Monday, November 28, 2016

Once more, with gusto!

I really have no one to blame for being away from my blog for so long, except myself. It's so easy to just say, "I'll do it tomorrow" and then completely forget that tomorrow is never promised, but regardless, I am back; or at least hope to be. Life has been crazy with change since my marriage just over a year ago and I have been up to the same old things I usually do. I am still collecting comics like crazy and have been playing more video games than I should. I reached a year marker at my job a few month ago, and even am trying for a better position in the coming few days (fingers crossed.) The gang and I went to Dragoncon 2016 back in September and already have tickets for next year. I feel horrible that I haven't written about the craziness, but I was able to stream segments from my phone while I was visiting Atlanta. Sadly, my comic that I was working on has come to a halt. I still need another 15 pages before thinking of approaching an artist, and I know that even if my comic writing catches on that in a few years down the road, I will look back and realize I was doing it all along. But, that's learning for you. We find the error in our ways through repetition. Most scholars would say that is why we keep teaching history. Anyway, this is just me stopping in to let you all know I am still here. I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and look forward to the Christmas season that is quickly approaching. I will try not to be a stranger in the future.

Enjoy this photo of a fully crocheted Kraven the Hunter from Dragoncon 2016

Friday, April 1, 2016

Twas the night before the Gem City Comic Con...

Hey, you found my page! If you are reading this you have either been an avid follower of my blog, clicked the wrong link or hopefully you visited my table at the Gem City Comic Con. I hope you are having/ had a wonderful time at the convention, and your visit to my table means all the world to me. I am assuming you saw the pretty lady in the Phoenix costume and you may have noticed the guy hiding inside the Phoenix Force behind her. Yeah, that was me. I hope you continue to follow my blog and even take the time to upload any photos you took of the convention onto twitter with the @Angelicomics tag or upload them to facebook and share them with the Angelicomics page. We would love to post your photos to show people at next year's convention what a great time everyone was having.  Thank you again for all of your support, without it I wouldn't be doing all of the wonderful things that I get to enjoy with you on my blog. Thanks!

Friday, January 15, 2016

The Retail Experience of Comics

Comic book collecting can be one of the most stressful of hobbies if not kept in check by a budget, but for anyone who is looking to pursue a career of buying, trading and selling comics for a living has a whole other can of worms to worry about. Over the past year and a half I have been lucky enough to see what it's like to be on the other side of the table at conventions. It's not how I originally had hoped to be there, rather as an artist or writer, but as a retailer for a friend of mine who has worked hard to make a living from comic books. I have learned a lot from these experiences, and as glamorous as it may sound, there is a lot of blood and tears that go into this kind of work. So, today I wanted to focus on a few areas of comic book retailing that not everyone gets to experience.

Let's face it, there are too many conventions. If you honestly had to go to every show within a 100 mile radius of your home, you would probably be going to a show 2-3 times a month. Which, don't get me wrong, it may not seem bad from a visitor stand point, but as a retailer, imagine loading up your vehicle at 7 o'clock in the morning, driving for an hour, then unloading about 24 long boxes of books by yourself. Later in that evening what you don't sell, you have to load back up and take back home. Most retailers will lower their prices or make bulk sales at the end of shows just so they wont have to do this. Without the right tools or help, doing a job like this takes it's toll on the body after a while. Thankfully, my experiences have been few and far between, but remember, as a retailer it's your job to be at as many shows as possible. And not every show is a guaranteed cash cow waiting to be milked, but more on that later. Usually when you arrive there is always a mad rush of other retailers fighting over the best parking spots to unload their merchandise easily. So when you aren't loading long boxes on a dolly, you are weaving through a crowd of over caffeinated testosterone. Once you arrive at your table for the day you finally come to the Earth shattering conclusion that you now have to not only set up your table with merchandise, but set up a display rack behind the table, put prices on everything while trying to maintain a small walkway through your area without effecting the retailer right behind your designated spot. This can be a very grueling task, but it also inspires a lot of creativity when deciding which books go where on your wall.

So, we are all set up now and awaiting for the last half hour before the show starts and people start flooding into the room. Time to stop and take a breather.---Wrong! we are retailers and as such we are always on the hunt for a good deal, something to flip and turn into a profit. This very well could be the most important part of your day. Before the show starts, this is when it is important to get first choice on books that haven't been picked through yet. Don't ask me how, but there is an art to this. Sometimes it's just dumb luck, but mostly it comes from knowing who the other retailers are and which ones have never been to conventions before. During this time deals can be made with other people to buy them out at the end of the day to increase your stock, but it also means that you may break even for the day once all the money has settled.

The doors are open now, and depending on the promoter, something you can't control, the show may do really well or fail horribly. Usually the true book seekers will be there first in line to try and find the books they want before they are snatched out of the dollar bins and later on in the show people will trickle in just to see what the big fuss is about. It really doesn't matter how many people show up at a convention you are working at, it only matters that they buy a lot or something expensive. I know that may sound harsh, but it only takes one sale to make your day worth while. Obviously if the show has a high attendance then you know the promoter was doing their job, but as a retailer you need money to eat, and let's face it, people without pockets in their spandex Deadpool costume are not there to buy things.

With a few sales under your belt, (hopefully) you see the promoter of the show walking around collecting cash. All that money you have worked so hard for is about to pay off those tables you are working at. Depending on the convention and how many tables you have, you may be looking at anywhere from 50 dollars a table to 150 dollars. So, not only are you back to square one and out a few books, but you still have to pay for gas and food and take into consideration what your time was worth today that you could have been spending elsewhere. This is why as a retailer you have to consider what you bring to shows very carefully. To a retailer there is a method to everything they do and most without a method fail horribly at this. I haven't been doing it long enough to understand it fully, but from my experiences, this is what I have gathered.

1. Bring something flashy to bring in your customers. If you look like a creepy guy selling ice-cream to children, no one will come to your table. However if you have a nice collection of books that are well labeled and have something that a passerby will stop to ask the price on, usually if they can't afford the expensive thing they want, they may impulse buy a cheaper book as a way of thanking you for your time.

2. The more expensive books are your meat and potatoes. You should be able to sell at least one or two of these books and make a profit for the day. They should be books that everyone is looking for, even if you hate the character or book yourself, someone will buy it and make your life much happier. The other books or merchandise you bring should be what pays for your tables and gas. In reality it is only the more expensive books that you are actually trying to sell anyway, so make deals when you can to move that product, and if you overprice your books, only do that so when the customer asks you if you would be willing to go lower, you would be more than happy to come down a few bucks. Everyone is happy.

3. You will be asked if you have any X and, or Y books. If you don't know if you have something that someone is looking for, just be honest with them and tell them you don't know, but tell them you will keep an eye out for that book and even go as far as telling them you saw that book at another person's table. Not only are the people you work besides connections you will want to have for purposes of moving product, but you will have to deal with these people at other conventions on a regular basis. The customer service you give to someone by greeting them at your table is meant to spark a conversation to engage in a possible sale, but you aren't expected to know every little thing you brought with you. (Unless you sell action figures... then you should always know.)

I would like to say that at the end of the day when it's time to close up shop your work is done, but in reality, it only means you have to start working again. Not only must you load up what you didn't sell, but you may be taking even more home with you if you bought out someone else's booth. This tends to happen quite often and if you looked really hard, you may see the exact same boxes of merchandise passed around between two or three retailers at different conventions.

I really hope this helps anyone who is thinking about jumping into the comic book retailer scene. Work like this has a great appeal to many people, and there are a lot of factors to be figured in before you should consider setting up a booth at a convention. If you enjoyed this article please hop over to my facebook page and give it a like, share or comment. Thanks for reading, until next time...

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Taurus Cosplay From Fairy Tail

First thing is first... I'm married! Yes, after over a year of being engaged my Fiance and I finally tied the knot only a few weeks ago. Now that that is out of the way I can move onto my blog.

     Halloween is upon us, and with only a few days before the big day, everyone is scrambling for a last minute costume to throw together for the season. Sadly, what I am about to share with you probably wont be of any use with so little time, but I figured there's no better time then now to show off how I made my costumes for Dragon Con this year. I'm going to split up the two costumes I created over two different blogs, and so today I want to show you how I went about creating Taurus from "Fairy Tail."

     I am known among my cosplay group as someone who tries to create rather large full costumes. Last year I made a Steampunk Darunia costume and late on I created the Phoenix Force costume that I will talk about later on. So, it was difficult for me to see myself in a costume that was so skin tight and revealing. Me being a larger guy, I tend to shy away from revealing too much. Another thing I try to to do when creating costumes is to make them as unique as possible. After a few google searches for previous attempts at Taurus costumes, I was only able to find a few brave souls to try their hand at the character and although valiant, I felt I could try something different. Anyone who has seen "Fairy Tail" knows the character of Taurus is known for being a pervert. It is one of the qualities that made the character so lovable, and so I decided on the funnier side of the character.

     To begin the head piece of Taurus I found an old child's Darth Vader mask at the thrift store. It was easy enough to disassemble with the removal of a few screws and straps. Basically, I just needed a frame that fit my head and would act as a starting point for this project. With a dremel tool I removed the lower portions of the mask that would extend far beyond how wide I wanted to mask to be.
      Once I had my rough shape I knew I needed to cover the back of my head with something. Thinking about what might work as the cheapest for the project, I resorted to the tried and true cardboard and duct tape. After swinging by my post office for brand new box, I took the the cardboard and began manipulating it till it would give me a nice curvature that would fit around the back of my head and cover my neck. A little bit of duct tape to cover the whole piece was a bit extravagant, but in the end it helped with a large mistake I almost made.

       Once the backing was done, I needed a base to use expanding foam on for the sculpt of the face. Expanding foam is one of my guilty pleasures and I had already decided it would be my clay for the nose and cheekbones. I covered some pre-cut pieces of cardboard with some more duct tape and taped them to the front of the nose and expanded the helmet a few inches to allow for the gaping mouth.
      Once I had my skeleton done I sprayed the entire headpiece with expanding foam. As I mentioned before, I almost made a huge mistake. What I didn't account for was that I really didn't need to spray the back of the head. It was already flat and the expanding foam, once hardened, didn't stick to the duct tape's surface very well. I ended up peeling and cutting away the back foam and tried to smooth down the eyebrows to create the effect of excitement in the eyes. The nose was a process of just looking off of the image I wanted and carving away until I got the shape I wanted. The rest of the carving was just smoothing the edges.

     I decided I wanted an even smoother surface and turned to craft foam as my top layer for the face and head.My hope was to use a hairdryer to mold and shape the surface by heating the foam. This didn't really work well since the expanding foam was so porous. I then resulted in just using hot glue and elbow grease to lay the pieces flat. The difficult part here was to try and keep things even. Even now, you can still see the gaps in between the craft foam pieces. A few of the back pieces I had to go over and make strips to try and fill the larger gaps. I trusted that when I added the black cow spots it would hide some of those areas, which it did.
      The next step was creating the extra facial pieces. Easily enough I was able to cut two ears from craft foam and two interior pink pieces. Gravity really gave the ears a nice floppy look. I cut out a rhombus for the nose to give it some depth and a wide nose that would flatten the front of the face a little more. I decided to add the teeth with the mussel as well. Once I hot glued those pieces in place I used a marker to outline the glued on pieces for even more depth and to cover any mistakes I made in cutting the pieces. I took a pink piece of foam and added a tongue and a white strip to create a bottom row of teeth.
      I actually tried to make the horns a few different ways at first. I thought that using paper towel role would work, but to get an even better shape, I purchased two 1 inch pvc elbows and pvc glued another piece of piping to the appropriate length. I filled the tube with expanding foam and allowed it to dry, this way I was able to cut the protruding foam flush with the pipe and would later glue these pieces into place with gorilla glue. Hot glue didn't seem to work with expanding foam and craft foam. I took the dremel and just lightly brushed the pvc horns which gave them a nice wood grain like effect in which I implemented into the axe handle I made later.
(This didn't work so well)

     The nose ring was actually a ring I bought at home depot in a pack of two. My friend, while using the dremel and protective gloves cut an opening to give the idea it was actually running through his nose. Gorilla glue saw to it that it stayed centered on the face. Finally, the eyes took me the longest to do, and even now, I don't know if it was the best option. Originally, I had found some pink heart glasses which seemed perfect. I replaced the blue lenses for pink ones but it didn't look right since you could see the eye holes behind them very easily. I went searching at the local craft store and found paper mache hearts that were perfect in size. I took some metal wire and pierced some holes in the backs of the hearts which I fed through the eye holes into one another. After a nice paint job, a chopstick gouged into the middle of them for a bridge and getting the wiring done right, they were at a point where I could easily shuffle them around to see out of the small corners and not be afraid of them falling out. The final adjustments I needed for the headpiece was to paint the spots on. To do this, a few passes with permanent marker made it look like a cow.
      The body of the costume was merely a muscle zentai suit that I purchased online. I had my wife cut out some black patterns which resembled Taurus' spots and she sowed them on while I wore the suit. If you ever need to sew on something to a zentai suit, make sure to do it while the fabric is stretched out since it shrinks when not worn. The boots I wore and the belt I found were thrift store finds. I realized I needed a tail and I found an old dongle that was used for curtains. I spray painted the end black and fed the remaining cable through a protective sheath that was used for wires under a computer. The sheath gave the right skeleton for the tail. I then sewed a covering to go over the sheath and then attached it to the belt. The front of the belt was just craft foam cut and spray painted the correct colors.
 (The zentai suit, pre-patches)

 (A few variant shots I took for fun)

     The last part of the body merely consisted of some finger-less gloves and some fabric wrappings for the arms. I bought a belt which worked as the strap that went around my chest and that was about it. I later decided to make the axe for Taurus. His axe had always been a staple when he was in the show and I felt even more naked without it. To craft it I gorilla glued 4 pieces of EVA foam squares together. I did this twice for both sides of the axe and proceeded to cut them out in a axe like shape. 4 pieces seemed to do the trick, any less and the axe felt too small. For the handle I had to make it economic for the car ride and wanted to make it into two pieces that would disconnect from each other. I added some screw on pvc elbows to the ends of the handle and the bottom of the axe head, which worked well. I needed to thicken the middle of the axe head and so I split a pool noodle made of foam and spray painted it after cutting it to a point at the tip. The final touches included making a cardboard stencil for the symbol and then a wrapping for the axe handle at the base, and the rest is history.

     I really hoped you enjoyed this little insight as to how I made my Taurus costume. If you have any questions or comments about it, I would love to hear your thoughts. You can visit my facebook page by clicking the image below and be sure to give it a follow to keep up with my next blog.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Is it a Poem?...

I had a dream back on August 17th that was so powerful that I woke up and immediately had to write down what it was about. Of course sometimes I add my own little flare to it and try to turn it into something I can use for a character in a comic book. Anyway, this was what I wrote. Hope you enjoy.

"There once was a man who saw a play and thought to himself that it was the greatest play anyone had ever seen. But, just before he finished his thought, he realized that he had seen no other plays, and so it was impossible for him to decide if his statement was really true at all. And so he became divided into two separate entities, one who gave the play his utmost respect and prestige, and the other, a lost and confused little boy, too scared to decide on anything at all."

Friday, September 11, 2015

Dragon Con Tales of 2015

     If I could propose to my fiancee at last year's Dragon Con, how could I possible top that? The answer is that with our preparations to finally tie the knot next month, we had this amazing opportunity to work together as a team, and although this year's trip had many ups and downs, we came through for one another in the end. For those that aren't familiar with the event, this being my third year in attendance, Dragon Con is a 60-70k attended convention in Atlanta, Georgia. Being hosted by 5 hotels, the convention is a 4 day event of non-stop cosplaying, drinking, and visiting with some amazing celebrities. As crazy as it sounds, I usually just go for the cosplaying. As it is with most conventions that host a big line up of celebrities like Stephen Amell and John Barrowman, they always seem hard to reach and the cost to meet them doesn't justify what you get out of the experience. But more on that later.

     Although it tends to be an 8 hour trip from Ohio to Atlanta, I have never seen it as a burden. On the contrary, the build up of anticipation and the scenery are a wonderful experience before 4 days of music blasting in your ears day and night (and even the altitude changing and ear popping can't save you from that.) It truly is an experience that can open your eyes to a world of inspiration, and I cannot express enough how any convention, big or small, can make an everlasting impact on a person. As I had mentioned before about last year's convention, I had a life changing experience that will forever be ingrained into my being. I spent a lot of time putting together what I thought would be the perfect proposal and I made it a reality. My fiancee, Mandilyn, and I both now feel that Dragon Con is our get away and escape from reality for a few days. We even discussed how we both are not the vacationing type and how our honeymoon, wherever we go, will pale in comparison to our time with friends and like minded people that we encounter at the con. Much like how there are people who go to bars and people who like to fish, we enjoy dressing up and making costumes, it's our thing. And this is something we have come to learn in our year of engagement. Mandi also said something that stuck with me near the end of this years con and that was that each year we attend the con it's like putting our relationship through the crucible and learning to take out the impurities and strengthening our love for one another like a finely crafted armor. So, even if you don't believe me, maybe you will take her word for it.

     Let's talk about the real reason you are reading this, you want to know how our trip went, of course. Mandi and I left for Atlanta a day before our other friends because we were given a free nights stay after the fiasco we had last year at the con. The whole overbooking incident and free vacation thing. If you never read about it, you might want to look up the article on my blog. Anyway, things went much smoother and we were actually able to stay in a host hotel for once. We landed on the 5th floor although we were supposed to be on the 4th, but the room wasn't quite ready upon our checking in. It's really important consider how far you are up in a hotel when you know the elevators are not going to be available when you really need to get somewhere fast. This was especially important this year since we planned a few larger costumes that required transporting them and then setting them up. We did have a slight setback when we checked in with the check in process. Normally, like last year, the hotels would check you in and at the end of the stay would proceed to charge your credit card for the stay. However, they never told me that this year and although I had just put the money on my credit card that day, it wouldn't be another 24 hrs before the money would be available. Needless to say we had to find an alternate means to pay for the room. I was pleased to see that the Hyatt started allowing guests who have stayed with them on the Dragon Con event weekend to per-register for next years stay which is amazing, considering the hotels sell out within 5 min. of opening up their registration for the event. I can see this as both a good thing and bad. The good is that we have a hotel for next year, the bad means less hotels for people who have never gone to the event before. I feel that eventually the hotels are going to be sold out even before they go on sale, and only return members will be able to get a room. This also means the increased chance of room scalpers.

     Later on that first night we were able to relive our dinner after my proposal last year at the Marriott's Velocity restaurant. We had an amazing dinner, this year, and this year Mandi wasn't sick so she was able to enjoy her meal. It was delightful to see that people were conversing and cosplaying on Wednesday night, but it really makes us wonder when the whole event will become 5 days instead of 4. People keep saying we Thursday is the new Friday, which is a very true statement. After our quiet evening we headed off to bed. With the free night stay for Mandi and I, she really wanted to see the Newport Aquarium last year, and so I promised to take her this year. So, on Thursday we got up around 10 am and headed to the aquarium, which was less than a mile from the hotel. We both had a great time watching the animals and petting the starfish. I wasn't originally that excited to go, I have always been more enthralled by the con and was wanting to focus all of my energy to cosplaying, but I really enjoyed going to the aquarium. I was able to play with the Beluga whales and a chance to watch the Otters just being silly. Mandi had a great time wearing her Totoro shaw I bought her last year and we managed to grab some great pictures.

      Later in the afternoon, once we got back to the hotel, our friends Katie, KP, Austin, and Joe finally arrived around 8:30pm. Sadly, the hotel parking garage had already filled up and so overflow parking was around the block. We managed to move their stuff upstairs from the front of the hotel and then sent them off to park. They managed to bring an entire sweat shop with them in all of their belongings. We had decided to group cosplay this year as characters from the anime Fairy Tail and KP had been working tirelessly on his wife's Erza armor for the past few weeks. He decided to make it out of worbla, which was his first attempt with the material. The armor came out looking great, but he wasn't able to complete the smaller pieces in time. KP went as Laxus but he still had to attach the fur to his coat lining. Needless to say we were all excited about getting out on the floor in our costumes to have a "Dry Run" with what we had. So, a couple of us had to make sacrifices and KP went coat-less for the evening, and at nearly 1 am we had our first cosplay for the weekend.

     The next day we got up early, threw our costumes back on and hit the floors. There wasn't a particular event we were wanting to go to, we just wanted to spend time looking at the other costumes people managed to create. There was a huge amount of Deadpools, Harleys and for some reason an over saturation of bunny ears this year. Of course we had to run down and check in and get our badges at the Sheraton hotel first, so we did that, but Mandi ended up disappearing and none of us had a way to get a hold of her. So, after aimlessly searching for her, we headed back to the hotel, eventually losing more of the group in the process, although they knew where we were going. And to our surprise we found Mandi in the room waiting for us. After a sigh of relief to finding my fiancee, we headed off for food and cosplayed off and on for the remainder of the day.

     On Saturday I had asked Mandi to get up early to meet George Perez and get him to sign our Infinity Gauntlet bank. George was at the con last year and was present when I did my proposal, but we never got to thank him for being part of our big day. I had remembered last year I was in line to meet him by myself, but the line was taking forever to move, but it really wasn't that long of a line to begin with. He had been doing sketched for $40 each for people, and I found out this year this was the same case. Mandi and I stood in his line for at least an hour with only 15 people in front of us in line. Everyone was getting a sketch today. Mandi and I just wanted a few signatures and a photo and when we finally got to meet the man himself, we shook hands and I explained who we were, and that we wanted to have a centerpiece for our new place together and thought our Infinity Gauntlet would be prefect if he signed it. He was so happy for us and was very encouraging and he even drew a small sketch of Thanos on the gauntlet for us. I asked him for any advice for marriage and he said to "listen" and remember everything. He blew me away when he told us the exact day he was married and proceeded to tell us how many months and days with was since then. I think the man is a genius, unless he had it all scripted.

     Next up, Mandi and I both are huge Harley Quinn fans, and so we had to meet Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmioti, the current creators of the solo Harley Quinn series. I got a few autographs from them and was able to share my likes and concerns with Amanda about how the story was currently going. She had some great feedback on how she saw the character and the way she portrayed Harley and was confident that the book was an ever evolving entity that made Harley into what she needed to be for each issue. Once we left their table, I had to meet Jim Steranko. Jim was chatting with someone cosplaying as the Phantom, and while we waited, Mandi took a secret photo of the legend. It wasn't until after we saw his "No Photos" sign that she told me about it. I had mentioned to her briefly that he didn't do photos, but she had high hopes. Once we got to meet him, I'll admit I stroked his ego, we really had a great conversation about where his creativity came from. He mentioned that he was more into psychology in school and instead of art school, he used the way people react to different colors and design for his books. Overall it was a great experience and he truly made it feel like a unique encounter and was happy to have us there.

     Later in the day we had an X-Men photo shoot to go to. Something I didn't mention earlier was that on our first night stay in the hotel I got a surprise from Mandi. This year I decided to make a Phoenix Force costume for the Marvel photo shoot specifically. I had designed the costume to have a 7 ft. wingspan and I was going to dangle a Dark Phoenix action figure around my neck so people would recognize what I was outside of the Marvel shoot. Anyway, Mandi was in the bathroom our first night in the hotel for a long time and I called out to check on her. She said she was okay and I should stay where I am. I  joked around that I was going to come around the corner and see what she was doing, but she assured me everything was okay and then told me to close my eyes. I obeyed and I heard her rustle into the room when she told me I could open my eyes again. To my shock, she was standing there in this amazing Dark Phoenix cat suit and red wig. I was speechless. She had ordered it and paid for quick shipping just because she knew that this would make my costume so much better. I knew then and there that I had chosen wisely on a soulmate.

(Phoenix Hilton is such a Diva)

     Mandi and I had our first run that day at the X-Men shoot and had a blast. I was actually in every group photo because the Phoenix worked for the good characters, the bad, the female and the male. The director even said the costume made a nice centerpiece, but I think he realized the hassle it would be to get down from the staircase. Eventually the director said they brought in a special guest when they were about to do the all Phoenix photos, and sure enough, it was George Perez. Mandi greeted him when he came up the stairs and she mentioned I was in the costume up top and we exchanged a few words saying how funny it was to see him again. Later over the next couple of days we ran into George about 5 more times in costume, and almost made it to a first name basis with the man. Putting the costume together for the shoot went well, but we did have a few hassles with pinning the cloth in certain areas, a task that only Mandi could do. When we left the hotel with all of the pieces in hand, I remember someone asking to take a picture of my rig that I built as a shoulder base for the bird to rest even before they knew what it was. I plan on making a tutorial for my costumes later on, so consider this a teaser.

     Once we were out of costume and regrouped with the rest of our squad, we decided to go to dinner at the Polaris lounge at the top of the Hyatt. It was about a 30 min. wait to get in, but we had no idea what we were in for. The whole restaurant rotated 360 degrees so we could see the entire Atlanta skyline. We took a bunch of pictures of us in "Bond Villain" like poses, and the girls took pictures of the bathrooms and even looked in the men's bathroom to see how cool it was. The food was amazing and we had an awesome waiter. This was one of those restaurants that had the fancy presentations, but the food was filling and amazing. Joe bought a 25 year old whiskey that was about $68 a glass, and Mandi and I's total came to about $80 for the evening, but it was so worth it.

     Sunday rolled around and Mandi and I headed out to see if we could meet Stephen Amell. I really wanted to meet him just to share my appreciation for the Arrow TV show and his charity work he had done for cancer. When we finally found a line, they told us we couldn't just meet him for free, we would have to pay $50 to get an already prepared photo, have him sign it, and no photos were allowed to be taken. Later on I found out from someone who did go through the process, that they were rushing people through the line and you could only shake his hand and talk to him for about 30 seconds. I was really disappointed with the way Dragon Con handled this, as opposed to how they let put the other celebrities in a large room together and you can at least walk around and see them from afar. Mandi and I gave up on this quest and headed to the Walk of Fame where we knew we might get our celebrity kick somewhere else.

     When we made our way to the Walk of Fame, we made one trip around to see who all was there, and then made a plan as to who to see. One of our first stops was to see John Wesley Shipp, who you may all know as the guy who played the Flash in the 90s or more recently Barry Allen's father in the current Flash tv show. He was really nice and great to talk to about the old Flash costume and how things are going now on the new Flash show. Mandi wanted to meet Peter Kelamis who did the voice of Goku for a short time on Dragon Ball Z, and later I realized he did the voice of Rolf on Ed, Edd and Eddy. We saw Felicia day from afar, but she was about to do a panel so we weren't able to get into her line. Once we had our celebrity fill, we headed back to the hotel room and geared up for Phoenix round 2 for the Giant SCF Marvel photo shoot.

     Sadly, the giant steps we proposed last year at the Hilton were under construction, even worse than last year. Mandi and I assumed the steps would still be used this year and so we set up our costumes and for once I was having fun moving in my costume since we were outside and no one was around to run into. We got to see Allen, the previous director for the SCF, who helped me set up my proposal last year, and we caught up on what the other had been doing lately. Once the time got closer to the shoot, we discovered they moved the photo shoot to the other side of the Hilton Patio which was almost impossible for me to get to in my costume, but I think Allen got some of his guys to help me, because all of a sudden I was being escorted through a huge crowd of people onto the other patio. So, if this was your doing Allen, I thank you sir. Again, Mandi and I were atop the steps of this shoot for the X-Men. Mandi got some cool pictures from what it looks like a top of the stairs. Once we finished with that portion of the shoot, we made our way down to the ground where they decided instead of having people on the stairs they would take pictures from the stairs looking down on everyone. It was just something that needed to be done to compensate for the construction.

     When we finished with our photos, Mandi and I went to the food court, grabbed a quick bite to eat and headed back to the Marriott for one last Howrah as the Phoenix. After about an hour my chest was hurting from the weight of the massive bird on my shoulders. We closed up shop and headed back to the hotel room. We later encountered our friends who were downstairs in costume, but KP has a costume mash up tradition where he takes something from each of our costumes and puts it on with a horse head. Last year it was a Zelda mashup, but this was the result for this years Fairy Tail mashup...

      Mandi and I got cleaned up and went out for a nice dinner together where we could recap the weekend. It being our last night I wanted it to be a winding down in preparation for our drive home in the morning. We had a great evening and went to bed and I finally slept past my 9:30 wake up time for the first time since we arrived. After a long wait to get a cart to take our luggage to the car, we finally headed off on the long trip home. Mandi freaked out after the first hour on the road because she couldn't find her purse or her Nintendo DS. We found her purse in the trunk and later her DS in a lunch pale she had on her because it had drinks in it as well. Once home we collapsed and the pre-con depression hit me for the next few days. KP and I are currently working on ideas for next year's costumes, but I will save that for another time. I hope you enjoyed reading about our exploits in Atlanta and hope you are as fortunate as we have been to attend Dragon Con once again. It truly is a life changing experience and we have fun doing it every year. Until next time.

     If any of the photos I have posted here belong to you, please comment below and I will give you credit for them. And, if you would like to see the full gallery of photos we took from this year's Dragon Con, I will post a link on the Angelicomics Facebook page, which you can find by clicking the image below.