San Diego Comic-Con fun. Lots to share with you today my dear readers.

While I was out of town, some of my friends were at the PYLUSD Performing Arts Center, enjoying a spectacular musical treat. Musical Theatre of Orange County is running a production of Beauty and the Beast for just six magical dates, and three of those are already gone. I was actually supposed to write about this weeks and weeks ago, and I thoughtlessly let it slide. I’m kicking myself especially hard after hearing my friends rave about it. Mitch Atkins, the production designer, also did work recently on some little show over at Disney California Adventure about some snowy, frosty…let me think…I can’t remember right now. I’ll just have to Let It… Okay, he worked on Frozen: Live at the Hyperion. I couldn’t DO that to you!

Here’s the math and science:

July 29th at 7:30
July 30th at 2:00 & 7:30
July 31st at 2:00

Reserved Seating
Orchestra – $30
Mezzanine – $25

Click HERE to buy tickets!

PYLUSD Performing Arts Center:
1651 N. Valencia Ave.
Placentia, CA 92870

Lori Atkins, co-founder and Vice-President of the MTOC, says that this has been a “lifelong dream”. It’s very cool what they do: they get youth involved in theatre by having them work with professional technicians and stagecrafters (?) and several age-appropriate actors work through the performances with them so that they can learn from them, almost like an apprenticeship. It’s a 501c3 non-profit organization. If you would like to support them, check out their website at MTOC.org.

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Disney Kingdoms Panel, Part 1

Amy Dallen
Amy Dallen. Photo by Noe Valladolid.

The moderator for the panel was Amy Dallen of Burbank comic book shop House of Secrets. Amy Dallen is enthusiastic and smart and beautiful and perfect, so she was a fantastic choice for moderator. She is also the go-to comics person for Walt Disney Imagineering, so there’s that little detail as well.  Amy also writes for Geek and Sundry.

 IMG_3199DiThe Panel before the panel. Photo by Shelly Valladolid

The Panelists:

Imagineers Josh Shipley and Andy Ginova
Imagineers Josh Shipley and Andy DiGenova

First, we had Josh Shipley, ‎Creative Designer at Walt Disney Imagineering and Andy DiGenova, Associate Producer with Walt Disney Imagineering. They’re part of the Disney Genius Team for Disney Kingdoms. Do you remember two years plus ago, when Knott’s first did Infected, and that viral video went around with Tony Baxter and friends going through it? The guy who was cutting through the infected like buttah? Mr. Shipley up there. Andy is the host of the @HolyBatCast podcast, all things Batman, DC and related. They know their stuff, okay?

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Josh Shipley, Andy DiGenova and Brian Crosby

Brian Crosby was with Disney Imagineering for ten years, where he helped to co-create Disney Kingdoms, but now he’s with Marvel, where he’s a Creative Director for Themed Entertainment.

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E. M. Gist

Eric M. Gist is an artist whose main focus is horror and the supernatural. He’s done work for DC, Marvel and other companies, is an independent artist as well as an instructor. He was the cover artist for the Haunted Mansion.

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Tad Stones

Tad Stones worked in Disney Animation, creating Chip and Dale’s Rescue Rangers and Darkwing Duck (he literally created Darkwing Duck!) but before that he was in on EPCOT Center’s development, working on the Space pavilion with George Lucas, the good one that was never built. “There’s no Space Pavilion now.” he says. I agree. He was then moved over to help create the Imagination Pavilion.

Tad Stones and Jim Zub
Tad Stones and Jim Zub

Jim Zub wrote the Figment comics, and managed not only to live up to, but exceed fan expectations. He lives in Canada with his wife but visits the US often, but hadn’t been to the pavilion since he was a tween – until earlier this year…

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The Discussion

Josh and Brian are also the swell guys who took Marvel Editor-in-Chief and Cuppa Joe-slinger Joe Quesada to a ball game and pitched him the idea of Disney Kingdoms in the first place. He liked it, but it took him seven months to get back to them.

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fabsays(I got to say hi to Joe really quickly at the OMNI. Really the nicest fella to meet if you’re a fan!) But if you’re going to call the hubby over, make sure that they haven’t had any run-ins in the past! 

“We wanted to do for comic books what Pirates of the Caribbean did for movies” said Shipley. So, they started out with Seekers of the Weird, loosely based upon the never-built Rolly Crump attraction The Museum of the Weird. Seekers of the Weird isn’t called Museum of the Weird on the covers because there’s a Museum of the Weird in Texas, but it is called the Museum of the Weird inside the comic book.

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The next series is The Enchanted Tiki Room, with art by Brian Kensington and Jody Daily on the covers and a sketch by Brian Kensington, but it was hinted that Figment 3 might be coming up next year.

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Bill Roseman, now with Marvel Games, called Jim Zub with the pitch for Figment. He told Jim that because Jim had worked with Sword and Sorcery, before, he might like this – hey,  there’s a dragon in it! Coincidentally, Zub teaches animation history, in addition to being a comic writer, so he dove deep into the Imagination lore, but he turned out to be a perfect fit for the story. There was no villain, so he had to build a narrative and create Disney lore to come up with a villain, come up with his name, backstory.Figment

Also, he knew that  there were Disney fans, but he didn’t realize the intensity of their love, he was glad the series was  just wrapping up as the first issue was released., he found himself inundated with love,he learned how much the character means to them, but all he could do was say,  “I hope they like it.”

figment 2

His manager called him to tell him that it had all sold out,”No it didn’t,” said Jim. “it just came out today,” “Yeah, it’s sold out”. The second printing sold out 2 weeks. He’s gotten beautiful feedback, He did a D23 signing with Tony Baxter, met a lot of fans and found them stunning, supportive, imaginative, and then came, Figment 2,  bringing them into the modern day.

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Jim hadn’t been since he was about 12, years old. a month ago, he went to Imagination, and there was a display filled with his books.he had to admit, it gave him some tingles. His wife said, you should sign a couple of books. “Tell the people.”
“What do I tell them, ‘Hey, It’s Me!’?  I buy a couple pins. and the woman behind us in line is buying every single book, and I’ve got this heat on neck; should I say something, is that weird, finally I say Can I tell you a secret, I wrote those, after a moment, she goes ‘WHAT!”  and asks me to sign them, but I don’t have a Sharpie. My wife has a sharpie in her purse, So as they checked out the books, he signed them, and the CM thought at first he was going to deface the, but quickly caught on to what was happening. Tad Stones added: that next there was a big Jim Zub costume character outside. No, but the next day there was a signing at Coliseum of Comics, and one of the walkaround Dreamfinders,  Rob Schneider, showed up, came around to the back of the table and signed with him.

Buckyreads

Figment is even part of Marvel Canon now: In this week’s Thunderbolt, the  Winter Soldier Bucky Barnes reveals that he’s a big fan of Figment when he reads a little girl the book.

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We’ll talk more about this Thursday. Let’s wander the Convention Center a bit.

grunkles

It’s the Grunkles Stans from Gravity Falls! There was supposed to be a Gravity Falls tribute panel, but it was canceled at the last minute. Perhaps the fact that neither Disney nor Alex Hirsch were consulted about said panels had something to do with it being axed. Maybe it was Bill Cipher.

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Here’s me with a Kylo Ren cosplayer from Italy.

Airship Willie

Check out some of the titles on the posters, especially center bottom and far right bottom.

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I think I’m getting better at selfies.

How many can you name?
How many can you name?

This artist just keeps a canvas by their telephone. Every time they get on the phone and doodle, they’re actually working on their art. No, the last two sentences are a complete and utter lie. But wouldn’t it be a good idea?

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I sense a pattern emerging.

crowds

While the crowds were just as bad, there was a different vibe. It was a lot more laid-back, in some ways. Oh, I got elbowed and shoved, but Hasbro, while still a disorganized mess as usual, still had every single toy available, nothing sold out, on the last day of the convention. When can you remember the last time that happened? I also didn’t see pro and semi-pro cosplayers on the floor or anywhere but the stage, which was different. I’m sure that one artist’s wife is happy, but a lot of the artists noticed a downturn in sales this year in the alley,  which is definitely NOT a good thing.

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Shortages didn’t affect everything, thank goodness.

McThor

There were WAY less “mashup” characters this year – most were purely one single character. Noe took this photo when I was elsewhere, so I know that it’s a mashup between Ronald McDonald and Thor, but otherwise I don’t even know where to begin.

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My first unmasked one. I look like an insane chipmunk. Stupid steroids.

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The greatest J. Jonah Jameson cosplayer I have ever seen. Or heard. Or half the convention center and surrounding neighborhoods have heard. And Hall H, over the panel discussion members. Spot on.

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The cutest little Space Witchfinder General cosplayer in San Diego

character design 2 character design

Another thing I was happy to see was a wider variety of character design closer to the middle of the room.

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I had one more, but she was playing hooky from work and her face was showing, so she asked me to not put it on the ‘net. Too bad, it’s a hilarious riff on Kylo. Sorry.

Thank you!

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