Sunday, February 1, 2015

ALTER EGO: THE SCARECROW - Sketch to Ink Process

Since I was already taking pictures during this drawing in order to double-check my work, I figured I could do a process post! I know I like seeing how other artists work, so I figured maybe somebody would like to see how I work, even though I'm still an amateur in school.

So for an after-school art course, we were told to draw the portrait of a character who has an alter ego, then include some kind of symbology to show what that alter ego is (like Peter Parker with a spider web behind him). Of course, I immediately started thinking about villains. Part of me was like, "no, don't do it, they'll all expect it from you!" The other part of me was like, "and I care... why?" Soooooo I decided to do my favorite DC Comics villain, Dr. Jonathan Crane, AKA the Scarecrow:

When I first started, I had no idea what I wanted to do. There's really no set-in-stone design for what Dr. Crane or the Scarecrow look like. It sorta depends on who's drawing him. So I decided to mix together a whole bunch of different incarnations. I wanted the end result to look like a cross between Cillian Murphy's Dr. Crane from the Nolan movies, and the more "Ichabod" Crane look from the comics. For the Scarecrow part, I chose the most universal aspects of his costume, like the straw hat, and the noose around the neck. The straw fluff seems to come and go in his designs, but since they included it in The Dark Knight Rises, I figured what the hey. My all-time favorite Scarecrow design is the one from the Batman: Arkham Asylum game, but I couldn't figure out how to make it work. Having him hold a syringe was a compromise, since the syringe fingers would've eclipsed the "symbolic" aspect of the drawing. Once I had reference photos pulled up of several dudes wearing glasses and all the different Scarecrow images I needed, I drew a really, really, really crude sketch in my sketchbook:

Yeah, I know it's awful, but I had no idea where I was going with this, and I wasn't sure how to make the straw hat and the ruff look like shadows, and not a part of his clothing. To keep things moving, I rolled my kneaded eraser across the paper until there just a very faint impression of the sketch. Then I tried to redraw something coherent over it:

Still pretty rough, but at least he has an actual human face and something sort of like a proper hand (I used my own hand in a mirror for reference). The shadows were tricky. I'm only just now learning how to use extreme light sources, so there was a lot of trial and error.

Satisfied that I could kinda make this work, I pulled out a piece of 9x12 Bristol paper and a light box. I used to think drawing in a sketchbook and then transferring it to better paper was a huge waste of time, but I've come to realize that's totally not true. See, you don't give a crap what happens on the sketch paper, so you can work really fast and mess up and it doesn't matter. If you go straight to the "nice" paper, however, you end up going really slow because your'e trying not to screw up. Plus, a lot of those screw-up lines won't erase no matter how lightly you draw them. So having a "shit copy" you can transfer onto Bristol paper is honestly a lot faster. It doesn't have to be perfect, either. I did a pretty crude transfer:

Those silly sun rays on the left side of the page mark the direction of my light source. At that point, I didn't know I was going to add a secondary light source from the syringe. That's why you should always plan ahead, sigh.

Okay, onto the ink! We weren't actually told to ink the assignment, but I love ink, so I just went for it. I use Windsor & Newton black India ink and an embarrassingly crappy Windsor & Newton size 3 brush that is completely falling apart and should've been thrown out months ago but I love it and it's my baby. So, when I ink, I never focus on one area at a time. Instead, I started with a Micron pen and dotted in a couple small spots (like around his teeth), and anything that required a straight-edge (like the edges of his glasses and the syringe). Then I use the large, black areas (like the hat) as my "playground" zone. I practice in there a little and use the space to get excess ink off my brush. Also, because I like to use dry-brush, I save those large areas for when I need to get my brush dried out. Inking in random spots makes the whole process look pretty funny:

I get the basic inking out of the way first. The black parts are black, and I did a basic dry-brush around the brim of the hat and the silly Ryuk fluff. Now the drawing looks like this:

Now comes the part where I have 14 mental breakdowns, 3 conniption fits, an an OCD spazz attack. The drawing is just not good enough! So much rage! So now I have to figure out what the hell is dragging this piece down. I knew it was a huge risk, but I decided to black out the background. He's a villain, after all, so the piece should be dark. Since the sketch phase, I'd been struggling to find a way to make hat look like a shadow and not a pile of melted fudge on his head. Adding the black background makes the hat look more like an outline, which is less silly. I just had to pray to every deity in existence that I wasn't completely ruining the drawing. I kept the borders feathered in keeping with the "straw" theme of the piece. I also decided to add more dry-brush. I've been trying to lessen the dry-brush lately because everyone tells me it's not "graphic" enough for comic art, but... I like the way it looks... It's just my thing... And I think it adds more depth. Plus it allowed me to add texture to the rope around his neck. I also blacked out parts of his coat. Then, in an attempt to make him look "crazier," I added more expression lines on his face.

Okay, getting close... Just gotta add a few last touches. This is the part of the piece where I use this beautiful invention called Pro-White. It's a white gouache you can use to "reverse" any mistakes you've made. Contrary to popular belief, ink isn't necessarily permanent. If you're really careful, you can "undo" the ink with Pro-White. It'll leave a bit of a texture or blue-ish tint on the page, but not enough to matter. In this case, I used it to undo a some of the shadows on the coat, because they looked messy and ridiculous. Unfortunately, Dr. Crane still didn't look crazy enough! I was getting super frustrated. So here's where I use Pro-White for effect, like a paint (this is a technique I discovered because I screw up that much). I let the Pro-White dry out on my brush, then used it to make a smudge-y glow effect around the syringe. Since the syringe is glowing and he's all excited about it, I realized his eyebrows should be raised, not shadowed. He's not brooding about the syringe, he's all excited like, "OMG this is gonna be sweet!". So I used the Pro-White to add highlights back into his eyebrows. This raises them up a little and makes him look more unhinged. I also blacked out some of the excess shoulder ruff and redid the shadows on his coat. The shadows aren't "correct," exactly, but they look more aesthetically pleasing the way they draw the eye around the page. 

Then I glared at the drawing for several minutes while muttering, "I hate how this looks!" Then I put the drawing aside and went to sleep, hopeful that when I woke up, I'd find the drawing acceptable. And I did. So, voila, here's the finished product:

This drawing made me realize I really, really, really need to ink the Scarecrow from Arkham Asylum. Like, I need to. I know everybody loves the Joker - and don't get me wrong, so do I - but the Scarecrow is my favorite. The Joker is scary because you don't know what horrors he can imagine, but the Scarecrow is scary because you don't know what horrors you can imagine. That first "boss fight" against the Arkham Asylum Scarecrow almost made me shit my pants. 

So, yeah, gotta draw him. Very much required.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Nude Life Drawings

I did some nude life drawings using photo references and then shading them entirely with cross-hatching lines. Sorry for all the boobs and butts, except I'm not actually sorry.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Zombie Dust: Comic Inspired Beer

Now here's an odd thing. Having a blog about nerdy stuff usually means I write about movies, TV shows, comic books, etc., but I never thought it would give me an opportunity to write about booze.

Over the weekend, I got to try a beer called Zombie Dust, which is a pale ale made by Three Floyds in Indiana. The bottle claims the beer was "created with our marvelous friends in the comic industry." The really cool, holographic bottle art is done by Tim Seeley, best known for his work with Hack/Slash and G.I. Joe. He also does some work with Marvel, such as New Exiles.

Taste-wise, this is a great beer. I'm not a beer connoisseur myself, but I know enough to know when a beer just straight-up tastes great. This one's got a lighter, hoppy flavor with a side of citrus. The after-taste brought to mind something like grapefruit.

10/10, would recommend if you're looking for a good beer with some cool comic art on the front!

Thursday, November 14, 2013



Thor: The Dark World ended with the biggest plot twist the MCU has ever seen: Thor's nefarious brother Loki staged his own death and is now sitting on the throne of Asgard by wearing his father as a Halloween costume. The scene may be shocking, but it doesn't so much as hint at Loki's future plans beyond, "order the guards to play ultimate frisbee for my own amusement."

For fans of the comics, however, Loki's reveal as the king of Asgard - coupled with the sudden inclusion of the "infinity stones" during the mid-credits scene - was a moment worth soiling oneself over.

So what does Benicio Del Toro in clown makeup have to do with Loki doing the whore-sit on the throne? Well, does anybody remember the ugly guy who showed up at the end of the mid-credits scene of The Avengers?

The one who looks like a potato that got beaten with a rake?

That purple monstrosity above is known as Thanos, and here's what we know so far:

1. Thanos gave Loki the scepter.

2. The scepter has a stone in it that can control minds.

3. Thanos sent Loki and the Chitauri army to Earth to get the Tesseract.

4. Loki was told that if he failed, he would "long for something sweet as pain."

5. Loki failed spectacularly.


Ever since The Avengers, people have theorized that Loki intentionally botched his mission on Earth. Of course, just as many people think "failing for a grander scheme" gives Loki too much credit, and I, for one, think the theory gives Joss Whedon too much credit. Still, when you look at the facts, Loki failing on purpose is not as crazy as it sounds. First of all, Loki hates the Chitauri. He makes it perfectly clear how he feels about them ("I don't threaten," he says as he points the scepter in the Chitauri general's face). On the other hand, Loki seems to fear Thanos, going so far as to practically cry like a little bitch when the Chitauri tell him what will happen if he fails:

                      - The God of Mischief

But what does Thanos actually want? Well, The Avengers tells us he wants the Tesseract, but fans of the comics know that's a pile of bull. It's not until the mid-credits scene of Thor: The Dark World that the pieces start coming together. The Tesseract is one of six infinity stones, and the Aether is another. I'd bet my left boob that Loki's scepter is the third one (god I hope I'm right). So why does Thanos want the infinity MacGuffins? Because the six stones fit into something called the Infinity Gauntlet, which can be seen in the weapons vault in the first Thor movie:

Those idiot Frost Giants just ran right past it!

So at the end of The Avengers, Loki's sent back to Asgard with the Tesseract, which is... exactly what Thanos would want, right? Loki had to fail in order to get back to Asgard. The only flaw in the plan is that Loki's sent to prison and loses access to the weapons vault. Still, it's safe to assume Loki knew he could slither his way out of jail. Remember when Tony Stark told Loki, "There's no throne. There is no version of this where you come out on top"?


                               - The motherfucking king

Okay, so now we've got Loki on the throne. He's dismissed Thor to Earth and gained unlimited access to the weapons vault. Loki's put himself in the Prime Puppet-master position. The question is... is he being puppeteered himself? And whose side is the Collector on? Here are my three shit-hits-the-fan theories:

Theory #1:

Loki and the Collector are assholes and give Thanos everything he wants.

This assumes Loki sent the Aether to the Collector because they're in cahoots.

That's definitely a face you can trust.

If Sif and Volstagg went to the Collector with one of the most dangerous weapons in the universe, we can only assume it was on Loki-dressed-as-Odin's orders. The Collector did say, "one down, five to go," in an ominous voice, so it's safe to assume he's up to no good. So Loki and the Collector sit on/gather the infinity stones, and then Loki hands the Infinity Gauntlet and the stones over to Thanos like it ain't no thang. This will probably lead to Thanos trying to destroy the universe and the Avengers having to whoop his ass in Avengers 3.

The complicated twist: The possibility that Thanos has been using the scepter on Loki and Loki's not fully in control of his actions. There's a lot of evidence to support this twist, including Loki's bright, blue eyes in The Avengers, the fact that he seems to remember the events of Thor incorrectly ("I remember you tossing me into an abyss!"), and his very out-of-character speeches about the joys of giving up freedom.

"Freedom is life's great lie."
                                        - The guy who loves freedom

Thor, who's not really as dumb as people think, hits the nail on the head in The Avengers when he asks Loki, "who controls the would-be king?!" and Loki doesn't even answer the goddamn question.

Theory #2:

Loki and the Collector are opposed to Thanos, and Loki's secretly trying to save the universe.

This theory's a lot of fun to think about. Let's assume Loki hates Thanos. Loki seems afraid of Thanos, and if Thanos did use the scepter on him, Loki's probably pretty resentful. A lot of people theorize that the scepter's spell was broken when Loki got Hulk-smashed (since "cognitive recalibration" was the only thing that snapped Hawkeye out of it). If that's the case, Loki might have taken the throne of Asgard to put himself in a position to stop Thanos, and then sent the Aether to the Collector to keep it out of Thanos' hands.

However, since Thanos is pretty much guaranteed to be the villain of Avengers 3, this theory only works if Loki fails spectacularly again.

Theory #3

Whether or not the Collector is opposed to Thanos is irrelevant because Loki plans to usurp Thanos and become the Grand Master Asshole himself.

In this theory, Loki is the ultimate supervillain. He'll help Thanos gather everything he wants - all the stones and the Infinity Gauntlet - and then snatch them up for himself. In this scenario, Loki probably destroys Thanos - along with a galaxy or four.

Which would mean that in this scenario...

Loki initiates Ragnarok.

In both Norse mythology and the comics, Loki is the harbinger of Ragnarok - the Norse Apocalypse. If Loki gains the infinity stones and puts them in the gauntlet, he'll have enough power to destroy all the things. This plot path is insane, so I have my doubts about whether or not Marvel will be ballsy enough to attempt it. I did some research online, however, and found this quote from Thor actor Chris Hemsworth about the upcoming Marvel movies:

"I think that in the comic book the sort of end of days, Armageddon aspect is probably the direction [the movies] will all head in."

So, um...


Sure hope the Guardians of the Galaxy movie will shed some light on where the goddamn fuck this is all going..........

Comments? Thoughts? I'd love to hear what others think!

Saturday, October 19, 2013


A bit late, but here's the conclusion of my New York Comic Con adventure! Having survived three nights in the unholy Y.M.C.A., my friend Solis and I were finally ready to tackle Comic Con day 3!

Note: If anyone sees any pictures here that they want taken down, email me at and I'll gladly remove them!

Day 3

Saturday was the most crowded and had the biggest panels. There was the Grand Theft Auto panel, the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. panel, and The Walking Dead panel. Solis and I knew if wanted even the slightest hope of seeing a big panel, we'd have to line up pretty early. Before staking a claim, however, we went back to the Artist Alley to see more cosplayers!

Here we've got a great Rogue and Mystique, as well as an amazing Ultron. His face glowed and everything!

Avengers: The Age of Awesome

More awesome:

Down by the Artist Alley, the car they'd been drawing on had some new additions:

Heeeeey, another Loki!

We also saw a Loki standing around with chains on his wrists, who kept posing for fans with the chains in his mouth like some kinda kinky bastard. Is Fetish-Wear Loki going to become the hot new cosplay after Thor: The Dark World? Tumblr says yes.

Back in the exhibition hall, Solis found Dante!

And then we ran across... The Queen of Hearts and Ursula, holy crap:

She even has Flotsam and Jetsam with her!

By that point, we knew we'd dicked around long enough. A staff guy told us if we had any hope of getting into The Walking Dead panel, we would have to join the line immediately. Wait, The Walking Dead panel...? I was hoping to see the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D panel in the room before that.......

That was when I got my first inkling of impending doom (besides waking up that morning in a Y.M.C.A. bunk bed with no railing and staring down into the abyss below).

So we joined the line four hours early. The line was pretty long, and I could already see why this wasn't going to work. Remember how I suffered through the Hatsune Miku panel the day before and then kept my seat for the Game of Thrones panel afterwards? Yeah, see, you can do that at Comic Con. They don't clear the rooms between panels. That meant some people sat down in that two-thousand-person room for the first panel on Saturday and just stayed.

Wuh oh.

A couple panels ended and we did move forward each time. That was somewhat encouraging.

Then Problem #1 happened: There was no break between the two WC Network panels.

What the actual fuck. They didn't let anyone in between the two panels. Everyone in line was furious. The temperature in the room started to increase, and people were starting to say... rather unpleasant things. I told myself not to worry about it. Solis and I were on the last loop of the line, and there was still hope. If we made it in on the next round, we might not make it in for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but there was still plenty of hope for The Walking Dead.

Then the WC panel ended and the line moved - but not enough for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Crap. Solis and I found ourselves standing in a crowd of increasingly agitated people. The S.H.I.E.L.D. panel started, and they displayed it on a large screen with a sound system like an 80's boom box shoved underwater. I told myself, hey, at least we could see the panel from outside the room, but that wasn't enough for most people.

That's when the ugliness started. For some reason, The Walking Dead fans decided to take aaaaall their anger out on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. When the host of the S.H.I.E.L.D. panel asked who was excited, the WD fans actually started booing. Wow, real mature, guys.

Then the obscenities started. Throughout the entire AoS panel, the WD fans booed and shouted and pushed each other like little children. They shouted things like, "nobody cares about your shitty show!" and "get out of the room!" Even when Iain De Caestecker (Agent Fitz) and Elizabeth Henstridge (Agent Simmons) took the stage, the WD fans yelled and jeered at them. Security tried to control the line, but it didn't do any good. One girl kept turning to me and saying stuff like, "who the hell cares about this shitty show, right?!" Eventually, I couldn't stand it any longer, so I told her that, um, some of us were actually there to see Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Shocking, right? To her credit, she did apologize to me, but that didn't stop all the others from acting like angry babies. The WD fans verbally assaulted the AoS fans for an hour straight, despite the fact that tons of people in line were wearing Marvel clothing and merch. It was really upsetting, because up until that point, I'd only met cool people at Comic Con. All the fandoms had moved about the convention in perfect harmony, and it wasn't strange to see a Heisenberg fist-bumping a Thor cosplayer. Seriously, everyone had been so cool and accepting and friendly...

Until I met The Walking Dead fans... They were a festering cesspool of spoiled brats. I actually heard a girl say, "our dad paid fifty dollars for us to be here, we should be allowed to go in!" I know it sounds made up, but with Solis as my witness, somebody actually freaking said that. The girl next to me kept shouting, "Bye! Bye! Bye! Bye!" over and over into my fucking ear during the AoS panel, then talked about beating people up to get in. Other people yelled insults at the actors while they talked (thankfully, the actors probably couldn't hear them inside). Every now and then, security allowed a few people to enter, so they would ask the line to hold up their fingers to indicate how many seats they wanted. Every time this happened, a guy near me held up his middle fingers at the staff and shouted "party of one!" Real fucking mature. Security got so fed up with the Walking Dead fans, they actually shut the garage door leading into the panel room and decided not to let anyone else in.

Fucking great, Walking Dead fans. Way to go.

I was furious, but I tried to watch as much of the S.H.I.E.L.D. panel as I could, despite the sound system. Here's what I gathered:

De Caestecker's favorite superhero is Agent Ward (does that count? I guess it can).

- Henstridge is a huge Loki fan and thinks he just needs someone to sit down with him and talk it out (everyone in line went dead silent when Loki's name came up. It was a wonderfully peaceful moment).

- Every scene in AoS is filmed on site, so a scene in Paris is filmed in Paris, a scene in Sweden is filmed in Sweden, etc.

- The show's been contracted for a full twenty-two episode season.

- Yes, we will learn how the hell Agent Coulson is still alive.

- De Caestecker and Henstridge looked very uncomfortable. I'm not sure if it was because it was their first time talking in front of two-thousand people, if it was because they had a hard time answering the questions, or if it was because they knew everyone in that room was a actually spot-saving Walking Dead fan and it made shit awkward.

Unfortunately, when the AoS panel showed the audience some new footage, they turned off the screen outside. Omigawd, so lame! The guy behind me jokingly said, "I bet they're showing a Captain America 2 trailer in there." I gasped and told him not to say things like that, to which he responded, "Bucky's probably in there right now!" No. No, you do not say things like that, sir. You just don't. Later on, I heard the video showed something about Coulson's backstory. What the hell, why didn't we get to see it too?!

When the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. panel ended, all hell broke loose. Everyone shoved forward like a bad mosh pit. Of all the terrible things I saw The Walking Dead fans do that day, the woman in the mosh pit with a baby in her arms was by far the worst. That woman was in line with that infant for over five hours, and then she kept it in her arms while she participated in the angry mob. I guess seeing Daryl is more important to her than her baby's safety. One woman was sitting on the floor and didn't get up fast enough, so the line decided to trample over her. When the host of the WD panel congratulated the fans who managed to stay in the room the entire day, the line outside started screaming, "get them out! Get them out!" - even though those people technically waited longer. I mean, really, people?! Really?! Is the cast of The Walking Dead worth this kind of behavior?!

Ten minutes into the panel, I'd had enough. Solis and I skipped out of the line and moved to the back of the room with all the other people who didn't get inside. Here's a small portion of the crowd that tried and failed to get into The Walking Dead panel:

Anyways, I gathered what I could:

- A little girl (yes, there were small children in The Walking Dead panel for some reason) got up during the Q&A and said she had gifts for the cast. They let her come up on stage and hug all the cast members. When she asked Norman Reedus (Daryl) for a hug, he put her on his lap and let her stay there for the rest of the panel. The little dropped something on his lap and bent down to retrieve it. The crowd around me started making really inappropriate noises. Really, guys?! She was, like, seven!!!

- Something happens in season 4 that involves, like... an entire hippie jam festival worth of zombies. They showed us the clip without turning off the screen outside.

- The cast was nice enough to acknowledge all of us stuck in line and thanked us for coming. That got the otherwise irate crowd to applaud.

- Any time a cast member is killed off, the other actors throw them a huge dinner party.

- At the end of the panel, when the little girl left, Norman Reedus gave her his water bottle. D'aaaaw.

Anyways, that's all I could gather. The most important thing to take away from this story is that the Comic Con panel system is severely flawed. I don't understand why that horrible system is in place. Right off the top of my head, I can list four other ways the panel system could've been done differently:

1. Have a ticket system in which people pay for and/or reserve seats for the high-profile panels ahead of time.

2. Only allow a few hundred people into the earlier panels, then increase the number of seats available as more major panels happen. That would will limit the number of people who can hold spots all day.

3. Make people leave between panels.

4. Separate the major fandoms. Why the hell did the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. panel have to be in the same room as The Walking Dead panel?! They're completely different fandoms, and hardly any AoS fans got to go to the panel because the WD fans took all the seats. The Javits Center had other rooms with stages that could've separated the panels.

I mean, seriously, aren't any of the above options better than what happened?! NYCC inadvertently started a fandom war, and prevented fans from going to their own panels. Nerdiness is becoming more mainstream, and Comic Con is getting bigger and bigger every year. The old system isn't working, and it's time for a change. I hope things are done differently in the future.

Regardless, the behavior of The Walking Dead fans positively deplorable. I'd like to think they felt ashamed of themselves later, but entitled people like that rarely see the error of their ways. Fandoms are communities, guys. You don't trample your neighbors, and you don't shout obscenities at strangers. Furthermore, you don't publicly shit on fandoms you don't belong to. Daddy's money doesn't mean you deserve to see a celebrity more than someone who traveled all the way to NYCC from, say, Europe. I'm sure 99.9% of all Walking Dead fans are good, rational people, but the behavior at NYCC made them look really fucking bad. Let's hope they show more self-control next year.

So after failing all the high-profile panels, Solis and I trudged back to the Artist Alley with our heads hanging in defeat. We hoped seeing some nice artwork would heal our wounds.

The painted car has a brand new hood:

We also found some lovely lady Avengers:

Thinking maybe we could make it to one last event, Solis and I went to the cosplay competition, only to find another crazy line. We asked the staff lady if there was any hope, and she said maybe she could slip us inside later. In the meantime, we had a long conversation with her about what it's like staffing such a massive event, and traded stories about peoples' inappropriate behavior when they didn't get into the panels they wanted.

In the end, we couldn't get into the cosplay competition, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. All the competitors stood outside the room awaiting their turn, so we got to take good pictures of them.

See that Rocket Raccoon? His mouth moved up and down somehow. I have no idea how it worked, but the girl operating the suit made it look like Rocket Raccoon was talking!

That Queen Amidala is amazing.

While the competition was going on, I took a picture of this awesome Jack Frost cosplay outside. This is the kind of attention to detail that I love to see in cosplay. She has sparkly frost on her shoulders, and she's wearing flip-flops with transparent straps to make herself look barefoot. Totally awesome.

Luckily, I did find out the results of the competition. Rocket Raccoon won for her crazy animatronic raccoon mask. Great job, girl!

And thus concludes Day 3 of Comic Con. One more day to go!


Had a helluva morning. Solis set the alarm on her phone, but the charger came out in the middle of the night and the phone died. Why didn't I have my phone running an auxiliary alarm? Because when my alarm went off the previous morning, my phone vibrated itself right off the bunk and vanished between the mattress and the bed frame below. I couldn't find that fucker for ten minutes. The stars just weren't aligned in our favor. Instead of waking up at 7, we got up at 9. Crap.

Nonetheless, we wanted some damn breakfast. I refused to believe New York bagels are that much better than Midwest bagels, so Solis and I went to another bagel shop. The place was called Ess-a-Bagel, and they had a marvelous display:

And more food to put Chicago's bagels to shame:

How can I ever go back?!

Because we woke up late, we had to head straight to the one panel we were hoping to see before the convention was over: the Women of Marvel panel. We had to join the line immediately if we wanted to get a spot inside. Not gonna lie, the Women of Marvel panel wound up being one of my favorite parts of NYCC. I didn't really know what to expect. Were they gonna talk about female comic characters from Marvel?

Luckily, we did get in and we got good seats. Turned out the panelists were all women who work for Marvel:

Panelists included (in no particular order): Janet Lee (a Marvel cover artist), Jeanine Schafer (an assistant editor at Marvel and the host of the panel), Judy Stephens (who runs Marvel's cosplay blog), Lauren Sankovitch (a Marvel comics editor), Sara Pichelli (Guardians of the Galaxy artist), Kellie Sue DeConnick (the writer of Captain Marvel), Natalie Shaw (an assistant editor), Ellie Pyle (working on the upcoming Black Widow comics), Sana Amanat (working on Captain Marvel), and Stephanie Hans (the cover artist for the Kid Loki run of Journey into Mystery and the awesome woman who signed my print on Friday). Hopefully I got all those names right. I took notes during the panel and used the internet to fill in the gaps, but I can't make any promises. Sorry if I missed anyone!

This panel couldn't have come at a better time. After being verbally assaulted by angry Walking Dead fans for hours the day before, the atmosphere in the Women of Marvel panel was like coming up for fresh air in a sewer drainage pond. The panel was about women and their role in the world of modern comics. The room had a family-like atmosphere, and everyone was metaphorically patting each other on the back. The panelists talked about equality in comics and the changing demographics of comic book fans. During the Q&A session, female fans stood up to thank the panelists for helping Marvel become more progressive, and awesome male fans stood up to echo the same sentiment.

Personally, I've never been one of those raging feminists who holds up picket signs and shouts at men. I accept that I'm a woman, and I love a lot of things about being a woman. I fucking love makeup, I love dresses, and I think wearing pigtails everyday is seriously underrated. However, I was raised to believe that I should have all the same opportunities as men, and that I'm not a second-class citizen. It was really awesome to see so many women being passionate about making sure that happens.

Lately, the Captain Marvel series by Kellie Sue DeConnick has become a huge hit among the ladies. DeConnick had all the Captain Marvel cosplayers in the audience stand up to show just how many of the women in the room were inspired by a strong, female character like Carol Danvers. The panelists answered questions about things like Marvel's Jane Foster campaign for getting girls into science, the controversy over skimpy outfits, and unintentionally sexist men in the comic book industry. I wish I could've recorded the panel because it was so interesting. DeConnick emphasized that more and more women are reading comic books, and that "white males" should no longer be the "default" for main characters. Women, minorities, homosexuals... so many people deserve to be better represented in comic books. Later, DeConnick had all the women in the audience stand up if they were interested in working in the comic books industry. I'd say well over fifty girls stood up. Y'know what, girls? I'm rootin' for ya!

On a side note, being the huge Kid Loki fan that I am, I have to mention the rather interesting announcement they made during the panel about Loki getting his own series in February, entitled Loki: Agent of Asgard, (which Lauren Sankovitch will be editing):

It's a rather unusual announcement when you consider the fact that the current Loki of Marvel comics is essentially a thirteen-year-old boy. Apparently, something happens in Young Avengers #11 that will cause him to have a major growth spurt, which would end Kid Loki's run in Marvel comics - probably forever. Personally, I stopped reading about Kid Loki after Journey into Mystery, and didn't bother reading Young Avengers because, to be perfectly honest, JiM left me completely heartbroken. Before the series was over, I felt like someone had ripped out my soul and done a violent river dance on it. It may have been one of the saddest stories I'd ever read. Afterwards, I chose to detach myself from Kid Loki to avoid anymore emotional trauma.

Nonetheless, I was initially excited about the Loki: Agent of Asgard announcement, because I thought it might be a chance for the character to be utilized in less depressing ways. That is, until they invited one lucky girl in a Wiccan costume to go up on stage and read a copy of the still unreleased Young Avengers #11. She sat on stage reading it for awhile, and then she stood up while a panelist was talking and shouted, "IT'S AS BAD AS YOU ALL THINK!"

Oh... okay.

Later, a girl in a Kid Loki costume asked if she could also read YA #11. The panelists grudgingly agreed (the girl was way too adorable to say "no" to), so she sat on the stage and read it. When she was done, she silently got up and hugged the panelist who gave it to her, then went back to her seat looking like she was gonna cry.

Wonderful. That's very comforting, especially after Lauren Sankovitch promised she would use the Loki: Agent of Asgard series to "lie to you, lie to you, lie to you." Guys, I don't think my feelings can take anymore abuse. Seriously. The wounds from Journey into Mystery are still way too fresh.

In the mean time, I should go read Captain Marvel. Some girl power will diffuse the feels.

So enough about panels. Let's finish off the Comic Con report with lots and lots of cosplay! After the panel, I went back to the exhibition hall to try and capture as many cool photos as possible. First up is this absolutely incredible Freya from Final Fantasy IX. Anyone who knows me knows that FFIX is my one true love, so I may have scared this girl with my unnecessary excitement over her awesome costume:

Dat javelin!

We also found an interesting set of Jane Austen-esque Avengers characters:

As Comic Con started drawing to a close, Solis and I found this guy, who let people write whatever the hell they wanted on post-it notes and stick them to his body.

There was one on his backside that said, "I touched the butt," along with a cartoon penis, and a post-it note that said something like, "smelly ass walrus." Ah, people.

Dayum, check out these Dark Links:

And Wayne's World! Hell yeah!


On Friday, I saw this amazing Red Mist cosplay from Kick-Ass, but the guy got away before I could get a photo. Luckily, this amazing group of cosplayers from Kick-Ass 2 way more than made up for it:

I also found a Hawkeye who ran out of arrows. Hah!

"I killed eleven. You're welcome."

I left Comic Con feeling really bummed out and depressed that it was over. Luckily, there was one last awesome person outside to make my day:

That night, Solis wanted to get another win for New York City. She'd already proven their bagels are better than Chicago's, but what about the pizza? In order to pit New York's flat pizza over Chicago's deep dish, we went to Lombardi's - one of the first pizza joints to open up in New York City.

Here's our beauty:

The verdict? I think the two kinds of pizza are simply too different to compare. Lombardi's pizza is awesome, but deep dish is awesome for other reasons. I'd say I love them both equally. Solis showed me how to crack the crust and fold the pizza in half like a true New Yorker, so now I can eat pizza like a total boss.

Afterwards, we stopped at a place called Baked by Melissa for mini cupcakes!

The mint-chocolate chip is to die for.

The following day was my last in New York, which meant an obligatory trip to Times Square:

And the Disney Store:

I keep forgetting Disney sorta own Marvel now. As a total merch whore, I really can't complain:


I want that Nightcrawler. Seriously.

I also want a castle.

And a chandelier.

I'm not just a comic book fan, I'm also a fatass, which meant an obligatory trip to the M&M store:

Which has a freaky Elvis M&M:

Blue suede shoes. Get it? Get it?!

Here's The Great Wall of Calories:

And a machine that tells you your M&M color:

Thanks. Blue is only, like, one of my least favorite colors...

Afterwards, we went to the infamous Katz's Delicatessen. It was one of the first delis to open in New York, and the site of Sally's infamous fake orgasm from When Harry Met Sally:

The place was packed:

But oh-so-fucking worth it:

Are you even seeing the size of that matzoh ball?! Sweet fancy Moses that thing was huge! And dat pastrami! And dat mustard! Unf.

Here's where Sally embarrassed the crap out of Harry:

Y'know what? I think I did have what she had.

Last but not least, we stopped off at the massive Midtown Comics store to use the 20% off coupon they gave us at Comic Con. Midtown Comics is two floors of win:

The comic book shop was a great way to end the trip on a nerdy note. I bought as many back issues of Young Avengers as I could (my body isn't ready), as well as a few other comics I've been meaning to pick up. Superior Spider-Man better be as good as everyone says it is, and Young Avengers better not break my heart again. Except I know it will.

Finally, there was an American Idol finalist on the plane I took home. Yay?

In conclusion: New York Comic Con is awesome, and I'm totally gonna try to go again next year.

And maybe I'll cosplay.

Should I cosplay?


Definitely yes.