Thursday, August 28, 2014

Dragon Con 2014: My Extremely Tentative Schedule

Dragon*Con starts TONIGHT, motherscratchers!
I’ve decided that’s just how I’m going to start this post every year. It’s worked just fine for the past two and I see no reason to change it. Nobody is here for salutations anyway. You guys just all want to know what’s happening at the biggest, best, most exciting, non-stop crazy-ass nerds-gone-wild party on the planet, right?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Needless Things Podcast Episode 32: Slim J & the DCW Hooligans

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be part of a conversation with the DCW Hooligans? Today’s Needless Things Podcast is your opportunity to find out!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Dragon Con 2014: Kilt Blowing by Dianne Rentz

Dragon Con 2011.

It was my second DragonCon. I had fallen in love with Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series and was eager to meet her. I went to her booth to buy a new book and find out how to get her autograph. The nice blonde lady, whom I found out later was Chica, Laurell’s sister, told me about the book Flirt and that there was a comic in the back by Jennie Breeden. I hadn’t read that one and bought it. She told me that Jennie Breeden had an event that night called Kilt Blowing and I could get her to autograph the comic for me. 

Dragon Con 2014: Me and Dragon Con Part 1

Today I’m going to write about my personal history with Dragon Con.

Well, I’m going to try to.
Thanks to years of brain abuse, my recollection isn’t super and I’m not entirely sure about dates and years and sequences of events. But I’m pretty good back to 2005. It’s the years before that that are fuzzy.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Needless Things Podcast Episode 31: Dragon Con Puppetry Track & National Puppet Slam

In this episode I welcome Mr. Beau Brown back to the Podcast, this time not as my co-host, but as a guest! He’s here in his role as Director of the Dragon Con Puppetry Track.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Dragon Con 2014 - A Few Lines About … LINES by Liz

Featuring the meandering thoughts of guest Phantomanic Needless Things reporter extraordinaire Liz.

"A straight line may be the shortest distance between two points, but it is by no means the most interesting." ~ The 3rd Doctor

The hotel check-in line.

The registration line. 

The Chick-Fil-A line.

The Atrium Ballroom Line.

The Regency Ballroom Line. 

The line for the bathroom.

The line for the escalator.

The line to get out of the escalator line.

The line for the next escalator. 

The Starbucks line. The Habit Trail lines. The Walk of Fame lines. The Blood Donation lines. The photography lines. Lines you expected to be in. Lines you didn’t know you were in. Lines that you breeze past on your way to your own line.

After four years at Dragon Con I was a master of lines. A line master. A grand pooba of lines and waiting in lines. I had line snacks. Reading material for getting to a line early. Directions to get to my line. Directions for those who stopped to ask me where the end of the line was. A camera to take crazy pictures of the line. I usually forget the comfortable shoes for standing in line part though.
And THEN. I remember it like it was yesterday. Dragon Con Registration Line – 2012.
I knew something was wrong as I approached the Sheraton. Where was the line wrapping around the outside of the building? Had registration been cancelled? Was I here on the wrong day?! Was I in an episode of the Twilight Zone where I’m the only person left on earth?!?! Hmmmm…

Once inside the Sheraton I noticed something strange. Colored lines on the floor. Maybe they’d been there in the past guiding people onwards to certain registration lines but I was used to following other people. Where were the people. 

Once I stepped inside the ballroom I realized what was going on. ALTERNATE REALITY. Image a reality where you visit a convention and THERE ARE NO LINES. What was I going to do with the snacks jammed in my bag? How was I going to finish the new book I had grabbed? How was I going to catch up with the LAST YEAR of my friends’ lives WITHOUT my registration line time?

2012 was the year that Dragon Con implemented some new registration procedures which resulted in an alternate reality where I did not stand in line at all to get my badge (is it a real, authentic Dragon Con badge if you didn’t stand in line for it?). I mistakenly thought that it would be like this every year after. And while that would not be true I’ve never had to stand in a registration line for more than an hour or so since 2012. 

Despite the thrill of NOT being in line for that single, fleeting moment of time back in 2012 I love my Dragon Con lines. 

Straight lines go too quickly to appreciate the pleasures of the journey. They rush straight to their target and then die in the very moment of their triumph without having thought, loved, suffered or enjoyed themselves. Broken lines do not know what they want. With their caprices they cut time up, abuse routes, slash the joyous flowers and split the peaceful fruits with their corners. It is another story with curved lines. The song of the curved line is called happiness.” - René Crevel

Tips for Being in Line:

Know when to sit, when to stand and when to MOVE. 

Bring a book or word puzzles or brain teasers. 

Make a friend. Make several friends (they come in handy if you have to leave one line for the other, ie your current line to the bathroom line and back). 

Bring water (not soda).

Know where your line begins.

Shower/deodorant. PLEASE. 

Don’t freak out when your line wraps around two or three corners of the building. Most of the ballrooms are HUGE. 

Here’s a scale for judging where you’ll be in a large ballroom by which corner of the building you are nearest: 

1st corner of the building = Front third of the room

2nd corner of the building = middle of the room

3rd corner of the building = back of the room 

4th corner of the building = very back of the room

5th corner of the building/you’re lining up next to your own line = you’re in line for William Shatner, George Takai or the Mythbusters. Give up now. 

Have fun. 

After all, you never know when the lines are going to disappear.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Dragon Con 2014: The Costume Post- aka - We Are Rocket

Hey everybody – Phantom here. I am looking for stories about Dragon Con. I don’t care how long they are, how dirty or clean they are, or when they took place. If you have a Con-related story you’d like to share, send it to me at and I will post it here on the site. Be sure to include pictures (if possible), how you want to be credited, and any links you’d like to attach. We have less than two weeks before Con, so I’ll be posting your stories as soon as I get them.

To paraphrase the great Dave Barry:

Once could not possibly overstate the importance of cosplayers at Dragon Con.

Well, one could, I suppose, if one said something like, “Without cosplayers at Dragon Con the balance of the entire universe would shift and Earth would go hurtling into the sun.”
Although I think that might be entirely possible.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Dragon Con 2014 - Thoughts on Con by R.T. Ewell

Hey everybody – Phantom here. I am looking for stories about Dragon Con. I don’t care how long they are, how dirty or clean they are, or when they took place. If you have a Con-related story you’d like to share, send it to me at and I will post it here on the site. Be sure to include pictures (if possible), how you want to be credited, and any links you’d like to attach. We have less than two weeks before Con, so I’ll be posting your stories as soon as I get them.
I am a nerd through and through. I always have been and always will be. About fifteen years ago I discovered conventions. Normally, they are called comic book conventions (or simply cons for short) but in this day and age most of them are really more like pop culture conventions. The things they do best is bring nostalgia and current pop culture together while also being relevant to all ages. I fell in love immediately. The atmosphere, the people, the artists, the cool stuff to buy, and absolutely not least, the costumes. My first convention was a con in Knoxville, TN that no longer exists called Adventure Con. After that I attended such cons as Chiller Theatre in New Jersey, Fanboy Expo in Tennessee, MegaCon in Florida, ConNooga in Chattanooga and the granddaddy of them all - San Diego Comic Con. I was very fortunate to attend all of these but nestled amongst that group of outstanding cons was a little one called Dragon Con.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Dragon Con 2014: Heyo! It’s Dragon Con!

Worst. Title. Ever.

Sorry, Phantomaniacs. I know you expect better of me. But I have spent the last couple of months focusing on what I’m going to be doing at Dragon Con rather than what I’m going to be posting before Dragon Con. This is very different from the norm.

I mentioned in my Progress Report post that I wasn’t too sure what was going to fill these days before Con. Part of that is because of the necessary prep work for what I’ll be doing at Con this year, the other part is that I don’t want to do Q&As anymore. I relied very heavily on those to take up slots in the past, but now that I’m doing the podcast more regularly the written Q&As just seem too impersonal and formulaic to me. 
This, of course, creates the problem of what the heck to post.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Needless Things Podcast Episode 30: Dragon Con 2014 - American Sci-Fi Classics Track

It’s no secret that I adore Gary Mitchel and Joe Crowe – the men behind Dragon Con’s American Sci-Fi Classics Track. A large part of that adoration is the fact that they so wholly embrace the way that I present myself and my opinions on pop culture. I’m not above letting my ego influence my likes. Or anything else, for that matter.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Movie Review: Come Back To Me by R.T. Ewell

It was a few years ago I believe when Wrath James White announced that his book The Resurrectionist was going to be turned into a movie. Now, when these things happen often times they never get produced or the care that should be put into them isn’t. After a while I kind of forgot that a movie was indeed happening. That is, until a couple of months ago when a trailer was released for it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Comic Book Wednesday – Grimm Fairy Tales #101 from Zenescope

FULL DISCLOSURE – I received a review copy of this comic from Zenescope. This is the first free anything I have ever gotten from any kind of major entity. 
Also, Zenescope is sponsoring Whose EFF Is It Anyway?, the game show that I am hosting with Miss Lady Flex at Dragon Con (and possibly elsewhere). Whose EFF starts at 10 PM on Saturday night in the Marriott M303-304.

I’m writing this before I read the comic and I have no intention of letting the sweet deal I’ve set up color my opinion of the comic. I’ve never read a Zenescope comic book before because I’ve always dismissed them as gratuitous T&A comics. Mrs. Troublemaker, on the other hand, is a fan of Zenescope and actually owns a bunch of the comics. So this should be interesting. Here we go.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Toy Review – Masters of the Universe Classics Plundor the Spoiler from Mattel by Beau Brown

I am communicating to you through the interference field of a few months away from Dragon Con. Can you hear me? My shields are holding back most of the shrapnel. I have just enough time to come up with a good plan before I cross the threshold into the Con and it all folds out backwards from there. It is kind of like already being on the other side and waiting for the rest of the world to catch up.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Toy Review – WWE Elite Collection Series 28 – Bray Wyatt from Mattel

I give Mattel a lot of shit. I know this. But I will also give them credit where credit is due and say that Mattel’s WWE line is one of the best toy lines available today. And not just their collector-oriented Elite series. Their standard line features a bit less in the way of articulation and accessories, but seems to be about equal on decos. It uses parts originating with the Elite line but farmed out to the simpler figures, so the likenesses and body types tend to be about on par with the Elite series. The genius of this is that nobody is alienated. You could collect your favorites in the Elite format and fill in the ranks with the basic figures. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Needless Things Podcast Episode 29: Dragon Con 2014 - Sean Patton & DJ Spider

Time to get these Dragon Con episodes underway, Phantomaniacs!

Last year Beau and I talked to DJ Spider about cosplay and conventions. She was so delightful we knew we wanted to have her back this year.

I’ve been wanting to have Sean Patton of SMP Designs on since the first time I spoke to him. He’s the guy that sparked my desire to learn more about cosplay and feature it like I did during last year’s Dragon Con coverage. This year we managed to schedule some time before Con to talk. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Couch Crusader - Looking Back at Batman '66 by Geena Phillips

Batman (1966) Season 1, Episode 3 - "Fine Feathered Finks"

First off, an imaginary script meeting.

Head writer: "So, our first episode featuring the Penguin. Maybe we should lead off with a crime centered around penguins, or at least birds in general?"

Producer: "Fuck that shit! Birds are expensive! UMBRELLAS ALL THE WAY, BABY!"

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Comic Book Wednesday: Previews August 2014

Comic Book Wednesday –
Previews August 2014: DC Cranks It Up A Notch
If you don’t know, Previews is the catalogue that Diamond Comic Distributors use to offer the products they distribute to comic book stores around the country. This is where you can view and order (through your favorite Local Comic Book Shop) comic books, trade paperback collections, t-shirts, books, media, and toys and other collectibles from hundreds of different vendors that deal in geek-oriented merchandise. The genius part is that you actually have to pay for your copy of Previews for the privilege of ordering other things to pay for. It’s like the Ren Fest except without the horse poo smell.

So every month a new edition of Previews is sent out to comic book stores. Contained in the pages within are products that might be currently available or could be released anytime in the next year; but typically about two months away. Or sometimes never. I’ve ordered lots of things that have just never come in. Without getting into the specific politics of Diamond, let me just say that they aren’t quite a monopoly and also aren’t quite the worst distributor anybody has ever dealt with in the history of the universe.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Toy Review – Masters of the Universe Classics Comet Warriors from Mattel by Mr. Beau Brown

Greetings Phantomaniacs!

I am back with another Masters of the Universe Classics review of Stonedar and Rokkon, The Comet Warriors!

The Comet Warriors were the 2013 San Diego Comic Con Exclusives.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Dragon Con 2014: Phantom's Preview

I really need Dragon Con this year.
I’m not going to bitch about my job. Lord knows I do that enough. I just spent half of an otherwise great episode of Shauncastic doing it. But this has been a rough year and I need a break.
Granted, it might be more beneficial if that break was actually a break and I wasn’t going to be on a bunch of panels at Dragon Con, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. More on those panels later.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Needless Things Podcast Episode 28: San Diego Comic Con 2014

It is time once again for the Knights of Needless Things to assemble and discuss the goings-on at the biggest media event on the planet – San Diego Comic Con!