09 August 2017

A Beginner's Guide to Comic Con

What once started as an outlet for comic book collectors to meet up and indulge in their passion together has evolved into so much more. "Comic cons" now cater to all genres of entertainment – sci-fi/fantasy, horror, anime, film, TV, music, and more. Some simply have a presence at conventions, while others are the sole focus of these events. Whatever the case, if there's a fanbase for it, there's probably a convention for it.

With all these choices out there, conventions can be pretty overwhelming, even for the seasoned attendee! I've put together a short Beginner's Guide to Conventions, based on my own experiences, to help you prepare for and navigate through these events. 


CHOOSING AND PREPARING FOR A CONVENTION
  • Do your research: determine which conventions are worth going to based on factors such as schedule, distance, cost (admission, travel and accommodation), and relevance. 
  • Personally, I start by looking at conventions closest to home so I can avoid the cost of overnight stays and other such accommodations; then I narrow down my cons by determining which vendors or media guests I'm most interested in seeing. 
  • Get tickets and all passes in advance to avoid lines and the possibility of things being sold out. Conventions are meant to be fun; standing in line to purchase tickets the day of or finding out that something is sold out can really put a damper on your day! 
  • It's always more fun to invite a friend (or small group or friends) or family, unless you're the type of person who prefers to do things on their own.  


WHAT TO BRING 
  • Big bags usually aren't allowed, but a small bag is ok
  • Cell phone & charger or power bank 
  • Wallet (with cash) 
  • Camera (fully charged and with enough memory) 
  • An item you want signed, as sometimes you're allowed to bring your own items to autograph sessions


HOW TO PLAN YOUR DAY
  • Get plenty of sleep the night before or you'll be in for a long day – especially if you're commuting. 
  • Stay hydrated - cons are hot and crowded, especially if you cosplay! 
  • Bring cash - many vendors offer reduced prices or will negotiate when cash is involved.
  • Don't buy the first thing you see. Walk the floor and check out all the different vendors before you settle on souvenirs. Many vendors will sell the same items but at different prices. It always pays to shop around! 
  • Show up early for panels/photo ops/autograph sessions. Panels fill up quickly and a lot of times standing room is not allowed. Don't miss out on an opportunity because you waited too long to enter a panel! 
  • Don't try to do everything - make a list of the things you really want to do but be flexible and keep an open mind. Lines can be long and things can come up unexpectedly...hope for the best but always have a backup plan. 
  • If you're a social butterfly, take advantage of events like cosplay cruises, after con bar meetups, trivia sessions, and other events offered on or off the convention premises. Conventions are a great way to meet people who share your interests, so it doesn't hurt to take advantage of the opportunities! 
  • Most importantly, have fun!

COSPLAY
  • While a lot of cons do have cosplay contests, cosplay in general is not a competition. If you want to dress up for a convention, do it. It doesn't matter if your costume is put together from pieces in your closet, made by hand and hours of work, or purchased from a skilled artisan on Etsy. Cosplay is about having fun. 
  • That being said, it's good to plan ahead to avoid panicking the night or week before. 
  • Remember that most conventions have strict policies regarding prop weapons. It's best to refer to each convention's FAQ page for specific rules on what is and isn't allowed.
  • Always keep in mind that cosplay  does not equal consent. Remember to ask before taking photos of other cosplayers; similarly, you are never obligated to pose for any photos or participate in any activities that make you uncomfortable. Again, conventions and cosplay are all about having fun.  

Do you have some tips of your own or a convention experience you'd like to share? I'd love to hear from you! Leave a comment in the section below!


UPCOMING COMIC CONS
  • Boston Comic Con (August 11-13 | Boston, MA)
  • Steel City Comic Con (August 11-13 | Monroeville, PA)
  • Vermont Comic Con (August 26-27 | Burlington, VT)
  • San Francisco Comic Con (September 1-3 | San Francisco, CA)
  • Dragon Con (September 1-4 | Atlanta, GA)
  • Rose City Comic Con (September 8-10 | Portland, OR)
  • New York Comic Con (October 5-8 | New York City, NY) 


Looking for an easy way to host an event, such as a comic con after party? Eventbrite has you covered! Visit this link to register today and start hosting your own events now!

19 July 2017

Middle-earth: Shadow of War Voice Cast and SDCC Panel

Middle-earth: Shadow of War, the sequel to Monolith's popular Shadow of Mordor, is slated for release on October 10 and features some big name voice actors:
  • Troy Baker as Talion and the game's Performance Capture Director
  • Alastair Duncan as Celebrimbor
  • Laura Bailey (Injustice 2, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End) as the elite assassin Eltariel
  • Kumail Ninjiani (Silicon Valley, Mass Effect: Andromeda)
  • Pollyanna McIntosh (The Walking Dead)
Additionally, Monolith Productions' Vice President, Creative, Michael de Plater, will join select voice cast members for a Middle-earth: Shadow of War panel at San Diego Comic Con this weekend (July 20-23).


The panel itself will take place on July 21 from 2:00 - 3:00 pm PDT:Delve into the depths of Middle-earth:
  • Shadow of War, the follow up to the critically acclaimed open-world action adventure Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, as Talion and Celebrimbor return and go behind enemy lines to forge an army and turn all of Mordor against the Dark Lord, Sauron.  Middle-earth: Shadow of War offers a richer, more personal and expansive world full of epic heroes and villains, iconic locations, original enemy types, even more personalities and a new cast of characters with untold stories – brought to life through the expansion of the award-winning Nemesis System. 
  • Panelists: Michael de Plater, Monolith Productions Vice President, Creative (Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor), Troy Baker, actor and Middle-earth: Shadow of War performance capture director (Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor), along with actors Kumail Nanjiani (“The Big Sick,” “Silicon Valley”), Pollyanna McIntosh (“The Walking Dead,” “Hap and Leonard,” “The Woman”), Laura Bailey (Injustice 2, “Critical Role”) and moderator, Matt Mercer (“Critical Role”).
  • Room 6BCF, San Diego Convention Center, 111 W. Harbor Dr., San Diego, CA 92101

If you're attending SDCC this weekend, be sure to stop by the Shadow of War panel!

16 July 2017

Journey into Mordor with LOTRO's Newest Expansion

Middle-earth themed MMORPG The Lord of the Rings Online recently celebrated its tenth anniversary; following this milestone and five expansions packs' worth of adventures, players will finally be able to journey into Mordor with the game's upcoming Mordor expansion, which is slated for release on July 31st.


In an interview with MMO-Central, Standing Stone - the company which took over the game after Turbine switched over to mobile gaming - explained that the adventures will take place after the One Ring has been destroyed by Frodo and Sam.

“The reason that we can enter Mordor and not interfere with Frodo and Sam’s mission is because the majority of the Mordor expansion is going to take place after they’ve already gotten to Mount Doom. It would not be appropriate, I don’t think, for adventurers to be gallivanting in Mordor concurrent with Frodo and Sam doing their thing,” Jeff Libby said. “Fairly early on in the expansion, I think you’ll see that things get sorted out in a way, and then Mordor is our oyster.” (Check out the full interview here!)


LOTRO's Mordor expansion comes with a slew of new features, including:
  • 300+ new quests
  • Hundreds of new deeds
  • New Allegiance system
  • New instance cluster with raid

The expansion will be available in the LOTRO store following Update 22 this winter:
  • Base Edition (Moria region and instances only): 2495 points
  • High Elf race: 1000 points

For now, players can purchase one of three editions of the game:

The Ultimate Fan Bundle - $129.99
  • Aria of the Valar - instant boost to Mordor
  • High Elf race
  • Character slot
  • Exclusive Alliance cosmetics & mount
  • Exclusive Mordor cosmetics & mount
  • Two exclusive titles
  • XP accelerators for all characters
  • Housing teleport for all characters
  • Three relics for all characters
  • Two essence reclamation scrolls for all characters
  • Ten extra shared storage slots
  • Code for a month of free VIP access

The Collector's Edition - $79.99
  • Aria of the Valar
  • High Elf race
  • Character slot
  • Exclusive Alliance cosmetics & mount
  • One exclusive title

The Standard Edition - $39.99 
  • Aria of the Valar  


Will you be journeying into Mordor? And if so, which edition will you choose?

09 July 2017

My Funko Pop! Vinyl Wishlist

Back in September, myself and a few others compiled a list of Lord of the Rings themed Funko Pop! Vinyl figures we hoped would eventually be made, since the company had only put out a very limited line of Hobbit figures and one from The Lord of the Rings.

Since then, Funko has released a new line of figures, including such characters as the Balrog, a Nazgul (in regular and twilight form), Frodo and Sam, Gandalf, and Saruman. Additionally, a San Diego Comic Con exclusive featuring Aragorn and Arwen was also revealed; but beyond that, there's no word as to whether Funko will continue to put out more characters from The Lord of the Rings (though at this point I would be surprised if they didn't, since this line has been so well-received).


In any case, I decided to update my list and jot down a few characters I'd still really love to see in Funko Pop! form someday – but this time, I found myself thinking in general terms, and not just in regards to Peter Jackson's films. I came up with a ton, but narrowed it down for the sake of this post.

Here's a "Top Ten" list of my design – I'd love to hear your choices in the comments below:

From The Lord of the Rings Films
  • Galadriel (standard and mirror variation)
  • King of the Dead (glow in the dark, obviously!)
  • Boromir (with arrows in chest and boat accessory – a little depressing, I know)
  • Treebeard (I kept debating on whether I wanted Jackson's Treebeard or Ralph Bakshi's, but I think Jackson's would be more recognisable) 
  • Gimli (because so far we only have one Dwarf and that is unacceptable! How is Funko Legolas supposed to sail West without his BFF?)
  • Mûmak (especially in baby form, this would just be the cutest Funko ever!)
Other Licenses
  • Tom Bombadil (based on LOTRO's design; since he was absent from the films, it's only right to include him as a Funko Pop!)
  • Bilbo (Rankin/Bass' version would be great for older fans who grew up with the original Hobbit/LOTR films or the collector looking for the unique item)
Misc.
  • J.R.R. Tolkien (this just seems like an obvious one)

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What do you think? Let me know or share your own choices in the comments below! And be sure to follow me on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter: @TolkienBritta!

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