‘Stan Lee’s Comikaze’ gets Comicrazy


Stan Lee’s Comikaze Oct. 30 – Nov. 2, Los Angeles, California

I’ve only been to one out-of-state convention before Comikaze, while it was also in California, it was a very small show. Even then I realized how much of an eye-opening experience it is to go to a convention out of state. The premise is the same – a comic book convention full of cosplayers, vendors, and nerds alike who are attending to have a good time. But the dynamic is much different.

Comikaze had all of the elements of an amazing convention; from celebrities, a massive vendors room, extensive artist alley, and impressive convention center, I was destined to have an unforgettable experience. Held October 30-November 1 at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Downtown LA, I was able to experience three days of full-throttle nerddom.

Immediately upon entering the convention center I was immersed in cosplay. In typical Friday fashion, I wore a more comfortable cosplay, saving my “bigger” ones for the more active days. At most Texas conventions I attend I see this as a common practice. However, California cosplayers consistently brought their best work every day.


Me, Nicole Marie Jean, Krystle Starr

Attending an out-of-state convention is initially pretty intimidating, even when with good company. I was fortunate to have some really good friends in tow, including cosplayers Krystle Starr and Teno Stark. Without them, I most surely would have felt overwhelmed. I prepared myself for the situation that I may not know anyone else at the convention. Although, in a sense this was kind of an exciting feeling. At most Texas conventions I have a large community of people I know and recognize, and as much as I love that feeling and security, it’s kind of fun to go into unfamiliar territory and start fresh.

In reality, there were a lot of people at the convention I knew! And many who recognized us! Suddenly I felt much more at home and that magical feeling I get when I immerse myself in the convention spirit filled my heart. As cheesy as it sounds, there really is a feeling that comes with soaking up the convention energy!

Saturday was very similar to conventions I’ve attended in Texas. It was by far the day with the highest attendance. However, crowds were managed extremely effectively. There were plenty of open areas for photos and lounging, and in the tight halls of the dealer’s room crowds the pace was consistent so aisles didn’t get jammed.


ACU and Jurassic Motorpool guys!

One of the coolest feelings was when I saw a cosplayer that I follow online. I didn’t realize I followed the progress of so many people from California; so getting the opportunity to meet them at a convention was beyond exciting.

A new member to the Jurassic Park Motorpool, a club of people who build and own Jurassic Park replica vehicles, I got to meet up with some of the California members. As a huge Jurassic Park nut my sixth sensewent off and I was able to find the crew pretty easily. Complete with full Asset Containment Unit costumes, the group of Motorpool members was easily some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. I was officially inaugurated into the club.

The convention had a great flow, and despite the walk between halls being somewhat extensive, there was plenty of action happening everywhere I looked. There were two main halls, South Hall and West Hall. In South Hall there were movie replica cars, pieces from Phil Tippet’s studio, and an extensive set up of Cosplayers and prop builders.

The West Hall had the large vendors room, artist alley, and Stan Lee museum.


Statues from the Marvel museum.

The vendor’s room had industries like Funimation and Hot Topic selling exclusive content, to vendors selling vintage action figures and themed apparel. With over 15 aisles of artist goodness, the artist alley was a bit overwhelming – but in the best way possible. I had the best time talking to artists and finding new ones to follow. Of course I had to get Jurassic World art and wound up with two really neat pieces.

The Stan Lee museum let me experience parts of Marvel I wasn’t as familiar with, and get a look at some of the most infamous pieces of Marvel Cinema. One of the most striking displays was the Avenger’s statuesetup. The Hulkbuster, the Hulk, Thor, and Captain America stood larger than life and were striking to see up close. There were a lot of iconic comic book covers and pages on display as well as a lot of figures modeled after each character as well as their different outfits. Additionally, there was a display of all the different Iron Man suits.


One of my favorite cosplays. Top Gun!

I thoroughly enjoyed Stan Lee’s Comikaze. While it was a large convention, the layout of the exhibits allowed for easy flow and eliminated congested areas. There were many similarities to conventions I’ve attended in Texas; like thestandard setup of artist alley, vendor’s room, and celebrities, the typical fashion of a large after party the Saturday of the convention, and the warm welcome that comes with the cosplay community. I hope to attend more conventions out-of-state to further understand the community as a whole, and I can’t wait to go back to Comikaze!

Retropalooza Levels Up

12043064_702712249862590_7770464466187157134_nRetropalooza filled the Arlington Convention Center with elite gaming fanatics from all over the country. From free-to-play arcades and tabletop games, to industry led panels, there was something for every type of gamer. The convention had a rocket boost of attendance this year, spiking from 1200 attendees last year to 2000 this year.

There was so much I was excited to do and obviously playing games was at the top of the list. I started out my gaming adventure by jumping right onto the arcade and hopped games until my thumbs went numb. Let’s Play Gaming Expo had a bunch of console games set up and it was awesome! I watched some mad Guitar Hero skills and got to play some old school Megaman.


Mad Max: Fury Road art by Devin Kraft of Cheshire Cat Studios

The vendor and artist venue had an awesome selection of video game dealers and extreme talent. A couple of my favorite artists I found included Shonuff Studios, Cheshire Cat Studios, and Jonathan Miller Art. Visiting with local artists and picking up new pieces for my print collection is one of the highlights for conventions for me. I always try to pick up something new!

Vendor wise there was a great selection of old media and new. I saw a lot of retro games for sale that totally brought me back to the days I would come home from school, plug in my N64, and challenge my sister to blind Pokemon Stadium battles. What’s a blind Pokemon Stadium battle? Well, to challenge our skills to the furthest extent as a true Pokemon Master we would close our eyes and randomly select our Pokemon, eliminating the option to choose any from the last row (since those were the legendary birds). Ah, good memories. Where the new games are concerned there were a lot of limited edition runs of current games and figures available for purchase. It was definitely dangerous territory for my bank account.

Me with MatPat (left) and Gaijin Goomba (right)

Me with MatPat (left) and Gaijin Goomba (right)

I was super stoked to meet the YouTube legend MatPat, who, as part of The Game Theorists, is an expert at overanalyzing video games in the most comedic and entertaining way. However, video games weren’t the only theory I wanted to ask Matt about. I needed to get some insight on his Jurassic World theory! He was quick to tell me that he’s working on his theory of all the types of DNA of which the Indominus Rex is made. We narrowed down the obvious choices of T-Rex, Velociraptor, and cuttlefish, and the rest is all theory.

Before I scampered off I had to get him to sign my 3DS – and he did, complete with a Jurassic Park reference! Additionally, I had the pleasure of meeting YouTube stars Andre Meadow of Black Nerd Comedy and Gaijin Goomba who both signed my 3DS too! Although I’m still trying to figure out what you call a blind dinosaur.


Overall I had an amazing time roaming the convention and getting a more intimate look at the local gaming community. I hope Retropalooza will continue to grow and build the arcade even larger. The staff is professional, yet passionate, and with the “run by fans for fans” attitude, this convention has nothing but a great and growing future ahead. Retropalooza will be entering Houston in April 2016. See you there!

Retropalooza to bring gamers, internet personalities


Celebrating the world of retro gaming, Retropalooza is hosting much more than a standard gaming convention. September 26-27 at the Arlington Convention Center, Retropalooza will gather gaming geeks from all over to bask in a sea of retro arcade and console games.

What sets Retropalooza apart from other gaming shows is that it’s a “by the fans for the fans” convention, meaning the content at the show is organic, true to what the fans want to see, and genuinely all about the games.

In addition to a free-play arcade complete with console gaming, there will also be a vendors room with over 100 tables ready to allow gamers to grab a piece of nostalgia they may not be able to find anywhere else. Got some video games you’d like to trade? Bring ’em!

Guest personalities include YouTube personality BlackNerd blacknerdcomedyComedy, Andre Meadows. From video game reviews to movie and TV show reviews, Andre is one of the funniest, most knowledgeable, and most genuine reviewers you’ll find.

ProJared is another YouTube personality who’s off the wall game reviews and gameplay are amazingly projaredhilarious. ProJared will tell it like it is and doesn’t hold back when it comes to making sure his audience knows how he really feels. Wondering if you should buy that video game or what indie games are “actually worth a damn”? ProJared’s the guy to ask.

Come out and enjoy a full weekend of video games, awesome panelists, great vendor lineup, and much more.

When: September 26-27


Arlington Convention Center

1200 Ballpark Way, Arlington, TX 76011

How Much: 

Advanced tickets:

$20 Saturday

$15 Sunday

$25 weekend

AnimeFest: A perfect convention

AnimeFest (Sept. 4-7, 2015) is easily one of, if not definitely, my favorite convention. Held at the Sheraton in Downtown Dallas (A-Kon’s old home), AnimeFest is what I consider to be a perfect convention.

A “perfect convention” is definitely personal preference and here is my (somewhat condensed) list of how I determine if a convention is “perfect”:

  1. Is it affordable
  2. Is it in a hotel or near a hotel thats easily accessible
  3. Are the events exciting/how is the dealers room, artist alley
  4. Does it have a good night life
  5. Is it well run, managed

AnimeFest is about average price wise (current rate for the weekend is $65), however while most conventions run for three days, AnimeFest runs for four. Paired with their special hotel rates, by convention standards the price is definitely affordable. The Sheraton, located in the heart of Downtown

Krystle Starr and I at AnimeFest 2014

Krystle Starr and I at AnimeFest 2014

Dallas, is spacious and with the addition of the skybridge that connects to the Westin hotel (complete with food court) allows guests large walkways and easily accessible food options. Additionally, I’ve had great success booking a room up until the last week before the convention, while many events have you hoping you’ll get lucky enough to grab a room.

AnimeFest hosts a large Dealer’s Room and an extensive Artist Alley (and in the past multiple Artist Alley locations). While the Dealer’s Room does require a badge to enter, the large range of vendors and products makes it worth it. The Artist Alley is open to the public and usually staffed until the late hours of the night, allowing guests to continue to shop past the Dealer’s Room hours. AnimeFest has a reputation of treating their artists and dealer’s well and accommodating special requests.

AnimeFest has brought in some large guests in the past, including Japanese rock sensation Flow, and typically has a strong panel schedule that includes famed voice actors in the Anime community. Additionally AnimeFest hosts a large cosplay contest that brings competitors from all over the country.

Fans line up to meet members of J-Rock sensation, Flow.

Fans line up to meet members of J-Rock sensation, Flow.

Fortunately since the convention is hosted inside a hotel, AnimeFest easily has an established nightlife, whether they plan any events or not. Typically some sort of masquerade or similarly themed ball is hosted one of the evenings. The other nights become host to midnight dances with DJs who play everything from current EDM to nostalgic remixes of video game soundtracks, and cartoon and anime theme songs.

Anytime I’ve ever had an issue at AnimeFest (which has been rare, but occasionally there’s a badge mix-up or small issue) it has been quickly and professionally resolved. The staff is well trained and mindful of the guests, and with a convention growing as rapidly as AnimeFest’s numbers has proven, keeping the convention running smoothly is no small feat.

Of course any convention will have it’s flaws, and by no means am I saying that AnimeFest will run without hiccups, but given it’s track record and my 5+ years of attendance, it is easily a convention I look forward to the most. I hope to see you there!

For more information about AnimeFest visit their website here.

North Texas Comic Book Show – July 18


The North Texas Comic Book Show is back with a day full of adventures, plenty of comic books, and a great opportunity to get your geek on with nerds of all ages.

When: Saturday, July 18 9:30 am – 5 p.m.

Where: Doubletree Hotel Dallas Market Center, 2015 Market Center Blvd., just off I-35 near Market Hall and Medieval Times.

How much: Admission is just $10 at the door. Kids 11 and under get in FREE!

Side note (per NTCBS): parking at the Doubletree is free. If the lot fills up you may want to pay to park at the Hilton Anatole and walk over. It’s about 2 blocks.

NTCBS is known for putting on a show that is very interactive with the community. This is a great opportunity to meet other fans in the area!


Tugg the bull terrier is not only a super cute pup, but also a comic book hero!

Many talented comic artists and characters will be in attendance at this event including the lovable bull terrier pup Tugg, who has overcome a rough start as a young puppy and is now a superhero! Look for him at his booth along with his comic book “Tugg: A Hero Among Us”.

Don’t forget your cosplay! NTCBS will be hosting a cosplay contest by the hotel pool at 2 p.m. and the winner will receive a $100 prize! Everyone in costume is encouraged to join and play the role of their character. If you’ve never participated in a cosplay contest before this is a great opportunity!

For more information visit NTCBS on Facebook or at their website http://www.comicbooksdallas.com/

A-Kon 26 Revs up for a Weekend Full of Anime, Gaming, and Cosplay


A-Kon is the longest running anime convention in the U.S. With 25 years now under its belt, A-Kon consistently delivers an exciting weekend full of anime, guests, panels, and fun.

Join A-Kon and over 20,000 anticipated guests at the Hilton Anatole in Downtown Dallas. Parking can be a bit tricky as main parking at the Anatole fills up rather quickly. It is strongly encouraged to refer to this map and signing that allows overflow A-Kon parking. There are many spots close to the Anatole that may look tempting to park in, but beware towing is HEAVILY enforced during the weekend and you don’t want to come back to a booted/non-existent car after a

If you're looking to get a professional photo of your cosplay, visit SuperheroPhotos at A-kon!

If you’re looking to get a professional photo of your cosplay, visit SuperheroPhotos at A-Kon! This was my Mega Charizard from A-Kon last year!

weekend of fun.

Whether you have pre-registered for a badge or are buying on-site, it’s advised to get in line as early as you can. Lines have been hours long in the past and you don’t want to miss any of your convention time. If you’re cosplaying it’s advised to pick up your badge before you get in costume since you may be standing for an extended period of time.

A-Kon draws such a large crowd because the convention consistently delivers optimal entertainment to its guests. From J-Pop celebrities to a massive artist alley/dealers room collaboration, there is always something new to see.

This years celebrity guests include voice actress Amber Nash most currently known for her role as Pam from Archer. Other guests include Trina Nishimura, voice of Mikasa from Attack on Titan, and Caitlin Glass known for her role as Winry from Fullmetal Alchemist.

Although A-Kon is namely an anime convention, gaming is a large feature too. A Console Gaming Room full of nostalgic game titles is sure to feed any gamers appetite. Additionally, ScrewAttack will be there with game demos so be sure to stop by and test out some of their newest titles.

One of the highlights of A-Kon is a large dance party they host Saturday night. If you like rave-like atmospheres, this dance party is right up your alley. In the past they’ve had talented DJ’s who incorporate nerdy touches into their music like Pokemon themes, Zelda’s main theme and more.

While finding restaurants in walking distance of the Anatole isn’t that easy, A-Kon has accommodated to have multiple food trucks available around the clock to satisfy hungry guests. There are 20 food trucks on the list to be rotating throughout four areas of the convention. From pizza, BBQ, tacos, and boba, there’s something for everyone.

Come out to A-Kon 26 this weekend and have some fun with the nerdiest and most fun people around, it’s tradition!

Also, here is my A-Kon photo bingo chart! Save it on your phone and try to get a bingo! Send it to me after the weekend with the photos to dallasfangirl@gmail.com!


Dallas Comic Con Brings Heroes and Villains Together for One Epic Weekend


If anything can bring heroes and villains together it was definitely Dallas Comic Con. Running on it’s second year at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, DCC ran a smooth convention that provided fun and new experiences to fans.


Groot aka PropCustomz

The convention, held May 29-31, hosted thousands of eager fans waiting to experience nerd bliss. If it’s any indication of how many fans were pouring into the convention center, within the first hour of the show on Saturday the 1200 spot parking lot was already full. Luckily, DCC planned for just this type of crowd and expanded the convention to take up the entire center instead of just one area.

This time artists and vendors were more integrated into the exhibit floor rather than being separated into entirely different sections of the room. The increased space along with increase in seating, tables, and transition between exhibitors and celebrities seemed to prove beneficial. Aisles seemed much less crowded and it was easier to navigate the floor and return to booths.


Destiny Nickelson

Cosplay was highly represented the entire weekend. Everywhere I looked there were high-caliber cosplays of characters from every dimension of fandom. There was even an entire aisle in the celebrity area dedicated to famous cosplayers. Here I was able to meet cosplayers and prop makers who consistently create incredible work. My favorite to talk to was Destiny Nickelson who is a seasoned cosplayer and well known in the community. When I met her she was wearing a Mary Marvel costume that she had created in a mere six hours with left over fabric she had! It’s incredible the level of talent and creativity of this community.

The My Possibilites comic club attended the convention bringing along colorful paintings they created to be shown at the event. My Possibilities “enables adults with disabilities to realize their greatest possibilities and enjoy

My Possibilities students show off their artwork at Dallas Comic Con - Photo cred Krystle Starr

My Possibilities students show off their artwork at Dallas Comic Con – Photo cred Krystle Starr

meaningful lives.” Their students, also known as HIPsters, created the works of art featuring super heroes and villains from both the Marvel and DC universe. Helping them discover their artistic potential, teacher Krystle Starr encourages her students to push the boundaries and to not be afraid to take a chance. She told me how one student accidently spilled some paint on a canvas and

was upset that they ruined it, instead Krystle encouraged the student to “go with it,” and the “mistake” actually wound up making a unique and beautiful piece of art. It was wonderful to see their works of art appreciated and to have so many new comic fans join the convention scene.

One of the most entertaining panels was that of Tom Kenny. The voice actor, most famous for his roles as Spongebob Squarepants and the Ice King, gave sound advice to aspiring voice actors and provided much entertainment by using his

Tom Kenny entertains fans with voice acting stories and favorite voices.

Tom Kenny entertains fans with voice acting stories and favorite voices.

voice talents to fulfill fan requests. One piece of advice he gave to aspiring voice actors in regards to their demo reels was to “create one demo reel with cartoon and character voices and a separate reel with regular voices that could be used on television ads.” One guest requested Kenny voice a situation where Spongebob and the Ice King

would meet for the first time. He said this was something he had never done before, and the result was both hilarious and awesome.

While many heroes were represented at the convention, the true heroes were without a doubt the volunteers and staff that worked around the clock to make sure everything went on as scheduled. Without them, there is no way a convention of this caliber could happen. Thank you volunteers and staff for all that you do to provide the best experience for all of your guests, your tireless efforts and accommodations are extremely appreciated!

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