Weekend Shenanigans

At last, it’s back to work on Action Figures – Issue Four: Cruel Summer!

The author during his outing as a medieval plumber, and no, that is not a joke.
The author during his outing as a medieval plumber, and no, that is not a joke.

Last weekend I was otherwise occupied working the Connecticut Renaissance Faire, mostly with my wife (Veronica of Storied Threads), and one day with my friend Scott Kegler, assisting him with his street act for the show…not that he needed me, because the man is a dynamo of comedy. Watching him was a serious education in the art of clowning.

I got to work the faire on my favorite of the show’s theme weekends, Time Travelers Weekend, when patrons are encouraged to go a little crazy with non-period costuming. My wife took advantage of the looser rules on participant garb and helped mastermind an Avengers-themed presence among other merchants and the gaming crew. As you can see from one of the photos, no less than Clark Gregg himself approved of the Marvel-inspired surcoats created by my wife.

My friends Carlos, Greg, and Artemis in their cool Marvel kinghtly surcoats.
My friends Carlos, Greg, and Artemis in their cool Marvel kinghtly surcoats.

That weekend also featured the Doctor Who costume contest, co-judged by my wife, who dressed for the occasion in her Tenth Doctor-inspired ensemble, and our friend Krystal (the winner was a kid who built with his family’s help a full-sized Dalek outfit).

My wife and Krystal hosting the Doctor Who costume contest.
My wife and Krystal hosting the Doctor Who costume contest.
My wife in her Loki outfit and a friend as the Enchantress.
My wife in her Loki outfit and a friend as the Enchantress.
My friend Christian after a dramatic reading of book three. And yes, he read it in character. It was a riot.
My friend Christian after a dramatic reading of book three. And yes, he read it in character. It was a riot.

Credit where it’s due: photos by Lauren Dubois, Eric Tetreault, and Jamie Tarbell.

Boston ComicCon!

I spent my weekend working Boston ComicCon with my wife, and as always, the cosplay watching was one of my favorite parts.

My now-autographed copy of Solo Avengers #12, featuring Amanda Conner's first published work.
My now-autographed copy of Solo Avengers #12, featuring Amanda Conner’s first published work.

 

Before I get to that, I have to share my happy fanboy moment. Writer/artist Amanda Conner, one of my favorite comic artists, was at the con, so I dug out my copy of Solo Avengers #12, which features her very first published work. This is an original copy, which I’ve held on to throughout the years (and through several comic collection purges) because I really liked her art — so much so that I wrote to Marvel and praised her work. Marvel ran the letter three issues later.

I have no idea why her artwork struck me like it did, I just knew Amanda would one day be big in the industry, and that I had to keep that comic no matter what.

I brought both to the con for Amanda to sign, and when I presented her with the issue with my letter, she exclaimed, “I remember that letter!” Apparently, I had authored her very first fan letter. She signed that issue too, adding a very nice inscription. I guess this stands as an object lesson to people trying to make a career of their art: a few sincere words of encouragement from a complete stranger can be very powerful.

Amanda Conner's note to me. You can see my name at the top edge of the photo.
Amanda Conner’s note to me. You can see my name at the top edge of the photo.

Now, onto the cosplayers. BCC wasn’t quite as cosplayer-heavy as some other shows, but they were out in force. Here are some of my favorites…

My favorite costumes of the show. The really cool part? They were two individual cosplayers who just happened to bump into each other.
My favorite costumes of the show. The really cool part? They were two individual cosplayers who just happened to bump into each other.
My friend Laura as Pepper Potts (on the right, obviously).
My friend Laura as Pepper Potts (on the right, obviously).
My friends Lara (who, cheap plug, runs Black Cat Tours in Salem) and Kate as two iterations of Captain Marvel.
My friends Lara (who, cheap plug, runs Black Cat Tours in Salem) and Kate as two iterations of Captain Marvel.
Kate again as Black Widow (bonus fun fact: she is Russian, and she can kick your ass), my buddy Justin (the Jake Hawking series) in his award-winning Assassin's Creed outfit, and some guy who shouted "Geronimo!" a lot. Weirdo.
Kate again as Black Widow (bonus fun fact: she is Russian, and she can kick your ass), my buddy Justin (the Jake Hawking series) in his award-winning Assassin’s Creed outfit, and some guy who shouted “Geronimo!” a lot. Weirdo.
Arya Stark, complete with Needle and Nymeria.
Arya Stark, complete with Needle and Nymeria.
A very cool and subtle Kamala "Ms. Marvel" Khan.
A very cool and subtle Kamala “Ms. Marvel” Khan.
My favorite part of Mad Magazine!
My favorite part of Mad Magazine!
Usagi Yojimbo. Please note the raised eyebrow. I love little touches like that.
Usagi Yojimbo. Please note the raised eyebrow. I love little touches like that.
My wife with one of the many Deadpools. Head to storiedthreads.tumblr.com for the full story on their meeting.
My wife with one of the many Deadpools. Head to storiedthreads.tumblr.com for the full story on their meeting.

And Now, For Something Completely Different

This past weekend, Mike the writer took a weekend off to play minion for my wife Veronica, who had a booth at the Rhode Island ComicCon (the third con ever for Storied Threads).

For me, the fun part of working cons is playing “spot the cosplay.” I’ve grown to appreciate how creative and clever some people can be, with their costume choices and in crafting their costumes and props, and I love the costumes that go in wonderfully weird directions — the ones who stand out among the thousands of Adventure Time outfits, Jokers and Harley Quinns, Deadpools, and (yes, I’ll say it) Doctors.

To wit, perhaps my favorite outfit of the show, for the obscurity of it: Captain Chaos, Dom DeLuise‘s alter-ego from The Cannonball Run.

Dah dah DAAAAAAHHHH!
Dah dah DAAAAAAHHHH!

This fellow made the best of a bad leg and went as Professor X from the X-Men, but he went the extra mile and wore a Cerebro rig.

Funny thing is, I don't remember posing for this picture.
Funny thing is, I don’t remember posing for this picture.

This girl wasn’t any specific character, but I loved the steampunk weapons rig. It was extremely well-done.

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An odd but cool crossover: Soundwave (with Laserbeak) and Mr. Freeze.

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Another fun, unusual choice: Dum-Dum Dugan of the Howling Commandos, with, for some reason, the Infinity Gauntlet.

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This girl has a pretty cool (ha, see what I did there?) Jack Frost (from Rise of the Guardians) outfit in general, but I was wowed by the staff, which had a PVC pipe frame, and was then covered in crinkled masking tape for the texture, given a brown base coat, a white and blue frost layer, and then, to finish, more white and blue mixed with glitter.

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Who’s Who

WARNING! MILD SPOILERS AHEAD!

Over the New Year’s Eve holiday weekend, I got into a too-brief discussion with some friends about character progression in Doctor Who — specifically as it relates to the Doctor himself and his companions, more specifically as it relates to the current Doctor’s current companions, Amy and Rory Pond (Karen Gillan and Arthur Darville).

If you recall my last post, I griped that mainstream comic books did not engage in any true, lasting character development, and I opined to my friends that I felt the same way about Doctor Who; the Doctor himself experiences precious little progression over the course of a given actor’s time in the role, and aside from the standard post-regeneration adjustment periods, once the character is set he tends to stay the exact same character until the next actor takes over the role.

I stand by that opinion. Looking back at the last three actors to portray the Doctor — Christopher Eccelston, David Tennant, and Matt Smith — I see very little difference in the Doctor at the start of each actor’s tour of duty and the Doctor at the end.

Which is not to say there is no growth whatsoever. Early in David Tennant’s turn as the Doctor, the character had a dark, almost vindictive aspect that was tempered over time. Matt Smith’s Doctor just had his closest brush with death ever, and he’s poised to take a different approach to how he does things, now that the universe at large believes him dead.

Overall, however? All the  traits, quirks, perspectives, and behaviors remain static.

That’s where the companions come in.

The companions have long served as the audience’s proxy, the Everyman (or, more often, the Everywoman) who gives the Doctor someone in-story to explain everything to (when he or she is not serving as a plot device), and while the companions also tended to lack development in the series’ original 1963 to 1989 run, they’ve received much better treatment by the writers of the current run.

It’s a smart move by the show’s creative team to give the companions (and the extended supporting cast) the responsibility for providing a sense of progression. It allows the Doctor to remain the Doctor while still giving the series a sense that things are moving toward a goal. With the lamentable exception of Donna Noble’s (Catherine Tate) last-episode full regression, the companions have ended their run changed from how they began.

I know a lot of fans have complained that Matt Smith’s run has basically been the Amy-and-Rory Show, but I’ve found their tenure as companions the most satisfying of the entire modern run. When the audience first meets the grown Amy, she is a stuck-in-the-past dreamer with no direction in life and no eyes for anyone except the Doctor, while Rory is a milquetoast who suffers from a serious case of unrequited love for Amy.

Over time, Amy and Rory have found their footing as people, shaken off their mental shackles, and in coming together became a stronger whole than their separate flawed parts. Look at Rory in his first appearance, when he was a dithering doofus, and compare him to the man who teleported into a cluster of Cybermen to deliver the most bad-ass line of the season amidst a backdrop of exploding Cyberships: Would you like me to repeat the question?

So: thoughts? Am I way off-base on the Doctor and his companions? Am I missing something? Let me know.