KC’s Halloween ComicFest Is A Spooky Success

Comic enthusiasts found a welcome relief for the end-of-summer blues when they attended Elite Comics 2019 Halloween ComicFest this past Sunday at the Overland Park Convention Center in Overland Park, Kansas.

The event, which was FREE to the public, filled three rooms with dealers and comic artists and featured free comic giveaways to all who attended. Media Mikes was well represented as well. We had a table where we gave out some sweet movie swag from such films as “Countdown,” “Rambo” and the upcoming “Midway.”

And, of course, it’s not an official event unless Cosplay is involved and the 2019 ComicFest was no exception. Fans young and old represented their favorite characters and genre’s proudly.

All in all, a great time was had by all who attended, many of them already making plans to attend next year’s event. Rest assured we’ll be there as well!

Elite Comics Bringing 2019 Halloween ComicFest to Kansas City This Weekend

Elite Comics’ Halloween ComicFest just got BIGGER! 

For an event this epic, Elite Comics has moved the event to the Overland Park Convention Center, where they will take over Courtyard Ballrooms 1-3!  This means there will be over 10,000 square feet of toys, statues, trades, hardcovers, and comics, comics, comics! They will have over 50,000 $1 comics, over 20,000 Silver Age Comics, and collectibles of every sort!  It is also Halloween FREE Comic Book Day with 1000’s of free comics! 

Media Mikes will have a table at the show, giving away Swag from such upcoming films as “Download” and “Midway.” They will also be recording their “Behind the Mikes” Podcast from the event. Stop by and say “hello!”

Make plans to be at the Overland Park Convention Center, 6000 College Blvd, Overland Park, KS 66211 Sunday, October 27 from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm.  Admission and parking to the event are FREE!

HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT AT THIS YEAR’S HALLOWEEN ComicFEST

  • A HUGE artists alley with over 30 talented comic creators! Come get original art, exclusive books, rare collectibles, and autographs from the artists themselves!
  • October is also when Elite Comics kicks their Children’s Mercy Toy Drive into high gear! There will be awesome drawings and raffles all day long to raise money for kids stuck in the hospital over the holidays!
  • Stop by the gaming alley to play some awesome spooky board games and the cyber cafe for refreshments!
  • Last, but definitely not least, participate in the huge COSTUME CONTEST! You know you want one more chance to show off your cosplay and/or Halloween outfit. Especially when there are prizes involved.

Bring the family and make a day of it!

THE FOLLOWING ARTISTS ARE SCHEDULED TO BE IN ATTENDANCE:

  • RYAN KINCAID
    • He has done covers for all the major publishers!  Come get some very rare variant covers signed by one of the hottest artists in comics!
  • ANDE PARKS
    • Ande has worked on every major title in is 20+ year comic career. His writing career is as impressive!   Writing credits like Capote in Kansas, and Union Station which led to his Ciudad original graphic novel which will be a Russo Brothers Netflix movie.  Come meet the man, get an autograph, buy a book and get some valuable hat advice!
  • BRYAN TIMMINS
    • Bryan will be showing his awesome art including his specialty of sharks and dinosaurs!  Make sure to stop by his table and get one of his prints or get a book signed!
  • JULIE TIMMINS
    • Julie will be in artists alley reading tarot cards and  foretelling your future of getting a bunch of great comics and having a blast at the Halloween ComicFest!
  • ED LAVALLEE
    • Come check out his  books Pop Star Assassin, Revere and Archeon! He might also let you stroke his beard if your lucky!
  • RUDY GARCIA
    • Known as the Pumpkin King, Rudy has professionally sculpted for every major toy and statue company in the business! And his pumpkin carving has literally taken him around the world! 
  • MEGAN LEVENS
    • She has worked on Buffy ,Star Trek, Back To The Future and many more! Come get one of her awesome sketches and hear some great stories about her Bostons!!
  • ED BICKFORD
    • Check out his Metal Robot, Pulp Robot and American Chop Suey comics!!
  • ARIE MONROE appearing
    • She is an incredible caricature artist and check out her comic!  She attended the Kubert school and has worked on a bunch of great comic projects
  • JEANNE BARNHILL
    • Designer, artist, lover of animals and mind behind almost everything you see on the windows, walls, cases and ceiling at Elite comics, Jeanne will be setting up and selling the awesome PopArtifacts items!  Toys and collectibles from the past displayed with the care and quality they deserve.
  • LORI BUNTIN
    • Lori is known as the city’s best custom framer.  She does all the framing for PopArtifacts!
  • BRYAN FYFFE
    • Bryan, the King of Halloween, is one of the most popular convention guests in America and will have a huge selection of awesome art to make your place a little cooler!
  • KARA LOVE
    • Kara will be here with her new anthology Local Haunts, spooky stories all set in hometowns around the world !  Come get a book signed and exchange scary stories just right for Halloween!!
  • ERICA BATTON
    • Creator, writer and artists of Panty Vigilante!  Come out and get some art, and get copies of your comics signed!
  • IRYNA STROGANOVA
    • She will be setting up in our huge artists alley!
  • ROD ZIRKLE
    • Face painter Rod Zirkle will be on-hand to make the day even more exciting.  Get the final touches added to your costume right before the costume contest!
  • BALDEMAR RIVAS
    • We are super happy to have art star and artist of Image Comics Unearth (issues 1 and 2 are out right now)  BALDEMAR RIVAS!  Come get some comics signed, get a sketch maybe even get your picture with comics newest sensation!
  • STEVE DANIELS
    • We are proud to have Mr. Kansas City, cartoonists STEVE DANIELS at our Halloween event!  Come get some art, get some books and ask him about his upcoming projects!
  • KYLE STRAHM
    • Kyle will be set up in our Halloween Comicfest artist alley!  Bring in your copies of Spread and Unearth and get his signature and his advice on organic gardening in the Midwest!!
  • STEPHEN SMITH
    • He will present his creations in our huge artist alley! You can score some cool art and argue about wrestling!
  • KELLY AARON
    • Will be showing her awesome at our Halloween ComicFest!  You can see her art all over town but if you want to see her art and see her be at the Elite ComicFest on October 27th!
  • JASON ARNETT
    • We are lucky to have local writing superstar and Kindness Community member JASON ARNETT!  Come buy one of his books and ask him about some of the awesome projects he has started at JCCC!
  • SKOTTIE YOUNG
    • We will have the awesome and talented SKOTTIE YOUNG doing an exclusive signing to benefit The Elite Comics Children’s Mercy Toy Drive! Get copy of the Marvel Art of Skottie Young Hardcover signed with 100% of the proceeds going to help make a better Christmas for kids in the hospital!

SEE YOU THERE!

NYCC 2019: Hulu’s Castle Rock

The cast of Hulu’s Castle Rock at MSG during New York Comic Con

Just in time for Halloween, Hulu is ready to invite viewers back to the not-so-sleepy town of Castle Rock. The fictional Maine location may sound familiar to even casual horror fans, as it features across the many works of Stephen King. To celebrate the launch of season 2, the cast of the anthology series joined fans at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden for a screening of the premiere episode at this year’s New York Comic Con.

The highlight of the premiere was the debut of Lizzy Caplan as “Stephen King’s nurse from hell” Annie Wilkes. Wilkes was the star of King’s Misery where she was willing to go to lethal lengths to get her way from James Caan’s stranded author character. Bates famously won an Academy Award for her performance and if you had asked me if I needed to see more background on her character I may have doubted you until this episode. Caplan channels her own unblinking manic energy and manages to make Wilkes’s “cockadoody” vernacular her very own. As a bonus, she has the wonderful Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade) as a daughter to play off of in this series.

Lizzy Caplan (“Annie Wilkes”) and Elsie Fisher (“Joy Wilkes”

While I won’t go into spoilers for the show, suffice to say there was at least one jaw dropping scene that made checking the show out in the massive NYCC audience incredibly satisfying.

Head over to our NYCC Facebook album to see even more photos from the panel which also featured Shawshank Redemption alum Tim Robbins

Tim Robbins (“Pop Merrill”)

Castle Rock season 2 is available on Hulu starting October 23rd.

2019 NY Comic Con Review: Day 2

2019 New York Comic Con
Friday, October 4th 2019
Jacob K. Javits Center, New York, NY

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

With the leaves beginning to change in the North East for most that signals that the fall season is underway. For fans of pop-culture it’s the tell tale sign that the annual New York Comic Con is on the horizon. With Connecticut based organizers Reed Pop at the helm the convention would once again descend on the Jacob K. Javits Center which is tightly nestled in the heart of New York City. Over the course of 4 days (10/3 thru 10/6) Fans of all ages packed the massive convention center in hopes of obtaining their favorite collectible and/or meeting some of the comic industries top creators. We took in day two of the event this year which boasted an impressive schedule of panels and releases that had us running back and forth, left and right and up and down the entire day.

Upon entry we quickly made our way to the collectible toy area which over the last few years has seem to double in size. Here we were able to check out booths by makers such as Super 7, Entertainment Earth and of course Funko. All three of these companies offered plenty of exclusive items a majority of which were only available to those who were selected via a pre-show lottery. Amidst the snaking lines and impromptu cos-play photo shoots we were able to test out the latest offerings from Arcade 1Up which included the newly released ¾ versions of “Golden Tee” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”. The company was also showcasing a nearly 10 foot tall fully functioning arcade cabinet that had attendees waiting in line all day just for a chance to work the oversized retro controls. From there we made our way past the Toy Tokyo booth which this year included several exclusive sculpts by artist Ron English and Joe Ledbetter. We also made a stop at the Playmobil booth where they were showcasing their upcoming “Scooby-Doo” and “Back To The Future” figures and play sets complete with the iconic Mystery Machine and time traveling DeLorean. From there we descended into the ground floor of the center which hosted a who’s who of comic creators including Greg Capullo, Jim Lee and John Romita Jr. to name just a few. Easily one of the busier corridors of the event comic collectors were elbow to elbow much of the day attempting to get books signed or purchase hand drawn art from their favorite artist. Neighboring the artist alley on both sides were the celebrity meet and greet area which on this day included appearances by Paul Rudd, Tom Hiddleston and Billy Dee Williams. Across the way in the opposite corridor was the massive panel room which played host to panels ranging from HBO’s “Watchman” series to TBS’s “Impractical Jokers” and probably the most exciting of the day TNT’s “All Elite Wrestling” which included an on-stage brawl between stars Chris Jericho and Cody Rhoades that had those in attendance going absolutely nuts!

As our day came to a close it was dizzying to think about all the things we had experienced in just a few hours. Despite finding several empty booths in a couple different locations (something we had not seen in years past) there certainly was no shortage of things to see or do at New York Comic Con 2019. Reed Pop and the other companies associated with this con continue to put on a solid show that’s offers something for everyone. I do feel the event promoters need to continue looking at how they layout the show in a continued effort to ensure attendees are able to move freely throughout the multiple floors and levels. This year’s map did feel less cluttered than in previous years however, there were still a number of high traffic areas which brought people to a standstill making it hard to move or take in the vendors/displays. Moving panels to various other locations around the city has surely helped ease some of the events growing pains as did the addition of the Cos-Play lounge but with attendance near to or exceeding the 200,000 accommodations need to continue to help ensure a safe and fun atmosphere for all those who attend.

SopranosCon Announced; First-Ever ‘Sopranos’ Themed Convention ‘For The Fans, By The Fans’

Time Immemorial, Famous Signs and Michael Mota present SopranosCon, the first-ever “Sopranos” themed convention, to be held at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in New Jersey on November 23rd and 24th, 2019. 

Visually inspired by the Feast of St. Elezar, SopranosCon presented by East Commerce Solutions, is a fan convention unlike any other. Billing itself as “for the fans, by the fans,” SopranosCon will feature a once-in-a-lifetime reunion of key cast members, including Tony Sirico, Federico Castelluccio, Vincent Pastore, Vincent Curatola, David Proval, and over 30 supporting cast members, with many more special guests to be announced in the coming days.  

“In a nutshell, this is The Sopranos meets New York Comic Con. However, our event is going to be much more than pictures, autographs, and vendors,” said Daniel Trader who runs @TimeImmemorial_, a creative Instagram page that boasts the largest Sopranos fan network on social media with over 225,000 combined dedicated followers.  

Guests of the two-day convention will be able to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the series by showcasing Italian culture in New Jersey with food, drink, music, comedy, and show-related businesses (such as Holsten’s Ice Cream, a sponsor of the event). There will be fan art galleries, exhibits, Q&A’s, trivia, contests, games, and more.   

“This event will be an experience no true fan will want to miss,” said Joe Fama, owner of Famous Signs and a co-presenter of the event. “We have spent years designing sets, exhibits, and more for this event.  There will certainly be something for everyone.”   

In addition, an accompanying documentary commemorating the 20th anniversary of the hit HBO show will be released after the event.  The as-yet-untitled documentary will focus on three superfans — Michael Mota from Lincoln Rhode Island, Daniel Trader from Baltimore, Maryland and Joe Fama from Long Island, New York — who came together to give every Sopranos fan the opportunity to celebrate history. The documentary will also feature many key cast members telling “their story” and other exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of the Con.   

Federico Castelluccio, better known as Furio Guinta on The Sopranos, has been chosen to narrate the documentary.   

“When the first season came out, I was a huge fan myself.  I told my agent that I had to be on the show.  Having the opportunity to be a part of SopranosCon and celebrate with the fans is an amazing opportunity.  I am honored to be a part of this documentary, and I am excited to showcase what a few fans can do when they have a passion for something,” he said, exclusively.   

“I can’t put into words the amount of support we have received for SopranosCon.  People all over the world have reached out to us and are coming to the United States for the first time for our event.  This show touched so many people and has left a mark on their lives forever,” said Michael Mota, founder and CEO of Skyline at Waterplace, and one of the key organizers of the event.  “I have thrown several Soprano themed events but this is something much larger. This is truly for the fans, by the fans.”  

Tickets are on sale now at www.sopranoscon.com. For a limited time, fans can enter the promotional code HipHopGamer to receive 10% off all ticket packages.

Marvel Steals the Show as San Diego Comic Con Celebrates 50 Years

By now you’ve probably heard about Disney/Marvel turning Hall H into a head spinning bonanza with the announcement of their Phase 4 slate of movies, as well as their new batch of superhero TV shows set to be released on their new streaming service, Disney+. As we’ve learned covering SDCC (for our third year now at Media Mikes), there’s a lot more to this con than the big studios throwing down the proverbial gauntlet. Although Mahershala Ali being announced as the new Blade is still pretty friggin’ awesome.

Preview Night belonged to Warner Bros., who surprisingly didn’t come loaded with their batch of DC caped crusaders despite another Wonder Woman movie on the horizon. Instead they brought the frights with an “IT: Chapter Two” panel, hosted by Conan O’Brien. While we weren’t able to snag a coveted seat inside of the Horton Grand Theatre, fans didn’t have to wait long to get a new trailer for the next chapter in clown horror. ScareDiego is quickly becoming a must-experience for fans that arrive early for Comic-Con. 

Thursday was the start to the madness as several offsites were activated and vendors on the exhibit floor quickly saw their lines capped in the early morning hours. Funko and LEGO saw the usual amount of hordes, but Mondo was the sleeper hit, with unique posters for films like “Detective Pikachu,” vinyl records (which I’m always surprised are making a comeback), and a tiki mug for “JAWS” that I’m sure the founders of MediaMikes would love to add their fanboy collection. But it didn’t take long, each and every day, for lines to be capped by volunteers to prevent clustering and to make sure people didn’t spend all day in a line where they would inevitably leave empty-handed. Although it can be frustrating being left out of the lottery for exclusives, it does give you a chance to check out the other vendors selling their own unique twist on their personal fandom. As for me, because I love a good deal, the best line was my five-minute wait for a free cricket powder protein bar. The peanut butter and jelly bug flavored goodness was in promotion of the upcoming “Snowpiercer” TV series. 

Just outside the five-decade celebration inside of the convention center, were several impressive offsites dotting the Gaslamp District. After last year’s Jack Ryan activation, some were wondering if Amazon could top their second prime activation. Long answer, sort of, short answer, no. While not as fully immersive, it provided several experiences for fans to interact with on-site actors, get some cool swag, and munch on some free Carl’s Jr. Although my favorite offsite may be a toss-up between Adult Swim’s carnival and the Alfred Pennyworth speak-easy. Both had minimal waits, plenty to do once you got inside, and lots of exclusive goodies. That shouldn’t take away from the nearly two dozen other activations that provided their own chances to geek out, including the “South Park” mini-golf course.

Now, instead of gushing over the panels I attended, I think it’s easier to make note of something, that’s a common complaint every year, but organizers of Comic Con need to recognize the cultural significance of several properties. “Rick and Morty” is too big to be in the Indigo Ballroom. Two hours before the panel on Friday, the line wrapped around inside, down a flight of stairs, through the lobby, outside to the pier, wrapped around again, and then capped itself near the convention center across the way. The same thing happened with Brooklyn 99 on Saturday, but this time in a different, but still significantly small room. I’d be willing to bet money that “Rick and Morty,” who deserves to be in Hall H, will have more viewers this upcoming season than “The Walking Dead,” which was in Hall H at that same time slot. Times change quickly these days in pop-culture and it’s important for Comic Con keep their  finger on the pulse.

For the third year in a row, we’re incredibly gracious that Comic Con has allowed us inside to cover the convention. Despite the long lines, sore feet, the current lack of cash in my bank account and the sunburn I’m rocking because I forgot to pack sunscreen, it was all worth it. It always is and always will be. We look forward to Comic Con 2020. I’ve already begun checking my couch cushions for change because July 23rd-26th, 2020, doesn’t feel that far away.

BookCon: The Handmaid’s Tale Season 3

The second season of Hulu’s hit series The Handmaid’s Tale left more than a few fans stunned when June (Elisabeth Moss) bucked her chance to escape to freedom in Canada with her baby and instead handed the infant off to Emily (Alexis Bleidel) while turning back into the world that still holds her other child hostage.

This weekend eager Handmaid’s fans finally got to see where June’s unexpected decision has lead the inhabitants of Gilead when showrunner Bruce Miller and actress Ann Dowd (“Aunt Lydia”) brought the premiere episode of the third season to New York’s BookCon.

Ann Dowd (“Aunt Lydia”) and Handmaid’s Tale showrunner, Bruce Miller

Without going into episode spoilers, I will say what I saw went a long way in explaining why June would make such a tremendous sacrifice in that finale and the acting across the board continues to be top notch. Alexis Bleidel’s Emily in particular had me moved to tears more than once. And the BookCon crowd broke out into applause at least twice.

While the terrifying Aunt Lydia did not appear in the premiere ep, the trailers showed that she will return after Emily very literally stabbed her in back last year. Dowd, who was also nefarious in last year’s horror hit Hereditary, is delightful and warm in person and said of Lydia, “she is doing quite well…she’s very concerned” She also offered some exciting tidbits into where season three might take Aunt Lydia.

Although in the last two seasons we’ve seen almost every protagonist’s backstory, Aunt Lydia has remained a mystery. Apparently that will change in season three. Of this insight, Dowd commented that while it wasn’t exactly what she thought it would be “it’s so true to what might have went wrong.” On that change she added that whatever happened, “her life leaned toward Gilead and [to being] one of the most staunch believers of that group.” And while Dowd clearly loves playing Lydia, she joked about her inner dialogue with the character: “I say I’m disappointed with her and she says to mind my business!”

Dowd complimenting a Handmaid cosplayer in attendance

The Handmaid’s Tale returns weekly to Hulu starting Wednesday June 5th.

20th Annual Planet Comicon Kansas City a Rousing Success!

PHOTOS BY DAN LYBARGER
The legendary William Shatner

I had just begun my position as Director of Marketing for Dickinson Theatres in early 1999 when I received a phone call from a gentleman named Chris Jackson, who explained to me that he had an idea for a local convention that would continue to grow into something amazing. Wanting to be involved, I sent Chris a lot of promotion posters (I’m thinking THE MATRIX, THE MUMMY, and STAR WARS: EPISODE I were included) to give away. Chris even arranged for one of the guests, actor Kenny Baker – he played R2D2 in the various STAR WARS films, to sign some posters for me to use as a giveaway. And so it began.

This past weekend, Chris’ vision, PLANET COMICON KANSAS CITY, celebrated it’s 20th Anniversary with another convention that cements PCKC as not only the best convention in the Midwest, but one of the best in the country.

“The Exorcist” star Linda Blair

The guest list was a virtual honor role of some of the biggest celebrities in film and television. Such icons as Linda Blair, William Shatner and Henry Winkler made appearances (this was Winkler’s first visit to Kansas /City since early
2010, when he graciously became the first ever interview for Media Mikes).

Mr. Shatner had been at PCKC in the past,but you wouldn’t know it from the legion of fans that lined up to greet him. Other celebrity guests included Oscar-nominee Chris Sarandon, PRINCESS BRIDE co-stars Cary Elwes and Wallace Shawn, “Super-men” Dean Cain and Tom Welling as well as well as WWE Wrestling Hall of Famer Mick Foley.

Chris Sarandon

Graphic art fans were also treated to a bevy of comic and graphic novel artists, and an amazing array of fans dressed as their favorite characters.

Members of the “Spiderverse” took the streetcar to the show
Mr. Henry Winkler

The vendor selection, as in the past, was varied, with tables offering pretty much everything for everyone.

This “League of Their Own” fan was there to see Lori Petty
COSPLAY was the theme of the day

All in all, it was an amazing weekend. I can’t wait to see what Chris Jackson has in store for the next 20 years!

 

Related Content

Win Passes to Kansas City’s Planet Comicon

Has it really been 20 years since Planet Comicon first appeared in Kansas City? Yes it has. I know because I’ve been to every one! And now we want to let some of our readers attend what has been described as “the best Convention in the Midwest!”

We are giving away (5) pair of passes to attend the convention on Sunday, March 31st. AND, we are giving away a pair of passes to attend all three days of the Con.

All you have to do is let us know below what celebrity guest you’d most like to meet at an upcoming Convention. Six random winners will be chosen and, from those six, one will be randomly chosen to wen the weekend passes. The others chosen will receive a pair of passes to attend on Sunday.

This giveaway ends at 8:00 pm on Wednesday, March 27. Winners will be chosen and will be emailed their passes. Good Luck!!

2019 Monster Jam® Tickets On Sale September 25

The Most Family-Friendly, Action-Packed Motor Sport in the World with Four-wheel Racing, Two-wheel Skills and Freestyle Competitions comes to Camping World Stadium on January 19, 2019

Orlando, FL (September 19, 2018) – Monster Jam®, the unexpected, unscripted, and unforgettable family-friendly motor sport announced today that tickets go on sale to the public on Tuesday, September 25 for the Saturday, January 19, 2019 show at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. The 2019 season will bring a new level of high-flying, four-wheel excitement to the entire family with racing, two-wheel skills and freestyle competitions. Monster Jam events are affordably priced for the whole family with seats starting at $15 each.

Fans can sign up in advance to become a Monster Jam Preferred Customer to get early purchase access to Monster Jam tickets with a special code during the venue pre-sale period from September 18–25:
https://www.monsterjam.com/en-US/preferred-customer-page.

Monster Jam drivers are trained, world-class male and female athletes who have mastered not only the physical strength and mental stamina needed to compete, but the vital dexterity to control 12,000-pound machines capable of doing backflips, vertical two-wheel skills and racing at speeds up to 70 miles per hour to produce jaw-dropping, live motor sports action seen around the world. Now across all Monster Jam events, fans in every city will have the chance to vote for the winner in the two-wheel and freestyle
competitions by real-time, in-stadium fan voting on their smartphones.
Fans also have the opportunity to get up close and personal to the Monster Jam trucks and drivers by purchasing a Pit Party pass that allows them early access to the event for photo opportunities and autographs.

The event will feature more than 12 trucks and drivers vying to be the Orlando champion, including:

Grave Digger driven by Adam Anderson; El Toro Loco driven by Scott Buetow; Great Clips Mohawk Warrior driven by Bryce Kenny; Brodozer driven by Heavy D; Max D and Monster Mutt Dalmatian driven by husband-wife competitive duo Neil Elliott and Candice Jolly; Earthshaker driven by Steven Thompson; Time Flys and Wildflower driven by father-daughter competitors Kelvin and Rosalee Ramer; Xtermigator driven by JR McNeal; Zombie Fire driven by Travis Mowery; Obsession driven by Eric Swanson; Saigon Shaker driven by Ryan Disharoon and more. (Trucks/drivers subject to change without notice.)

WHEN: Saturday, January 19, 2019
Pit Party Early Access starting at 1:30 PM
Pit Party from 2:30 PM – 5:30 PM*
WHERE: Camping World Stadium, 1610 W. Church Street, Orlando, FL 32805
TICKETS: Tickets start at $15
Pit Party Early Access starts at $35 per person
General Pit Party Passes start at $20 each

Tickets & Pit Passes will be available for purchase online at Ticketmaster.com, charge by phone at 800-745-3000 or in-person at the Amway Center Box Office in advance. **ticket prices subject to change – venue/ticketing fees may apply. Same day event ticket and
pit pass required for entry to pit party

For more information on a Monster Jam near you, please log onto MonsterJam.com or follow us via our
social channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
# # #

About Feld Entertainment, Inc.
Feld Entertainment® is the worldwide leader in producing and presenting live touring family entertainment experiences that bring people together and uplift the human spirit. Properties include Monster Jam®,
Monster Energy Supercross, Disney On Ice, Disney Live!, Marvel Universe LIVE!, Sesame Street Live!, and DreamWorks Trolls The Experience (coming Fall 2018). Across the brand portfolio, Feld Entertainment has entertained millions of families in more than 75 countries and on six continents. Visit
feldentertainment.com for more information.

“CGI just doesn’t cut it for me, man!” Blindspot’s Heidi Schnappauf Speaks About Stunt Work

Heidi Schnappauf at Sword Class NYC

When Blindspot enters its fourth season this Friday on NBC, it will of course be bringing the action that has garnered the series multiple Emmy nominations for Outstanding Stunt Coordination. While last year burst onto the scene with, amongst other things, Jane Doe and Co in a tank, this year’s premiere has taken Jane (Jaimie Alexander) to Tokyo where she engages in some impressive swordplay with a new adversary. Behind Jane’s hardest hits is Alexander’s stunt double, Heidi Schnappauf, who has been with the show from the first season. Speaking with me at New York Comic Con*, Jaimie Alexander said of Heidi: “Just the hits she takes, the body slams…I don’t know how she’s OK. Half the time I’m terrified for her because she does a lot of the heavy lifting in the fights…And she’s just incredible, she’s an incredible lady.”

Besides Blindspot Schnappauf has an impressive credits list that includes Marvel’s Jessica Jones, Broad City and Orange is the New Black. I was lucky enough to speak with Heidi about her action-packed job this past weekend when Warner Brothers sent us along with her and Jaimie to, fittingly, a beginner Kendo sword lesson!

Lauren Damon: How long have you been with the show?

Heidi Schnappauf: I’ve been with the show all the four seasons, however, I came in toward the end of the first season. I think episode twenty. So right at the end kind of filling in for her old double [Ky Furneaux].

LD: What are your favorite types of stunts?

HS: I love to fight. My main background was fighting. This, sword fighting, was not something I grew up with, but definitely something I picked up on the way and trained a little bit. But fighting, which includes all the falling that we do—getting thrown around—I started at such a young age that I got thrown around a lot when I was in karate as a kid, moving into college years. But I really do love all the hard hits and driving. I’ve been doing stunts driving now for about eight years. So yeah, anything where I’m maybe flying through some glass or getting thrown out of a car, I totally dig it! Any of that.

LD: Have you ever had any major injuries?

HS: I’ve had a few. Biggest injury was not on Blindspot, actually it was right before I got on Blindspot. I was recovering from my biggest injury which was I was doing a high fall and there was faulty landing equipment, it was nobody’s fault, just a one in a billion chance I ended up injuring my neck pretty badly. I was out for about ten months from work, which was a really big bummer actually. And the doctor—I was in the ER from that injury and with you know, on morphine and valium and a neck brace and tears coming out of my eyes—the doctor’s like ‘Oh I guess this is gonna put a damper on your career’ and I’m like ‘Yeah, I really know what I’m going to do next time so I don’t hurt myself’ and he’s like ‘Next time?! Are you nuts?!’…I’m like ‘Well, yeah, I’m just bummed that it’s gonna be a while!’ So that was my most devastating injury. Everyone wanted to cut me open, everyone wanted to do surgery, they wanted to replace my disc, or fuse my spine and all this stuff…I kind of basically talked to doctors until I got the answer I wanted and then I found more doctors to support that.

LD: As a viewer, what are some of your favorite films or tv shows for stunts?

HS: Um…Blindspot? [laughs]…Oh, I really like Supergirl, is that WB? I do like Supergirl. I’m not gonna lie, I don’t watch a lot of TV because I work and I sleep and I try to watch Blindspot. But I do, actually, this new season of Iron Fist is probably my favorite bit of action on tv or Netflix…Blacklist, I love Blacklist. They just have such a variety of stunts on that show. And Game of Thrones. Come on, man, you can’t deny that setting like seventy five stunt people on fire is NOT cool. From a DRAGON. It’s insane.

LD: There’s a faction out there that is pushing for a Best Stunts category at the Academy Awards, how do you feel about that?

HS: I think that’s a good idea since like every other category is out there. I mean, I don’t know how you’d delegate that but I think that’s a good start to just recognizing it. I don’t do stunts, obviously, to be recognized. I love it because I get to kind of be the magician of the action world of film and tv. You don’t really want to give your tricks away, you want to make it an illusion…most, some people I know anyway, don’t do it for the glory. It’s not really about that. It’s about making good work. I would love to see it so it’s recognized as an art and as you know, that magical things that happens isn’t actually magic. It’s people that are putting their bodies and their lives on the line to bring everyone a cool product. CGI just doesn’t cut it for me, man!

Blindspot season 4 premieres Friday October 12th at 8pm on NBC.

*Check out our full chats with Blindspot stars Jaimie Alexander and Sullivan Stapleton!

Everything nerdy and a splash of horror invades San Diego Comic Con 2018

Some might wonder about the experiences San Diego Comic Con has to offer given that all the information and trailers released at panels drop onto the Internet a short time later, and in some instances before the panel is even set to begin. Some could simply live it through other’s photos or through their favorite Youtube personality. But I urge those with a tingling sense for adventure, or even a nerdy bone in their body, to attend.

As I stated in my article last year, when I was a newbie, that no matter how much research beforehand is done, you’re going to miss out on something. In my second year of attendance, that still holds true. As I heard from several veterans, it’s finding what you want to do and prioritizing it by day. This year I went with an offsite and inside approach. I’d start out my days checking out the sights and sounds before heading in and joining the indoor spectacle.

For a handful of hours Wednesday night, the massive vendor and exhibit hall was opened for thousands. It’s known as Preview Night. Most in attendance were ready to snag some merchandise while others, like me, simply took in all the sights and sounds. Folks with multiple bags of merchandise scurried about while others waited in lines for several booths and exhibits. The hottest spots were at Funimation, Funko, Hasbro, “The Walking Dead” area and a few usual suspects.

For those without a chance to step inside the hallowed grounds of the convention center, the outdoor areas provided some much needed fun, rest and goodies. “The Purge” offsite was literally handing out shirts, as people got to take some play money and purchase exclusive merch with that play money. It was one of the best offsites in terms of simplicity and swag. “Jack Ryan” offered a training ground, gear and (from what I read on Twitter) free money to those ballsy enough. Adult Swim, in the evening hours, opened up a mock camp site as the sun began to set. But when the sun set, “Adult Swim” staples entertained the masses until the midnight hours. The crown jewel of everything outside though was the “DC Universe” offsite where they offered food, drink, previews of games and shows, a Harley Quinn room and an escape room.

Meanwhile, others kept pace by offering simple things. FXHibition is where folks got to take pictures with some items representing their favorite show. The Experience near PetCo Park also offered a lot in terms of a place to stop for a quick bite to eat, or one of their interactive displays, including an escape room. Escape rooms seemed to be the hot thing this year as several other offsite events had an escape room, something I encourage as escape rooms slowly become even more popular. Even offsites like the Nerdist House scored huge points in my book just by offering free food and drink to those who were smart enough to search it out.

Inside, I managed to once again avoid Hall H. That didn’t stop me from getting curious when I read about some experiences on the Hall H line being easier than in years past. The reason, or the truth, behind those tweets are up in the air. Maybe next year I’ll camp out and see what all the fuss is about in the Hall where folks got a preview of “Halloween,” DC movies and an evening with Director/Writer Kevin Smith.

Don’t be discouraged though. Other rooms offer their own treats, whether it be exclusive footage or on-stage appearances by other celebrities. I found myself inside Ballroom 20 for Marvel’s “Cloak and Dagger” only to be treated to the breaking news announcement that a second season had been confirmed by the creator during the panel. Once inside and away from the Exhibit Hall, you’ll find something fun to sit in on or a group of people with the same interests that you can chat it up with.

The takeaway from fans inside was one of pure joy. Sure the long waits, sweat, frustration, and sometimes ineffectiveness of how things work can bear down on you. But when you unpack the gear you snagged and look through the pictures, you know it’s an event you’re happy to have been apart of. And part of you, just like me, will want to go back and do it all over again. If you’ve been on the fence in the past, it’s time to get off that fence and grab a plane ticket. SDCC 2019 is next July 17th-21st, so mark your calendars and start digging through the couch for some loose change.

Guess who had a good time at the Kansas City Crypticon??

PHOTOS BY DAN LYBARGER

A few years ago I wrote a very scathing review of the Kansas City Crypticon Convention.  I felt my review was honest and it was based on not only my own observations but those of people I spoke with, both convention guests and attendees.  While I continued to attend each year, I didn’t write anything about the show because I didn’t want it to look like I was uncaring or that I was just looking to continually kick the organization.

 

 

 

 

Last year the show left the nasty hotel (recently torn down by the city) it called home and headed an hour north up Interstate 29 to the birthplace of Jesse James:  St. Joseph, Missouri.  I wasn’t able to attend last year because of a previous commitment that weekend but this year I decided to check it out.  And what I discovered was a pretty cool con.

The show was held at the St. Joseph Civic Center, and I thought the layout was perfect.  The bottom, open middle section was set up for the dealers.  Whereas in Kansas City the dealers rooms were always cramped and hard to navigate, here they were a breeze to explore.  Plenty of room, and a nice selection of goods.  The upper level was devoted to a few dealers and ALL of the celebrity guests.  The area was bright and clean and every celebrity had a very nice banner, as opposed to the construction paper and magic marker creations from the past.

And the celeb lineup was first class.  As this is mostly a horror-themed convention, the guest list was perfect.  Linda Blair from The Exorcist.  Nick Castle and P.J. Soles from Halloween.  William Kaat from Carrie.  And, for fans of more recent horror, you couldn’t do any better than “American Horror Story’s” Dennis O’Hare.  These guests, and about a dozen more, greeted fans and many of them (especially the Halloween gang) seemed to have a steady line at their tables.  Autograph/photo op prices were pretty reasonable as well, which is always a good thing at one of these events.

One of my “bucket list” celebs – William Kaat. He shared some great stories with me.

Congratulations to the people behind the Crypticon conventions.  You’ve done an amazing job in transforming your show from one of the worse in the Midwest to a destination event.  I look forward to next year.

No hard feelings?  🙂

MEGACON™, Southeast’s Largest Fan Convention, Wraps Another Year of Fun and Fandom at the Orange County Convention Center – May 24-27, 2018

Action-Packed Weekend Delivered Ultimate Fan Experience with Jason Momoa, Jeff Goldblum, Elijah Wood, John Cena and more

Orlando, FL – June 4, 2018 – MEGACON™, the Southeast’s largest comics, sci-fi, horror, anime and gaming event, wrapped up the Orlando convention throughout Memorial Day Weekend at the Orange County Convention Center. The four-day multi-genre convention welcomed more than 100,000 fans and included programming for all ages, a star-studded celebrity lineup and more.

This year’s featured celebrity guests included Elijah Wood (The Lord of the Rings); Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park); Jason Momoa (DC Justice League); John Cena, Alexa Bliss, Braun Strowman (WWE Superstars); Paul Reubens (Pee-Wee Herman); Billy Dee Williams and Joonas Suotamo (Star Wars); Lucy Lawless and Renee O’Connor (Xena: Warrior Princess); Jodi Benson and Christopher Daniel Barnes (The Little Mermaid); Rob Liefeld (Deadpool and X-Force) among others.

All Photo Credit: Rachel Parker, MEGACON Orlando

 

MADAME TUSSAUDS PARTNERSHIP

MEGACON Orlando partnered with Madame Tussauds Orlando for an exclusive first-look of the museum’s newest exhibit, Justice League: A Call for Heroes. On Thursday, May 24, fans united at MEGACON Orlando for a sneak peek of the new Wonder Woman™ wax figure. Following this, guests were invited for an after-hours official opening of the exhibit and admission to the ICON 360 Orlando.

MASTER OF COSPLAY SOUTHEAST QUALIFIER

New to the MEGACON Orlando lineup this year was Master of Cosplay Grand Prix, a new cosplay competition created by FAN EXPO HQ in 2018. Guests competed in the Southeast Qualifier at MEGACON Orlando on Saturday, May 26 for a chance to win prizes and advance to compete for the title of FAN EXPO’s very first Master of Cosplay Champion in an international finale to be held in Toronto as part of FAN EXPO Canada on Labor Day weekend.

Winners included:

-Novice Division – Anthony Acosta and Anne Rosato (Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen)

-Journeyman Division – Lindsay Premo (World of Warcraft)

-Masters Division – Bryan Doell (Ronan the Accuser, Marvel Comics)

-Runner-Up – Josh Morris (The Gate, Hex Mortis)

-Best In-Show – Dovah Design (Snow White Knight)

 

STAR WARS GALACTIC NIGHTS

MEGACON Orlando extended the fun after-hours with a special fandom experience, Star Wars: Galactic Nights on Sunday, May 27 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The event brought together the Star Wars saga, a panel discussion with the creators of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge (a new land coming to the theme park in 2019), special photo opportunities, event-exclusive merchandise and more.

 

BOOTH HIGHLIGHTS 

Exciting new booths were packed on the show floor this year, including Jurassic Park, which allowed guests to go back 25 years and relive one of the greatest movies of all time through a tour of the iconic fictional theme park. The booth included a virtual reality headset to let guests get up close and personal with dinosaurs in their natural habitat. Additionally, other classic booths, including the Batmobile from Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman Film, Star Wars by the 501st Legion and Ghostbusters, were back for another year.

 

PANELS, PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES, SIGNINGS AND MORE 

Many panels and photo opportunities took place this weekend, with highlights including  a signing by Marvel Comics creator Jim Lee, with a sold out presentation from Jurassic Park’s Jeff Goldblum, more than 200 cosplayers in a special Marvel Cosplay Meetup, Geek Speed Dating, Steven Universe Live Shadowcast Performance and Sing-A-Long, Phantasmagoria Performance and more.

MEGACON Orlando 2019 will take place May 16 to May 19, 2019, which is the weekend before Memorial Day Weekend. For more information and tickets, please visit www.megaconorlando.com. Can’t wait until 2019? MEGACON Tampa Bay will take place September 21 to September 23, 2018. Guest announcements are being finalized right now and tickets will be on sale in mid-June at www.megacontampabay.com.

ABOUT FAN EXPO HQ

MEGACON Orlando is owned by FAN EXPO HQ, one of the largest entertainment convention groups in North America. Collectively it hosts over 500,000 fans annually at FAN EXPO CANADA™, Boston Comicon, FAN EXPO VANCOUVER™, FAN EXPO REGINA™, FAN EXPO DALLAS™, Toronto ComiCon, Dallas Fan Days and MEGACON Tampa Bay.

 

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Once Again, KC’s Planet Comicon Stands Above All Others

I’ve been going to conventions since the late 1970s. I’ve gone to small, one room gatherings, to the World Science Fiction Convention and every size Con in between. And every year, the one that consistently gets my nod as the Midwest’s best is Kansas City’s Planet Comicon. This year’s event was no different.

What makes Planet Comicon so special, and it was true again this year, was the variety of guests the show attracts. Besides perennial fan favorites from film, television and comics, they always bring out big guns with guests not only making their Kansas City convention debut but, on occasion, their very first convention appearance ever. This year, Planet Comicon treated it’s attendees with the chance to meet film stars John Cusack, Jason Mamoa and musical legend Alice Cooper. Not a bad trifecta of guests, especially when you pair them with other fan favorites in attendance, including Danny Trejo, Michael Rooker and Alan Tudyk. They were among the nearly 40 celebrity guests on hand this year.

Also popular, as has been the case in recent years, was the amazing cosplay participants who once again spared no expense in honoring their favorite characters. For the newly initiated to cosplay, there were several tables in the dealers area that were more then equipped to get you started on your way. The days of poorly made costumes and rubber-band held masks are long gone as cosplay continues to dominate the convention floor.

We at MediaMikes would like to send out a special “thank you” to Chris Jackson, Tracy Jackson and their incredible staff for their constant kindness over the years. I’ve attended every Planet Comicon since it began and it has amazingly not only gotten bigger every year but better. Next year will mark the 20th Anniversary of Planet Comicon and I can only imagine what kind of a celebration they have planned for 2019!

Photos by Dan Lybarger

The Godfather of Shock Rock gets Geeky

We found Waldo

Clever “Moana” cosplay

John Cusack talks about the 1980’s classics he’s starred in

The biggest John Carpenter fans at the convention

We want to see this crossover

Danny Trejo radiates cool

Wet on wet

Hands down, the best “IT” cosplay at the convention

 

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