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Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Kistler, Koblish, Estrada, Cook, Ortiz Among Top Creators At 2019 Wizard World Portland, February 22-24

Jeremy Clark, Mostafa Moussa, Joe Wos, Shawn Coss Also In Artist Alley At Oregon Convention Center

Art by Thomas Estrada.pngPORTLAND, Ore., January 29, 2019 Mark Kistler (“Secret City,” “Imagination Station”), Scott Koblish (“Deadpool”), Thomas Estrada (Disney, DreamWorks), Tom Cook (“Masters of the Universe,” “Scooby Doo”), Phil Ortiz (“The Simpsons”), Shawn Coss (“Cyanide & Happiness”), Jeremy Clark ("Grimm Fairy Tales," "Day of the Dead") and Mostafa Moussa
(“Superman,” “Fantastic Four”) are among the leading creators scheduled
to populate Artist Alley at the seventh annual Wizard World Portland at
the Oregon Convention Center, February 22-24. The weekend will also
feature many demonstrations and discussions at the Creative Stage.

Other artists and writers scheduled to appear include James Morris (Three Kingdoms trilogy), Brett Weldele (“The Surrogates,” “The Beauty”), Joe Wos (“Mazetoons”), Jason Christman (licensed Lucasfilm/Star Wars), Jed Thomas (“CryptTV,” “The Amity Wars”), Ray Wenck (Random Survival, Ghost of a Chance), Jerry Pesce (PescEffects) and more.

Wizard World Portland  will also include non-stop live entertainment,
gaming, exclusive Q&A sessions with select celebrities and
autographs/photo ops with with top stars such as Aquaman headliner Jason Momoa, “Supergirl” Melissa Benoist, “Teen Wolf” star Tyler Hoechlin and nine “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” stars including Alyson Hannigan, Alexis Denisof, James Marsters, Juliet Landau and Julie Benz, as well as a dedicated kids zone and more, along with Wizard World’s Master of Ceremonies, Kato Kaelin.

Wizard World events bring together thousands of fans of all ages to
celebrate the best in pop culture: movies, television, gaming, live
entertainment, comics, sci-fi, graphic novels, toys, original art,
collectibles, contests and more. The second event scheduled on the 2019
Wizard World calendar, Portland show hours are Friday, February 22, 4-9
p.m.; Saturday, February 23, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday, February 24, 10
a.m.-4 p.m. Kids 10 and under are admitted free with paid adult.

Wizard World Portland is also the place for cosplay, with fans young and
old showing off their best costumes throughout the event. Fans dressed
as every imaginable character – and some never before dreamed – will
roam the convention floor and participate in the famed Wizard World
Costume Contest on Saturday evening.

For more on the 2019 Wizard World Portland, visit

Saturday, January 19, 2019

2019 Outlook

Last year there were a great deal of ups and downs for me personally. I'm hoping that 2019 will play out better and I wanted to give my loyal readers an idea of what's coming down the pipeline.

As I had mentioned towards the end of December, I'm considering making some major changes to how I broadcast information on both of my blogs (Zanziber's Point of View and RPG4EVR). Because I find difficulty finding time to be able to sit and write, I am thinking of moving towards a podcast based system. I have no problems at all talking about my viewpoints and opinions, and this would also open-up some opportunities to include people outside of myself to add content to what is brought here.

As of this writing, I am still working on getting the right equipment and learning more about how the process actually goes. When I begin, I plan on making the podcasts around 45 mins to 1 hour in length and will be more than just reviews. I will incorporate some additional opinions about the state of the comic book industry, role playing games, cons and other events as well as local items within geek culture. I also look forward to doing some interviews with artists, creators and people I happen to meet at events I'm attending.

On that note, I should make note of the various upcoming events that are coming to the Pacific Northwest in 2019.

We just had Fandom PDX up in Portland not too long ago. This is the second year, and I haven't gone once. For me, it's scheduled way too early in the year and all the advertising I saw was primarily anime based. Since my anime tastes run to the old school (Robotech), and I don't understand many of the series that have cropped-up over the last 2 decades, I have decided to give Fandom PDX a pass.

I recently learned that I Like Comic Con is taking a year off in order to make the next event in 2020 even better than the inaugural event in 2018. I wasn't able to go last year, which I really wished I had been able to attend, because there was some serious talent I would have loved to meet. I'm eager to see what they'll have planned for 2020.

As my loyal readers know, I was able to attend 2018's Oregon Coast Comic Con and had a fun time. Unfortunately, due to circumstances behind the scenes, it seems like that was the last time we will see Oregon Coast Comic Con. I don't want to bring-up sore issues, nor do I want to open old wounds so I will not post the information that I have learned through various sources since I have not hear the other side of the story.

And that segues into Cherry City Comic Con. It doesn't look like there will be another Cherry City Comic Con any time soon. There was a big issue with being able to actually hold the event soon after Oregon Coast Comic Con. One day, the promoter posted a video declaring that the event was cancelled, and the very next day it was miraculously saved; although many of the guests that had been promoted to be attending would not be able to.

While I'm uncertain about the actual circumstances behind this cancellation and resurrection, on the face of it there seemed like a ploy for marketing and trying to get everyone's attention to possibly motivate people to actually purchase tickets. From what I saw when I attended, and the information I have received from people who were either also attending or even a guest/vendor there, the entire event was incredibly lackluster. From what I saw personally, there were not nearly as many people attending as in years past. Also, there were many of the booths that were empty and vendors there that had no real connection to comic books.

It's very unfortunate that Salem has not been able to keep a decent show alive; between Cherry City Comic Con and Northwest Comic Fest. I know that the Facebook Group "Pop Culture Northwest" has been holding small events in Salem. Maybe if these were expanded, held on a Saturday instead of a Sunday, and received additional outside promotion, these events would be akin to the old Portland Comic Book show that used to be held at the Memorial Colosseum. IMHO, it doesn't actually have to be too fancy and have a ton of Hollywood guests to be good.

Since I am on the topic of events that have been cancelled, there has been some news that the once cancelled Walker Stalker Con for Portland will be returning later in the year. The event was scheduled for February (I believe), and I had seen many people making posts about their eagerness to attend and making plans. Then... for some reason... they cancelled. Just this past week, it was announced that they are trying to work with the venue to come back to Portland in November. We'll see how that plays out.

As much as I would love to go back to Emerald City Comic Con, it seems like it is being managed poorly. The last year I attended, it was more crowded that in years previous; and that was somewhat unpleasant to me. It seems that it has grown even more, to the point that they have moved the celebrity area and main stage has been moved to a hotel that is about 4-6 blocks away from the convention center. I understand that Seattle is working on building a new convention center (or modifying the existing site), but this level of expansion and inconvenience to the con goers is not sitting well.

The biggest issue with having the main stage and celebrity area away from the area where the other panels, artists and vendor are is the fact that there are always so many people outside of the event either trying to sell you something, scalp badges to the event, or potentially mug you. This will create an even more unsafe environment for people who simply want to go to the event and have a good time. They have already paid so much for badges, travel and other related expenses and now they're being told that they will need to go to a remote location in order to get the full experience of the event. I look forward to the new convention center opening in 2021.

For the first time, I have submitted my request to be part of the media for this years Wizard World Portland. This will be February 22-24 and should be a fun event. If I'm approved, I hope to bring my photographer friends from Chrysalis Rising Photographic Studio to help document the experience. Perhaps I will have transitioned to the podcast format by then as well and I can get some great interviews recorded. I'm very excited.

You can bet that I am looking forward to Rose City Comic Con, running September 13-15. As my loyal readers can attest, this event is my favorite from all the events in the Pacific Northwest. Early last year, I was hoping that I could get a table or booth for my non profit; Comic Book Covers 4 Cancer. Due to circumstances, I was unable to commit to this level of attendance. There are several factors that are in play for the likelihood of attempting this for 2019, so I am uncertain at this time. You can bet that it I am unable to table at the event, I will make sure to submit my application to be able to cover it again as in years past.

I am so happy that I have not only attended every single Rose City Comic Con, but that I have been blessed to be a part of the media for the past several years. If I end-up going as a member of the media again, I will work to schedule some interesting interviews with a variety of guests.

While I wasn't able to attend EUCON last year, I hear it was a blast. At the time of this writing, there has been no official announcement on when the next event will be held. When dates are announced, I do plan on requesting a table/booth for Comic Book Cover 4 Cancer. I feel like Eugene may be an area that needs to learn about our fundraising activities for the American Cancer Society.

As of right now, the next series of auctions are scheduled to begin March 2nd. We'll also have our annual Free Comic Book Day series of auctions in May. The dates for the remaining 2 series of auctions are TBD and dependent on getting more covers from artists. If you, or somebody you know, would like to donate to Comic Book Covers 4 Cancer in our effort to raise $$ for the American Cancer Society, please contact me through our Facebook page. To date, we have raised just over $9,200 for cancer research since 2013.

For those of you who have blank covers that we have sent you, please
let me know what the status is for receiving them back to us. There are
a handful of artists who have had their blanks since 2017. We can't
continue without covers to put up for auction.

If you have covers you have already worked on that you would like to
donate, please PM me and I will give you our shipping address. We are
also branching-out with sketch cards as well. All donations are greatly

For those that need blanks to work on, we have
plenty; unfortunately our financial situation does not allow for me to
ship anything right now. If we were to receive some donations through
the "Donate" button on our FB page, we would be able to ship some.

I will continue to post reviews here for trade paperbacks and graphic novels. I have a large section of shelf of trades that have been read, but now need the reviews to be written. Finding time to do the writing is the biggest difficulty right now. Changing to the podcast format would help greatly. If anyone has suggestions on equipment to use or best practices, please feel free to comment.

Oh.. and yesterday I picked-up 40 new trades to add to my collection. Here's what the "To Read" pile looks like at the moment:

I'm looking forward to sharing more updates, reviews and information when it becomes available. I hope you have an excellent 2019!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

East of West Vol 5: All These Secrets

Title: East of West Vol 5: All These Secrets

ISBN: 9781632156808
Price: $14.99
Publisher/Year: Image, 2016
Artist: Nick Dragotta
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Collects: East of West #20-24

Rating: 4/5

I was one of the few fans out there that was late to the East of West party. The series was already three graphic novels deep by the time I picked up my first trade and it wasn’t long before I caught up with the rest of the comic loving world.

Hickman has built as series that rivals George R.R. Martin in political intrigue and violence, the difference being the heavy Sci-Fi bend to the tale that Hickman tells. If there was ever a decent alternative to Game of Thrones then East of West would be it. There is layer upon layer of betrayal and conspiracy. Every character that we meet is nothing more than a pawn on a larger chess board to be moved around at Hickman’s whim, and at times the reader themselves become a pawn in the game, lead to throw favor to one character only to find that their own loyalty is misplaced and better served to be saved for another camp of characters. It would take five thousand words to properly summarize a work of this scope, and let’s face it, if you’re not reading this title this is not the volume to jump in. That would be the equivalent of doing a cannonball in the middle of a half-finished swim meet. It accomplishes nothing and you end up looking like an ass for trying. New readers need to seek out volume one and start at the beginning.

As for readers who are familiar with the world that Hickman has built through the previous 19 issues, you’re getting more of the same, but now the stakes seem higher as war looms on the horizon for all the nations and characters involved. We watch as political leaders try to grasp at the fading strands of peace before the unstoppable ending starts; you can guess at their success.
There are a handful of high points in this graphic novel, a fair share of them belong to the beautiful artwork of Nick Dragotta, who does not fail to impress with every panel. His unique style has been a cornerstone for the series and maintains its high quality in this volume.

As for the plot, there are also a handful of great moments. I’ll give a short description of each here but the over-all plot is far too extensive to cover in one small review. I suggest that you read the book for yourself if you’re experienced with this series.

  • Watching the transformation of Doma was thrilling. Going from the right hand of the President to being thrown to the wolves of the Endless Nation, we watch Hickman peel layer after layer off of this character to reveal a woman whose loyalty is to only to the one she loves, placing herself firmly in the machinations of two major camps, playing both sides against the middle, in the hopes of surviving long enough to see her lover once more.

  • The leader of the Endless Nation takes a trip to the deadlands. A place where if his feet touch the soil he will be pulled to the underworld. His fix to this problem is not only clever but humorous.

  • The assassination attempt on Xiaolian, leader of the House of Mao, is one of the high points of action not only in this volume, but also the series. There are shades of Frank Miller in the artwork, with just enough nods to Miller’s work Ronin to make an old fan like me smile.

There is more than enough here to warrant a purchase. The thick plot will take multiple read-throughs to understand and digest all of the finer nuances hidden throughout. Making this volume a value at its low price point, and a fine edition to bookshelves across the world. I give this a high score and hope you enjoy.

WANTLIST - Hasbro SDCC 2024 G.I. Joe Classified Series: Cobra Commander (Once a Man) Figure

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