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Tales of the Con Posts

A Contributors First Con – ModestoCon 2016

 

I had heard for many years about the wonder that is Comic Con. Every year loads of my friends attend the Phoenix convention and as well as those in other locations such as San Diego, coming back with spectacular pictures of people in costumes, wild stories of awesome shenanigans or celebrity meetings. Tons of cool merchandise like artwork, stickers and comics.

With so many cool stories and things floating around at these places, who wouldn’t want to check it out for themselves? Thanks to my friend Skuba Steve at Tales of the Con I was able to finally attend one and see what all the talk was really about. Filling in as an independent contributor of coverage for Tales of the Con at ModestoCon, I rode with Tales’s Skuba Steve and Sam Kittrel from sunny Phoenix, Arizona to the sunny but much cooler Modesto, California. After an exhausting 11 hour drive we finally made it to our destination and couldn’t wait to get in.

Upon procuring our press bands and stepping onto the convention floor my head was spinning from the dizzying array of booths and items to gander and drool at. There’s something for everybody with everything from pins to handmade dolls and painted wooden boxes. There was artwork galore, watercolor, digital or pencil drawings, you saw it all. There were boxes and boxes of comic books for sale with titles like the well know Superman and Spiderman as well as the work of emerging artists like Dominic Davi’s “Come Find Me”. There was also a lot of anime, and I spent the entire convention keeping my eyes peeled for Dragon Ball Z merchandise of which I found plenty!

 

Although I was a little shy about asking people to take pictures of their costumes, I did spend plenty of time admiring them. There were orcs from Warcraft whose costumes were impressive, utilizing real animal furs and bones. There were tons of girls dressed as Suicide Squad’s Harley Quinn, and just as many guys dressed as Deadpool. I saw a stunningly awesome Psylocke from Marvel’s X-Men, as well as Prince, Captain Jack Sparrow and even Barf from Space Balls! There were makeup artists to assist in fantastical transformations and I even saw a group which was volunteering to assist people with last minute emergency costume alterations.

The Mandalorian Mercs organization, whose members dress as bounty hunters from the Star Wars saga also made an appearance at the convention, with a booth where members discussed recruitment information, costume design instruction and the charity work which the group involves itself with in the community.

The energy at the con was very high, so high in fact that it would be hard to imagine that this was Modesto’s first Con. Despite its size it’s readily apparent that this is an event which will continue to grow. We spent two days covering everything and honestly, I don’t think we came close to seeing it all. One of my favorite finds was a kitschy t-shirt with a picture of Rocky Dennis from the movie Mask’s face superimposed onto Rocky Balboas face in a boxing ring.

I sat in on a couple of panels too, when my legs felt the need for a rest. There were professional cosplayer Q&A’s, motivational speeches regarding cosplay and con culture, artist and celebrity Q&A’s, and a costume contest with many great participants, including a father and his very young son dressed as two matching Green Arrow’s

When I was out and about it was quite easy to begin conversing with event attendees, artists and people working merch booths. Everyone was so eager to discuss their shared love of art and comics, or to show off the work they had put in to transform themselves into pop culture icons.

I spoke with a few artists like Christopher Johnson of Out of the Dust Designs, who is based out of Reno, Nevada. I loved his work, which was a decoupage of comic pages with a character theme glued to a board and a portrait of the subject character in the center.

I also had the opportunity to meet the previously mentioned Dominic Davi who is a comic book artist which creates stories of punk rock culture. An interesting side note about Dominic is that he is the bassist for the punk rock band Tsunami Bomb and designs their artwork.
Meeting him was a bit of a blast from the past, he was selling some of their merchandise and informed me that the band had recently reunited and began touring again. I listened to Tsunami Bomb back in high school, having been introduced to them by an ex-girlfriend so it was pretty cool to meet him.

I had an amazing time at ModestoCon and I will definitely be attending other events in the future, though hopefully with a little more money. Who knows, maybe I’ll even dress up one of these times. Maybe I could go as Jon Snow, but much like him I feel I really know nothing, but maybe with some time I could change that. My takeaway from my first convention is one of seeing people come together over their shared love of creativity. Pop culture brought me to my first con, but it was the people behind it that make me want to go to another.

By Jensen Chavez, Guest Contributor

ModestoCon 2016 – Coverage

We sent a few of our guys to ModestoCon 2016 in Modesto, California. You’ll find Articles, interviews and a bonus episode of the podcast right here.

ModestoCon 2016 Coverage

 

 

Pokemon Go – Augmented Rural Reality

MAIN-Pokemon-Go

 

 

         Augmented reality games like Pokemon Go seem to be a new genre that are emerging and taking off. And it seems to be a wonderful thing. Get people up and moving. Maybe those playing a game at the same local landmark strike up a conversation, strangers who find they enjoy the same past times.

But what of those who live in rural or “country” areas? What if your “local” landmarks are a 20-40 minute car ride away and there’s nothing but fields near you?

Having grown up a farm kid and now living in a lower population area, these questions come to mind as Niantic Inc games are becoming a huge deal. Pokemon GO and Ingress are highly played games. And I’m sure if you are in a city, it’s easy to get to landmarks for supplies or battle areas. But for the kids, teens, and young adults who don’t live in highly populated areas this becomes a difficult task.

Growing up my nearest neighbor was a good half mile away, and that was mostly lane just to get from the road to my house. There were no exceptional landmarks or major building, unless you count the local pig farm. Thinking back on my childhood home and the surrounding areas, there’s absolutely no way I could have played an augmented reality game based on how they setup bases for importance. As a teenager, I probably would have been awful when it came to complaining about the lack of things around me. It was bad enough before smartphones with games.

Even as a grown adult, I live in a smaller town and there are few places that help with these games. Those landmark resupply places are few in this area making it harder to keep up with those that frequent areas with more population or more landmarks. So to be able to even continue to play I have had to spend real money to buy PokéCoins, the in game currency, to be able to buy something as simple as Pokéballs, which is needed to catch Pokemon (the whole point of the game). Without being able to catch Pokemon, you can’t level your character. Without being able to level, you don’t get the extra supplies to continue. It becomes a circle of sadness because what could be a great game is stuck until you can make it to a PokéStop and hope it drops things you need. Supposedly you are able to get Pokécoins while walking around. I have yet to see it, not that the amount of the currency it gave you be anywhere near enough what you need to purchase the store items. It’s a rather broken system in that regard. There needs to be better ways to accumulate the PokéCoins for those that cannot invest real money in the game and are not physically able to get to a PokéStop.

Maybe they will figure out someway just to use a pedometer and you can control which way your character goes while you walk on a treadmill or in your own house. That would be handy for those who may not live in areas where wandering around at all hours of the day is feasible. Maybe even team up with companies that already have external pedometer options to make it compatible. It would also give those who live in rural areas to “walk” to landmarks without having to actually walk miles one direction to get to one.

I have hope for augmented reality games. I think the concept is solid, but it needs work. There are a lot of risk factors and not a lot of help to get a reward.

–  Red

FOTW – Umbrella Academy

This episode’s flavor of the week is The Umbrella Academy, a 6 issue graphic novel Written/drawn by: Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba.  Published by Dark Horse Comics

This title on Amazon:

http://amzn.to/29vbPac

Ep 06 – Guest: The Classy Alcoholic

The TOTC crew sits down with a guest who goes by the moniker The Classy Alcoholic.  He’s on a mission to visit every single microbrewery and vineyard in Arizona. He details his travels on his blog http://theclassyalcoholic.net, his Instagram theclassyalcoholic, and on Facebook.

We hung out and talked about Craft Beers, horrible vodka experiments, movies, and martial arts.

Fakku.net Unboxing

Our friends at fakku.net (NSFW) sent us a care package as part of a promotion we are working on to sponsor Scuba Steve’s competitive skateboarding. We unboxed the package on our Youtube channel.