Salt Lake Comic Con – Cosplayers

  

By Joshie Jaxon 

Hello again, geek fans. Sorry for the day delay, there was a Jaxon family gathering that I couldn’t miss. That being said, let’s dive right into the cosplayers I captured while at Comic Con. Unlike Bevianna, I didn’t photoborg anyone, but I so would have if I has the cutout. Let the geeks begin!

There was a Minion 

  

Edea from Final Fantasy VIII 

  

Aquaman

  

Lulu and Sephiroth 

  

Both versions of Captain Hook 

  

Ghostbusters (with Jason and Aisha in the background)

  

Super Saiyan Goku 

  

Gambit & Firestar

  

Spider Buns 

  

Spider Bulge 

  

And finally, Lady Loki & Loki

  

No, seriously, this guy is practically a clone of Hiddleston. I almost swooned. 

  

I’m gonna go slip into the tub and enjoy this feeling. Until next time, stay geeky, and keep gabbing! 

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Salt Lake Comic Con – Celebrity Encounters

  

By Joshie Jaxon 

Greetings, geek fans! I just had what may be my one and only day at this year’s con, but it was amazing! I’ll break things into two posts, because I took a lot of pictures. 

For starters, I rode to the event via a bike service, dressed as a minion. He was, not me. I was dressed in my authentic Animaniacs shirt from back when the show was new. There was a Tardis in front of the Salt Palace and that was just the beginning of the good times. 

There were so many people that I got a tad claustrophobic, but it passed. There were so many nerd vibes in the air that the oxygen of my people kicked in and I was good to go. I took my initial lap through Artist Alley, examining the potential prints I could splurge on. Side note, if anyone ever wanted to get me anything, Loki art isn’t a bad way to go. Another side note, my birthday is in two months. Anyhow, I went to see Lance Conrad, fellow author and friend. We were neighbors at Fantasy Con last year. I got his latest book, and wished him well at the con. As a professional courtesy, here’s a link to his Amazon page. It’s good stuff. 

http://www.amazon.com/Lance-Conrad/e/B00IVZJHHI 

One sighting down, several more to go.
  

Next I went wandering through the celebrity area. There was no way I was getting anywhere near the Weasley twins, so I kept wandering. I was saddened to see that the Winter Bucky and Maleficent weren’t there, but I did get to see Aisha (Karan Ashley) and Jason (Austin St John) of Power Rangers fame. She commented on my shirt, and that she’d met the voice actors before, but didn’t know it was them at the time. We had a moment, and she was super nice. That moment was nothing compared to the next. 

I saw the lines for Yakko, Wakko, and Dot, but next to them was Erika Akexander, Max from Living Single. She was talking to two ladies, and there was no line. I walked over, and got to hear about how she’s still friends with the cast, and how Latifa made this gathering, but didn’t go to another. I got to hear about her show with Kim Coles, as well as how awkward it was kissing Kyle on the show, as they share a birthday and are like family. The ladies left, and it was just me and Erika. She asked my name, and what I did. I told her I’m a writer/author. She asked what I write and I told her about my books, including that I have LGBT characters visible in every one. She got a piece of paper, and asked me what they were called and where to find them. I wrote down Knights of Sefrix, and my name. Then I told her that since I plan to be famous with them someday, she could have a free autograph. I winked and signed the page for her. She wished me the best of luck, and couldn’t have been nicer. She’s an absolute angel. I started to walk away, but realized the ladies had gotten a pic with Erika, but I hadn’t. I stepped back over, and asked if I could trouble her for one. She said, of course, and had her assistant/friend take two. Moments like those are worth their weight in gold. I was on a natural high for quite awhile. Still am, writing about it.

To help repay such kindness of spirit, here is a link to her comic series, Concrete Park. 

http://www.concretepark.com 

And her YouTube show –

  

I was flying pretty high after that, but since I love voice actors as much as I do, I decided I still wanted to try and meet the Warners. I started in Yakko’s line, er, Rob Paulsen. I got to hear him doing Yakko, and Mark Chang while I was waiting in line. He was a very nice gentleman, and when my shirt got mentioned, he said he could tell it was authentic. I got to shake his hand, and tell him how much I appreciate his work. 

Next I got into the line for diva/goddess Tress MacNeille. Babs Bunny, Dot, Mom, Ms. Skinner, the list goes on. I was standing right there as I heard her say “cram a squirrel in it” in Mom’s voice. She even said she liked my shirt. I was in geek heaven. Knowing that she doesn’t usually come to events, I decided I did want a picture with Tress. She wanted to make sure she was pointing to Dot on my shirt, even though it didn’t quite make it in the frame. Not only that, she tried to tickle me to ensure I was smiling. She even asked the picture taker if I was. I SO was. She was a delight. 

  

I got in line for Dee Bradley Baker, as there was no time to make Wakko, Jess Harnell, before he had to go to their panel. I wish I could say I had another moment with Klaus from American Dad, but it was a handshake and a have a nice con. Can’t win them all I guess, but I was already a winner so many times over. 

To round out my celebrity encounters, I stopped at the booth of artist, and fellow Irishman, Sean Ricks. Sean does incredible artwork, and I’m proud to say I have some of his prints in my collection. He’s raffling off Deaths Decent, and I had to enter for the chance at it. I got a print copy as well. Being the great guy that he is, I was also given an autographed wolf print. He asked how my books were going, and mentioned one that he’s working on as well. I love being able to visit and talk shop with fellow creative types. Much like musicians, I admire artists. I know what it’s like to have something in your head that you have to get out. I use words, Sean uses pictures, others use instruments. All of us put a piece of our soul into our works, and love it when others are able to appreciate them. I’ll include a link to his Facebook page, so that you’re able to appreciate his visual medium of expression. Celebrate artists both local and not, for they are what keep the spirit of creativity alive in an ever darkening world. 

https://m.facebook.com/seannathanricksmainstreetgallery
  

I’ll cover more in another post. Until next time, stay geeky, and keep gabbing! 

Glorious Girls of Gaming – Princess Zelda 

  

By Joshie Jaxon

Princess Zelda, much like Princess Peach has been around since the early days of the NES. Also like Peach, she was the damsel who needed to be rescued during her franchise’s inaugural adventure. Not to mention she was originally a brunette, or maybe a redhead, sprites are hard to identify. However, the similarities to Peach end there. We’re gonna explore how this princess took her destiny in her own hands. Let the geeks begin! 

As anyone who played the original Legend of Zelda back in the day will tell you, there’s no real plot to the game itself. Without reading the manual, all you know about the game is that you’re a tiny green guy destroying monsters. Now, it’s true, you could watch the small opening credit if you let the title screen sit for a while, but without it, you don’t really have a clue that there’s a princess that needs rescuing. We’ll excuse any shortcomings of NES era gaming, as the games themselves were some of the best ever made, launching several enduring series. However, Zelda was an eight-bit character back then. Get it? Moving on. She spent all of the Adventure of Link asleep in the starting castle. Since Link doesn’t swing that way, I’m guessing the thought to kiss her never crossed his mind. As such, Zelda was a damsel in distress for her second outing, while Peach had been given temporary playable character status in hers. Don’t worry, Zelda is about to take the lead. 

  

While she did have a better role than damsel in Link to the Past, it was Ocarina of Time that really allowed us to get to know Zelda and see her shine. Young Princess Zelda was suspicious of Ganondorf, and asked Link to look into it, teaching him her lullaby. However, just as kid Link returned from his initial quest, he gets to watch Impa ride off with Zelda as Ganon pursued them. She did manage to share her titular Ocarina on her way out of town. Link seizes the Master Sword and gets transported to the future, and learns of Ganon’s reign. The mysterious Sheik tells the young hero that Zelda is safe, but in hiding. At each dungeon/temple, Sheik uses his harp to teach Link a new song, and offer him information. Even as a teen, I wondered if they were going to show signs of a possible same sex attraction, but alas, Sheik was merely Zelda’s drag king persona; which confused the hell out of Link’s master sword, if you know what I’m saying. Anyhow, Zelda shows that she has the power of the Triforce of Wisdom, and is captured by Ganon. Unlike a standard damsel rescue, once Link beats Ganon’s first form, Zelda says she’ll help against the second. Skilled with a bow, and able to use the power of light, she allows Link the use of light arrows, and channels her power to hold Ganon steady while Link delivers the final blow. In the final moments of the game she sends Link back so that he can still have a childhood. How sweet of her. 

  

Not really present in Majora’s Mask, Zelda did get to play a significant role in the events of the Wind Waker, and Twilight Princess. Once again we get a princess in disguise, in the form of Tetra. Tetra is a pirate, and takes Link on her ship in a quest to retrieve his sister. She loans him the use of her pirate stone, allowing him to communicate with her, and the King of Red Lions. Towards the end of Link’s quest, we discover that Tetra is actually Princess Zelda. Much like her incarnation in Ocarina, Tetra-Zelda has light powers, and is just as skilled with a bow. Once more, she assists Link, allowing him to stab Ganon in the head, turning him to stone. Can’t get her hands dirty, after all. Or can she? Twilight Zelda uses her power to heal a critically injured Midna, allowing Link to save not only his world but the Twilight Realm as well. Zelda reappears in the end, because let’s face it, these are her legends after all. 

  

Skyward Sword gave us our greatest version of Zelda yet. Hear me out. Not only has this Zelda known Link since childhood, she has her own purpose in the story, rather than just being a convenient plot point. While Link is going through the game trying to stop Ghirahim, Zelda is with Impa trying to prepare and purify herself to be a vessel for the goddess Hylia. She’s actively questing to do what she can to help save the world. She’s not captured. She’s not asleep. She’s not in drag, or an amnesiac. What’s Peach doing? Being taken, again, playing go-carts, sports, partying, etc. Zelda is working to become a freaking goddess. Even though Zelda isn’t the exact same person in each game, the developers have worked very hard to make her different and unique as time passes. The Mario series seems to go with, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. The Zelda series takes risks with each new entry. They even killed her off, technically, in Spirit Tracks. Even without a body of her own, Zelda is useful, and required to beat the game. That entry was actually her legend. She’s the co-star, not just the female lead. 

  

Now, like Peach, Zelda has stepped into the Brawl universe, and even brought her Sheik persona with her. This is one princess that kicks ass and takes names. I’ve not had a chance to play Hyrule Warriors outside of Best Buy, but I know that Zelda is at the forefront of the action. From her initial appearance in the NES days to now, Zelda has become a hands-on warrior princess, lookout Xena, willing to do whatever it takes to protect her land and people, and to me, that’s pretty glorious. 

  

Final Fantasy Adventure

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-by Bevianna Bones

Recently, I read that the powers that be at Square Enix were remaking another one of its old properties. The beginning of the Mana story, Seiken Densetsu: Final Fantasy Gaiden. Originally released on the original Gameboy (remember, the grey and green destroyer of ocular growth and development?), and then remade once as Secret of Mana on the SNES, and Sword of Mana years later on the Gameboy Advance.  This time round, rumor seems to point the remake in the direction of iOS, Android, and PSVita (yippie!!) Having played both incarnations, here’s to hoping that
this up and coming remake is slightly more faithful to the original.  Seeing this news, however, brought back a wash of memories and inspired me to dig out an old friend and revisit not only my first experience with Final Fantasy, but the only game I ever called the Official Nintendo Power game counselors for. Yes, it’s the only Final Fantasy game I’ve ever loved as much as VII…it’s Final Fantasy Adventure.

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The game…

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And the system…and after firing it up, the years have been less than kind on the poor old thing…forgive me, but the rest of this article and game will be played on an emulator. Check out MyOldBoy for Android and iOS.

One thing I immediately noticed, and remembered after starting it up, was the music. Gods I loved this intro music when I was a kid. I remember I would sit and listen to it and just let it play over and over on the title screen. The franchise has, since day one, across all boards, been spot on with the quality of its soundtracks. Even when it was just midis, and not full blown symphonic orchestration. I also recall that as a kid, I was so obsessed with this game, and my other loves; drawing comics and Star Trek: The Next Generation; that I started writing a comic using the dialogue from the game, and my TNG action figures as character models. I’ll have to look in the vault to see if I can find any of those gems for you…the apex of my preteen geekdom. Wait until I tell you guys about how I got the name Bevianna Bones. But for now, back to the game.

The gameplay is different thanks other Final Fantasy series, as it’s more action based, much more Zelda like than not.  The story starts, and your character, Boy, (Toby) is a gladiator type slave for the empire of Glaive. One of Toby’s slave pals dies after a fight in the arena, and on his death bed, he tells him to seek out the Gemma Knights, the Mana tree, and a man named Bogard, in order to save the world from evil.

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Willy passed away.

Toby sets off to escape the castle (?) via the entrance for the monsters, and is forced to fight again. Toby slays the beast and heads outside. Once there he overhears a plot from The Dark Lord and his evil sorcerer Julius. Seems that they want to harness the power of the Mana tree as well, that is inconveniently located at the top of a massive waterfall. The Dark Lord realizes that Toby has just overheard all of their evil plans, and before he can get the chance to thwart theme, pushes Toby off the ledge, and into the waterfall.

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Toby awakens to find himself in an unknown world, with vague instructions from his dying friend, and knowledge of an evil plot about to take place. He must find this Bogard and find out more info. He stumbles into a nearby town and hears tale of a strange old man that lives in seclusion up the falls.  This must be Bogard! 

Shortly thereafter, he saves a young woman from monsters, and the traveling companion she was with passes away. Toby, agrees to bring his newfound friend, Gaby, along with him, for she too, is looking for this Bogard.

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The pair make their way up the falls and find the secluded house. The old man inside tries to pull an Obi-Wan, and is hurried to tell them off, “leave me alone!!” That is, until he notices that the Girl, is carrying the pendant of Mana. (What this old thing? My mother gave it to me…) After seeing the pendant, he reveals that he was once a Gemma Knight, protector of the Mana tree, before the darkness entered the land, and that the Girl must be the key to stopping it, for there is power within the pendant.  He tells them to go see a sage named Cibba, in a town called Wendel, and that he will help them.

I don’t want to give away too many spoilers here, that covered about the first 15 minutes of the game. The point of the quest is provided to you early on and fairly straightforward.  Protect the Girl, seek out information to said girl and tree, and then put it all together and save the world.

That’s not to say that there won’t be obstacles up ahead. Like when a creepy innkeeper kidnaps the Girl in the night and locks her in a casket in the basement. Why? Only to find out that he is a vampire and wants her for his bride!

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All in all, after playing it again after all these years, it’s still a great game. It’s definitely not as hard as I remember, nor is it as long as I remember.  But, it does feature all of the staples of a Final Fantasy; airships and a guy named Cid, Mogs, and of course Chocobos. Wark!

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And now, for an insider tip, for what could easily have a spot on the list of most absurd video game puzzles and corresponding vague clues.  Like I mentioned earlier, this was the only game that I ever had to call the Nintendo Power game counseling hotline for.  For younger readers, this was our only out when we would get stuck in a game. It was a time before strategy guides, walkthroughs, and the Oracle’s of Google.

While questing, you are told about the presence of a hidden cave, and given one clue to its whereabouts. Palm trees and 8.

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Sure pal. I got it. Off to spend months of my childhood trying to figure what the fuck you’re talking about.

Naturally, I figured that the location of the cave was somewhere where there was a grouping of 8 Palm trees. Except that was nowhere to be found. I tried everything I could think of, even backtracking as far back as I could go to see if I had missed another clue. But to save us all time, here’s the answer to the great mystery.

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What’s wrong, don’t see the answer? It’s simple really. Seems you have to walk a figure eight around those two palms and the cave will open up.

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Wark! I’m pretty sure that’s Chocobo for WTF.

Makes perfect sense, only reason I didn’t come to that on my own volition might have something to do with the fact, at no other point in the game do you have to, or is it a point to have to walk patterns around or on anything.

And with that, I will leave you to further my own quest for the Mana tree, as I await the newgen remake of this classic. If you want to find out what happens, find a copy and fire up your old Gameboy, or procure a copy via emulator. 

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-BB

Super Mario Bros. 30th Anniversary 

  

By Joshie Jaxon

I wrestled with how I wanted to celebrate this particular occasion. There are so many great games and moments in the series, I thought about how best to share them with you, dear readers. I decided to go with a personal narrative, and my history with Mario. Let the geeks begin! 

While my first gaming system was an Atari 2600, I have very few memories of actually playing it that often. My original Nintendo was a gift, I believe for my birthday. It was 30 years ago, gimme a break. I know it got opened at my grandma’s house, and I swear we set it up to play right then. It was the bundle that came with Duck Hunt and Super Mario Bros. As much as I hated trying to shoot ducks with no cross hair to put them in, I loved, and I mean loved playing Mario Bros. To this day, I only think I’ve ever beaten it once, maybe twice. I can make it through Ocarina of Time without dying, but trying to beat NES Mario Bros 1 is nearly impossible for my poor brain. I don’t know what it is about that game. I still love it though. The music is infectious, and has been with me for decades. Super Mario Bros 2 and 3 rounded out the NES adventures. Tons of new worlds, and new bad guys as well. I was a little sad that Wart and company weren’t in Mario and Luigi Dream Team. There were pillows and a dream land, for crissake. Wart, Mouser, Fry Guy, c’mon, do we really needed Bowser AGAIN? If you’re not gonna trot out other older villains, at least don’t make it Bowser all the time. The whole, no one takes Peach but me thing, could make him a temporary hero. Sorry for that tangent. Where was I? 

Ah yes, Mario moments. Super Mario World is one that I logged a ton of hours on. I had all the star roads, all the secret worlds, and autumn coming to Dinosaur World. I knew the secret to get infinite lives in World 4, which was good, because my non-Bevianna sister sucked, and I needed to be able to transfer more lives to her. Maybe she’d have been better if I had let her play more often. Nah! She wasn’t the hardcore gamer I am. She wanted friends and a life. I wanted the high score and personal glory. I stand by my life choices. I’m the Gracie Hart of gaming. Instead of friends and relationships I have sarcasm and a controller. I played the next few Mario entries on my own. Granted, they were mostly designed as 1-player games. There’s no Luigi in Sunshine. He’s missing in Galaxy. Before the Wii and more, family-centric gaming, it seems Nintendo was just fine with us playing with ourselves. That doesn’t sound right, but it does sound like me. 

  

Speaking of the Wii, that’s where my next Mario moments took place. When the New Super Mario Bros Wii came out, I got a chance to love the series all over again. Being the alpha nerd that I am, I was always Mario. My ex and I spent a good portion of our relationship trying to acquire every single star coin available. Our relationship ended with one coin left unclaimed. Maybe if we’d found it, we’d still be together. Probably not, but the world will never know. The point is, even with him getting in my way, and me tossing him into lava when he wouldn’t bubble on demand, Mario brought us together. 

Now Mario is being enjoyed by a new generation. I loaned my nephews my copy of Mario All Stars Special Edition, which lowed them to see what the original games were like, albeit with updated graphics. The point is, they didn’t just have 3D Mario adventures. They got to kick it old school. My eldest even played the original Mario Bros. No Bowser, no Peach, no plot, really. Knock out the bad guys before your opponent can. I was taking a break, and rather than switching to one player mode, my nephew stayed in two player and let Mario die so he could collect wins. After seeing what he was doing, I picked the controller back up, and started kicking his ass. He asked what I was doing, and I told him if he was going to play two player, both players were gonna play. He just stood in safe places, waiting for me to die. I figured out his little game, and I started kicking shells into him. I know it shouldn’t, but frustrating my nephew like that filled me with such joy, I know if there’s a hell, I have a reservation. 

Mario Brothers – bringing families together for 30 years. 

Until next time, stay geeky and keep gabbing! 
  

Alamo City Comic Con – Day 3

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by Bevianna Bones

The third day of conventions is usually a shorter, more peaceful day. Artists and vendors generally start discounting their wares and the crowd is usually less than half it was the day before.  Day 3 at the ACCC was still serving up some great panels in Flash Gordon, Comic Book Men, Edward James Olmos, Villians of Arrow, and Guardians of the Galaxy. Sadly the later was overbooked and it was going to be standing room only; by this point in the con, my partner and I were pretty peopled out and decided to cut the panels from the itinerary. We spent the day visiting with some of the artists and vendors; knocking out about half of our Xmas shopping for the fam.  We ran into some of our pals and had a little fun with some cosplayers. Shenanigans!  We did get to sneak a pic of Stan Lee.  He was signing autographs and he literally looked like someone was propping him up. (How did you cast Ms Monroe in this picture, she’s been dead for years…she’s perfect for the part really, she’s lying on the floor, falling out of cupboards…) If anyone out there actually gets that reference, I’ll be most impressed.

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One of our great finds was this awesome Borg standee that we picked up for 5 bucks. What a steal!!

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And the hilarity ensued! While visiting with some of our pals, Darth Vadar enters the room with an entourage of Sith cheerleaders. People start snapping pics, and other people in Star Wars garb start joining the group. (Including some of our own Jedi pals)

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I’m laughing to myself about how some of these Star Wars fans are flipping their shit for this epic photo op, and realize I’m holding this Borg in my hand. I look over to the misses and mention how funny it would be to go put the Borg in the pic, since Wars fans generally have no sense of humor when it comes to Trek being better. The result, was this.

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Best part is, my friend that took that pic was telling me that everyone else taking the picture was asking why the Borg was there. Great stuff. And it became a bit of an ongoing theme for us the rest of the day. Photo-Borging other people’s pics.  Good times.

All in all, it was a great geeky weekend, despite my frustration from being around large swarms of people. Saturday’s attendance numbers were estimated to close to 100,000 people. (All wanting to see the Walking Dead panel haha) Oh, and the cheesey wristband did actually hold up for all three days, albeit a bit ragged by the end.

In it’s third year, it only has kept getting better, and if any of the powers that be are reading this, here’s these geeks request for next year: more retro panels and less current events. But maybe I’m just biased, after all 3G is all about the retro and fabulous.

To wrap up, I’ll leave you with some of my favorite cosplay pics we took. Imagine each photo fading in and out, with a soft Sarah McLachlan playing in the background as you scroll through.

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BB