New York Comic Con 2017

It’s that time of year again for the biggest pop culture event on the East Coast! This marks my 6th year attending New York Comic Con, home to the latest in comics, video games, movies, toys, anime, and much more!

If you’ve only attended small cons before, New York Comic Con is exactly the same… except pumped up on Bane’s Venom formula! Just imagine your favorite local comic con amplified 10 times! So without further delay, here are some of my favorite moments:

Despite the space restrictions this year due to the $1.5 billion Javits Center expansion, I think ReedPOP did a good job managing their 12th NYCC. And as always, they had a great display for DC Comics in the South Concourse. A giant Justice League banner & costumes were out, DC television show clips were playing, and some cool freebies were given out.

On top of that, Graphitti Designs had some incredible t-shirts and variant covers of this year’s Dark Nights Metal issues as well as their tie-in’s (Red Death, Murder Machine, and Dawnbreaker). I waited on their line which was almost an hour long and many covers sold out for each day’s allotted quantities! Thankfully I got the ones I wanted.

Along with DC were some amazing booths for photo ops, VR/AR, and fan experiences. You could hang like Spidey in an upside-down room, step inside SpongeBob’s Pineapple, or snap a photo with some Justice League cardboard cutouts.

But I had a blast inside on the show floor.

One of my favorite exhibitors is trading card company Topps. They were offering giveaways and Star Wars autographing all weekend.

On Thursday, I got to meet Jerome Blake (who I had the privilege of meeting last year as well) and even got to hang with him a little afterwards. Such a nice guy and his presence in Episode I is quite important! He signed an 8×10 and my Oppo Rancisis figure.

On Saturday, I met Philip Anthony-Rodriguez (the voice of the Fifth Brother in Star Wars Rebels) who signed an 8×10, my Fifth Brother figure, and my Topps card.

Just as they did at Star Wars Celebration 2017, Topps authenticated the autographs with their special holographic QR code which verifies that specific signature. And on top of the free autographs, Topps was also offering some great giveaways by participating in a scavenger hunt & app demo!

To get the exclusive chase droid cards, you had to receive 3 stamps found on the map card. They were also giving out an exclusive trading card each day from The Walking Dead, Star Wars, Garbage Pail Kids, and Mysticons. Lastly, you could win exclusives like a Star Wars poster, card holder, or Rey pin by earning a high score on their game Topps BUNT’s Batter Up.

In addition to Topps, Konami had a section set up for Yu-Gi-Oh. They were handing out Yugi hair headbands and had a booth to turn yourself into a custom token card!

Like many others, we went for the New York Comic Con exclusive design! This was a great freebie and the line wasn’t that long either.

Some other great photo ops were Bandai’s Power Rangers morphin’ grid and a Dragon Ball power-up video (more in my YouTube video). I even met Sean Schemmel (voice of Goku) while waiting to power up!

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to meet David Yost (the original Blue Ranger) this time around. He & Amy Jo Johnson are the last of the original MMPR cast I’ve yet to meet. But I did get to meet some other amazing stars.

Kevin Conroy – He’s not just the hero of Gotham. He’s the hero of my childhood. “I am vengeance, I am the night, I am Batman!” A long line to meet him, but well worth it! I told him how much Batman The Animated Series impacted me growing up. I brought one of my favorite childhood Batman Adventures comic book to get signed too. I explained that Loren Lester (Robin/Nightwing) signed off to the side to leave room for Kevin’s autograph. Mr. Conroy laughed and signed up top to leave room for Tara Strong (Batgirl).

Tara Strong – This was Tara’s first NYCC! One of the most popular voice actors of our time: Timmy Turner, Bubbles, Raven, Harley Quinn, Batgirl, the list goes on and on! And while she arrived late to her last autographing session, Tara stayed extra to meet every single fan instead of cutting the line short. I told her the story of Loren & Kevin and how there’s tons of room for her name now… and she signed a very tiny autograph on Batgirl’s cape. What a story! This comic book is now being graded by CGC with their Signature Series program.

Jim Cummings – Kind of a Disney legend. You may know him as the voice of Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Pete (Goofy), Razoul (Aladdin), Bonkers, Darkwing Duck, Dr. Robotnik… You can check out his IMDb for more! But I just had to finally get his autograph on my Hondo Ohnaka figure from Star Wars The Clone Wars. Initially, we were worried on the line because a lot of time passed and he hadn’t shown up for his autographing session. But when he finally arrived, we all had a fun time. As I was leaving, he even did the voice for me: “Do me a favor… [voice] Be careful out there. There are Jedi EVERYwhere!”

Nolan North – Another voice actor legend. His credits are too long to list (IMDb) and his line never got shorter! He was a very nice guy and took the time to chat with fans. He told me a great story about how he was directed by George Lucas for the episode of The Clone Wars he voiced as El-Les. I told him that that episode was so good and kicked off one of my favorite story lines in the whole series.

Along with the autographing area downstairs was the new Artist Alley. Because of the construction being done at the Javits, Artist Alley was moved to the “experimental” hall from last year. Frankly, it was too warm down there and I can’t imagine spending all day in the cramped aisles. I had to navigate through here a couple times to reach the lower level CGC (because the upper level CGC would not travel to the autographing area). But at least I got a free print from artist Christopher Jones!

Meanwhile, upstairs on the show floor you could find some great artists & writers for meet & greets and book signings.

Early in the morning I received the wristband which entitled me to purchase the convention exclusive of From A Certain Point Of View – Penguin Random House’s compilation of 40 Star Wars stories from 40 different authors! Over the course of the NYCC weekend, I was able to get my exclusive book signed by 4 of the authors who worked on it (which is 10%… not bad, I guess?): Chuck Wendig, Delilah S. Dawson, Pablo Hidalgo, and Jason Fry. They each signed standalone posters for their respective books as well.

IDW also had a signing with Star Wars Adventures creatives Derek Charm (artist) and Landry Q. Walker (writer). They signed my SDCC Star Wars Adventure #0 ashcan issue and it’s on its way to CGC too! Surprisingly, they mentioned that they didn’t get any of these to sign this weekend:

What’s beautiful about New York Comic Con is that it appeals to all kinds of fandoms whether it’s comic books, movies, or pop culture in general. And the Fandom Fantasy Food Truck is no letdown in this category. Featuring food & drink from Star Wars, Stranger Things, Rick & Morty, and The Walking Dead, this food truck serves up sweet & salty treats to give you a little boost during the con.

Quantities were limited and were on a first come, first serve basis. But throughout the weekend we were able to try out all 4 items: Porg In A Blanket (chocolate cake pop with royal icing, white chocolate, and marshmallow wrapped in a mini tortilla), Upside Down Waffle (whole grain waffle covered in milk chocolate, cotton candy, unsweetened coconut flakes, and marshmallow), Pickle Rick Soda (dill pickle juice, fresh dill, club soda, and pickles), and Lucille Bat Pretzel (a pretzel stick covered in caramel, white chocolate, red food coloring, and a candy eye)!

Also, throughout the con, food vendors were serving up Brooklyn Defender 2017! We didn’t get to pick up a pint but we got to check out the launch party last month. Check it out here.

But one of the best parts of the con was the surprise booth by Verizon to showcase Star Wars: The Last Jedi (and how about that trailer??)! This immersive experience deserved its own post so be sure to check it out here.

Some other highlights from the con were the world premiere of 8K at Domo! World, the DIRECTV NOW Walking Dead photo booth, Weta Digital’s Planet of the Apes mocap station, and the Lego BrickHeadz truck for the Boba Fett/Han Solo Carbonite exclusive!

We wrapped up our time at New York Comic Con with An Evening with Mark Hamill at the Hammerstein Ballroom. Because we got to meet Mark at Celebration for photos & autographs, we decided to skip the meet & greet at NYCC and opted for the paid panel. Recently ReedPOP started offering a variety of off-site panels that don’t require NYCC badges but do require payment. This is an excellent alternative for non-attendees, but additional hurt for already paying con attendees. (Not to mention the extensive bag check removing all Sharpies, gum, etc. which we sort of got back after the show…)

For $1500, you’ll be in the first row with a post-show meet & greet with Hamill himself – plus an included autograph & photo session. Needless to say, we got the best seats on the first balcony and enjoyed 2 solid hours of #Hamillstein – stories of his journey as Luke, his voice acting career, an extensive Q&A, and a heartfelt tribute to Carrie Fisher.

15 random audience members received a blue Post-it indicating that they would be moved to stage seats, which they called Hamill-vision! This also guaranteed them a free autographed headshot presented later in the show. And during the Q&A, the first 15 people also received autographs.

It was truly a memorable talk even if you’ve heard some of the stories before. Mark has a way with words and you can tell the man really cares about the fans too!

To wrap up, New York Comic Con 2017 was so much fun! Honestly I was worried about the crowds and space issues due to the construction but not only was this not an issue, ReedPOP did an unbelievable job managing the morning queue lines too! We got to do almost everything we planned, and even had time to visit the WB/Boomerang/BoxLunch “Get Animated!” pop-up on top of that. I’ll be curious to see how next year is handled as the Javits goes through even more changes.

Until then, see you at the next con!

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi Experience By Verizon (NYCC 2017)

From October 5-8, 2017, Verizon offered a one of a kind Star Wars experience at New York Comic Con. Inside, fans could be a part of Episode VIII: The Last Jedi via props and costumes straight from the film!

I was lucky enough to be able to step inside. And with the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi movie ticket pre-sales and the official trailer out tonight, I thought it’d the perfect time to share for anyone who wasn’t able to attend or see this amazing booth. Scroll down for more!

The interior was just like a First Order base with the wall designs and even doors resembling the on set look, while beams of light hit the floor with mild smoke effects.

You’re immediately greeted with the weapons of the Praetorian Guards.

Each exhibit is accompanied by a screen, like you would see in the Star Wars universe, except these screens will explain each piece. Here’s an example of what was said about a couple of these weapons:

Praetorian Long Axe – The Praetorians carry weapons that are high-tech versions of unpowered analogs found in primitive societies across the galaxy. The tempered blade of this long axe, or vibro-voulge, connects to a compact ultrasonic generator that creates a high-frequency vibration across the cutting edge, increasing its deadliness.

Electro-Chain Whip – The Praetorian electro-chain whip is one of the most unique weapons in the Elite Praetorian Guard arsenal, able to function as a sword-like melee weapon or be shifted into a plasma laser whip depending on combat style.

Some other amazing props include helmets and weapons used in the making of the film:

The details on these rifles are amazing (First Order Stormtrooper above, Resistance below). It’s so great so see that Star Wars movies don’t skimp out on details!

In addition to the weapons, the exhibit also boasted fantastic windowed displays of helmets & other props:

I loved being able to get a closer look at the Praetorian Guard helmet. Seeing it next to the other First Order helmets also gives us a better idea of the size of Snoke’s special guards!

And what would Star Wars be without some spaceships?

On display were mini versions of the Resistance Bomber ship (which closely resembles the B-Wing) and Kylo Ren’s TIE Fighter (TIE Silencer).

The final category covered in The Last Jedi Experience was the costumes. On display were mannequins donning a TIE Pilot and a Resistance Pilot uniform.

I had seen these before in NYC’s Discovery Times Square (now closed) during their “Star Wars And The Power Of Costume” exhibition, which featured 70 costumes from the film franchise, including those from The Force Awakens. While I’m sure there have been some changes for The Last Jedi, I was kind of hoping for some newer costumes that had never been seen before in person.

But overall, this Verizon booth was a nice surprise at New York Comic Con! A few days ahead of the official trailer and ticket sales, it was a smart move and got people’s focus back on the next film of the Star Wars Saga!

Right in front of this exhibit, we even got to take a picture with a real life BB-8! It was a fully functional droid that would pose, blip, and do all the BB-8 type stuff (minus the flame thumbs-up)!

If you haven’t yet, watch the trailer for The Last Jedi here and buy tickets today!

HASCON 2017 – The Premier Hasbro FANmily Event

I had the privilege of attending the first ever HASCON this past weekend (September 8-10, 2017). This convention, right across from Hasbro’s headquarters (1 Hasbro Place, Providence, RI) is all things Hasbro! Yes, that means Star Wars, Transformers, Marvel, Nerf, G.I. Joe, My Little Pony, Dungeons & Dragons, and much, much more!

Couldn’t make it? Join me as I revisit some highlights with this post and a video at the end! (Disclaimer: this will be a long one, so be on the lookout for bold/underlined titles so that you can navigate to topics that interest you!)

INTRODUCTION

When Hasbro announced their first convention, fans and con veterans alike were pretty confused. I, for one, miss seeing the Hasbro booth at New York Comic Con so I was anxious to see what kind of “Brand Experiences” they would offer. HASCON even boasted many free opportunities including photo ops, autographs, and giveaways. Everything was being advertised as being a family event, down to the guest list: Stan Lee, Transformers films’ Mark Wahlberg & Isabela Moner, voice actors Peter Cullen & Frank Welker, Guardians of the Galaxy 1 & 2 director James Gunn, and even athletes & YouTube stars!

Fortunately (and unfortunately) the only lines I experienced at HASCON were for the Exclusives Store and to obtain Meet & Greet vouchers.

The exclusives were fantastic and the con had a great variety to offer from many of their brands. They also stocked up on San Diego Comic Con exclusives as well for anyone who couldn’t get their hands on those.

All the exclusives were out in display cases for window shopping while standing on the line. Friday’s limit was 4 of each exclusive per person, until they realized it should drop to 2. This carried until the rest of the con and was strictly enforced with a stamping policy on your event badge.

TRANSFORMERS

Then in no particular order, here are some of the brands represented on the show floor, starting with Transformers.

First off, it was amazing to finally see the film version of Optimus Prime (truck) in person. I attended several cons recently that advertised this version of the truck but they all failed to deliver. But additionally, there were also a couple of Bumblebee’s, Barricade + Frinzy, and other great Transformers displays I’ve never seen before.

A 20-foot Optimus Prime from NYCC 2011 also greets you as you enter the show floor. And later on, a Bumblebee cosplayer walked around during Peter Cullen & Frank Welker’s meet & greet session for photos (more in the video).

The Transformers section did not disappoint. As one of Hasbro’s oldest brands they displayed toys ranging from the 1980s to today, as well as amazing dioramas featuring scenes from their latest Transformers film, The Last Knight.

STAR WARS

The next section is my favorite, of course!

Hasbro set up many fun photo ops with permanent props throughout the show floor so that you can jump in & out for quick pics.

All around the Star Wars section were cases of their current lines: The Last Jedi 3.75″, playsets, The Black Series, Forces of Destiny, and the return of The Vintage Collection!

This is exactly where I got to meet Hasbro Star Wars designers Steve Evans & Mark Boudreaux!

It was great to finally meet them and geek out about the Star Wars line – Mark’s work on 5 Millennium Falcons (take that, Han!) and Steve even signed a couple of my Force Awakens figures:

There were also plenty of props and costumes on display, including a semi-lifesize Tatooine Landspeeder (signed by many of the Original Trilogy cast) and Rey’s Jakku Speeder (accompanied by electronic BB-8):

But one of my favorite things to see here was the SDCC display case of 6″ Black Series dioramas. Hasbro put together one-of-a-kind action figure scenes based on Episode IV and had them in a huge case again here at HASCON. Here are a couple of my favorite scenes:

In my opinion, the Star Wars section had the most to see/do (and justly so!). But for the sake of time, we’ll move on…

G.I. JOE

Technically, the Joe section was in the hallway where foot traffic was always at its worst, but there were very neat things to check out.

Along with vintage figures and props/costumes from the films like Storm Shadow & Snake Eyes, there were chances to meet G.I. Joe legends (24 of them!) to sign an exclusive Snake Eyes cardback.

As well as a photo op to become a Real American Hero yourself:

MARVEL

Imagine a section filled with MCU costumes, photo ops with Thor’s hammer Mjölnir, and a giant Hulkbuster!

Now imagine… 12 dancing Baby Groots?

The Marvel booth was absolute fun. Similar to the Black Series case, there was one for the Marvel Legends depicting an epic battle – possibly modeled after Infinity War? They also had a table where Hasbro prototype painters were finalizing a couple figures including Jim Lee’s Wolverine for the Marvel Legends line and it looked so amazing! You can see the system they use for painting them and the colors they choose as well.

And to top it off, they were handing out Marvel Legends postcard prints and blind bags of Marvel 500 too!

BOARD GAMES

The Hasbro Gaming section took up a huge chunk of the show floor because there was a giant Monopoly board on the floor! Roll the big dice and make it around the board to collect your prize: a Monopoly Gamer Power Pack of your choice!

If you own a Monopoly or two (or 6 like me), then you’ll want to grab a bunch of HASCON exclusive $1,000 bills!

Then get a deal on Hasbro Gaming Crate, demo some of their newer games, or play giant Jenga! (Not actually playable… don’t try!)

But I think the highlight here was the mosaic of the Monopoly man made entirely out of Rubik’s Cubes… now that’s art!

And as you head upstairs, WS Game Company was a vendor with many collectors editions on display for Monopoly and Scrabble. Here’s one of the coolest board games you’ll ever see, Transformers The Movie Monopoly ($300)! You could enter to win it by signing up for their mailing list… good luck to all!

NERF

Who doesn’t have a giant wall filled with Nerf blasters?

This section had live demos, Nerf gear & apparel on display, previews of upcoming guns, and an arena to duke it all out! It’s Nerf or Nothin’!

Because there was no Nerf exclusive at the con (seriously?), I suggested to one of the employees (who, by the way, are almost all employees of Hasbro – from marketing to design to interns!) to make some exclusive darts for next year!

OTHER BRANDS

There are so many other sections that I didn’t get to cover like Hascade (Hasbro arcades, games, apps, etc.), Play Doh, My Little Pony, Dungeons & Dragons, Magic The Gathering, Furreal, Littlest Pet Shop… even a Dunkin Donuts booth with free Monster energy punches & munchkins, and a game to win free DD swag! You’ll see what I mean in my video at the end, but I can’t move on until I cover one of the best (yet worst) parts of the con:

CELEBRITY MEET & GREETS

Just like everything else at HASCON (minus the vendors & Hasbro stores), the meet & greets were 100% free! This was unbelievably cool yet overwhelmingly stressful because the official rule for meet & greet was that vouchers were to be handed out 1 hour prior to the meet & greet. Yet, no one followed this rule – not the attendees and certainly not HASCON.

In my opinion, to make this completely fair, they should have made vouchers available as soon as doors opened to the convention so that it’s legitimately first come first serve basis.

But honestly I’ve attended cons that have been established for 10 years and they still haven’t hammered down the meet & greet portion yet…

And even though I didn’t get to meet Peter Cullen (Optimus Prime) and Frank Welker (Megatron), I did still get to meet James Gunn and Candace Payne (Chewbacca Mom)! So that’s a huge plus.

Officially, HASCON preferred that you receive guest’s autographs on the provided medium (they said “almost all will be custom artwork we have had created for the event) but I saw almost everyone on the lines bringing their own collectibles… At that point, the guest or Hasbro has the right to refuse the autograph if it is not an authentic or officially branded item.

This wasn’t a problem for my Guardians Of The Galaxy comic book for James Gunn (plus got a signed Marvel Legends card too!). But I ran into a roadblock when bringing a Chewbacca figure for Chewbacca Mom… what?

The volunteer insisted that merchandise wasn’t allowed to be signed by Candace… but long story short, it all worked out in the end, so I’m a very happy Wookiee!

No COAs were offered at this con but what else can you ask for a free autograph & photo with celebrities?

All in all, HASCON was a blast and a great first effort by the amazing people at Hasbro. You don’t fully realize how much of your childhood, collections, and pastimes revolve around their products until you are fully immersed in their Brand Experiences.

I hope they consider this con a success and are considering making it an annual event because I would love to come back over and over. And hopefully they’ll listen to feedback from fans to make each experience even better next time around.

My wallet was hardly hurt from this trip. In fact, the only things spent are my arms from carrying around all this free stuff!

Force Friday II (The Last Jedi)

With Disney kickstarting a whole new trilogy of Star Wars movies, Force Friday made an epic comeback with a midnight event in 2015 in anticipation of Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Last year there was a “Force Friday” type event (#GoRogue) but wasn’t technically a sequel to 2015’s event.

However, with the coming of Episode VIII: The Last Jedi on December 15, retailers all around the world participated in another launching of new merchandise today at midnight. Companies like Hasbro, Lego, Funko, Sphero, Disney, and many more made their presence known with tons of new collectibles & exclusives in stores such as Toys R Us, Target, Walmart, GameStop, Amazon… the list goes on and on!

Come along with me as I visit many of these stores and check out what they did to celebrate Force Friday II, as well as a photo of my bounty at the end of this post!

One of the Toys R Us stores near me had a nice variety of new products including new Hasbro, Funko Pop, and Jakks Pacific figures. For many of the stores today, a separate section was set up in addition to their existing Star Wars aisle. Above we see a table filled with new merchandise for The Last Jedi. You’ll also notice interesting “ink blot” signage with the Stormtrooper Executioner, but more on that later in this post!

By 11:50pm, everyone on the line was filled with excitement as Toys R Us mascot Geoffrey made his way outside for selfies & high fives. He even got into the Star Wars spirit and wielded a lightsaber!

Toys R Us was also the only store to sport a special “gateway” into Star Wars land:

In addition to all of this, one of the main reasons I decided to line up at Toys R Us and not at another store was for the free poster and t-shirt. No information was given about this ahead of time except for the fact that the t-shirt would be “Funko” themed. Thankfully, you could choose between M, L, and XL, and the poster was a beautiful shot of AT-M6 walkers on Canto Bight accompanied by TIE Fighters & Bombers! Can’t beat that!

It was also a great time to buy some of last year’s products on clearance like Jakks Pacific big figs and the Black Series 6″ scale TIE Fighter. But the highlight of my trip to Toys R Us was finally seeing the kid-friendly Luke’s Landspeeder (announced earlier this year at SDCC). It’s a lot bigger than I expected!

But that didn’t stop me from giving it a test drive:

Next up, Target had something different going on.

Two years ago, they had a fun door decal with some Stormtroopers. You were to “use the Force” to open the automatic doors! A very fun way to get kids into the mood as they entered the store. This year, the chain store decided to use Rey & a Porg on the island of Ahch-To, inviting you to “create your own path”. Pretty great shot and gets me excited for the movie every time!

But this time, instead of taking over the entire seasonal corner, Target made the decision to limit products to a single aisle… but not to worry! It was chock full of great merchandise, down to the end-cap.

And more Porgs.

And as a follow-up to 2015’s interactive BB-8 display and 2016’s Rogue One AT-ACT, we have Rey again… “Use the force. Place your hand below and concentrate your energy!”

After a few seconds of waiting, ahem, I mean concentrating, Rey’s lightsaber lit up. Very fun!

And just like all the other major retailers, tons more cutouts for photo ops. But the best part of Target was the giant Porg giveaway! My local Target was giving away 2 shopping cart-sized Porgs – just for showing up!

Unfortunately, I lost by just 1 digit! But congratulations to all the winners everywhere! I wish I could have a giant Porg…

But here’s my Porg from the 3.75″ Chewbacca set, along with the 3 free pins Target was giving away and some Lego freebies (with purchases at Toys R Us & Lego Store). Sometimes it isn’t the super large purchases, but the small things that bring great joy! (Looking at you, Porgs…)

Disney Store also had some freebies – they were giving away exclusive mini prints from The Last Jedi to the first 100 customers (with no minimum purchase)! In addition, Disney’s known for having tons of exclusives like their Elite Series, costumes, and figurine sets.

But the coolest thing in the store was the R2-D2 & C-3PO bronzed statue set, exclusively for Disney Rewards Visa card members (and limited to 1,000 pieces). It was $179.95 but these card members also get 10% off… Check it out:

Lego Store is coming off the heels of announcing their latest UCS Millennium Falcon with 7,541 pieces, so they definitely had some cool displays in-store!

New sets were all on the shelves and a very nice incentive to make a purchase today was the free Shoretrooper mini-figure with a Star Wars purchase of $50 or more. And with any Star Wars purchase, you receive 1 of 3 exclusive UCS Millennium Falcon prints! For the next 3 days, Lego Store will change the print each day to make sure you keep buying all weekend!

Finally, I ended my Force Friday journey at GameStop.

While many retailers had unique signage and displays at the front of the store, GameStop kept things private… really. Most of the new products (whatever they received) were behind the counter, out of arms’ reach.

But I did manage to get a pack of the new Topps Journey to The Last Jedi trading cards! Alas, no hits inside but it was still fun to go through them.

And as if that wasn’t enough Force Friday for you, Disney & Lucasfilm also developed an “Augmented Reality” camera in the Star Wars app called “Find The Force”. Using it, fans can experience new characters live in-store. That’s right, pull up the app and look for that special signage found in most stores and see some Star Wars come to life!

Already a cool display, you’ll notice that the Stormtrooper Executioner on the left has some ink blots around him. This is the code that the app translates and digitizes a life-size Last Jedi character right before your very eyes.

See BB-9E at Brookstone?

Or Chewbacca at Disney Store?

You can take pics of them or hold the button to record a video. Feel free to hop on screen with them too!

The app will continue to unlock new characters/tokens while you explore new products this weekend.

But sadly, that means Force Friday II is coming to a close today…

Shocking, I know.

But here’s my final bounty (note: this shot does not include the free Toys R Us t-shirt & poster, the SDCC Grand Admiral Thrawn, or SDCC Luke/Rey combo):

P.S., I also did not include my trips to FYE or Books A Million, but I went! And I conquered! Happy Force Friday, everyone!

Spotlight: CreeesArt (Creees HyunSung Lee)

Today’s Spotlight is on a great artist I’ve had the privilege of meeting many times at comic cons all over the area.

Creees HyunSung Lee, or CreeesArt, is a freelance comic artist with a background in cartooning from New York City’s School of Visual Arts, one of the most influential artistic communities in the world. With a successful Kickstarter campaign under his belt he was able to fully fund the printing of his own art book titled “Ribbit Ribbit”, a 36-page collection filled with his original pieces. In addition to that, Creees also accepts commissions online and at conventions – anything goes, from superheroes to TV shows.

(Creees worked on a Star Wars sketch cover for me recently that I’ll be adding to this post in a couple months)

Let’s check out some of his work and the short interview I had with him at the end of the Spotlight:

Crossovers

My first exposure to his work has become some of my favorites: Superhero/Pokémon crossovers! Batman & Zubat? Lady Thor & Zapdos? Wonder no more:

He’s done some chibi wall art & a new series of hilariously amazing Avengers Minions. I personally picked up one of these:

I love that you can enjoy his art as a comic book aficionado or even just starting out.

Marvel/DC

And as an aspiring Marvel/DC artist, Creees can handle all the moods: from the dark brooding nature of Logan or Batman on a gargoyle to the lighthearted, crass humor of Deadpool. And chances are you’re seeing today’s post because of my Instagram of a Spider-Man sketch card drawn by him (Creees was a sketch artist for 2016’s Upper Deck Marvel Annual trading cards).

You can also see his work come alive when you subscribe to his YouTube time-lapse sketches & Twitch live-stream drawings.

You can literally scroll for hours through Creees’ Instagram and gaze at his incredible art: Stranger Things… Walking Dead… Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles… Star Wars

Even if you don’t know where to start when you see him at your next con, just take a business card. They’re already works of art:

But let’s hear from the man himself now!

Interview with CreeesArt

Who or what inspired you to become an artist?
I think as a child I always drew, but Akira Toriyama (Dragon Ball Z) definitely was one of the first artists that inspired me. More recently in my college years and forward, Jim Lee, Kenneth Rocafort, Sean Murphy, and Matteo Scalera all had a huge impact in my art.

Who is the biggest supporter of your work?
My biggest supporter of my art was my late godmother. She passed away last year, but she has supported me since I was in sixth grade. Now, I’m just happy to have supporters. I don’t think I have a “biggest” supporter.

Do you currently have a favorite comic book series?
To be honest, I haven’t had much time to read any comics. But from what I’ve read, “Chrononauts” definitely is in my top five.

What helps you get the creative juices flowing?
The best way to get my creative juices flowing is to look at other artists’ work. Especially the ones that I look up to and try to learn from. If I see something really well done, it makes me want to try and create something similar.

If you could pick just one project/piece that you’re most proud of, what would it be?
I can’t say which piece/project I am most proud of… After drawing something, there’s always a part of me that finds something wrong or something that I don’t like about the drawing. It’s almost like a shield to ever becoming comfortable and makes me try to get better.

When you’re not drawing, what do you like to do?
When I’m not drawing, I usually go to the gym (because I’m sitting all day), play games (CS:GO or Rocket League), or just chill with friends.

Could you share any advice for aspiring creators out there?
For anybody looking to find a career as an artist, I think it is always important to work hard and believe in your art. Also, be open to get any and all criticisms from people. Being critical of your art will be the only way you get better.

Creees, thanks so much! Keep up the great work!

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Where to follow CreeesArt: Instagram || Twitter || YouTube || Twitch

Garden State Comic Fest 2017

There are Comic Cons and there are Comic Fests.

No, but seriously – Garden State Comic Fest does stand out from many comic book conventions (and trust me, I’ve been to a lot just within the last year). Reason being that it’s very comic book focused, very affordable (about $30 a day), and gives off a very local family-friendly vibe!

Held at the Mennen Arena in Morris, NJ, the convention is still run by locals Dave O’Hare and Sal Zurzolo. Rather than focusing too much on pop culture & celebrity appearances, this show brings in more comic book creators, artists, and writers. And this year the only 3 celebrities were John Wesley Shipp from Flash from both 1990 & 2014, Dean Cain from Lois & Clark / Supergirl, and Loren Lester, the voice of Robin/Nightwing from Batman The Animated Series. Because it’s a smaller show, the lines for each guest were not very long but with the constant flow of attendees, they never died down either.

Leading up to GSCF, Six Flags Great Adventure hosted a mini con on May 27 with a special appearance by John Wesley Shipp and several vendors who would eventually be at GSCF itself as well.

I’m always fascinated to see the kinds of crowds that these local conventions draw in. Will there be mostly comic book fans? Comic book movie fans? Cosplayers? Collectors? Well, I’m glad to say that it seemed to bring in a little bit of all of them!

The convention is split into two rinks (yes, ice rinks) so some navigating was necessary. The floor was lined with panels which didn’t get too cool, but some people mentioned that they saw some water rise up from the melting ice. One thing GSCF should work on is the accuracy of their maps because many booths were not where they were supposed to be, and the volunteers weren’t entirely sure how it all worked either. Still, I was able to eventually find my way and start with the celebrities:

I was fortunate enough to have already met John Wesley Shipp at The Great Philadelphia Comic Con back in April so I had plenty of time to line up and meet Dean Cain & Loren Lester. Loren was nice enough to take a picture with me and we got to chat about the upcoming Batman And Harley Quinn animated movie which is going to be a lot of fun! He and Kevin Conroy reprise their roles as the Dynamic Duo with Harley voiced by Big Bang Theory’s Melissa Rauch. While talking about how the movie will feel like it picks up right where the Animated Series left off, I pointed out to Loren that there was one change, however: no more Nightwing mullet!

Book Five of the Lost Years comic series is a special book to me, plus I plan on getting it signed by Kevin Conroy & Tara Strong as well. And right next to Loren’s booth, I stood on line to meet Dean Cain who also brought along his son. Dean is a very friendly guy, just as you’d imagine him based on his TV roles (minus the ones where he’s the antagonist, of course). We talked about him hosting the Today Show all week in NYC, filming the next season of Supergirl, and he even asked about my ethnicity because we both have an Asian heritage. Did you know that Dean is a quarter Japanese?

He was fascinated by the comic book I brought for him to sign. Can you spot why?

This rendition of Clark Kent looks exactly like Dean Cain from the 90’s Lois & Clark series!

But as always, these conventions aren’t just about the celebrities. Many fantastic comic book creators, both established and up & coming, were present. To name a few: David Finch, Adam Kubert, Walter Simonson, Tom Palmer, and Greg Hildebrandt (who even signed my Topps Star Wars 40th Anniversary poster card).

I also got to meet Joe Caramagna, the writer responsible for turning many of the current Marvel cartoons into comic book series. I picked up a couple comic books from him, which he signed and applied 100% of the cost directly to the Ronald McDonald House. Good man!

My comic con go-to artist booth was also present… the artist currently known as Creees! I’ve lost count how many times I’ve stopped by his booth over the years but I’ve collected a few pieces of his work now, anywhere from an AP sketch card for Spider-Man to a funny Minion print. And this time I was finally able to commission him for an awesome sketch cover for an Obi-Wan & Anakin comic book. Can’t wait to share with you all! Definitely check out his amazing work:

I ended up staying for almost the entire 8 hour day and it’s not even because of all the lines, like at other cons. There really was something for everybody.

Whether your interests are in cosplay, comic books, collectibles, replica vehicles (like the SHIELD SUV above), or BB guns…

…Garden State Comic Fest is a convention for all fans! So glad I went this year and I’m looking forward to their next event. Until then, check out a quick video I put together from my visit:

ComiCONN 2017 (Foxwoods Resort Casino)

ComiCONN proudly boasts being “A Show for the Fans by the Fans!”, but can you feel it when you attend?

Whether your interests lie in sci-fi/fantasy, comedy, or pop culture, ComiCONN has something for everybody! It was my first time attending this con and I thoroughly enjoyed it. From the guests & vendors to the venue itself (Foxwoods Resort Casino), it was packed with things to do, photo opportunities, and plenty of ways to throw away cash!

Primarily I was excited to attend this con because of their guests Paul Springer & Simon Williamson, both of whom I’ve never met. But the guest list goes on and on with cast members from Sons of Anarchy, The Walking Dead, Karate Kid, and V. Unfortunately Paul Springer (puppeteer for Ree-Yees in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi) had canceled just before the start of the con but I still got to meet Simon Williamson and plenty of others!

Also got to meet Mr. Timothy Zahn, who’s written many fine books, but one of the more popular ones today is Thrawn, a recent redone character from his work in the 90s. Grand Admiral Thrawn has been re-imagined for the Star Wars Rebels cartoon and he’s such a great antagonist. Since I missed my chance to see him at Star Wars Celebration, I was so glad I got my book, comic, and figures signed!

I was pleased to find that our initial entry into the show floor was fairly simple, as well as our first re-entry in the beginning of the day, but to get back in later in the day was a total nightmare. ComiCONN was quick to respond and fixed the re-entry issue the next day. If they didn’t, it would be Rhode Island Comic Con all over again (same company, actually).

But at least once you’re outside you can enjoy the show store and some more photo ops! (And of course all that the casino has to offer) Some of the additional photo ops included a Wonder Woman cosplayer on a prop horse riding off the success of the standalone film, the 501st Legion, and Speed Racer.

Even Speed Racer needed some cash for show exclusives! But by far the best ComiCONN exclusive was the exclusive G.I. Joe #241 with cover art by Ian Chase Nichols. I picked one up for $10 and got it signed by him for free at his booth:

The vendors on the show floor were very cool, with a lot of variety in products. Booths ranged from art to collectibles to freebies. I think one of my favorites was Foxwoods’ very own Cake By Franck. They normally have a state-of-the-art vending machine on the casino floor but it was shut down for repairs. Instead, they had a booth set up at the con on top of their retail store on the other side of the resort. They were serving up specialty geek treats for this weekend including, but not limited to, chocolate covered pretzel lightsabers, comic themed cupcakes & brownies, a chocolate throne from Game of Thrones, lemonade potion bottles, and a completely edible chocolate Millennium Falcon in 3.75″ scale!

How amazing! But as fun as that was, Sugar Factory takes the cake with jaw-dropping desserts & drinks. We had lunch here and we had a total blast with their Smoking Goblets. We realized that there are a few in our area but figured that with all the other places we could check out in NYC, we would never make the time to actually go to a Sugar Factory.

As our day started to wrap up, we made our way to Jason David Frank’s booth for his final signing of the day. After hearing about him being someone’s target at last month’s Phoenix Comicon, we were relieved to see he was still traveling to cons. Even though we saw him at multiple cons in the past, we only now made an effort to meet him.

JDF seemed like a fun guy who cares about his fans! But just before our turn, NBC Connecticut interviewed him for their ComiCONN news segment, where the anchor asked him about Adam West (who had passed away the night before, RIP). It was Jason’s first time hearing the news and was totally shaken up, so when he returned to his booth he wasn’t fully himself quite yet… You can tell by his smile in our photo. And also by the fact he signed my comic book: “To: John”!

Can you find us in his epic selfie?

On our way out, we got to say hi to Gaten Matarazzo, who plays Dustin on Netflix’s Stranger Things, and also pose in the Byers living room:

And a con wouldn’t be a con without a couple of freebies! We got a few DC posters for Wonder Woman and Justice League!

All in all, it was a great con and the venue made it even more enjoyable. It was their first time at Foxwoods, but hopefully not their last. I loved that you can enjoy this midsize convention but also venture out into the casino & outlet mall during your down time. I’d like to see how they handled the change in re-entry since that was my only negative experience. Looking forward to their 9th next year!

Wizard World Philadelphia 2017

 

We had a blast in Philly this past weekend!

Last year I attended Wizard World’s show in Richmond, VA and was slightly disappointed by the size so I was very much excited to attend one of their bigger shows in Philadelphia with guests like: Chuck Norris, Jesse Eisenberg, Rob Liefeld, Michael Rooker, Sean Gunn, Jon Heder, and Ralph Macchio! I originally planned on attending to meet Millie Bobby Brown (Eleven from Stranger Things) but she unfortunately backed out a while ago.

But the convention itself was set up much better than Richmond was, and it utilized its floor space more efficiently too! Upcoming 2017 blockbusters had their displays up and were perfect for memorable comic con photo ops. Despicable Me 3 had a prison cell with lifesize Gru & minions “giving tattoos” (plus receive temporary tattoos that come alive with their app), Spider-Man Homecoming had their theater standee with Spidey in his yellow blazer, 47 Meters Down had a giant shark cutout that you can pop out of, Transformers The Last Knight had a photo op with SQWEEKS, and Warner Brothers had a booth to promote their latest hits: Wonder Woman (which I stand by my decision that it’s a fantastic movie), King Arthur, Lego Ninjago, and the remake of It.

WB also had a raffle wheel where you could win promotional items from those movies. You could have won a plastic Wonder Woman tiara, some WW bracelets, a King Arthur patch, or a poster featuring Lego Ninjago or Wonder Woman. I could tell that the staff member wasn’t too thrilled to work at this station.

The vendors were pretty typical but I was able to pick up a few things for myself and some friends, including the rare first issue & first appearance of Batman Beyond which I got signed by voice actor & Boy Meets World star Will Friedle! In addition, I got my Deadpool #12 signed by creator Rob Liefeld, and my Marvel Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos #1 signed:

I’m excited to get them back once CGC grades them and add them to my collection!

In the middle of the day we needed a break from all the walking and standing in line, so we grabbed lunch in the ever popular Reading Terminal Market. The last time I was in here was 9 years ago and it was not nearly as crowded as a Saturday filled with convention geeks! I was disappointed that Delilah’s had closed a few years ago – I really wanted to try the 7-cheese mac & cheese that almost beat Bobby Flay in Throwdown. But thankfully, we found a delicious alternative with Beck’s Cajun Cafe! We got to dig into some cajun alfredo pasta, jambalaya, gator gumbo, and fried mac & cheese balls! If you’re ever in the area and you’re craving some spicy creole cuisine, definitely stop by.

I also had the privilege of meeting the talented Lex Lang who’s done countless voices in animation. He’s also done some great work with Lucasfilm, specifically Stormtroopers in Rogue One, Poe Dameron in Lego Star Wars, and Han Solo in Battlefront II/Rogue Squadron III. Maybe you’ve heard his voice in: Lupin the 3rd, Transformers RID, Digimon, Ghost in the Shell, Justice League Unlimited, Naruto, Avatar, The Batman, Bleach, Dragon Ball Super, One Punch Man, etc.

He signed my Rogue One Stormtrooper figure! We got a photo together and as he signed my Stormtrooper trading card, I asked him if he’d seen the new Rogue One trading cards by Topps. He said he hadn’t, so I gave him one of the extra ones I brought of troopers storming the beach of Scarif. He seemed to really appreciate it

But the highlight of the con was definitely being able to meet the legendary Chuck Norris. Twice.

He was fashionably late and was surrounded by Wizard World staff, security personnel, and local police. I think they all stayed close to him for their protection.

He & his wife Gena were very kind and the line moved very swiftly, like a roundhouse kick to the face.

There were a lot of people getting autographs on the provided 8×10’s from The Expendables or Walker Texas Ranger, but just as many getting rare memorabilia signed as well. Once I got my comic signed, we came back shortly after to line up for the photo op with him which was a lot longer than the autograph line.

Again, he was very courteous and was happy to pose with us despite posing normally with most others.

In the end, Wizard World redeemed itself in my book. I’ll keep checking on what they’ll bring to the table in the near future.

But for now, I’ll close with one of my favorite Chuck Norris facts:

Chuck Norris once killed 200 people with a grenade. And then it exploded.

LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester

Legoland Discovery Center in Yonkers, NY opened in 2013 and is run by the same company as Madame Tussauds. Located in the very fun Ridge Hill Shopping Center, this Discovery Center offers a variety of activities from rides to 4D movies. Technically all Discovery Centers and Legoland theme parks are unaffiliated with the Lego Group itself but are still home to many great Lego licenses today: Lego Star Wars, Batman, Ninjago, Duplo, Racers, etc.

I’ve always wanted to go and I wasn’t able to find sufficient information on the internet about what it’s like… so I hope this post helps someone out there! It really is a blast to visit especially with the new Ninjago section that was added just last month (April 2017).

You save money by booking online so be sure to order all your tickets & extras on their website:

  • Online Saver Ticket – Choose the date & time you wish to enter the center
  • Extra Value Ticket – It’s the Online Saver Ticket + a Lego collectible for an additional $4 (it can be anything from Friends, Ninjago, to even Star Wars)
  • Ultimate Flexible Ticket – It’s the Extra Value Ticket, but with entry at any time and day

You can also pay ahead for a photo package (prints will be given on the day-of and the brick photo will be mailed to you) and a $4 activity lanyard which gives your child fun missions to collect stamps along the way in order to claim a prize as you exit the center (see the end of this post for the prize).

It’s important that I mention “child” because this Legoland does not allow adults to enter by themselves without children… for obvious safety reasons.

Everything inside is mostly Lego – even the frames for signage! Cash registers are covered in bricks, giant versions of minifigures are built out of Legos, and tons tons more. We start our trip with our photo package. The photographer was very friendly and directed us every step of the way. You pose in front of a green screen and later you choose which pose + background combo you like best. The package includes 2 prints, a digital copy, and a brick wall photo that gets sent to your home to be assembled later! (This post will be updated once I receive mine)

The first room contained tons of Lego history and fun facts… even a scale to convert your weight to Lego bricks! But as interesting as this room was, we were instantly drawn to the next section which was the Kingdom Quest Laser Ride! This reminded me of the Men In Black ride at Universal Studios Orlando – you sit in a roller coaster-esque car that moves as you blast your way to rescue the princess. It even keeps score! Can you guess which score is mine?

By the time you finish this ride, your photos are processed and ready for you to select the best combo. Do this before or after you visit Miniland, a replica of New York City landmarks – Fifth Ave., the Statue of Liberty, the George Washington Bridge, and so much more! It was absolutely breathtaking!

There are a lot of Easter Eggs & funny scenarios hidden all around too, so be sure to take your time before moving on to the new Ninjago section!

Ninjago City Adventure is the latest display at Legoland Discovery Center. It features a huge “ninja” playground with moving parts, nets, poles, and slide. Also featured is a giant version of Jackie Chan’s Master Wu from the upcoming Ninjago movie, a climbing wall, a color reflex test, and a giant diorama to build on (with a dragon in a den to boot)! It’s great that the new Ninjago section has a little something for every kind of kid.

And if your child is a little too young to be running around, bumping into other kids, then maybe you should consider the much tamer Duplo Village. Just like the actual Duplo bricks, it’s harder to get hurt! A closed off section, a single slide, a giant giraffe, and they’ve replaced the balls in a ball pit with some soft Lego blocks that you can actually build with!

When we decided to take a short break, we were pleased to find plenty of seating at the Cafe. It’s disappointing that there aren’t any punny or clever Lego themed food names but they had everything you could need – quick bites & a variety of drinks (including coffee, moms & dads!). And check out this register!

Behind the Racer section is also the bathrooms which are decorated with Lego portraits in the hallway and even Lego themed decals on the stall doors! Hilarious!

Then try your hand at building your fastest racer! Buckets of parts are available in many colors. Team up with your youngster and race to the finish line! I was honestly expecting just a simple incline to race the cars but I was surprised to see a functioning button which times a lowering gate and countdown. Very fun!

Right across from Racers and at the corner of Ninjago is an earthquake test to see if your building can withstand some shaky ground:

All the while, keep checking out the line situation for Merlin’s Apprentice Ride and the 4D Cinema. These are 2 of my favorite attractions (along with the Kingdom Quest Laser Ride). The 4D Cinema is a little dated compared to today’s modern 4D movie theater effects. Spoiler alert: the 4th dimension is simply water spraying from above for various liquid effects throughout the short film (A Clutch Powers 4-D Adventure). It was still enjoyable but if you or your family hate getting wet, I’d bring a poncho or stay out altogether.

If you have a big Lego fan, stop by the Master Builder Academy where they have scheduled lessons on building models and/or mosaics. These have specified timeslots posted on the classroom door so be sure to plan accordingly. We stopped in to check out the class but ultimately didn’t stay due to time. But the instructor was nice, and he was our first minifigure trade of the day! (If you bring minifigures to the center, you can trade with employees who have minifigures on their badges. It’s highly unlikely they will turn down your request, but it’s more likely that you’ll notice that the employees do not have any figures at all!) We traded a Frozen “friends” Kristoff for a modern policeman. Good trade and we got to see some cool art!

But, of course, I saved the best for last…

The Lego Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace Miniland! This was an amazing display of mini Tatooine & mini Naboo… Anakin’s podrace and the Gungan battle against the Trade Federation. There’s a lifesize Lego R2-D2, Lego Star Wars videos playing on a screen, and some cool art on the wall.

Race against Sebulba with the controls or help Jar Jar mess up!

The detail in this room was absolutely incredible. So glad we finished with this setup.

But don’t worry, there’s tons more to see and photograph! You’ll find a lot of photo opportunities with Lego props & characters, some special displays, and gift options at their giant Lego Store, the machines for souvenir pennies or my preferred heavy duty souvenir token:

And on my way out I was able to trade a less favorable Nexo Knight with an employee’s new Series 17 Retro Spaceman minifigure!

All in all, Legoland Discovery Center in Westchester is a fantastic day trip especially if you love Legos. We underestimated our trip and ended up staying there for 4 hours but it only felt like 2! We walked away with some great souvenirs, a very cool exclusive Star Wars R3-M2 minifigure, one more memory on the way (the photo brick wall), and with the activity lanyard full of stamps we were able to claim a pop-out Lego Batman button! It’s a two-piece plastic button that doesn’t need a pin to attach to clothes. They have some other designs, so be sure to ask the employee for the options!

For a more in-depth look inside Legoland in Yonkers, watch the video here:

Star Wars Day 2017 (40th Anniversary of A New Hope)

Today, Star Wars fans around the world annually celebrate the saga, the franchise, the life-changing experience that is Star Wars! Why today? Because it’s May The 4th, as in May The Fourth (Force) Be With You!

How does one celebrate Star Wars Day, you ask?

You could go to one of the many shops offering special once-a-year deals on Star Wars merchandise, you could cosplay as your favorite Jedi or Sith and duke it out with your friends in a lightsaber battle, or (if you’re like me) you can relax at home with friends and enjoy good eats & one of the current 8 films!

It was our first time hosting a Star Wars Day Party since getting engaged in Disney a couple weeks ago, so we were excited to hang out with friends and have a good time! To commemorate the 40th Anniversary of Episode IV: A New Hope, we popped in the Blu-ray and ate Episode IV specific food (with minimal prep)! If you’re in a pinch for time, here’s an easy way to enjoy Star Wars Day!

First, a Star Wars Day Party isn’t complete without a game! It keeps things social while you’re watching the movie and there’s always a new game to try out! I always love playing a version of Star Wars Monopoly. There are tons to choose from, whether it’s the Saga Edition, the 1997 20th Anniversary Edition, or this year’s 40th Anniversary Special Edition!

And what’s a game without some prizes? Lucky folks got to walk away with a nostalgic piece of collecting with a 1990’s Star Wars figure!

I luckily got to keep the Snaggletooth!

But onto the food!

The cups, plates, napkins, and tablecloth were from Party City. They seasonally cycle through new styles & designs but currently they carry many Episode IV-friendly designs (in addition to the existing Episode VII prints). Plus using this party-ware makes cleanup easy and keeps dish-washing at a minimum!

The signs I made for the dishes were inspired by the classic Star Wars silver “double racetrack” with the 40th Anniversary logo. Once you have the art & font, they’re easy to make and you can print a few on a page (preferably cardstock).

The menu (clockwise from top-left):

Vader-ade: Not necessarily Gatorade! Simply mix your favorite drink together, add coloring to a Sprite/Sierra Mist type soda, or purchase a pre-colored drink for effect. I chose red because of the Sith Lord’s lightsaber, of course!

Mos Eis-Tea: Mos Eisley’s most popular sweet drink (maybe not)! This can also be your favorite recipe of iced tea, sweet tea, green tea, etc. or pre-made tea drink.

Greedo’s Doritos: Green tortilla chips. You may get lucky and find avocado chips but any green chips will do! Spinach, lime, etc. But if they’re not green, then you’ve missed the point. Stay on target.

Sorry About The Mess: Accompanies the chips! After Han fries poor Greedo, who knows what kind of Rodian guts spilled… but everyone can enjoy salsa!

Jek’s X-Wings: Honor fallen X-Wing pilot Jek Porkins and enjoy the wings of your choice. We went with Korean style soy garlic wings.

Tatoo-weenies: Simply pigs in a blanket… or is it? Unlike Luke & Tatooine, you’ll be sure to return to these over & over!

Potato Wedge Fries: Named after multi-battle survivor Wedge Antilles, this side can obviously be potato wedges, steak fries, or any fry of your choice.

Yavin 4 Cheese Mac: This was store bought, so I don’t know how accurate the “4 cheese” is… but you get the idea! Bonus points if your mac gets closer to the orange/red color of Yavin!

Han Burgers: White Castle slider case is cheap & quick, and it’ll help you make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs! (This is not actually guaranteed.)

Pad TIE: We picked up a container of Pad Thai from one of the many Thai places near us… “There’s too many of them!”

Chewie Cookies: In the past, I baked Wookiee Cookies with a Chewbacca cookie cutter. But this year we cut corners and bought a pack of S’mores Chips Ahoy! Quite chewy!

Imperial Suckers: These Stromtrooper lollipops were a last minute addition for fun. I tried thinking of a name like Luke’s Lollipops but it made no sense. Finally, I realized that the Empire sucks!!

Multi-Leia Chocolate Cake: And finally, the pièce de résistance… a delicious chocolatey cake in the name of everyone’s favorite Princess. I cannot stress how *vital* it is that your cake truly has multi-layers!

As the movie wrapped up, we all took turns taking pictures with our Polaroid camera with special Star Wars film:

With lightsabers as borders and a different graphic at the bottom with every photo, everyone had a little souvenir to take home.

And some extra parting gifts in the form of a goody bag!

Yes, actual vintage 1977 Topps trading cards, a Funko Pop Stormtrooper pin, a pen/stylus, and some Jelly Belly sparkling Chewbacca jelly beans!

Of all the years I’ve had a Star Wars Day Party, this was the one to go all out! 40 years and going strong! It’s a thrilling ride to be a part of this amazing Star Wars culture and to be able to celebrate with a galaxy full of fans who are deeply into it as much as it is in them.

But there’s more than one way to celebrate! How will you enjoy Star Wars Day today?

May the 4th be with you!