Rapid City: Below Zero, written by Rapid City mastermind Josh Dahl and illustrated by Shawn Langley, showcases some of Rapid City's most interesting baddies! Join the super villain team of Clawhammer, The Cut, Piledriver and Icicle as they are tricked by the evil mastermind "Coil" during a heist he orchestrated. Due to Coil's misleading and deceitful ways, the team of evil-doers find themselves trapped deep underground! With The Cut and Piledriver down for the count, Icicle and Clawhammer must put their heads together and pool their abilities in order to make it out alive! Dahl and his creative team really gave readers a one-two punch at N.E.C.C. this year. The Rapid City books are such great publications from even greater guys!





DAEMONE: SLAYER FOR HIRE 
AD INITIUM
 







TIDEWATER:





GALACTIC WRESTLING FEDERATION:
A TALE OF COSMIC FISTICUFFS








LAZERMAN:


Story by: Chris Hebert and Alan Hebert Jr.
Written by: Alan Hebert Jr.
Pencilled, Colored and Lettered by: Chris Hebert
Inks by: Brian Bolland
Additional Inks by: Chris Hebert




               This publication completely surpassed my rather low initial expectations. When I picked up volume one, (which collects issues #1-4 and contains Lazerman's first story arc, "This Man, This Lazer"), I thought to myself, wow, this is the nerdiest looking superhero I have ever laid eyes upon... and "Lazerman" is such a lame character name. "Are these guys for real?" I said to a buddy of mine. Well, I was soon to find out that Chris Hebert and Alan Hebert Jr. of HB Comics were most definitely for real; and what they created in Lazerman, (as well as the other HB Comics publications), was pure graphic novel gold! This brilliant tribute to the classic comic book superhero was an absolute blast to read, and now I'm completely hooked on the "HB Universe"!
               This story follows the trials and tribulations of Alex Sanders, a young college freshman and comic book geek in New York City who obtains power of an outrageous magnitude after attending a laser demonstration at a New York City science museum and is struck by the laser due to a mishap backstage involving a treacherous foe. After that fateful event, Alex realized that he can actually project laser beams from his fists, materialize force fields and of coarse fly! Dubbing himself appropriately as "Lazerman," Alex then threw on the finest yellow spandex that his best friend Walter was able to supply him with and flew out his dorm room window to go find evil-doers to thwart! Alex may have had a rough start to his new superhero career, but after finding himself face-to-face with a dangerous villain ironically calling himself "Razorman," he picks the hero gig up pretty fast. In the end, Razorman is no match for Lazerman, and Alex finally gets to live out his one big dream: saving all of NYC as a real life superhero, just like the heroes he's idolized in comics all of his life!
                This publication was more than just a great story and a great tribute to the classic superhero. The softcover itself is of the utmost quality, with incredible penciling and inking. Also, the book is published in full color, and the coloring is simply phenomenal! Lazerman was the best surprise I have had the privilege to receive all year, and it's witty quips and puns throughout the story imprinted a permanent smile on my face throughout the entire read. Be on the lookout for this and more from the Lazerman title. The Hebert brothers and their staff at HB Comics aren't showing any signs of slowing down, and as far as I am concerned, their label is the next big thing in indie comics.




MYSTERY MAN:

Written and Created by: Ken Youngquist
Pencils and Inks: Fernando Martin
Flat Colors: Flatworks Jul May Kristoffer
Finished Colors and Lettering: Chris Hebert



Hot off the press for its official Northeast Comic Con debut, HB Comics brings us Mystery Man! Created by Ken Youngquist, Mystery Man is the story of Peter Butler, a young man with new found wealth and aspirations of becoming a costumed hero, despite the fact that he doesn't really understand what that job title entails. His money has helped Peter buy his parent's old mansion, a flashy new costume and all sorts of superhero gadgetry, but is Peter really ready to make the crucial sacrifices every true superhero must make?


VINDICATION:

Story by: Chris Hebert and Alan Hebert Jr.
Written by: Chris Hebert
Illustrated by: Rodney Jacobsen
Colored by: Team HB
Cover Inks: Dave Mosser
Fonts: BLAMBOT
Published by: HB Comics




               Who in their right mind doesn't love superhero team-ups? Chris Hebert and Alan Hebert Jr. have delivered exactly that. However, this is no ordinary team-up. Most superhero teams, such as the X-Men or the Justice League, meet, train, learn how to work together and then go off and fight their adversaries as a well-organized strike team with grace and fortitude. These four misfit heroes on the other hand, had no knowledge of each other until they were all captured by a mysterious foe and his cybernetic resources. As we join Surge, Pitchshift, Imogen and Speedfire while they are in captivity, the reader gets a small glimpse of how each hero found him or herself in this predicament, and in turn, the reader gets to know a little about each character and their meta-human abilities. For instance, Surge has the ability to absorb immense quantities of energy, Pitchshift can manipulate and focus sound waves, Imogen has the ability tocommand powerfully-concentrated beams of light and Speedfire can travel at unmatched speeds as well as generate and manipulate fire. As Surge leads the charge in the escape of this new meta-human alliance, they are met at the door by a gigantic, bald villain with metal fists. Will the team make it out of captivity alive? I for one refuse to wait any longer to find out, and will surely be reading and reviewing the following issues later this year!



NEWOPOLIS CITY:
WEB COMIC- BOSTON CARTOON COMPANY






















              I just recently started exploring the world of web comics this past fall and fell upon this absolute gem created by the BOSTON CARTOON COMPANY. Join Puck, the superhero of NEWOPOLIS CITY as he battles giant tentacle monsters, were-elks, mad cactus and all sorts of other creatures and cretins! This highly entertaining and witty online read created by Michael James Meara and colored by Chris Watson will leave you frothing at the mouth, just waiting for next week's issue!







2 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. "Venus Rises" is being reviewed as well, just had trouble finding a graphic for the blog online. Perhaps you may be able to assist with a link?

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