July 27, 2022

The Return to TFcon!

After 2 years of pandemic pain, it was time for the long awaited return to a proper real life summer Transformers convention with TFcon Toronto 2022, which happened July  8-10. The virtual conventions were fun when we couldn’t go out, and the December TFcon was welcomed (though it occurs to me now that I did write much about that one except a post on my Tumblr to talk about the toys I bought),  but this was more like it! Great guests, lots of stuff to see and do, and of course, plenty of stuff to buy. I’m so glad that I got to experience it, and that I got to contribute again.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t completely without issue, as this weekend happened to coincide with the gigantic Canadian Internet outage! Luckily, things still went incredibly smoothly all things considered as far as registration and administration with the convention and the hotel. But not having Internet access for much of the weekend sometimes made it feel like we were back in the stone age. Eventually, things mostly got back to normal. But with all the chaos, it didn’t occur to me to take a lot of pictures. This is the only shot I took of the dealer room, and it’s all blurry. Too bad.

One of the guests was Mr. Laurie Faso, who preformed the voice of Orion Pax in the original Transformers TV series. A friend of mine commissioned me to make a piece of artwork featuring Orion Pax so that he could have Mr Faso sign it. Everybody was impressed with it and you can take a look here on my DeviantArt.

Comic book artist Andrew Wildman was there for the first time and did a panel where he went through his process and showed some unused artwork of Grimlock fighting Beast Wars Megatron.

Former Hasbro designer and current awesome guy Aaron Archer was back and did another panel where he talked about the creation of Transformers Armada. Actually I think he was mostly there to sell some art and hang out with people. I’m lucky enough to say that I was one of those people!

Transformers production coordinator Paul Davids had an amazing panel about working on the original TV series and the rest of his amazing career in show business. Voice Actor Greg Berger (Grimlock) returned to Toronto and Canadians Doug Parker (Terrorsaur in Beast Wars and Tidal Wave in Armada) and Sharon Alexander (Arcee in Engeron) made rare convention appearances. All the voice actors took part in a live script reading, which is tradition, and this year it was a fast paced whirlwind!

It was a huge thrill to have Vince DiCola, the musical composer of the 1986 Transformers movie, attend the show, as that is a guest I’ve been hoping would come to Toronto some day. On the Sunday morning, he even graced us with an impromptu piano concert, which I was luckily able to capture a bit of!


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I did a panel too! I presented “The Most Obscure Transformers Shows“, which was all about rare oddities in Transformers media. I showed a lot of wacky stuff that which doesn’t get talked about very often and many fans might not have thought about in a while or ever seen before. It was a fun presentation to put together and I had a blast being up there talking about all these weird parts of the Transformers universe. There were a lot of big laughs in this one! Way more than I ever expected.

I bought toys! Well, of course I did. After the past few years of spotty distribution and not being able to go out very often, I took advantage of the opportunity and filled in some of the gaps in my collection. I haven’t opened anything yet (saving the unboxings for Twitch) but I did get a few loose items. I even won a couple of things from the charity auction. You can read about everything I bought (and some other stuff I bought after the convention was over) on my Tumblr.

So, this was the 20th anniversary of TFcon! I did not attend the very first TFcon in Hamilton, Ontario, but I did hear about it and attended the second show, which was only a few months later. TFcon has been an important part of my life ever since. On one hand, it’s hard to believe it’s been this long. On the other, I do believe it! I pretty much remember every single one. I’ve made great friends and been witness to some amazing moments over the years. It was great to do it again after not being able to for so long, especially since I didn’t get to do much during the December 2021 show.

You can see more images on the TFcon Toronto 2022 Photo Album. I nicked a few images from there for this post.

Overall, TFcon 2022 was a blast. It was well attended, but not as crowded as 2019. I feel like it was a comfortable number for this time. If more people were there, maybe I wouldn’t have thought so. The guests were great, there was plenty of stuff to do, and if I had any complaints (outside of the unavoidable Internet issues) if would be that I was sometimes too tired to experience everything when it was happening, which is my own freaking fault. Though, at the feedback panel at the end of the Sunday, I did state my list of complaints that TFcon was too much fun, there were too many toys to buy, and that I bought too many toys, so they should all be ashamed of themselves. But hey, there is always room for improvement!

See you next year!


February 15, 2022

The Best Stuff of 2021

On thing you can say about 2021, is that it was a year that certainly occurred. Or did it? Sometimes it felt like watching an excruciatingly long movie that wouldn’t end, but other things seemed to breeze by us so quickly that’s it’s hard to remember what happened. Well, it’s time again to try to remember. The world is still in chaos, but I’m going to try to find things that I liked about it anyway.

Favorite Game – Monster Hunter Rise

No big surprise that this was my favorite game. It’s the game I spent most of the year playing and had a great time streaming it on Twitch. Rise has many familiar elements for Monster Hunter veterans like me, but plenty of new additions that make the game more exciting and appealing. The way the game combines new and familiar elements with its ninja aesthetic is great. It’s exactly the kind of Monster Hunter I wanted. The downside is that after awhile, there seems to be less to do, but the upcoming Sunbreak expansion should remedy that.

Favorite Book – The Toys of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

I have multiple collections of different things like toys, games, and movies, but I don’t have all the money or all the space to collect everything that I’m interested in. That’s why I love to collect books like this. I can’t collect all the MotU figures, but I can own this book that has everything I’d every need to know about them all right there. It’s full of great photos and comprehensive info, so it fills the gap for me and is a lot of fun to leaf through.

Favorite Toy – Shogun Masters Skeletor

Well, I just said that I can’t own every Masters of the Universe thing, but of course I had to own this one! It wasn’t cheap, but I knew there was only going to be one shot at this, and it seemed like it’d be wrong if I didn’t buy one. They combined two of my most favorite things together, Skeletor and Japanese robots. It’s like they made it especially for me, and other people who know me have said as much. In fact, I have to wonder if perhaps I manifested it into existence myself. This large figure is now my pride and joy, and I can’t imagine my shelf without it.

Favorite TV Series – Squid Game

What can I say? This was the show of the moment, and I was curious enough to check it out. I was hooked, and if you saw it, you probably were too. It’s intense, with graphic violence and high stakes, life-or-death scenarios, and it’s truly captivating. The performances were certainly heightened in a way that I wasn’t used to as someone who has only seen a few Korean productions, but I enjoyed that. Everyone in the cast had a very unique, expressive, recognizable face, which made it feel like watching a cartoon, but in a good way. It helped to soften the harsh subject matter.

Favorite Anime – SSSS Dynazenon

Coming from the Gridman Universe, Dynazenon combines the trials and tribulations of being a young person in modern times with robots fighting monsters over the fate of the world. Truth be told, it leans much heavier on the drama, with most of the mecha action lasting but a brief moment. But the characters were interesting and the story had some unfolding mysteries that kept up the intrigue every episode. And when we did get that mecha action, it was very cool and dynamic, with a finale that paid off and delivered the goods.

Favorite Movie – Godzilla Vs Kong

A long awaited rematch decades in the making, delayed numerous times, released during the pandemic, featuring two of the most iconic characters in the history of film, carrying the weight of the future of the Monsterverse franchise on it’s back. This movie had a lot of live up to, and on the day it was released I certainly felt the collective relief from the entire world when people found out that it was actually a good movie. This became my comfort film for the year, the movie I watched when I just wanted to feel better. I don’t care what insipid complaints the critics had about this movie, the characters were great, and the fights lived up to hype!

Favorite Person – Mark Hamill

From the heights of the stars themselves to the depths of Arkham Asylum and everything in between, Mark Hamill has seemingly done it all.  You never know when he’s going to show up next, and it’s always a pleasant surprise when he does. We even heard him as Skeletor in 2021! And he has proven himself to be a big hearted, down to Earth guy the entire time. He clearly loves his fans and uses his status to have fun. But when it comes to the not-so-fun realities of the world we live in today, Mr. Hamill always keeps it real. I know everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I can’t imagine not wanting to be on the same side as the guy who played (and sometimes still plays?) Luke Freaking Skywalker.

So that’s that. I still look back at 2020 as the dumpster fire I said it was, and while 2021 certainly had many of the same challenges, I feel better in general about it than 2020. There were plenty of things worth enjoying, and I am very lucky and grateful to have been in a position where I could keep up with a lot of what I was into. Clearly we’re all still struggling with the way the world is today, but at least this kind of stuff gave me something to look forward to, or at least offered a bit of inspiration.