Today’s episode features independent artist Gerimi Burleigh. Gerimi is a self published comic book artist and author from California. He has been a long time supporter of our website since it was just an idea. We had a great time with him discussing a wide variety of topics such as TV Shows, Movies, Anime, and of course Comic books. Visit Gerimi’s website at http://optichouse.com
Your hosts for this episode are: Jake, Chris, Fred, Sam, and, Mariano. Contains mature language and subject matter.
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
Being as it was my first ever Comicon to attend, I wasn’t quite sure what exactly I was going to be walking into. I’d figured that I was going to feel like a lost little kid in the middle of Time Square the entirety of the first day, and I wasn’t wrong. Preparing for this convention was quite overwhelming mentally, but I felt like it would be an even better first experience to get some coverage while I could. Aside from the hundreds of photos I took of cosplayers & the convention itself, I went ahead and took a stroll down ‘Food Truck Alley’ to try and cover the food trucks that leapt out at me. Out of all the amazing food I got to eat, there were three in particular that caught my attention as being especially stand out. Mustache Pretzels
The first truck that caught my eye was called Mustache Pretzels. Owned by Greg Golden, his truck originally roamed the streets of Philly before coming to Arizona a while back. Now based out of Scottsdale, his truck has attended Phoenix Comicon three years in a row. I got to speak with Greg and he seemed pretty excited about the prospect of attending for a fourth year. Greg also let me know that his truck was popular enough to have opened a physical location inside the actual Phoenix Convention center itself.
The selection of Pretzels was pretty limited, but what the menu actually offered sounded fantastic by despite the lack of variety. I don’t know if it was the price of the convention center food or just the desert heat – but it also seemed pretty reasonable for what was being offered.
I ordered the Original with Queso Cheese, which is a simple pretzel topped with sea salt. Of course with a name like Mustache Pretzel, you can figure that the pretzel was shaped into a mustache. Y’know, hence the name, but I still thought it was creative.
When I took the first bite, it was like I had melted to the consistency of my queso cheese. It was great! Lots of love was definitely put into the making of this pretzel. The dough itself has a definite flavor and consistency of being homemade. The subtle flavor of the dough with the sea salt, mixing together with each bite washes over you while the dough comes apart in your mouth. Bottom line – If you don’t have the appetite of The Incredible Hulk and just need something to hold you over through the lines and panels in the afternoon, Mustache Pretzel is one of the best choices.
Cheese, Love and Hapiness
Moving on to the next truck on my list: This truck was called Cheese, Love and Happiness. They’re based out of Scottsdale just like Mustache Pretzels, but unfortunately the owner “Sparrow” wasn’t around for me to meet him. From what I hear from his employees and the quality of the food they make, he’s a super groovy dude.
I have to say that the only thing I didn’t like was the line, but going into something like this you can generally consider that if the line is large that the food is worth it. When I finally made it up to the front after my long queue, I find out that they’re out of their famous mac-n-cheese pulled pork sandwich! After coming all that way it’s not like an empty stomach is willing to give up, so I soldiered on and ordered the Flower Power. The sandwich had tomatoes, basil leaves, mozzarella cheese and balsamic vinaigrette. That’s obviously a classic ingredient combination; you really can’t go wrong with that, just by putting them together.
Of course it was a little bit more than the pretzel truck, but the size of the sandwich was well worth it. The first bite was just as good as the last and had me wanting more the entire time. Even though I wasn’t able to get what I originally wanted, I was highly impressed with the entire experience.
The girl I briefly spoke with told me it was the trucks first year at Comicon and they definitely planned to attend next year.
The third and final food truck I would like to recommend is named Queso-Good. I had heard that this truck was owned by the same guy as Cheese, Love and Happiness, but after doing some mild research, the truck is a division of Ralph’s Snack Bar Mobile Food Trucks. I couldn’t find the other truck under a list of vendors on their website, so after a little quick footed investigating I managed to find out who was actually behind this truck. Getting back, I approached the truck and a smile quickly formed on myface when I saw that there was a great selection of Mexican Food. Chicken Fajitas jumped out at me immediately over anything else, so I was putting money on the counter and yelling my order over the noise of the crowd in the tightly packed alley. The price was good and the size of the plate was enough to fill. If I had to say a time estimation, by the time my plate hit the table I’d already scarfed the Fajitas down like nothing. Listen: I’ve never eaten Fajita’s as fast as the ones I got at Comicon. I’m a big Mexican food guy so maybe it was just seeing something immediately recognizable among all of the food trucks that made Queso Good my favorite, but out of all three I can definitely say they had the most solid offering.
Leaving Food Truck Alley was difficult because I wish I could enjoy all of them daily. I was also impressed with how much cash I left with. Conventions can be quite pricey, especially with food. But to whoever is reading and plans on attending Comicon next year , don’t stress too hard about where you’re going to eat and how much money you’re going to have to part with. Food Truck Alley is where it’s at, nerds! We’ll have more reviews next con.