Archive for the ‘conventions’ Category

Inaugural Cincinnati Comic Expo

September 21, 2010

Well I’ve spent some time trying to clear my own head and get back in the mood to start posting on here. Well I’m back now to writing meaningless post on here again.

Well this past Saturday went to the inaugural Cincinnati Comic Expo in Cin……….. well you can figure it out. I drove all the way out in the morning and drove back that night and I feel it was worth it. I’ve also need to compliment their PR rep, cause they were able to get a lot of attention on the show in local magazines and radio shows. Unfortunately I forgot my camera, so I didn’t get any pictures this time.

The show was designed to focus on comics; mainstream, small press, and independent. They wanted to veer away from “pop culture shows” some cons have become in the past few years. They had 70 comic creators and 50 vendor tables. Besides just comic and games stores showing up, they had a local Leggo store, the local 501st legion, Underground Video Network, Blue Line Pro art, and a few other such things.

Their featured guests included comic creators from the Golden Age Murphy Anderson, Russ heath, and Allen Bellman; Comic Book Historian and Executive Producer of the 1989 Batman movie Michael Uslan and his son David who also works in the business now too; Archie Comics writer and artist Craig Boldman; plus comic creators and artiests Tony Moore, Steve Scott, Lora Innes, Thom Zahler, Dave Aikins, Dave Michael Beck, Sean Forney, Joe Gentile, and Josh Medors who is suffering from cancer so the con ran a charity auction to help raise money for his treatment.

The whole thing took place in the lobby around the basketball area (the Cintas Center) of Xavier University. I forgot to see if they offered degrees in human/mutant relations. It worked out very well. It made the whole convention floor an U shape. They had guests and vendors aligned on both sides of the wall around. One of the center’s snack bars was open selling food, at the usual prices. The center had plenty of free parking for everyone.  Though the location didn’t really have that many places to get food from near by that I could tell. I didn’t have a long or hard drive to find food, but just not walking distance.

For most of the day it was nearly impossible to get close to any of the comic dealers boxes.  There was people going through them almost the whole time.  Some of the ones in the further back didn’t have as many people and were easier to get to though and by the end of the day it started to thin out.  The artists on the other hand were a little easier to get to.  One would have a swarm at their table at certain times, but for the most part they were easy to get to and talk with.  In particular I got to meet Ricky Henry, Chad Schoettie, Rodney Fyke, Scott Zambelli, and Dustin Carson

Besides the main floor they had use of small room in the back that was split between functioning as a panel room and a gaming room. The gaming portion was run by Yotta Quest and they demoed several board and card games throughout the day. There was also another vendor Art of War in the main hall doing demos of some games. Mostly superhero based miniature ones.

There were a few costumes at the show. Besides all the Star Wars ones from the 501st. The was a Joker and a Harley Quinn of course. I do recall seeing Red Robin, Stephanie Brown Batgirl, a Hulk made to look like one of those toys with a block head and hands, Jubilee, Sora from Kingdom Hearts, and more.

They had a few panels during the day that I unfortunately missed all over. They also held their costume contest and charity auction there. I attended the auction, that start half an hour later than the program guide said it would. It was the last thing of the day and most of the other attendees were heading home, meaning there was not a lot of people there. This meant several nice pieces of art got sold really cheap and some didn’t get any bids. The staff members running also didn’t really know what they were suppose to be doing or to much about every piece up for sell. They were able to make do and it did end up running very well for the small crowd. I personally got an original Archie Comics’ Jughead as Superman by Craig Boldman, Batman and Harley Quinn print by Scott Zambelli, a great pencil of Thor, and a Star War piece of General Grieves. Which brings me to the question, does anyone out there want to buy some art?

They’ve already got a date and location for next year too. The Duke Energy Convention Center in downtown Cincinnati on September 17, 2011. This will give them more room and closer proximity to hotels. I’m looking forward to seeing what they do and who they get next year.

I say this is a good show for any comic fans out there in the area to check out.

Anime Punch: Armageddicon Review

April 30, 2010

 

Another weekend, another convention. This time Anime Punch: Armageddicon on April 2-4 at the Hyatt Regency in Columbus, Ohio. I’ve been to this con a number of times before, staff all of them, but missed last year’s. Once I again I helped out with staff and ran some panels for them.

I like Anime Punch cause of how they try to be different in both what events they run, how they run them, how they run the con and how they interact with attendees. They have a mission statement and style all. They strive to be anime only, in fact not allowing any non anime cosplay into the cosplay contest. They also are the “college age” con, meaning they like to be academic and to throw parties.

Unfortently between working the con and my legs which hurt like all get out I didn’t get to do as much as I wanted. 

Vendors Room/Artist Alley

I spent most of my time working in the vendor room helping out the vendors. I wandered in on Thursday night during set up to see what was going on and who was going to be there and just ended up staying most of the weekend. The staff they had there to run things had never worked the dealers room, or any part of a con before, so I moved in to show how to do right. Humble aren’t I.

The room was pretty nice. Nice wide alleys that had plenty of room for people to maneuver through. Good selection of different vendors. though three vendors didn’t show up to the con so it had some noticeably empty ares. Kind of nice, but there were some glaring problems with how things were run that I told the con chair after the con that I couldn’t stand it and I was going to help him run a more efficient vendor room next year.

They quite a few artist around the lobby area. Selling various things from fan art, original art, comics, jewelry, hand made plushies, dice bags, key chains, buttons, hats, wood work, and more. Pretty nice lay out too.

I got two skectch cards from two of the artists. A C.C. from Code Geass and Kanami from Full Metal Panic.

Panels

Panels at AP are always full of plenty of educational and intellectual discussions. That’s one of the bases for the con.

I ran two panels for the con: Anime on Television and Recurring Themes and Symbolism in Anime. The Anime on Television panel was very interesting in the fact that I think I was the youngest one in the room. Really hadn’t had to many moments like that at anime cons since they are mostly a younger crowd. It went pretty well, mostly just sharing stories about what we all had seen on television and where you can find it TV now a days.

The themes and symbolism one I wasn’t happy with. I wanted to do a whole presentation of them, but I never really got around to doing as much research I wanted. I was able to define themes and symbolism at the start and then was able to go over the few of them that I do know and let the audience bring up different ones they could think of. Personally I felt the panel was under par for me, but when I went to end the panel a few minutes early since people were showing up for the next panel and were being a bit distracting I had few people who were disappointed since they were really liking the discussion. That felt nice.

I got to see the other panels, one on the mangaka Shirow (creator of Ghost in the Shell), Japanese Mythos, and Anime Online. The Shirow panel was small with just the host, myself, and a vendor and his wife there. Still very nice got to learn about the man and his projects. Made me want to go get some of his works, which is really the best result you could get.

The Japanese Mythos panel was kind of train wreck in some ways. I’m not sure what happen but the staff members who ended up running it really didn’t know what they were going to talk about or even that much of the topic. At first they pulled up an audience member who was familiar with the topic and talk for a little bit about it. This was good. Then there ended up being three staffers to help her with the panel. That wasn’t so good. You had different panelist calling on different people for questions. One of them was really bad about rambling on about something not quite on topic and not really having a clear point for his rant. When a few people left the room they actual stopped them to ask why they were leaving. While the unprepared part I could leave with cause they had found a solution to it; it quickly delved into a case of too many cooks ruining the soup.

The Anime Online panel I had thought was one I was suppose to do but wasn’t, long story which isn’t too bad. What did happen is this panel and the Anime Industry panel which was suppose to be going on in the other panel room merged. It became a nice talk about the place of fan subs, history of such things, the effect the internet is having on the anime industry, and how people felt about that. All in all very good.

There were plenty of others I wish I got to go to but wasn’t able to.

Guests

Brad Swaile was the main voice acting guest, since the other one Patrick Seitz got sick right before the con and couldn’t come. Got to see Brad back at Colossalcon so I wasn’t as interested in going to his panels as I had been then. Of course working the con does cut back on your time to do such things too. I went to an interview panel they had with Brad where an internet show host interviewed him. Only got to see part of it since I had to leave part way through for business related to another con I’m part of. But the guy was to me kind of asking the same old kind of questions you hear at guest panels so it kind wasn’t that big of a deal for me anyways.

After the panel I escorted Brad to the con suite they had for autograph signings. Ended up pulling along most of the audience from the panel too. Helped keep the line orderly, took pictures of people with Brad, and generally stayed out of the way of things. Got to hear all the questions people asked him and see the different things they had him in sign. Pretty fun too.  Got to hear the potato chip line from Death Note again.  After everyone else had left I got my autographs then. I also got him to do a sketch card for me of his character Moose from Ranma ½. Moose turns into a duck by the way and that’s what he drew.

As always they brought in a number of college professors who have done research on anime and anime fandom. It’s part of their attempts to make cons more intellectual. I only got to hear one of them, Lawerence Eng, talk about anything. They do the kind of panels that really make you think and you learn something from them, so I’m usually kind of annoyed when I miss them.

Jimmy Raggs and The Projectile Style of Funk Nasty Freshness was a local band that was written a number of sons on anime and anime fandom along with knowing a couple of anime classics. I only really got to hear about two songs from them between things I had to do. I got to hear “Smooth Criminal” by Michael Jackson and “Mushroom Samba” from Cowboy Beebop. I really enjoyed both and wish I had gotten to hear more.

There was also a DJ from Japan, but I’m not a raver and didn’t care other than thinking it was someone neat to have.

Gaming

They had a pretty nice video game. Lot’s of stations. Though they had no Dynasty Warriors Gundam, so I played nothing. It was very standard kind of faire, but done very nicely and lot’s of it though. They do have what they call collective gaming where they take a simple game with few choices and have an audience decide what chooses to make. Didn’t make it to that either.

They had a table top gaming room next to the video game room. It didn’t fair was well. There was a Magic tournament, two LARPS, a Gundam model game, and Maid the RPG. I played nothing and the room looked vacant every time I was there, even when there was several people in the room due to the amount of empty space. It’s a good start for the room, having tried to do something similar at the con two years ago, I want to see this become more though.

Con Suite

One of the coolest things that the con takes pride in is their con suite. Free food is always loved at cons. When the food is good and includes some nice sushi, doubly so. It was run by a local family who took pride in their work. They always made sure there was food and drinks in the room, played music, had a photo shoot set up, and had an art wall where con goers could draw on provided paper and then place on the wall. The room was very big too.

Most commomn series cosplay: didn’t really see any one series that really stood out

Comomon cosplay: again just the usual several Naruto, Bleach, Death Note, Soul Eater, Final Fantasy

Favorite cosplays: Char’s custom Zaku, Spice and Wolf group, Ester and Able from Trinity Blood, Yoite from Nabari No Ou

All and all a nicely run con. The only reason I might not come back next year is to save money to go to another con the same time. Why does April have such awesome cons all month long?

This is a great con for anyone looking for an anime focused con, a con with lot’s of academia and deep thought, great parties, and a relax atmosphere.

A&G Ohio 2010

March 31, 2010

 

For the thrid year in a row I’ve gone to A&G Ohio.  Spent the weekend with a sore back and leg though which cut down on my fun and willingness to do things though. 

A&G had done some really great things for their attendees this year.  Like arrange for free breakfast for whoever stayed at the hotel and cheap lunch and dinner food at the hotel’s restaurant.  Once again they were also very good about getting their schedule out early. 

Panels and Atrium

The con had a panel room and a raised area in the lobby where they did panels.  Putting panels in the atrium had some merit but mostly didn’t work out for the most part.  On one hand it allowed a lot of people to be there and let people check out what was going on easier than in a regular one.  On the other hand there were a lot of distractions of doing it there in the open with everyone going around and the fountain behind you.  There was another room that was barely used too which they could have done a few more things in it. 

There was also lounge room.  Which was several round tables set out for people to relax in.  They had a couple of games in there to play.  I think Apples to Apples was played almost constantly in the room.  They also had popcorn and cotton for sale in there.  The panel room got moved into here on Saturday night cause the panel room AC was out which worked for a few things.  This was a good idea and I’d like to see it back, but it didn’t get used as well as it could have since they had only decided to do it at the last second. 

Vendors Room/Artist Alley

Vendors room was smaller than last year, but had a nice feel to it without for the most part being to cramp. Though there was only one small path into the back and it was blocked most of the weekend which meant when I saw it I’d turned around and headed back out. I got to do all the looking around I wanted and got the things I wanted, it just could have been done a little better maybe.

They also, and I’m shocked to find myself saying this when compared to most other vendor rooms in most other cons, too many anime and manga dealers. Now I really buy most of my anime and manga at cons and it’s what I’m most interested in getting at cons so I like to see a few, but I also like to see other dealers too. I couldn’t really name you what else I’d like to have seen, except maybe more gaming both video and table top, but I’m sure others could suggest things.

Artist Alley had a several cool artists.  Including someone who worked in metal.  Though there were a few artists who didn’t show it was all very nice.  They had a few of the artists up on the atrium which helped to prevent the walkways from being to crowded.  I do have to say it wasn’t to bad to walk by the artist, not much of a jam. 

Guests

They had a great guests list, but it was not utilized very well.  By this I mean there were guests who didn’t, as far as I know, didn’t do any panels or in fact anything. 

There VA guests were Chris Patton, Troy Baker, and D.C. Douglas.  Patton and Baker had both been in anime series that I’ve really like, but Douglas has really just done video games none of which I’ve played.  They were all really great though. 

I attended both Patton and Baker’s  personal panels.  Patton did one called “Chris Patton Shares too Much” where you could ask him any question and he would answer them.  He really did share too much and I am now scared for life.  Though I was already scared so it’s not a big deal.  Baker’s panel was about video games and though I’m not as big a video game player as most of other people it was really cool to see him and other people talk about stuff they were passionate about.  I’ll always remember that panel as the one where the firm alarm went off and we had to exit the building, where we kept talking till we could go back in and continued the panel. 

They had the head of a small game company at the con, this is the one who I don’t know if he did anything.  They had the creator of rebuilt semi to look like the Decepticon Motormaster there to look at.  It was cool to go look at and take pics of and I got to talk to him a little, though at least one Q&A of how he did it would have been nice.  Also of note was that they washed it Friday before the con which cause it to rain the next two days. 

I think the con needs to work on figuring out things to have guests to do and not just expect them or attendees to come up with ideas. 

Music Acts

The big music act I really loved was the nerdcore show with Dualcore,  Shammers, and Lefthand on Saturday.  I had meet Dualcore before at LANville and really like his stuff.  When I saw him at the con he remember me from before and he was happy to see me.  I think he just liked seeing a familiar face.  I hung out with him on and off during the weekend and help with his table of goods to sell.  This was my first time see Shammers and Lefthand, but I’m a fan now too.  They’re a lot of fun to watch and listen too. 

This was the third time being at a con with the Protomen, but only the first time I’ve bothered to go to one of their shows.  They do a Mega Man rock opera that has many die-hard fans.  I sat in the back and listen for a while before Troy Baker’s panel.  I liked what I heard, but since this was Act II on Saturday I don’t think I completely got it.  I need to hear them all the way through at once to really make up my mind, but they are of interest now. 

Gavin Goszka felt sorry for.  He’s talented and does some great music, but all his performances were in the atrium.  Now he played more slow and calming songs so it was nice background music to have in the lobby, but he didn’t really get to show himself off and have a captive audience.  He had a performance on each day and personally I think they should have at least on one day moved him into the lounge for better atmosphere. 

Video Game Rooms

They had three video game rooms and lot’s of systems. The rooms had the usually fare of fighting, FPS, racing, and music games kind of games you have. They do bring in several old school systems and had a game called Mugen projected onto a wall to play. My one really problem was having Rock Band in the one room I played in. So much noisier than that other two.

I actual played in the video game room. I got to try out Dynasty Warriors Gundam. I’m a big Koei games fan and had been wanting to check out this series.

I though there was suppose to be a Golden Eye for the N64 tournament, but never saw any signs for it. Of course I didn’t ask either so it’s really my fault.

Cosplay

Most Common Series Cosplay: Axis Power Hetalia (I think anyways, I don’t really know a lot about that series)

Common Cosplay (thought there was not very many of anyone series like other cons): Bleach, FMA, Kingdom Hearts, Mega Man, Final Fantasy

Personal Faves: Roya and Elemda from Kiba, Cowboy Beebop group, Quailman from Doug, Piccolo from DBZ, and two Eikos from Final Fantasy IX

With my sore back and seeing the same characters over and over again I found myself not takeing as many pictures as usually.  I just couldn’t bring myself to raise my camera up to get yet another picture of Naruto or Cloud.  Also chasing down the good ones just seemed like to much work, so I missed a few I had wanted pictures of.

Final Thoughts

A&G Ohio has an idea of what it wants to be.  It has a feel to it and a style that they try to capture and for the most part do.  They try to be different and do their own thing which is something I respect and like about them.  It’s just that it’s not the kind of thing I really want out of a con.

They’re very big on parties and party like atmosphere.  They’re very open with what all they’ll cover and like silly events.  Not my kind of thing, but I know a lot of people who like that kind of thing, so if you like cons for the big get together and fun things to do kind of feel this might be the con for you.

Charcon Review

November 30, 2009

I went to the local gaming con, CharCon, back on the of October, but with how slow I am to write, then getting sick for two weeks, and then trying to catch up on things since then I haven’t gotten to my write up.

This was CharCon’s fourth year and it just gets bigger and better every year. This was the first year they went for three days. This was really cool to see it take on another day, though it spread the games out a little bit than in the past and made it seem like there was less games.

 The theme for the year was ‘Pirates vs. Ninjas’ and was used in several games. 

Guests

Guests this year included artists Larry Elmore and Billy Tachet.   Along with horror writer Ed Holsclaw, returning for a second year.

Both Larry and Billy had amazing art to look at and sell. A bought this card set Larry did for a European company that had made too many cards, so they gave him a bunch and he was able to sell them cheap and with a nice binder with art from one of the cards on the cover. I got a sketch card from Billy. He’s mainly know for his zombies and other dark art, but I had noticed some of his non zombie art and how good that was so I asked for something without zombies. He gave me a really good dragon. I got Ed’s latest work, I got some of it last year and enjoyed it.  He also gave me a piece of the road that the climatic scene from “Texas Chainsaw Massacare” was shot on.  For what ever reason I liked it.

Games I Ran

Anima card game

Serenity RPG

Maid RPG 

Fuzzy Heroes

Games I Played

 Dominion

Say Anything

Metal, Magic, and Lore

Wits and Wagers game show

Red Dragon Inn

Other Events

Costume Contest

Flea Marktet  

Raffle Drawing

Tsubasacon Review

October 31, 2009

I went to Tsubasacon back on the 9-11th of October in Huntington, West Virginia. It’s sort of my ‘home convention’ seeing it’s just down the road from where I live and I’ve been to all of them.  Also, the fact that I’ve work as a volunteer or staff every of it too. Anyone going do a write-up about it. Won’t do the usually sort of write-up seeing as being staff kind of skews my view and since I worked most of the con I missed most of it. I’ll just talk about what I did get to go see and do.

Vendor Room

Spent most of my time here being the Vendor Head and all. I really feel proud of the work I did here. Instead of just posting the vendor contract online and doing things ‘fist come first served,’ we decided what type of products we wanted to be sold, figured out what vendors we knew who had those things, and then just asked those people and sent them the contract. The result was a nicely varied room. It was also spaced out so there wasn’t a real crowd control issue. And as with all cons I go to, I learned a little bit more about doing things better for next.

Guests

This year’s guests included comic creator Jen Lee Quick. This is her third year coming to the con and each year I’ve seen more of her stuff. This past year I had found at a comic show some old ‘Amerimanga’ magazines that she had a story of her’s in it. I waited the whole year to get her to sign in it and then forgot it at home. One of the vendors had a copy of one of the magazine’s, so I just picked up an extra copy.

This year also saw the return of Lisa Furukawa; singer, songwriter, musician. She performs a number songs, in English and Japanese, both her own original works as well a few songs from anime, like Bleach, Cowboy Beebop, and Ghost in the Shell.

Voice Actors Leah Clark and Darrel Guilbeau. I’m a big fan of Leah’s work, considering she does the voice one of my favorite characters in one of my favorite animes; Eri Sawachika in School Rumble. Darrel I didn’t really know his works till like a week before the con did I really bother to look at what he had done and see what his projects had been.

Finally webcomic creator Gina Biggs. I started reading her webcomic Red String a few months ago when she was announced as guest and quickly got hook on it. It’s a sweet and funny little love story. It really feels like some mangas I’ve enjoyed in the past.

Friday’s Voice Actor Q&A

Not a lot of people at this one, not surprising since it was so early in the con. I got to ask a few question to the two VAs and got some responses.

Cosplay Cafe

The con did a little cafe set up at the hotel next door. They served a few simple to make foods and dressed up maids and waitress for it. The attempt was to kind of be like a maid cafe in Japan. I’ve read a bunch about these places, blame it on my interest in the Maid RPG, so when I walked up to it and no one said “welcome home master” my hopes and dreams were dashed a little. Also, maybe cause there wasn’t a lot of people there, but I didn’t really know which one was my waitress. I kind of got served by all of them at some point. The food was nice, though the tea was way to hot and I ended up taking it with me waiting for it to cool down.

All and all to me it was just a quick bite to eat with a few cosplayers around. Easily able to become something more though.

The Toonami Generation

My 7th Toonami panel to date and my longest to boot. Finally was given more than an hour to do my thing. I’ve constantly ended my past panels talking about how I could go for hours or days talking about Toonami. During this panel I kept looking at the clock and trying to figure out what next to talk to. I was tired I guess. It started as standing room only, but as things went on people left and it thinned out a bit.

Strangely I didn’t show as many of the videos as I have in the past; we talked a bit more than usual. I liked that, just felt like I had wasted time downloading everything though. Oh well. Had a lot of good moments during the panel. Opened the panel by showing the classic 2 minute long  pre=”long “>Gundam Wing promo.  Then went into discussion on the hosts, the crowd favored Moltar more than past panels, neat.  Yelled at a guy for selling his Ronin Warriors action figures to make room for a Megas XLR figure. Told him he should have just stacked them on top of each other.  Talked about shows we thought should have been on.  Talked about Hamtaro and it’s place in Toonami.  Kind of upset the crowd that I didn’t know which track of Black Hole Mega Mix has Peter ‘The True Prime’ Cullen going “fizziel.” 

Personally I was happy with it and will continue to do Toonami panels for as long as I can. 

Red String

A panel by guest artist Gina Biggs about her webcomic Red String. She talked about the development of the story and her plans for it. Unfortunately I hadn’t read all the way through what she’s posted on-line so I was lost on a few of the characters and storylines she went over. It just made me want to read more though. Told us about some of her extreme fans on her forums, personal things that she’s gone through while working on it, and asked us what we thought about it. All and all she put on a good panel.

Leah Clark Q&A

I went to half of Leah Clark’s solo panel, cause I had to get back to the vendor room to close it down for the day, but I had fun while I was there. Not to many people who just created that close-knit feeling that I like.

She talked about how she go into the business of voice acting, some of her roles, and thoughts on the subject.  She mentioned that she the voice she used for Nodaka in Negima was based on the voice she used for a sheep in play.  She told how she was originally cast as Mitsuki in Rumble Hearts, but was switched over to Akane since they didn’t have anyone else for that role.  She had really like that role too, personally from what I’ve seen I don’t like the character myself. 

My one complaint about her was she didn’t know who Wendee Lee was, and if you don’t you probably don’t care about anything else in this post. 

Manga Story Development

A panel by Jen Lee Quick talking about tips for writing stories. She asked people who were trying to work on their own stories what problems they were having and giving them advice and encouragement. Kind of a nice panel, but for whatever reason didn’t get the creative juices flowing in myself as much as I had hoped.

Lisa Furukawa Saturday Concert

Lisa has been to three Tsubsasacons. At each one she does a concert on Friday and Saturday. I always miss the Friday working for the con or doing something else, but I do make the Saturday ones. I’ve been a big fan of her’s since I first got to hear her. She does beautiful songs in both Japanese and in English. I had one person tell me she wasn’t going to the Saturday concert cause her songs made her cry they were so good.

Once again I got to hear her sing. She did some stuff from her new album along with old favorites. The neatest thing was when she sang the opening to Aqua Teen Hunger Force in Japanese. Apparently she had a concert after a panel they were doing at a con in Florida, so she sang the song as they left. They really liked it. We also got to do a little sing along with her as she did ‘Country Roads’ in Japanese.  Always a crowd favorite at Tsubasacon.

 

10 Cons Per Year

I checked this panel out for a little bit. It was by a group out of Kentucky who organizes con trips. They gave a lot of good tips on picking, planning, packing, and enjoying cons with groups. Most of the stuff was either stuff I know and/or do already. They did have a few tips to offer. The main thing I needed that they didn’t really go over was how to form a group to go to cons like they do.

Off*Beat

A panel about Jen’s manga Off*Beat that was put out by Tokyopop. Besides myself there was only one other guy there, so it was pretty relax. She didn’t even sit behind a table, just joined us in the audience. We talked about the story and the characters of the story, plus some of her other works. Very nice to hear more about what she likes to write; she’s more of a fantasy writer than high school drama, which is what Off*Beat was.

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Fan Panel

Another of my panels. I’m a big fan of Code Geass, so I decided to do a panel on it. I had a couple of people show up who fans of the show, one who had only seen a few episodes, and some people who just seemed to be hanging out in the room.

Wasn’t as planned for this one as I’d like. I was able to keep things moving by brining up different topics;least and most favorite moments, what kind of geass would they want, shipping opinions. Got some debate on things from the show and discussion went on nicely through out for the full hour.

Anime Tropes

My last panel and the last panel of the con. This was done right up against the closing of the vendor room on Sunday, not real good planning but it worked out. I almost hoped people wouldn’t show up so I could go back to helping all of them pack up and leave but people showed up. It worked out well. I was given more time than I really needed, so I took a few quick breaks to check on things.

For those who don’t know what a trope is, the best explanation I can give is tropes are devices and conventions that a writer can reasonably rely on as being present in the audience members’ minds and expectations.

I got the idea for this panel while wasting time looking around TVTropes.org. I just thought this was a great break down about anime, film, literature, games, and more that I just wanted to share. I went over different genres, settings, character types, ensemble types, and general anime tropes. I think a taught a few them a couple of things, so that the next time they’re watching a show they’ll go ‘hey that’s a (fill in blank).’

Sketch Cards

I got a few new sketch cards as well. 

Reika of Red String by Gina Biggs

 of Soul Union, an old comic by Jen Quick

Bought a pre made one from the daughter of the creator of Akashik.  A comic I’ve come to like really like and hope to see at more artist alleys in the future.

John, the owner of Fast Food Anime, who has written a manga called Otaku Antics, was doing ‘Bad Drawings’ on Saturday before the rave for a quarter.  I got one of a mech.  It was indeed a bad drawing.   

Cosplay at the Con
Most common series cosplayed I saw: Soul Eater
Common series cosplayed:  Final Fantasy, Bleach, Naruto, Death Note,  and Kingdom Hearts
Cool rare cosplays: Desert Punk, Cheese-kun from Code Geass/Japanese Pizza Hut, Yuko of XXXholic

Punch the Vash Report

Convention: _Tsubasacon_ Time: _about 10:30 am_ Date: _10/10/09_

Location: _Outside vendors room along artist alley in front of  Description: _really he was just kind of wearing the Vash coat , but still had to give him a punch    Reaction: _Just kind of game me a look over his shoulder as he went by

Convention: _Tsubasacon_ Time: _about 10:35am_ Date: _10/10/09

Location: _right inside the vendor room door_ Description: _average cosplay not much to really say    Reaction: _again just a quick look before he moved on

Pittsburgh Comic Con Review 3

October 1, 2009

Sunday

Spent the morning tracking down a few last autographs. My Handbook of the Marvel Universe got a few more names in it with a few of the pencilers from sign their work in it; Michael Golden, Mike Grell, Rob Frenz, I got a Neil Vokes to sign my copy of The Wicked West and bought a copy of the second volume of it. Then I had to spend more time hunting more autographs cause several of the people at the con had also worked on that one.

 

Spent some time going through comic boxes. I got a whole lot more single issue manga comics, Batgirls, Excailbur, Marvel Comics Atlas, and a bunch more eclectic comics. Also picked up a copy of the board game Flat Acting from Eye Level Entertainment about competing movies.

 

I also went and got sketch cards from some artist. This is my first time getting these and I really like them. I got some interesting ones.

Green Lantern Kyle Rayner from Darrly Banks, his creator

Hawkman from Alex Saviuk; I had asked for a Spider-man since he’s done a lot of work with him, but he kind of asked for something else, test him a bit

Nightwing from Wayne Faucher

Spider-man drinking a soda by Chris Moreno

a short little doddle by Beau Smith

female samurai by Mike Okamoto

One Donald Duck’s nephews by Patrick Block

A weird west cowboy by Neil Vokes

Scar from Fullmetal Alchemist by the same art who did the Major on aluminum

Solty from Solty Rei by Adam Stoak; real fun story here, I had seen some prints he had done of the characters from Solty Rei and asked a sketch card of Solty; he was so amazed that I knew who she was that he went all out for the card, even coloring it

 

Got my tickets for the final quick sketch, but instead of hanging around a I went to the Anime 101 panel. It was presented by the Star Wars Club, which is really a multi-fandom club and not just Star Wars. The two presenters did a really good job. They presented a good basics of anime; talking about different genres and common elements that you usually see when watching anime. Their actual presentation was short, but the rest of the panel was filled with them, some of the other attendees, and myself just talking about different anime related topics.

 

I got back to catch the tail end of the Quick Sketch. They had fifteen artist for this one. During this one Chris Moreno and Rob Reily went back and forth drawing the other one in embarrassing pictures. Chris did Rob cleaning Superman’s gutters (called Rob Reily Superman’s pal) and one of Dr. Doom making him dance in a tutu (which my mom one). Rob did Chris is puppet declaring Rob the greatest.

My mom won four pieces in this quick sketch. One was of Rouge giving a massage to Gambit, well actually it was the after piece where he had turned into a skeleton. She tried to trade with the guy who had won one where she was just giving a massage before he’s a skeleton, but he didn’t really want to. So she traded another one of her’s for two of his’. She ended up with getting a sketches of Captain Platypus (which she had suggested to the artists) and one of Dr. Horrible.

 

Caught the tail end of the costume contest just to hear a few of the winners, which I forget all that I heard now. There were a number of really cool costumes.

 

Pittsburgh Comic Con Review part 2

September 28, 2009

Saturday

The first half of Saturday was all about Stan ‘The Man’ Lee.

The set up was organized really well. The had the lines planned out and everything set up to run really smooth. We weren’t allowed to have our stuff personalized, we could take photos but no posing, and we weren’t allowed to chat with him for long. Now this wasn’t done in a rude manner very friendly with the rational that we had five hundred people to go through in only a few hours before lunch. Then he had another set of people for autographs in the afternoon. Plus Stan was very friendly himself, he even did some posing when he saw people were taking his photo.

Talked with the people behind us in line. Very cool people. They had been to Pittsburgh Comic Con before. We talked about cons, Stan Lee, comics, the line, and pretty much everything else that came to mind while we waited.

I had Stan Lee sign the Spider-Man page of my Marvel Essentials The official Handbook to the Marvel Universe. While my mother had a Spider-man card to get signed. Unfortunately after I got my autograph I walked off; I was suppose to get a picture of my mother with Stan. I’m still in trouble over forgetting about that.

 

 

I went to the Quick Sketch panel after the signing. The artists included Chris Moreno, Ebas, Adam Hughes, Tommy Castillo, Ed Beard Jr., Talent Caldwell, Josh Medors, Rob Reilly, Dan Fraga, Scott Wegener, Jay Fife, Ian Glaubinger, Koa Beam, Scott McDaniel, and Jeremiah Witkowski. In case you were wondering why I have such a full list is I ‘found’ a sign with the list of artists posted outside of the room and I took it as souvenir.

Some of the pics this time were zombies of Micky Mouse and Jasime; Stich as Punisher and Dondald Duck as Hulk; great drawings of Nightwing and a Wonder Woman/Princess Leia.

My mother won another one by Chris Moreno. This time it’s Deadpool and Spider-man trying to dig their way to Pesmo Beach like Bugs and Daffy.

 

Got a few more autographs today as well. Gary Freidrich, the creator of Ghost Rider, has so far been the only person I’ve seen charging for his autograph. Granted it was only two dollars and if you bought something it was free, so I bought Essentials of Ghost Rider which he signed along with the Ghost Rider page on the Essentials of Marvel Universe. Bob McCloud co-creator of the New Mutants.

I finally got around to buying some comics. I found a great dealer with some older manga magazines and single comics selling at four for a dollar, that’s twenty five cents if your math is a bit slow. I got a big stack.

There was also more costumes on Saturday.

 

 

While I was busy, my mother tried to go to a panel about getting published in comics. She went to the wrong room; she went to a panel by Terry Moore and his projects. My mother had never heard of him or his most famous work Stranger’s in Paradise. After hearing him talk she went out and bought an anthology of his first 14 issues. 

They had a small concert with an interesting performer, The Great Baladini, he really doesn’t deserve the great part. He does parodies like Weird Al, but focuses on rap, hip hop, and dance music. Some of his music was fun but the sound system was off, too much bass, and he mumbled to much. He also didn’t really have any stage presence; he just kind of stood on stage and sang. I was there for about 12 minutes and left in the middle of the fourth song. Went out for dinner.

 

I came back for their auction to raise money for the Make a Wish Foundation. This was interesting. There some neat items they were selling. They had two banners for the con signed by Stan Lee, several original sketches of pages from comics, some statues and toys, and a lot of other comic and art related products; includeing those specially painted plates shown above. The most expensive item was an original art post of six different Donald Duck heads for $600. Everything else went relatively cheap; as one guy put it later “a buyer’s auction.” They were still able to raise over 12 thousand dollars for the foundation.

I won a copy of Neon Geniess Evangellion movie for $5 and a ink drawing of the Major from Ghost in the Shell on an aluminum plate. The maker of the plate came up to me after I bought to say how he was kind of surprised to find a GitS fan. My mother bought a Blood Elf from World of Warcraft. It was signed by both the artist, who was there, and the model.

Pittsburgh Comic Con Review

September 21, 2009

I went to Pittsburgh back on Sept.  11-13 for Pittsburgh Comic Con. I don’t go to many comic book conventions and the one’s I’ve been to have been real small ones, one day in a small room. This was three day and took place in a convention center.

This con is usually held in April, but there was construction going on at their usual location so they moved to September and moved across the street to a new location. In fact I heard the building was only eight days old it’s and it showed. The whole place had a look-shiny and new.

The main hall of the convention center housed the guests, artists, and vendors. There was plenty of room to move around between dealers in the room. They had smaller rooms in the building for panels and other events. They were good size with plenty of room and seating. Not much of sound system in any of them though. The food at the center’s concession stand while on the high end price-wise, like most con food, though you did get a good amount for your money so not the worst I’ve seen.

I kind of liked their badge system. They had badges for VIPs (like me) who pre-reged, but wrist bands were the main identifier for con goers. Though unlike Colossalcon they had different ones for each day so you could switch them out instead of having to have the same one on the whole time. The badges were really neat cause they took your picture with a webcam and put it on the badge with your name on both sides of it so it didn’t matter if it got turned around. The problem though was while they had lanyards to attach them to they didn’t have plastic holders for them. Luckily I had thought ahead and brought some holders from previous cons just in case.

They had quite a few vendors. Though most of them were all just different comic book shops who for the most part all looked like, white comic book boxes and their more rare stuff on a display board. The prices were also all the same between a lot of them. There were also bootleg dvd dealers (boo hiss), a few anime merchandize dealers, toy sellers, and a costume shop. Plus some guys selling roasted nuts. Overall a decent blend and very nice. I just wished more of the comic guys had boxes listed better on what was in them.

They didn’t have that many panels throughout the weekend which was kind of a disappointment since they had so many neat guys it would have been fun to more hear from them. Though what they had was fun. Of course I’m not sure if they ever got their anime viewing room up or not. Which didn’t upset me since the only thing I would have liked to watch would have been over long before I even showed up to the con.

The surroundings are was very nice. Several restaurants and next to mall. There was even a zombie museum in the mall that opened for the first time on Saturday.

 

Most of the guests were comic creators, artisans, and webcomic guys. They did have a few actors who had been in the Day of the Dead and Living Dead movies too. Plus Conrad Brooks, who had worked with Ed Wood in a number of films, including Plan 9 from Outer Space, the Citizen Kane of bad movies. The main star of the con was tStan ‘The Man’ Lee. A whole section of the lobby had been sectioned off for Stan Lee on Saturday, looked like they were expecting long lines. Good planning on their part.   

I went to the con with my mother. When she heard that Stan was going to be there, she wanted to go as much as I did. She’s kind of a nerd sometimes.* The first few years a I went down to Dragon*Con she came to and spent her time going to see her stuff there. She’s a big Firefly/Serenity fanatic.

Friday

I spent most of my time on Friday getting familiar with the place and hunting down some autographs. Which I spent most the weekend doing. Took in some events and got the lay of the land. We had gotten there late so we missed a few things.

Went to the Friday CBLDF Quick Sketch. My first one ever. A lot of fun. If you’ve never been to one, a Quick Sketch is a where a bunch of artist draw sketches for an hour. Then at the end they raffle off the sketches. The money they raised goes to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

All of the artists they had were real nice and some were very funny. They took several suggestions on what to draw which lead to some neat sketches. A few of the artist that were taking part in it were Billy Tucci, Darryl Banks, Terry Morre, Chris Moreno, Danielle Corsetto, and several more. Some of the pics they did were a Green Lantern Spongebob, pastel Dr. Doom, a tap dancing Flash, Death from Sandman, and a ‘Television Edit’ picture of Doctor Manhattan from Watchmen with pixelation over his groin.

I won a Spider-Girl by Terry Morre, but my mom really wanted this Micky Mouse as Iron Man by Chris Moreno. So after all of them had been given out I went up to the the guy that had won it and offered him a trade. Since he already had another Iron Man, the original one, he went for it.

There were a lot less costumes on Friday than I was used to from being at Dragon*Con and so many anime cons. There was a Tinker Bell, a Batman, and a Silk Spectra from Watchmen. This picked up later in the weekend with the costume contest on Sunday.

I spent most of my time that weekend getting autographs from writers and artists who worked on comics I owned. Unfortunately some of them weren’t there and I didn’t know that, so I wasted time searching for them. Some of them were: Silver Age female artist who created Aqualad and Metamorpho for DC. I had her sign my DC Who’s Who on the Aqualad page. Got to her just before she was about to leave for the day too. Alex Saviuk, mostly know for penciling and inking the Spider-man newspaper comic strip who I got to sign one of my Marvel Essentials The Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe, these got several signatures over the weekend. Talked with him a little bit about his work with the handbooks and his movie story board work.

They held a casino night to raise money for Make-a-Wish Foundation on Friday night. It was a blast. Kind of slow at the start but once it got started it went really well. Had a lot of fun playing blackjack. Our dealer, Sally, was real kind to us. Always feeling bad when she took our money, giving suggestions, and even giving us a free pass a few times when she hit Blackjack. I played a few hands of poker (went poorly), roulette a few times (had fun with that), thought about playing craps but it looked more confusing than I wanted to bother with, a few wheel spinning games, a dice game of ‘beat the dealer’ (at one point the dealer rolled 11 three times in a row), and a game of higher or lower with dice.

The band that was suppose to play were a no show which was a disappointment since they sounded like a lot of fun. The whole thing was for the Make a Wish Foundation. With the whole thing being for charity no one had problems losing always saying, “it’s for the kids.”

At the end of the night they had a raffle of number of prizes. There were several art pieces, plushies of Dream from Sandman, a Captain Picard statue, World of Darkness figures, and D&D pewter miniatures. The whole room was friendly about it with cheers for each person when they won something. My mother won an art piece of Uhura from Star Trek signed by Nichelle Nichols (with certificate of authenticity) and one of the Comedian from Watchmen. I won a model of the Batboat from the Batman Returns movie. I’m pretty sure I was the only person who put in a ticket for it.

*Notes from mom–I did not know I was that big of a nerd until I got there. I am sure there are lots of people who would want to meet Stan Lee. He is after all the god of the Marvel Universe. I figured this was an opportunity for me to spend time with my son but during the day I would end up back at the hotel in the hot tub or watching tv. Then we got there and seeing all the artists and hearing their stories was great-I was hooked. Remember these are ARTISTS most of them do more than comics and they had much of their work on display. I think just about anyone would enjoy seeing the main room with the vendors and artists but a real nerd enjoys it for three days and comes back with a box of comics and a box of original art..

Colossalcon part 2: Friday

June 13, 2009

Well I’m a day late, but at least I’ve done it.

That’s all I really care about. The con got started early on Friday though I didn’t. Got to go to several panels and guest Q&As and sent my time in between them getting food, cruising the halls, checking out the vendors room, and getting some autographs.  The autographs moved pretty well on this day; not to long, they moved at a good speed, and people weren’t rushed through.

Expand Your Collection on a Budget: The first panel I made it to the day was ‘Expand Your Collection on a Budget’ about ways of finding anime cheaply. The guy running it some good pointers about sharing with friends, places online to order from, and certain stores where you could find some good deals with. I helped to share abut using Big Lots to find stuff at; as well as list a bunch of different websites where companies have been putting stuff up online for free. Gundam with Brad Swaile: First guest panel of the day I got to see was ‘Gundam with Brad Swaile’ who has done work in Gundam Wing, Mobile Suit Gundam, Gundam SEED, and Gundam 00. He answered a lot of Gundam related questions and others about voice acting. He’s a very interesting guy, bit of nerd which is cool. He’s collected models of all the different mobile suits his characters pilot, which is pretty cool. How to

Anime RPG: I was only able to stop for a little bit in this panel since I had to get some stuff for my own panel, but I wish I had gotten to see it all. The panelists discussed combining anime and table top role playing, two things I love very much. I got the feeling he knew quite a bit, I so wish I could have picked his brain some more.

American VAs; A Fan’s Perspective: This was one of my panels; it was bad, so bad I’m ashamed of myself. I apologize to wasting everyone’s time who was there. I hadn’t planned out the panel to much; mostly I was kind of hoping to play off the audience, but I didn’t get much from them. The only good part was playing ‘who would you cast in a new dub of Sailor Moon.’ The was kind of fun.

Shin-chan: Next event was Q&A seesions with Laura Bailey, Travis Willingham, and Chuck Huber. Another great session with lot of questions about their work on Shin-chan and other projects. I got several of my questions about Shin-chan answered, like ‘have you every felt ashamed of the lines you had to do.’ Answer, yes. Got to learn Chuck loved doing drunk Hiro and saying ‘crustival,’ a festival of crust. Travis’ role on Shin-chan was the only time he had to stop while reading lines and ask what in the world he just said.

Comics vs. Manga: Kind of quircky take on the subject of American comics verse Japanese manga. Talked about the differences in art, story, the culture of comics in both countries, and how it is put out. Went over crossover of both, like Batman being done by the Japanese. The neatest part of it was where we would pick a person from manga and person from comics and then debate who would win in a fight. I did think the moderator was kind of condescending at a few parts during the panel, not so much when she told some of the annoying people to stop talking but take the moment that if you hadn’t seen Paradise Kiss “they sucked” this isn’t really the attitude one should have when leading a panel, even as a joke.

Death Note Q&A: Yes another panel with Brad. This one focused more on his role as Light in Death Note. He opened the panel by playing the first opening theme of the show on his guitar; well done. There were a lot of questions about what he would do with a Death Note if he had one (leave it where he found it), his thoughts on the end of the series (he had a hard time recording it he was so emotional about it), and about the live action movies. Besides having to do the ‘potato chip’ line again, he also gave one of Light’s mad laugh using a picture of Light’s face on a stick to hide how ridiculous he looked doing it. The best part of the laugh was where he turned around and spun the picture around which had Light’s face turned upward which he held over his shoulder. Hard to describe but really funny to see.

Crack Anime: My other panel of the day, about weird anime. I mean stuff fans of anime find weired. I spent a little bit talking about what qualifies as ‘crack anime’ and where I go the term from. Then we spent the rest of time naming some different series which we could call ‘crack.’. A lot of fun strangely. I even kept tracking of what we had named my computer and then projected onto a screen Learned some new titles I hadn’t heard before and got some new intereste in some I had heard but haven’t seen yet. We had to debate a few, but usually Of course I’m still upset by the little girl who said Prince of Tennis was crack anime and ordered me to add it to the list. I’ve provided the list to look over. I’m sure I’ve misspelled most of them by the way.
List of Crack Anime
1.Excell Saga
2.Boboobobobobobobobobobobobobobobobobobobob
3.FLCL
4.Blue Gender
5.Prince of Tennis
6.Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi
7.Puni Puni
8.Mushroom Samba of Cowboy Beebop
9.Haruhi-chan Sumumiya
10.Akira
11.Cat’s Soup
12.Axis Powers Hetalia
13.Serial Experiment Lain
14.Eva
15.Milk-chan
16.Puni Papa Dash
17.Dorkoro-chan
18.Shin-chan
19.Magical Play
20.Ghost Stories (English Dub)
21.Hamtaro
22.Ninja Nonesense
23.Cromarti High School
24.Paranoia Agent
25.Dead Leaves
26.Daikan Brothers
27.Hare+Guu
28.Mermaid Melody
29.Fighting Foodons
30.Moetan
31.Dual Master
32.Samurai Pizza Cats
33.Pawua Island
34.R Juneah

Colossalcon part 1:Overview and Thursday

June 11, 2009

Last week I attended Colossalcon in Sandusky Ohio. This was my first year at a Colossalcon.

The hotel it took place in was very nice. The whole place had a safari jungle theme; the some of the people who worked there wore safari gear. It had a water park inside and if I hadn’t been busy with the con I might have made it over there. The room I had was a nice size, with a very good tv along with a microwave and refrigerator.

Hallways were annoyingly crowed, mainly with people just standing in the middle of the hallways being hazards to others. The hallways themselves were very big so it wasn’t the worse I’ve ever seen them, but still annoying.

The con used wrist bands as a way to identify attendees instead of badges like I’m used to. I disliked them. They weren’t as uncomfortable as I feared they would be and they did make it so you wouldn’t lose them since the only way to take them off was by cutting them. I just didn’t like the way they felt and I always liked being able to read information about people on their badges, with these you didn’t even get a name. Still they did offer badges with the year on them, I got one of those, and as a panelist I got one that said panelist as well.

Vendor room had a nice variety and was set up nicely. Though it did get easily crowded. I would have switched the entrance and the exit. I usually flow right when I enter one and with this one the exit was to the right of the entrance.

The video game room was standard fare of rhythm games, fighting games, first person shooters, and the like; not much to draw my eye. Same with Artist Alley. Nothing that really drew my especially, though there were some people selling their own comics which I wish I had checked out more.

Panels had some nice variety to them, even if I didn’t get to go to many. The set up for them weren’t to bad, but right outside the rooms was were people liked to gather in the lobby so the noise from outside was bothersome. Closing the doors helped some, but you would still occasionally hear a scream or loud yell from outside.

Food at the hotel was kind of high, what else is new. Places nearby weren’t to far off though. It took just a few minutes to drive to get some good food; just not close enough to walk.

The main attraction for me to the con was the guest list. They had Laura Bailey voice of many excellent characters including Tohru Honda in Fruits Basket and Shin-chan in Shin chan; Travis Willingham voice of Colonel Roy Mustang in Fullmetal Alchemist and Ginko in Mushishi; Michelle Ruff voice of Rukia in Bleach and Yuki in Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya; Melissa Fahn voice of Ed in Cowboy Bebop and Gaz in Invader Zim plus she’s an excellent singer; Aaron Dismuke voice of Alphonse Elric in Fullmetal Alchemist, and Ion Fortuna in Trinity Blood; Chuck Huber voice of Hiro in Shin Chin and Shou Tucker in Fullmetal Alchemist; Brad Swaile whose voice several Gundam characters and Light from Death Note. All were very friendly and interesting to hear from. I think the most entertaining would have been Brad, but if I have to hear that ‘I’ll take a potato chip and eat it’ line again I will be forced to hurt someone.

Vic Mignogna was at the con as well. He was suppose to be there Friday through Saturday, but couldn’t get there till about noon on Saturday. With the big following of fans he has and the limited time available with him caused the line for his autograph to be massively long, which I skipped. Ah I’ve meet him before anyways.
Michael Sinterniklaas was scheduled to appear but wasn’t able to make it.

 

Cosplay at the Con
Most common series cosplayed: Fullmetal Alchemist, considering all the VAs from it no big surprise
Other common series cosplayed: Code Geass, Final Fantasy, Bleach, Naruto, Death Note, Lolita style, Gurran Laugen, Sailor Moon, and Soul Eater
Cool rare cosplays: Papillon from Buso Renkin, Melfina and Suzuka from Outlaw Star, the Gundam Wing cosplayers, and this from Azumanga Daioh

Thursday
The con stared Thursday night with a few events. I was only able to be there for a little while on Thursday, mostly just getting the lay of the land and checking things out. I did get to see Chuck Huber’s panel ‘Anime and Education.’ It was an interesting idea about trying to make education more interesting to and therefore easier to learn, mostly through the use of anime, manga, and video games. There was talk of different anime and game series out at the moment that have some sort of educational aspect you could use to them; different things a series could have that would make it more educational; people shared some stories of what they’ve earned from anime.

Should have more tomorrow about Friday.