Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Rey develops her newly discovered abilities with the guidance of Luke Skywalker, who is unsettled by the strength of her powers. Meanwhile, the Resistance prepares to do battle with the First Order.

Contains some spoilers…

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the second film in Disney & Lucasfilm’s sequel trilogy of the Star Wars franchise. Since purchasing Lucasfilm for $4.06 billion in 2012, Disney has released The Force Awakens in 2015 and the standalone movie Rogue One in 2016. Taking place almost 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi, The Force Awakens introduced new characters such as Rey, Finn, Poe, Kylo Ren, General Hux, Captain Phasma, and Supreme Leader Snoke. As with many Star Wars movies, The Force Awakens ended with a cliffhanger (and as Mark Hamill would say, it’s a literal cliffhanger on an actual cliff!).

As many would suspect, The Last Jedi begins where we left off. Right off the bat, I believe this movie improved where many had issues in The Force Awakens. Plus, you’re already invested in these characters and the story’s pulled you in even more since last time. I’m convinced! So let’s see what you can look forward to.

Rey (played by Daisy Ridley) is a complex character. While some fans expressed frustration with her proficiency in “everything”, you’ll see the growth of her character all throughout The Last Jedi… it isn’t a walk in the park! Trained by Luke Skywalker (played by Mark Hamill), the two train and go deeper into the Force. Meanwhile at the First Order, Supreme Leader Snoke (played by Andy Serkis) is up to no good with his apprentice Kylo Ren (played by Adam Driver). The balance between these duos is an epic battle you won’t want to miss!

On the Resistance side, General Leia (Carrie Fisher), Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern), Poe (Oscar Isaac), Finn (John Boyega), and Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) are all fighting the good fight. As debuting characters, Holdo and Rose bring something new to the table. And it’s refreshing to see the dynamic between Finn and Rose. We get to see new vehicles and new weapons – including a long awaited fight between Finn & Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie)!

As expected, The Last Jedi reveals some clues to the overall story of this sequel trilogy, but many mysteries are left in place to be (hopefully) solved by Episode IX (releasing in December 2019).

I really enjoyed watching Luke Skywalker’s return. Wait until you hear his first words!It’s a moment I’ve been waiting for since December 2015. And after hearing how director Rian Johnson threw off Mark Hamill with a couple character adjustments, I was pleasantly surprised. I think you will be too! And, of course, it wouldn’t be Star Wars without the droids. Every Episode (and even Rogue One) has shown C-3PO and R2-D2, and now the legacy continues with BB-8 and newbie BB-9E.

Everyone jumped on the bandwagon for some BB-8 lovin’ in 2015, without even knowing for sure what role he’d play. It didn’t seem to matter! Now to seal the deal we have an “evil” BB-8… BB-9E. While cool, I’m not sure it was completely necessary – but I totally understand why they added him. BB-8 may be Poe’s “one of a kind” droid, but surely the First Order had to have something cool of their own… Remember the mouse droids?

And the Porgs… Yes, the Porgs! They’re not 2017’s Ewoks. They’re definitely not Gungans/Jar Jar Binks. They are this year’s equivalent of the hyped BB-8, and justly so! These guys were the sprinkles on top of an already amazing movie. Yes, we have new destinations (Crait & Canto Bight) and other new creatures (Vulptex/Crystal Foxes), and they’re all unique and significant in their own ways… but Porgs! They’ll make you laugh and smile with joy!

SCORE

Story: 9 – Rian Johnson is not only responsible for the directing but also the writing in The Last Jedi (so yes, that means he’s also responsible for Porgs). There’s a lot of weight to carry for a middle Episode, but the story was really captivating, well-paced, and wasn’t a rehash of Empire.
Acting: 9 – Everybody’s performances were amazing. In terms of the legacy characters, I’d be surprised if Mark Hamill doesn’t walk away with some sort of nomination. Carrie Fisher’s last performance was heartfelt and so good. The sequel trilogy cast delivered some great acting as well. Specifically, the transformations that Rey and Kylo go through are epic.
Soundtrack: 10 – I’ll admit, it took me a while to get used to the score in The Force Awakens. It was John Williams but it took me a second to admit that there was new Star Wars music coming! But this time around, I was ready for it. My special edition soundtrack is nearly delivered and I can’t wait because John Williams does it again! After what I found to be lackluster music for Rogue One last year, The Last Jedi is a breath of fresh air! Be prepared for some great homages to his other compositions.
Production: 9 – The use of digital animation and practical effects on the big screen was great. ILM knocks it out of the park every time for Star Wars. There weren’t too many locations in The Force Awakens but we got to explore SO many places in The Last Jedi, which were all done so beautifully. And lightsabers… so many lightsabers…
X-Factor: 9.5 – X-Factor is always the aspect of the movie that stands out that normally wouldn’t. In this case, it’s the humor. There were several “haha” moments in The Force Awakens (which some die-hard fans hated, but I welcome with open arms) and even more in The Last Jedi. Comedy is always evolving and there are things you can laugh at in the Original Trilogy – so of course the style of jokes will change in the sequels. I still enjoyed them!

Overall: 9.3

Remember, there’s still a cloud covering everything (as Master Yoda would say). Not everything has resolved but you definitely feel the momentum in The Last Jedi. Rian Johnson did an amazing job with the story and directing, easily making this one of the best Star Wars films yet! It’ll take me a couple more viewings (starting with a 4D showing in a couple days) to determine how it rates with the rest of the saga, but it’s definitely worth watching over and over again in the theater! But now… it’s time for this review… to end.

P.S. I watched Episode VII seven times in theaters…

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is rated PG-13 with a running time of 152 minutes and hits theaters December 15, 2017.

Directed by Rian Johnson.

Starring Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, and Laura Dern.

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The Jim Henson Exhibition (Museum of the Moving Image)

This was our first time visiting the Museum of the Moving Image!

In such a historic location, the Museum of the Moving Image is in Astoria (Queens, NY) and is found in the former building of Astoria Studios. After intensive renovations, it reopened in 2011 and is still an amazing spot for learning about the history & significance of various mediums including, but not limited to, film and television.

Currently, one of the permanent exhibitions found at the museum is The Jim Henson Exhibition, celebrating the life and legacy of Jim Henson with more than 300 pieces!

I grew up watching various Muppets programming, Sesame Street, and Star Wars, so Jim Henson’s work had a huge impact on my childhood. It was so amazing seeing some of these classic characters up close. Here’s one of my favorites (and one of my favorites to do impressions of)… Kermit the Frog!

As you can see, next to the Kermit puppet is the special headpiece that Jim Henson would wear when puppeteering him. It’s so crazy to see how well inanimate objects can come to life with the right hands!

Even something that appears to be a slinky/tube, named “Java” below, was a blast to see on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1966:

But, of course, we had to see some of our favorite Muppets like Rowlf, The Swedish Chef, Statler & Waldorf, and Miss Piggy!

But what’s fantastic about the Jim Henson Exhibition is that it not only teaches you about his work, you get to be a part of it too!

My favorite kinds of museums are the interactive kinds, and thankfully this exhibit is one of them!

Step right up and try your “hand” at puppeteering a couple characters on-screen! You have to get low and build a scene from scratch, and then you’ll see a live playback! (Check out the video at the end for more)

In addition to this booth, there’s also a station to build your own puppet! This is for demonstration purposes only so you don’t get to keep it. But feel free to customize the look of your very own Muppet! Here’s our take:

What will yours look like?

But as I mentioned, one of Jim Henson’s biggest involvements was of course Sesame Street. For any Sesame fans, you’ll be very pleased with this next area! No introduction is needed:

And last, but not least, one of the final displays for the Jim Henson Exhibition was for his non-Muppets projects like Labyrinth and Dark Crystal.

There were puppets, animatronics, diagrams, videos, and so much more going on here!

(And don’t forget, Dark Crystal returns to theaters for 2 days only in February!)

It’s just a thoroughly detailed exhibition and I highly recommend it for fans of Jim Henson or the movies/TV shows mentioned earlier. His work and legacy continue to ripple into today’s franchises… Star Wars’ Yoda (Frank Oz), for example, and even Nien Nunb (Mike Quinn) in this week’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi! (Who’s ready for it??)

Which leads us into the rest of the Museum of the Moving Image.

The whole museum is filled with rich history and beautiful displays of vintage toys, collectibles, arcade games, film & TV props, and more.

So be sure to walk around and explore the techniques used in soundtracks, dubbing, sound effects, and visual effects. You might even be able to make yourself into a flipbook/GIF!

The Museum of the Moving Image is open to the public (starting at $7) Wednesday-Sunday. Free for Museum members & children under 3, and admission is free every Friday from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. Visit the site for specific hours & holiday closings.

Geppi’s Entertainment Museum (Baltimore, MD)

Tucked away in Baltimore, MD and hidden from plain sight is Geppi’s Entertainment Museum. Opened over 11 years ago in September 2006, Geppi’s is a moderately sized pop culture museum. Special exhibitions are constantly rotating but inside you’ll always find a collection of over 60,000 amazing items including retro posters & artwork, collectibles, and rarities.

Tickets are reasonably priced and there are also memberships available.

The only way up to the museum is with an elevator spammed with pop culture decals… Random meters and dials, comic book character logos, and other references are plastered all over its walls:

And once you’re upstairs, you’re greeted by none other than the bounty hunter himself, Boba Fett!

Before you even pay for your ticket, you get an idea of the vibe awaiting you inside the museum. Vintage posters, framed art, things you’ve only seen on Google and Pinterest:

In no particular order, we began to wander the halls of this 16,000 square foot museum. And by chance we entered the massive room filled with old comic books and magazines… Amazing!

Not only did they have Superman’s first appearance, Action Comics #1 (1938), but also Batman’s first appearance, Detective Comics #27 (1939)! I’ve never seen these up close and in person before, so this was truly a one of a kind experience. Plus, this year Superman and Batman both released their 800th issues, so that’s something!

Not to mention all the other fantastic and iconic covers throughout the decades!

I thoroughly enjoyed each room, which housed its own era or theme. One room in particular was home to a very cool Daily Planet display case, surrounded by Superman artifacts and clippings. Toys, certificates, games, and art were all present here.

Check out this 1943 issue of World’s Finest #9 featuring Superman, Batman, and Robin throwing baseballs at the heads of the Axis alliance:

Other rooms pay tribute to popular television icons like sports teams, Howdy Doody, or the Three Stooges.

But one of the coolest rooms was the one that honored everybody’s favorite caped crusader… Batman!

Inside was a life-size statue of the Dark Knight, along with the iconic red 1960’s Bat Phone and Shakespeare bust with moveable head (see the video at the end for more)!

(Don’t worry if Superman is more your thing… Geppi’s has 2 lifesize statues of the Man of Steel!)

When I visited, Geppi’s was also running a special exhibit, “The Dark Knight Through The Decades”, which featured many rare collectibles and photos throughout the years. Autographed pictures, one of a kind art pieces, and more! It was a pretty hefty room, but here’s one part of it:

But with The Last Jedi releasing in one week (AHH!!), I’d be remiss not to mention all the great Star Wars items on display.

From vintage toys to vintage comics, Geppi’s has Ralph McQuarrie art, AFA graded Kenner figures, a CBCS graded Marvel Star Wars #1, and even the original folded 1977 27″x41″ movie poster!

As a huge Star Wars fan, this was a lot to take in!

So much eye candy and so little time!

I couldn’t believe how many spectacular pieces this place had acquired… But it’s important to note that while many of the exhibits are Geppi’s, many are also on loan from dedicated collectors all over the world.

It’s what allows the museum to have such pristine condition collectibles displayed, like these Transformers toys of Grimlock, Hot Rod, and Bumblebee:

Or like-mint condition boxes of Nabisco DC Super Heroes cookies and Mr. T cereal!

All in all, for the low admission price, Geppi’s Entertainment Museum is just that: entertainment. If you’re a collector, pop-culture pundit, or just love watching reruns of Pawn Stars or American Pickers, you have to check out Geppi’s!

And as if all of that isn’t enough, as you exit the museum you’ll walk through a very extensive gift shop! You’ll find modern collectibles both cheap and not, as well as an impressive selection of comic books. (If you’re looking for any back issues, be sure to ask!)

Try to walk out empty-handed!

So check out Geppi’s Entertainment Museum! It’s open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am-6pm and closed on some holidays. Check out www.geppismuseum.com for contact or more info.

Rhode Island Comic Con 2017

Following the great time I had at Rhode Island Comic Con last year, I decided to attend the “The Biggest Show In The Smallest State” again!

While last year’s RICC had it’s ups & downs, it was still a well-put-together event given its venue restrictions. And even though some of its faults carried over into this year, it was still jam packed with amazing guests, fun panels, and cool vendors (feel free to peruse last year’s post to supplement the look & feel of RICC). Let’s photographically travel to Providence, RI together:

Of course there were many vendors who had the latest collectibles, ranging from plushies to statuettes, from cards to comics.

The art was also amazing this year. New techniques are becoming very popular trends… Maybe it’s because of the influence of DC’s recent “Metal” series, but the metal art I saw at NYCC a couple years ago has now blown up to a whole new level! At RICC not only did I see metal prints but also metal trading cards, poster sizes, and even Michael Golden (co-creator of Rogue & Bucky O’Hare) is upping his booth with 3D/lenticular prints. (I was yelled at for trying to take photos/videos of them…)

3D printing has also started to become a dime a dozen.

The more and more I attend cons, the more vendors I see creating 3D printed props and figures. This Baby Groot took many hours to print but you can tell that given its size, the printer is creating him in high detail!

Even the 501st Legion got in on the action with a life size 3D printed K-2SO!

This year, the 501st had an amazing section upstairs in the Rhode Island Convention Center. In addition to their costume/helmet gallery & R2 Builders Club, they put up an Endor Shield Bunker & speeder bike for photo ops. And of course, fully costumed 501st members were present. (Check out my video at the end for more)

I scoped the tables, picked up a few 501st trading cards that I didn’t have yet, and made my way over to Scarif again where I ran into Cassian. We almost got the Death Star plans out of there but an Imperial surveillance unit caught us in the act!

Smile! You’re on Imperial Candid Camera!

I saw a lot of great cosplay at the con, including a Spider-Man Homecoming version of Vulture. Check him out in the video below! (I think he had to check his wings in at the door!)

There was also a life-size Gal Gadot Wonder Woman statue on sale at FYE. It’s a lot more convincing than their previous Batman, Harley Quinn, and Deadpool statues.

Speaking of Deadpool… While in the past Deadpool was a popular fan favorite for comic con cosplay, I’ve actually been seeing more Ricks from Rick & Morty these days! Regular Rick, armored Rick, Piccolo (Dragon Ball + Pickle) Rick, Ronald McDonald Rick, etc…

With their third season done, I recently binge watched all 3 seasons for the first time. This allowed me to actually get all the references around the con, including artists appealing to the ever-growing Rick & Morty fanbase:

In particular, Adam Soltys‘ table caught my eye with my favorite Rick & Morty charcter: Mr. Meeseeks (look at me!)! In addition to prints & t-shirts, Adam also had his zombified Disney Infinity and Nintendo amiibo figures.

Check out some of his designs, including Super Saiyan Rick:

Unfortunately, meeting Rick & Morty creator Justin Roiland was no easy task. (We’re talking about 2 hours on a line to meet him…) Rhode Island Comic Con estimated about 100,000 attendees over the course of the weekend, and with last minute cancellations from many guests such as The Walking Dead cast, Mark Ruffalo, Val Kilmer, Jon Bernthal, and Freddie Prinze Jr., many fans were upset and had to “settle” for the remaining guests. My guess is that the long lines are due to the fact that TWD fans had to resort to their second, third, and fourth choices for meet & greets.

Justin Roiland, Jason Isaacs, Christopher Lloyd, Weird Al, Paul Reubens, and Robert Englund definitely had the longest lines throughout the con!

But I did manage to find time to meet some of the people I planned on meeting:

Paul Reubens, aka Pee-Wee Herman, was such a nice guy! The line was moving slowly but it was worth it because he spent time talking to each fan, getting to know them, and even asking what they do for a living. The guy in front of me must have had an interesting job because Paul asked his assistant to continue interviewing him! When it came to my turn, we talked about Pee-Wee (of course), his voice as RX-24 in the Disney ride Star Tours (and how he reprised the role in the Star Wars Rebels cartoon), and his role in Gotham.

I’m not a fan of getting my autographs personalized, so when I handed over my Pee-Wee comic and RX-24 figures he jokingly asked, “Are you going to sell these?!” We laughed and continued our conversation. The book above and the one below for Weird Al are currently on their way to CGC!

If you’re just tuning in, I got this Obi-Wan & Anakin #1 comic sketched by Creees a few months ago at Garden State Comic Fest. Hoping to meet Weird Al at RICC, I asked Creees to draw Al in his Saga Begins attire (a la live performance) along with the first line of the chorus. It was perfect! Be sure to check out more of Creees’ art if you’re interested in prints or commissions!

When I showed Al, he was in awe and wanted to snap a photo of it on his phone before he signed it for me.

The funny thing about Weird Al’s booth was that instead of being a table out in the open like the other Headliners, he had a closed off booth which was accessible through a curtained entrance. I felt like I was lining up to meet a fortune teller or the Wizard of Oz! Upon entering, I exclaimed “Hey, they told me Spatula City would be behind the curtain!” (A reference to his 1989 movie “UHF“)

So glad I got to meet him though. Growing up, Weird Al was an influence on me in many areas: musical genres, pop culture references, humor, and even his fashion (just kidding!)!

We talked about his VH1 Behind The Music special and how my friend lost my VHS recording of it… The “Remastered” version on YouTube just isn’t the same. Unfortunately he couldn’t help me there!

Weird.

A post shared by Andy (@lesdudis) on

The third book I’m sending to CGC is my first Neal Adams signature:

If you know Neal Adams, then you probably know Deadman, and vice versa!

This is a highly anticipated comic book series that just launched two weeks ago. Above is the glow in the dark variant cover. I was lucky enough to grab one from my local comic book shop before they sold out!

Neal explained why he signed at the bottom of the cover: the raised glow in the dark lines repel the marker ink! He said he ruined two books earlier because he didn’t know this. Glad mine wasn’t a guinea pig!

Lastly, I was able to meet the new Chewbacca actor, Joonas Suotamo:

Joonas is a Finnish basketball player turned actor. He played Chewie alongside Peter Mayhew in The Force Awakens. He’ll do the same for this year’s The Last Jedi. And he’ll be the sole actor as our favorite Wookiee in next year’s Han Solo movie!

I did have to wait a few minutes though because one of those “autograph service” companies had just stepped in line ahead of me. They had stacks and stacks of items to be signed with Post-it’s indicating where Joonas should sign… and with what color. Insanity!

But I absolutely love the way he signs his name, incorporating a little Chewbacca face into his autograph. I told him it looked a lot like the Chewbacca Dog, and he said that Chewbacca Dog is his favorite picture!

All in all, Rhode Island Comic Con is still one of my favorite conventions because they don’t skimp out on the celebrity guests. Navigation is still something that can be improved, but was definitely better this year than 2016. I do feel bad for the fans who bought tickets just for 1 star who ended up canceling, but unfortunately that’s to be expected once in a while from any comic con. But even if that happens, walk around the show floor! There are always amazing artists, actors in roles you never realized before, or a collectible you never knew existed!

Until next time, RICC! You know how to get in touch with me…

#IFoundLegoLuke And Won Lego R2-D2!

#IFoundLegoLuke and won Lego R2-D2! Sounds like a pretty good deal, doesn’t it?

The brick-y Jedi Master in exile debuted at San Diego Comic Con 2017 (July 20-23, 2017) and then embarked on a tour of 5 Wal-Mart’s across the country! At 6 feet tall, this Lego statue is taller than Mark Hamill himselfAren’t you a little tall to be a Stormtrooper?

From July 26-31, he was at the Wal-Mart in Burbank, CA… then August 2-7 in Dallas, TX… August 9-15 in Vienna, VA… August 17-22 in Teterboro, NJ… and then finally August 24-28 in Saugus, MA.

The signage encouraged you to “Pose with Luke!” so that’s exactly what I did. Some normal poses and a couple silly ones – like me handing him a banana in the style of Rey handing him the lightsaber in Episodes VII & VIII… Hey, a Jedi’s gotta have a balanced diet too!

That’s when I saw the signage for this contest. It was a very unassuming sign with little to no information. All I knew was that (a) it’s custom made, (b) it’s actually from the LEGO Group, and (c) it’s Star Wars! So I entered.

Fast forward 2 months and, to my surprise, I received the notification that I was chosen as the winner! Fast forward another month and he finally arrives… the mysterious R2-D2 that I still know nothing about.

I’ll be honest, I was a little skeptical at first. Not because I won the contest but because no one could tell me what a “custom brick built Lego R2-D2” would be. How big is it? Is it pre-built? Will it do anything or just stand there?

I opened the box and inside was a hand-drawn R2-D2 card and this personalized letter to me. I’ve whited out some parts for security reasons but it says:

What a wonderful way to find out how strong the force is with you! I heard that you were the lucky LEGO fan who was able to find Luke Skywalker in a local Wal-Mart Store! I know he has traveled far and wide across our country with fans eager to encounter him in stores; just like Rey in the upcoming movie!

In light of your obvious Jedi strengths, and for your participation in search of the legendary Jedi, please enjoy your custom LEGO Model of R2-D2 built by our professional LEGO Builders. Because it already sounds like you are a huge LEGO and Star Wars fan, I know this prize will be something iconic you can cherish and add to your collection.

Congratulations! You found Luke! We sincerely hope you enjoy your prize and have the chance to share this experience with all the LEGO and Star Wars fans you know.

You got that right! So here he is inside the box:

If you’re familiar enough with Legos, you can see that little assembly was required. His middle leg is already attached, so all I had to do was attach his 2 main legs!

He’s just over a foot tall, once he’s leaned back like this. The contest rules state that the value of this one-of-a-kind Lego R2-D2 is around $2,000 but I’ll go ahead and say that this whole experience was priceless!

In hindsight, I was pretty lucky to even find out about this contest because I found Lego Luke on the last day he was at my Wal-Mart! Huge thank you to Lego & Wal-Mart for everything!

Last week I got to meet Lego Luke again at Play Fair 2017 and thanked him too. If you haven’t seen him yet, check out my Play Fair post and also the official Lego time lapse video of building him with 36,743 bricks:

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!

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