Friday, October 12, 2012

V-Con 37 Report Part 1

A few months ago my wife and I tossed the idea around of going to V-Con or Cos & Effect, two conventions held in Vancouver, BC. As we live in Victoria, on a island, and have no vehicle or drivers licence, transportation was an issue for either.

We have been to Tsukino Con, a Victoria anime convention for the last few years. Her as a vendor of costumes and corsets, me as a Cosplay Photographer and staff member, media relations. Something different and away from home seemed to be in order. Costs were weighed and time considered. It was felt that the late September date of V-Con 37 gave better preparation time, and a venue that may react better to the clothing she creates.

The dealers room was set to open at noon on Friday and all estimates had us arriving at the hotel no earlier than 2pm, so we departed on Thursday. Up at 5am, breakfast, final check of items and out the door at 6am. Standing waiting, we had a lovely view of Venus before sunrise then transit zipped us downtown to catch the Pacific Coach Lines bus.

On the ferry I spotted a couple of Harbour Seals in the water, and there was a P.A. call of a Humpback Whale on the Starboard side. Everyone hurried over to see, one girl even commented that the ship was likely to tip over with everyone rushing to one side. After five minutes of peering at the ocean and scanning the waters for no signs of the elusive whale, we returned to our seats. Early morning fog/smog greeted us in the Salish Sea, but dissipated before we docked.

The ride into Vancouver was pleasant, but met with a bit of aggravation for the driver as we were detoured around construction near the Vancouver Hotel, only to have the detour lifted as we approached from a different direction. Arrived at the Pacific Central Building, the terminus for the bus, and headed across the street to the Main St. Skytrain Station. Its been a few years since I've been to Vancouver and I thought all the stations had escalators for some reason. As I couldn't see one at ground level I thought I'd have to carry two large and heavy bags up a pile of stairs to the platform. As I hoisted them up a pleasant elderly chinese woman pointed out that there was an elevator in the corner, problem solved.

Once on the Skytrain we found a place to stand, as most of the seats were taken, but after a few stops a two seat bench opened up and we moved over. Our luggage took up the aisle and blocked a few people in, so I was quite prepared to move things as people needed. I held the handles of both bags, just to prevent them from tipping. Everyone and and everything was good until three guys looking like construction day labourers got on. Right away they were talking loud at each other and yelling. The older of the three, looking hispanic and in his mid-fifties with droopy-drunk eyes moved into a seat my bag were blocking, and kept trying to get me to agree with his side of the argument. I just made non-committal nods and tried to ignore him. At a few points one of the younger two would tell the older one to sit down and shut up, "I you get me kicked off the Skytrain again, I'm gonna pound you so hard!"

Truth to tell I was less worried about their argument and the potential for a fight, than I was that this was part of a distraction to steal luggage from some wealthy tourists. Not that I'm by any means wealthy, but the luggage was brand new. I had a death grip on both bags for the remainder of the trip. The youngest of the group got off and things calmed down, a bit, and the other two started talking about what stop to get off at and they agreed the Surrey Central was the one they needed, so did we. A quick whisper to my wife and we agreed to go a stop further, to distance ourselves.

Once off the Skytrain at King George Station we found a Taxi and headed for the Hotel. We had budgeted $20 for the ride from the closer station, but now knew it may cost more. Along the ride I asked the driver if he could recommend and places to eat near the Sheraton Guilford Hotel. He rambled off a good dozen places in his thick East Indian accent, but I caught the gist of it all, 152nd was where all the restaurants were, all within a seven minute walk. Arriving at the Hotel the meter in the cab said $12.79, but seeing as he was so helpful and the meter lower than we expected, I agreed with my wife and made the total $20.

Thursday, October 11, 2012



This new series from the creators of the short lived series Eli Stone, has gotten a lot of hype over the summer. For good reason. It has everything a good comic book based series needs to succeed today. Action, drama, hope, off-kilter moral compass and of course, eye-candy.

The previews were apatite-wetting teasers, including the San Diego Comic Con comic that gave eight pages of lead-up story. I have been looking forward to this show since last year when I heard they were shooting the pilot in Vancouver, with a bit here in Victoria.

Now that the pilot has aired, I have to say I quite enjoyed it. The opening sequence got the action going, with Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell 5) running parkour-style across his little Island to light a signal fire, with a flaming arrow from 1000 ft away. Once he's rescued by the Chinese fishermen, the show has him quickly back in his home town of Starling City (why not Seattle?), but not everyone is happy to see him.

Business rivals of his father, Robert Queen, (James Sheridan 0), start trying to find out what he knows. An abduction of Oliver and his friend Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell 0) causes the first appearance of the man in a green-hood. The fight scene reminds me of something from The Black Widow in The Avengers, but that movie wasn't even out when this pilot was shooting. Back at home Oliver, Tommy and Moira Queen ( Susanna Thompson 13) talk with the police about a sketch of the man-in-the-green-hood (sketch by Green Arrow artist Mike Grell). Detective Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne 52) dismisses the sketch, and Oliver and Tommy's version of events, until businessman/criminal kingpin Adam Hunt (Brian Markinson 76) has a threatening encounter with the same hooded figure.

While the police, headed by Detective Lance (why is a detective heading a police protection force?), and Hunt await 10pm, the time of Arrow's deadline for $40Million to be deposited into a bank account. Tommy is hosting a massive welcome home party with a huge crowd. Perfect for Oliver to disappear into while making his attack on Hunt, then reappearing in as Lance and the PD storm in to investigate.

John Barrowman
At the end of the episode we get a twist, in the form of Moira also being desperately interested in what her son learned from his father.

Now that it's here, I have every intention of watching and enjoying the adventures of Oliver Queen. Watch for Doctor Who's John Barrowman to show up as a "well dressed man" in a reoccurring role, and name drops like "Judge Grell", a reference to Mike Grell, writer/artist/painter Green Arrow: Longbow Hunters.

I'm curious why the show's IMDB listing is so poorly lacking in information.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Medusa Playing Cards

I have watched Wen Yu Li's art on DeviantArt for over eight years and he's always been amazing. I even featured his art and an interview in a e-zine I did called Dimensions.

Since then he's been lead illustrator with Anima, a RPG and Card Game at Cipher Studios. Now Cipher Studios and Wen are producing a playing card deck with art by Wen.

The detail is amazing and the project is ready to go to print with the American Playing Card Company (APCC) makers of Bicycle®, Hoyle® and Bee® playing cards. The risks in this project are as negligible as possible, respected company, completed work, over 60% funded in 7 days.

Free shipping to Canada and the USA for a $10 pledge gets you a pack of cards, usable in all kinds of places.

Wen M art 2004