SykoGrafix
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September 7, 2016

The Return to FanExpo

Beffanexpoore I moved, I would go to FanExpo in Toronto every year, dating back to when it was still known as the Canadian National Comic Book/Sci-Fi/Anime Expo. I saw the show grow from being a modest comic convention to a huge attraction. It was usually a lot of fun, especially when hanging out with friends, but there were times when the ever expanding size of the convention and the number of people there were making things hard to fully enjoy like I used to. While I would have liked to have continued to attend, I decided that the only show I would make a point of not missing while living away from Toronto would be TFcon.

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Well, as circumstances would have it, I had the chance to be back in the neighborhood for a couple of days, and and I took the opportunity to attend FanExpo again this year, for the first time since 2011. I could only go for Friday and Saturday, 2 of the 4 days, but I was looking forward to seeing what the show would be like after being away for so long.

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Well, I’m not saying that I didn’t have any fun, but this show has grown far past the aforementioned “huge attraction” status. It’s a monstrosity! While it was all well managed, there were a lot of freaking people there! I had often used the term “Human cattle” to describe what it felt like to attend this convention, but I feel like that doesn’t go far enough.

fanexpo-charlesSo, besides trying to wade through the unending sea of humanity, here is what I did:

An early highlight was seeing Charles Martinet, the voice of Mario & Luigi. He’s a fun loving guy who spoke a mile a minute. Even with an introduction to how he became an actor, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Q&A panel that got through so many Qs & As. Anyway, he basically says that he loves his job and is happy all the time. Of course he is. He’s Mario.

Another great event I saw was a live script reading with many famous voice actors including Rob Paulson, Bill Farmer, Maurice LaMarche, David Hayter, and more. They were reading scenes from the script to Ghostbusters, but as different characters and celebrity impressions. I could tell you that it was pretty funny, but I found a video of it so why don’t you just watch it and imagine how much cooler it was to have been in the room at the time.

Besides these events, I attended some art related discussion panels about drawing and coming up with ideas. And that’s about it, as far as scheduled programming goes. There were many cool events and great guests scheduled for the show, but I missed out on a lot, either because the timing didn’t work out, I wasn’t there for all 4 days, or it was an extra special ticket event. So I didn’t get to see Mark Hamill, Kevin Convoy, Hayley Atwell, cast members from Daredevil and The Walking Dead, Christopher Lloyd,  Kevin Smith, and Stan Lee. When you line up all the things that I didn’t do, I can’t help but be a little disappointed. There is just so much to see and do at this show, and obviously there is no way to get to it all, but it seems like I didn’t do very much or get my money’s worth and I don’t know how I could have done more with what I had.

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When the possibility of going to FanExpo came up, the one thing that immediately came to mind was that I could buy a convention exclusive Transformers Fortress Maximus from the Hasbro store. I was happy to get to do that, because otherwise I probably wouldn’t be getting any version of Fort Max any time soon. So I took care of it right away on Friday morning. Seeing as this is the largest Transformers figure ever and thus I had to carry the freaking gigantic box around all day, maybe that wasn’t the best idea. He kind of took a beating, but we grew close in our time together. I also bought 2 Funko Hikari vinyls. I enjoyed wandering around the dealer room, but there were hardly any deals to be found when I did. Almost everything I saw was 2 or 3 times more expensive than it should have been. Come on, man! Conventions are supposed to be about deals! I wish I could have stayed for the Sunday to see if that situation had improved.

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Here are a few costumes that I liked. I did take a few other pictures of the sites but most of them turned out blurry. I’ll post more stuff from the show floor on my Tumblr sometime soon.

The best part of the show was when I got to spend some time with my friends, who I had been to many of the same conventions with for many years. It was great to wander around together again. I’ve missed that aspect of FanExpo since I stopped going. But I haven’t really missed going to the show itself, paying the ever inflating ticket price, and dealing with the crowds. It wasn’t all bad by any stretch and I wasn’t really phased. The other attendees were mostly polite and the staff did their best to handle it all. So I’m glad that circumstances worked out for me to attend the show after being away for so long, but if I can’t get there again next year, well, that’s probably OK. We’ll see.

Sayonara.

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August 22, 2016

Illustration Updates

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I’ve added my recent artwork from the past few months to the Illustration section of the website. I didn’t always update the weblog here when I finished something, but of course I share them all on Twitter and Tumblr and whatever. Anyway, there are all here now and it’s good to have it all in one place. Actually, they’ve already been here for a few days. Once again I updated without saying anything until now.

I’ve got more artwork besides this that I have yet to share, but keep an eye on things and you will be seeing it very soon.

Sayonara.

August 15, 2016

TFcon 2016 Recap.

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It seems sometimes that I live my life one TFcon at a time. I couldn’t wait to get to the show this year, see all my pals, buy all the toys, and celebrate everything that it great about the Transformers franchise and the people who love it.  That said, I was busy getting everything together all the way up to leaving home for Mississauga, because I had a panel to present that weekend and plenty of prep work to take care of for it. So, in that sense I was too busy to get hyped. Somehow I managed to mostly get everything done on time, though I didn’t sleep much. In fact, I didn’t sleep much during the weekend of the show either so… whatever man!

Anyway, the entire convention was amazing as usual, though it had kind of a lower-key, more relaxed vibe all around this year. I’m not sure why that is, but I know other attendees shared that sentiment and I enjoyed it.

Here are a couple shots from the costume contest. This amazing Prowl costume was the winner of the event, and I really dug that Override!

Prowl Override at TFcon

My panel on the Japanese franchises that influenced Transformers was well attended and everyone seemed to really enjoy it. At least, everybody laughed at the parts that were funny so that was pretty good. The whole idea was to show how and why robots became such a huge part of Japanese popular culture, leading up to the transforming robot toys that we know today. There were a lot of twists and turns that make this story so fascinating, and when it was over a lot of people told me how interesting the panel was and how much they enjoyed my performance.

Honestly, I was incredibly nervous beforehand. Not about speaking in front of an audience, but about running out of time before getting through it all. When I finished with 5 minutes remaining for questions I was so relieved because those 5 juicy delicious minutes were a virtual banquet compared to what I thought I was going to be left with.

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The tech crew did an amazing job at helping me out, and I just noticed in these pictures that they changed the lighting to cyan to match my tie. Right on! Yeah, I wore a tie for my panel. I felt I had to look the part to be a panelist. But I drew the line at tucking my shirt in.

 Frank Welker Panel

The main event of the weekend was certainly the appearance of the voice of Megatron, and one of Hollywood’s most prolific voice actors, Frank Welker. I didn’t get to meet him but I did go to his panel, where he was a very entertaining and gracious guest. But then something shocking happened.

As was the case with Peter Cullen’s appearance last year, questions were to be submitted via e-mail ahead of time to be selected by the guest. I missed the call for questions so I wasn’t expecting to get to ask anything. But, somehow… I did! To make a long story short, I did get called up with a few others as part of some group questions. We were so incredibly surprised and had no idea how it happened. When it was my turn to ask the question from the pre-approved sheet provided to me, I had to milk it for all it was worth! So I said “Hello sir, I’m not sure how I got up here, but I’m very happy to see you! Apparently, my question is as follows:” I was not supposed to say any of that extra stuff, and I sincerely apologize if anyone was upset by that, but it was funny and Frank laughed! It was a surreal moment and when I asked why this happened I was simply told to pay it forward. I absolutely will 1000 times.

This video comes from Neil Temple, who has uploaded many highlights from TFcon 2016 on his channel that you can check out.

This isn’t even scratching the surface of all the stuff that happened at the show this year. There was a fantastic panel with Dan Gilvazan and Flint Dille, a Faction Feud filled with drama, a script reading with a unique storyline and some unexpected cast members (Dr. Evil and the Swedish Chef?), sketching with cool artists in the lobby, Slurpees, and a bunch of other happenings that I probably can’t even remember, including some after-hours shenanigans.

The TFcon crew!

A big shout out to the staff and volunteers at TFcon and the usual crew of cool people who I get to hang out with once a year. I especially need to thank my roommate, the TFcon legend Guber who let me use his pictures for this report. He needs to exploit his brand.

Here’s all the stuff I bought. You can check out this post of my Tumblr for the full rundown of each item.

TFcon Haul

When it was all said and done, this TFcon was exactly what the doctor ordered. I needed it. When Monday morning came around and it was time to go home, I knew that I was going to be exhausted very soon, but I still felt totally healthy and alive like I hadn’t felt in months. I was completely ready to do it all over again, and I still am.

Well, I would be ready but let me work on next year’s panel first!

Sayonara.

July 14, 2016

TFcon 2016!

The Canadian Transformers convention, TFcon 2016, is this weekend! Still so much to get ready for!

I’ll be presenting a panel on the Japanese franchises that influenced Transformers, currently scheduled for Saturday at 3pm.

I did some artwork to serve as the title page for the panel. Take a look at Transformers X Anime!


Transformers X Anime by ninjatron on DeviantArt

It’s going to be a fantastic look at some of the important robots and characters that paved the way for Transformers to come into existence. Get ready to meet your robot grandpas!

Hope to see you there in Mississauga! If you won’t be able to make it, well… too bad for you I guess!

Sayonara.


Splatoon X Evangelion=Neon Genesquid Evansplatioon by ninjatron on DeviantArt

Why on Earth would anyone want to combine Splatoon with Neon Genesis Evangelion? Well, I don’t know why I did it, but I did. Of course I am a huge fan of both things and I suppose they were on my mind at the same time. I worked on it during streaming sessions on my Picarto channel. Some people watched. It was cool to have an audience!

After a long break, I went back to making new entries in the Ninjapocalypse universe. The first of 5 new characters is set to debut on Thursday, May 12, 2016. We are on the way towards the goal of 100 characters!

Sayonara.