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Big WOW! ComicFest 2015

 

Well, another Big WOW! ComicFest has come and gone, and I sit here at my computer like a cocaine addict who just burned through their stash after a 3-day bender.

Yup, that's how comic book conventions go these days, and that's how awesome Big WOW! proves to be with each passing year. Here's a little taste as to how my weekend went.

After arriving at the San Jose Convention Center on Saturday, April 18th, we hit our first line: the payment machine in the parking lot. Out of the four machines, only one was working. The City of San Jose could use some help in the Quality Assurance division during convention weekends. But hey, a 20-minute line to pay for parking is no big deal, right?

As we made our way inside, passing the Rock Band stage and plentiful food vendors, we came across this:

 

Line In 1

Lin In 2

 

... One of the longest lines I've ever seen! Granted, the line was pretty much this bad last year, too, and I thought the Staff would have made some changes, though they did allow Friday evening badge pick-ups. Still, the line did seem to move quickly and not many people were bothered. I do want to offer some advice: Until this gets sorted, don't buy your tickets in advance, just get there early and pick them up day of. Advance tickets are about $5 less, true, but people who walked in had no wait. At all. 

Once in, the familiar scent of comics, action figures, and Cosplay hits you right away and it's go from there. One of the first things we encountered was a Tardis joined by two Doctors (Who?). Well done! Also, at the I Had Those Toys action figure booth, DJ Havok was in full effect behind some turntables! That was both surprising and refreshing. There were also some seven-foot tall, home-made statues on display that looked amazing! Kudos to the sculptor on these ones, which also gave Cosplayers easy access to posing accessories.

 

Dr. Who Tardis

DJ Havok

STATUES

 

Next year will be the inaugural Silicon Valley Comic Con, co-sponsored by Steve Wozniak and Stan Lee! To promote the show, the producers had a large booth featuring a mechanical bull and gave away prizes to those who could last. Some folks held on for quite a while. Some folks ... not so much. Note to the ladies of Cosplay: this attraction was not friendly towards all costumes. All in all, Fun stuff!

Speaking of Cosplay, costumes were on parade every hour of every day. Big WOW! is a great place to show off your stuff, and this year a few highlights were Adam and Barbara from Beetlejuice, Dr. Who, and a Minion from Despicable Me

 

SILICON VALLEY COMIC CON

Cosplay Minion

Cosplay BEETLEJUICE

 

Aspen Comics and IDW Publishing were two big names on display at Big WOW! IDW was showing off a lot of their Artist's Edition hardcovers (with Jim Steranko and Dave Gibbons nearby for autographs) and Aspen was highlighting a slew of their upcoming comics. At their panel, Aspen made a few announcements:

-In attendance were  Frank Mastromauro (Aspen Co-Owner, President), Peter Steigerwald (Co-Owner), Mark Roslan (VP, Director of Design and Production) and Siya Oum (Lola XOXO)

-Eternal Soulfire, the new volume, begins this July, written by JT Krul.

-A new volume of Jirni, also by Krul, begins in August.

-Another volume of Lola, by Siya Oum begins later this year, and issue #2 of the current volume will be out in May.

-There will be a C2E2 variant for Fathom: Kiani #3.

-They highlighted Damsels in Excess and ZooHunters, two of their current titles. ZooHunters #3 will feature a variant cover by Chris Sanders, co-creator of Lilo and Stitch. 

 

ASPEN BOOTH

ASPEN PANEL

IDW BOOTH

 

We chatted with our friend Ramon Villalobos for a while. He showed off some of his current commissions (below) and gave us a sneak peek at his upcoming E is for Extinction Secret Wars mini-series.  Unfortunately, we can't show you those images, but take my word for it, they're fantastic. His art is growing with each new project. We also spoke with Howard the Duck artist Joe Quinones, along with artist Paolo Rivera, fresh off his stint on The Valiant. Check back soon for our interviews with both!

 

The Flash by Ramon Villalobos

JOE QUINONES AND PAOLO RIVERA

 

A lot of big names were at Big WOW! this year including legendary comic book artists Dave Gibbons, Jim Steranko, and Neal Adams. On the celebrity front, fans got to meet Tom Felton (Harry Potter film series), Daniel Cudmore (Colossus from the X-Men films), C. Andrew Nelson (Darth Vader), Richard Hatch (Classic BSG's Starbuck), Jake Lloyd (Star Wars Episode I), Rocker-turned-comic writer Jane Wiedlin, and many more. 

 

Dave Gibbons

TOM FELTON

Jane Wiedlin

 

We stopped off at Frank Cho's table and I decided to pick up his Spider-Gwen print (with colors by Brandon Peterson)! Why? Because I punch controversy in the face, that's why. We also ran into our good friend Lee Hester from the wonderful Lee's Comics. Go buy your books there, Bay Area! We talked briefly to Green Lantern and Savage Hawkman artist Phillip Tan about his upcoming project with James Robinson for Image Comics, Heaven. He was very excited and enthusiastic about the project, which should hit stores in late summer. Be sure to pick up a copy!

 

SPIDER-GWEN by Frank Cho

Lee's Comics

HEAVEN BY JAMES ROBINSON AND PHILIP TAN

 

One of my favorite parts of Big WOW! is the yearly fine art display section. This year marks the 45th anniversary of Vampirella, the vampire mistress of Drakulon! Lots of Vampirella art, prints, original pages, sculptures, magazines and more were on display, along with a panel hosted in her honor (more on that later). Joining Vampirella was our favorite Avatar of The Green, Swamp Thing!  This year's guests included iconic Swamp Thing artists Stepehen Bissette, Rick Veitch, John Totleben, and Thomas Yeates, and their brilliant artwork was on display. They also hosted a Swamp Thing Panel were guests were given an exclusive print signed by the artists. 

 

VAMPIRELLA FINE ART

SWAMP THING FINE ART

STEPHEN BISSETTE SKETCHES

 

The "Celebrating 45 Years of Vampirella Panel" featured Vampirella Historian Sean Fernald, joined by a group of Vampirella creators including Buzz, Mark Texeira and Manuel Sanjulian, along with Vampirella herself, in the form of Cosplay performance-artist Valerie Perez.  After a stroll down memory lane full of pictures and stories, there was a trivia section where members of the audience tried to stump the panel and win some cool signed Vampirella Collectibles, including this anniversary hardcover, made exclusively for the show. A blood-curdling good time!

 

VAMPIRELLA PANEL

VAMPIRELLA 45TH ANNIVERSARY HARDCOVER

 

We attended another interesting panel titled "Fierce, Fab and Fluffy- Body Image, Self Esteem and Loving Your Curves with the Heavy Response Unit". The crew of Chunky Girl Comics discussed the empowerment of women, positive body image issues and their own personal struggles dealing with bullying and being "the fat kid", the ability to be sexy and overweight, and their overall mission with Chunky Girl Comics. The panelists were:

-Marisa Garcia, creator of Chunky Girl Comics and “Rosie” of the Heavy Response Unit

-Violet Ruthless, a Burlesque Dancer and “Sweet Pea” of the Heavy Response Unit

-Gia Bomb, a makeup artist and “Sage” of the Heavy Response Unit

-Lori Myers, a plus-size pole dancing instructor and “Candy” of the Heavy Response Unit

-Chrystal Bougon, owner of Curvy Girl Lingerie in San Jose, CA

-Ray Zepeda Jr., creator of Tragic Hero Comics in Salinas, CA

-Ricardo Padilla, Co-Founder of the Latino Comics Expo in San Francisco, CA

The panel had a lot of great insight into body image and how both men and women are depicted in various forms of media. They discussed various topics like embracing positivity, the emergence of Cosplay culture, the idea of, "If you don't like it, don't look at it,” and how things have changed for comics and comic book conventions over the years. The discussions were honest and candid and everyone involved brought something to the table. I hope they make it back next year and more people attend. 

 

CHUNKY GIRLS COMICS PANEL

HEAVY RESPONSE UNIT

 

And with that, we wrap up the 2015 Big WOW! ComicFest. As with every year, I'm a little ad at the end, but so exhausted, I'm glad it's over. This is the Bay Area's best comic book show, and that continues to be the case each year. I hope you enjoyed our journal and be sure to check out our full photo gallery below. And hey, if you happened to make it to the show, share you stories and pictures in the comments section.

 

 

 

Cheers till next year! (Photos by Ryan Cayabyab and Joe Kach)

 

More Event Coverage on MightyVille:

The NC Comicon 2014 Photo Journal

San Diego Comic-Con 2014 Highlights

FEATURED VIDEO: The Geek Speak Show Does Big WOW! ComicFest 2014

 

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