Thursday, September 21, 2006

Looking To The Stars - Heroes On Screens, Large and Small

Has Hollywood learned nothing from what comic-book adaptations have worked well and which ones haven’t? I ask this because there’s been a spattering of stories in the news lately that have me wondering.

First up, the latest rumors on the casting of Joss Whedon’s Wonder Woman movie.

Rachel Bilson In The Running For Wonder Woman
Mischa Barton on Wonder Woman wish-list
McPhee Addresses Wonder Woman Rumors

Okay. Three headlines there. Just for the sake of photographic reference, let’s review.

Rachel Bilson – Some woman from The OC

Mischa Barton – Some other woman from The OC

Katharine McPhee – some woman from American Idol

Now, thankfully two of these three rumors have already been defused. In a recent interview, Billson confessed that she hadn’t heard of Joss Whedon and certainly hadn’t been approached about Wonder Woman. And Katharine McPhee said in the above-linked article that she wouldn’t seriously consider such a big part for her first movie. And given those two are the only women of the three who come close to looking ANYTHING like what Wonder Woman should look like, I think we can handily dismiss the mention of Mischa Barton as “Well, actress A from this show is getting press so we need to give Actress B some press too” studio scuttlebutt.

Which is a good thing because NONE of these women should even be in the running. Nobody who is a singer trying to land her first acting role needs to be playing Wonder Woman. Nobody who brings up more hits for her nearly-nude paparazzi pictures than pictures of her acting work on a Google search needs to be playing Wonder Woman. And as cute as Bilson is in the costume, the ability to do a sexy seduction scene should not EVER be a consideration for playing Wonder Woman no matter how good you look.

Additionally, I have to give Bilson negative points for being on an IGN list of Who Should Play Wonder Woman? Anybody who can be mentioned in the same breath with the likes of Jessica Simpson and Lindsay Lohan as a serious by anyone, EVEN the horny half-twits running IGN, should be dismissed without a second glance.

Thankfully, this is all a non-issue. Of much greater concern in this little tidbit of news…

Heath Ledger HATES Comic Book Movies

Now, understand this. I’m not of the opinion that only a brazen fanboy can play a comic book character on the big screen. If that were the case, the idea of having Nicholas Cage play damn near every superhero who had a movie deal in the last ten years might make sense. Most of the best portrayals we’ve had came from actors who WEREN’T big comic fans but did come to know and like the character they were portraying. Tobey Maguire, for instance, had never read a Spider-Man book before Sam Rami came to him about playing Peter Parker.

By contrast, everyone who has ever gone into a comic book movie HATING the concept has, in turn, given a horrible performance. Case in point – Halle Berry as Storm and The Pretend Catwoman. Berry made it no secret that she considered X-Men beneath her and it showed that she didn’t want to be there in every single sequel. And I never saw Catwoman but given what I heard from those who were foolish enough to see it, it was much the same problem – they removed everything about the core of the concept that was likeable and just made something that was…. Bad.

So when I hear Heath Ledger saying things like “"I actually hate comic book movies, like ****ing hate them, they just bore me ****less and they're just dumb.“ or that he’s looking forward to playing Joker “really sinister and it's going to be less about his laugh and his pranks and more about just him being a just a ****ing sinister guy” - well, even with Chris Nolan directing, it’s a worrying sign.

Why? Because Joker, as a character, is the epitome of everything a comic book villain that works. He is over the top. He is colorful. He is unrealistic. And yes, he IS a ****ing sinister guy. But the humor, dark as it is, comes before the death. And Joker without the laugh and the pranks isn’t the Joker.

And on that note, let me just say on a personal level, THIS is not Oliver Queen.

I’ve watched maybe one episode of Smallville all the way through - working night-shift you get to miss a lot of bad TV. But even I know that they said, off the bat, that they were not going to have it become a show full of costumes and that any other superheroes showing up would be very rare, if it happened.

Having now seen these pictures, I wish they had stuck to their guns on that – even if superheroes are suddenly becoming more and more in vogue in the popular media. Because this... this just looks ridiculous.

First of all, sunglasses AND a hood? What’s the point aside from the extra added coolness factor? And as for the rest of it – I’d say that it makes him look like a metrosexual boy-band member but I don’t think any self-respecting gay man or even Lance Bass would ever dream of wearing this monstrosity.

But even bad fashion sense isn’t the biggest crime being committed here. He’s using a compound bow. A freaking compound bow, for crying out loud! And, no I am not complaining about this because in the comics, Oliver Queen has said numerous times that he HATES compound bows and he that would never use a compound bow.

A longbow, certainly. A short recurve bow, absolutely. But stylistically and practically it goes against everything the character stands for to be using something as modern and amateurish as a compound bow.

As an archer, I can attest that recurves offer greater power, smoother draws and a good deal more control to an experienced archer. Compound and composite bows are only used by good-old boys who can’t be bothered to use a real man’s weapon that requires practice and skill. It’s like going duck hunting with an M-16.

Hmmm... been rather a depressing and angry column so far, hasn’t it? And I do so hate to end things on a negative note. Sure wish there was some good news about something comic-book related on the small screen that I could talk about. Something coming out in the week after I’m writing this. Maybe something that would be on TV the night of the day that you’ll likely be reading this.

Oh wait! There IS something like that I can write about.

I know. I know. It’s a pathetic rip-off of Lost and all the big TV critics are saying good things about it, which means that it HAS to suck. It’s going to be the popular, pretty people playing with our toys and screwing things up – just like every other attempt to do a serious drama about people with super powers. It’s either going to be pretentious as hell or hokey as all get out, right?

Don’t you believe it!

Seriously, the first episode (which has been available for those in the know on the Internet for the last week), is not that bad. I think it would have been preferable to air the pilot as the two-hour movie that it was apparently premiered as at ComicCon but... the first hour is not bad and I’m definitely going to check out the second episode. I haven’t decided if it is tape-worthy yet – but it does not suck coming right out of the gate.

The one thing I can say is that, so far, it appears that this show will have a little something for everyone, regardless of what type of comic book hero you like.

Do you like your heroes idealistic in an Elliot S. Maggin style? There’s Peter – a nurse who has dreams of flying and something bigger in life.

Do you like heroes who see their powers as more of a curse than a blessing in the Stan Lee style? There’s Claire – a suicidal cheerleader who cannot die.

How about Frank Miller grim-and-gritty style characters? There’s Isaac – a heroin-addicted artist who paints vivid images of approaching disasters weeks before they happen.

Or maybe you like heroes that aren’t too serious and are even a little silly, like those in a Keith Giffen comic. There’s Hiro – a Japanese cubicle jockey and Trekkie who bores his best friend with crazy stories of his being able to stop time and teleport.

I won’t spoil anything else for you all. There’s spoilers aplenty elsewhere on the web if you want to read about the plot of the pilot beforehand. And if you missed the first episode by the time you do read this, you can watch the first episode here.

All you need to know is that around the world, people are starting to develop abilities that make them more than human. They are being sought, at the moment, by two people – the son of an Indian geneticist whose father predicted an event that would cause a jump in the evolutionary chain and a shadowy man in a suit who apparently has darker designs on what super powers can do for the world.

Honestly, this show has got a pretty high artistic pedigree what with Jim Lee just signed on to do a web-comic based on the show and Tim Sale being the one doing all of Isaac’s paintings. And the buzz from those who have seen the pilot is nothing but positive so far. Heck, the Sci-Fi channel has even picked up the rights to rerun episodes later in the week on Friday nights, which is good if only to prevent further endless reruns of Stargate.

And to elevate the one big fear I’ve been hearing from everyone who is concerned about the quality of the show? It isn’t a Lost rip-off. Stuff actually happens in this first episode and they’re getting to the point of things right away, by all indications. There’s also no mystery just for the sake of being mysterious though there is one plot twist I did not see coming. Mum’s the word on that one though.

Tune in next week. Same Matt time. Same Matt website.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Looking To The Stars - A New Look But An Old Attitude

So how does that look, kids?

A new logo for the new Inside Pulse 3.0 site reorganization. Gone is the monochromatic 1970′s album cover logo that we all came to know and love. Now we have a logo that is colorful – a logo that is exciting – a logo that hints of inspiration and frontiers as of yet explored!

The same old trite platitudes and purple prose are still here, though, as you can plainly see.

Ah, wait a moment! I see some new people there among you. Well, don’t be shy or worried. This is a week of new beginnings. Doubtlessly you wanted to try something new with all the places at Inside Pulse you usually visit. Some of you came from the movie section, wondering perhaps if we had anything to say about the Spider-Man movies here. A few of you have come from the TV section having just watched Who Wants To Be A Superhero? or seen the preview for Heroes and you’re a little curious about the books upon which such things are based. Or maybe you’re just wandering in from somewhere else for the sake of wandering. I know that feeling well.

I’ve roamed far; farther than any other man of my family ever wandered. I’ve seen all the great Cons of the A-Kons, the AnimeFests, the O-Cons and the Wizard Worlds. I’ve roamed in the unknown countries south of the black kingdoms of Canada, and east of the Lake of Worth. I’ve been a comic shop salesman, a cos-player, a critic, a web-comic writer, a reviewer- hell, I’ve been everything except a writer for a professional company and I may be that, before I die.

(There’s a great literary reference I am paraphrasing there. Be the first one to e-mail me with the exact title and author and I’ll print your name here for all to see next week. I’ll give you one hint – it’s not in a comic.)

To tell something about myself seriously, which I rarely do for this is so little that is serious about me, I have been at this game for quite some time. I only got into the comics hobby about ten years ago but I have more than made up for lost time. My mother, a wonderful woman and a librarian, was of the opinion that all comic books were low literature and I didn’t get much exposure to them as a child as a result. But she didn’t stop me from collecting superhero action figures nor from watching cartoons. I built up a health love of Spider-Man, Batman and Green Lantern as a result of that.

And then, at my first job in a bookstore that shall remain nameless, I was unpacking magazines and saw what was to be my first comic book. Green Lantern #90. My first reaction upon looking at it was “That guy on the cover isn’t Green Lantern!” My quest to figure out who he was led me to a local comic shop and the rest is history.

I started writing about comics shortly after that. I’d always been a writer and a comedian, so it was natural that I try and write something funny relating to my new hobby. As a lark, I submitted a piece (a crazy little article about how Batman and Robin was a badly re-edited attempt at a Batman Musical) to the now legendary Fanzing and was quickly brought on as a regular contributor and eventually as a monthly columnist.

But all good things must come to an end and owing to the expenses for web-servers and traffic (this being in the days before blogs made such things a lot cheaper and easier to run), Fanzing shut down operations. But I was not without a fan-base even then, astonishing as that fact was and still is to me today. And one of those fans was starting a new magazine.

His name was Ben Morse and while he has gone on, rightly so, to bigger and better things, he was the one who gave me a shot writing for the new comics section at a little website that was, at the time 411 Wrestling. Which begat 411 Mania. Which begat Comics Nexus. Which brings us back to today.

I’ve been described by one luminary as the Eddie Izzard of Internet Graphic Literature Commentary – everybody has heard of me, they either love me or hate me and nobody remembers my name until someone else describes me to them. I also occasionally do dress in women’s clothing, but only in my professional work as an actor.

I’ve had my praises sung by such people as Gail Simone, Kevin Smith, Ben Raab and Randy Milholland. My name has been cursed by the likes of Ron Zimmerman, Rob Liefeld and Scott Kurtz. If you judge a man by his friends and enemies, let me be so judged.

On a personal note, I spent three years working for a comic shop as a salesman. I was one of several writers for a short-lived web comic, based on our magazine, called 144 Anima. I hold a Masters of Information Science and Technology and a Bachelors in Theater Arts. I’m currently employed (not as much as I’d like) as a Part-Time Librarian somewhere in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Donations in exchange for any joy my writing brings you are welcome but not necessary.

The reason I mention all of this is so that you know where I am coming from when I state an opinion. Despite that, this column is not about me or my thoughts or what I am doing in my life. I have a private blog for that and most of you would probably be bored stiff by it.

To my mind, this column is two things. First, this is a place for fans of all walks – from those who have been double-bagging their books for a while to those who are just getting into the hobby or are coming back to it after a long absence – to be able to read upon the news, as told from my inexplicably popular perspective. Second, this is a place to showcase the wonders that are inherent to fandom in the Comics Genre to those who never thought about certain aspects of it.

The only set rule about what you will read about here is that it will, in some way, relate to the world of comic books. You will find discussions of movies and TV shows based on comics or created by people who work in comics here. I’ve written, a few times, about games based on the comic book genre. Occasionally, I’ll do quick reviews of everything I read in a week or one in-depth review about a particularly significant book, good and bad. Links to good webcomics or blogs you should be reading will oft be posted. Also, I have been known to write humorous rants in the style of Dennis Miller – before he sold out to become a poor man’s John Stewart on MNF. The irregular bit of satire and parody has been known to drip off my pen. And there might even be the odd interview with someone who is a part of the business and fun of comics, be it a professional writer or a professional cos-player.

In short, this is not a column about comics – this is a column about the emotions that comics inspire in us all. Love. Hate. Joy. Wonder.

And yes, even Hope.

Tune in next week. Same Matt time. Same Matt website.

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Friday, September 8, 2006

Looking To The Stars - Another Week, Another Bunch of Reviews

Not much on my pull-list this week. But with one exception, everything I read this week was great.

52 Week #18
Company Name: DC Comics
Writers: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka and Mark Waid
Art: Various

I thought it was John Constantine on the cover at first, but no – it’s Ralph Dibny in a trenchcoat. Regardless, this was one of the better issues in recent memory as we get to see the plot for Question and Montyoa move forward (finally), the possible return of a Booster Gold and…well, I won’t spoil the surprise but I don’t think anyone saw what appears to be happening in the last few pages coming by a long shot.

Grade: A

Detective Comics #823
Writer: Paul Dini
Artists: Joe Benitez and Victor Llama

It’s official. Detective Comics is my favorite post-One Year Later comic book. Dini is in fine form, adding new corners onto the regular universe while bring the unique blend of horror and comedy that made him one of the most popular writers on Batman: The Animated Series. If you haven’t started picking this title up yet, now is the time to start. Don’t worry about catching up – apart from one mention of last issue’s revelation that Riddler has gone straight and is now a detective for hire – the story is entirely self-contained.

Grade: A

Spider-Man Special: Black and Blue and Read All Over
Writer: Jim Krueger
Artists: Drew Johnson & Tom Palmer

Doth my eyes deceive me? A Marvel Comic NOT written by Dan Slott that is… fun? No Joke, True Believers! This is one of the best Spider-Man stories in recent memory – and not JUST because there is no taint of Civil War, the Iron Spider Armor or Peter not having a secret identity anymore in it. Indeed, the whole story hinges upon Peter planning to reveal his secret identity in exchange for a chance to tell his own story in The Daily Bugle. What happens next? Read it and see!

Grade: B

Savage Red Sonja: Queen of the Frozen Wastes #1
Writers: Doug Murray and Frank Cho
Artist: Homs

Frank Cho knows how to draw a pretty woman, right? And Red Sonja is a pretty woman, right? So this should be a decent looking book, right? Well, it might be except for three problems. (Four if you count the scary man-legs Sonja has on the Cho cover)

1. Cho isn’t the artist on this book. He’s the co-writer and one of the cover artists. So except for the cover, his fans are going to be disappointed.
2. His writing isn’t all that great, with Sonja sounding like a valley girl.
3. The artist, this relative newcomer Homs, draws Sonja in similar fashion, with “Ohmygod!” expressions throughout. Hardly the hardy warrior maiden we know.

But the really bad thing about this book, particularly in light of the recent Red Sonja #13, is the costuming. Now understand that unlike many critics, I have no trouble recognizing that scanty, impractical armor is a convention of the fantasy genre. (And fair being fair, Conan’s fur boxers aren’t much good for repelling swords either) I think that Mike Oeming’s explanation for Sonja’s armor (maximize agility against slower male warriors while distracting them) is actually a very good one. But the fact is that Sonja’s homeland is a desert. Most of the places we’ve seen her traveling in the monthly title were, at the very worst, of temperate climate. And now in the monthly title, when Sonja is traveling into the frozen northlands, what does she do?

She puts on several layers of fur – that’s what. Because Sonja, unlike this book, isn’t stupid.

Grade: F

Finally, on a less happy note, Killer Princess,/i> artist Lea Hernandez needs our help. Even if you aren’t a fan of her work (and I don’t know why you wouldn’t be), send what you can.

Tune in next week. Same Matt time. Same Matt website.

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Monday, September 4, 2006

Looking To The Stars - AnimeFest '06 Report

It is a very odd thing, conventions. Sometimes the biggest ones seem very small and the smallest ones seem very big. Case in point: Dallas is host to two notable Anime-themed conventions. A-KON and Animefest.

A-KON is the longest-running Anime and Manga Convention in the whole of the United States of America (Fun trivia fact: Dallas is also the first place in the USA to air Monty Python on PBS) and is famed for now being a convention capable of holding the interests of many branches of fandom as well as an international audience.

Animefest, by contrast, is a purer sort of convention. It has managed to stay mainly devoted to Anime and Manga, with gaming and webcomics making up a well-represented minority in the events and convention floor-space. It is more of a local con, or so I have heard. And yet, somehow, as I went to Animefest this year, I seemed to meet more people from far away than I did at A-Kon earlier this summer. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

This was my first time attending Animefest. Why? Well, me being a fanboy of American comics whom regards most Manga with the same cautious but potentially hostile attitude that the USA maintained toward East Germany during the 1960s, I’ve never had any reason to attend Anime-specific conventions before. But I am trying to broaden my horizons – become a Renaissance Fan as it were. And I thought that my readers who ARE fans of Anime/Manga might appreciate the low-down on the convention. And one of my old writing buddies from WAY back in the day was there as a guest of honor.

So it was with a mixture of glee and trepidation that I set forth that morning, managing to avoid the famous downtown Dallas mid-morning traffic jams that make a merry hell of the I-30/I-35 E changeover. One jaunt through the government district to an open and highly visible paid parking lot later and I was just a short walk from the famed Hyatt Regency Hotel at Reunion Tower. What is Reunion Tower you may ask? This.

Yeah. The big tower with the ball on top that you see in the opening of Dallas and Walker: Texas Ranger as well as most pictures of the Dallas skyline? THAT is Reunion Tower.

Still, I nearly didn’t make it to Animefest. To make a long story short, there were complications with my efforts to secure an advance press-pass. Thankfully, things got sorted out once I showed up and presented my bona fides Friday morning. So hats off to Jason, the media liaison, who did a thankless job on the fly quite well.

For once, I was far too early for a convention. Although things technically opened at ten in the morning, the dealers’ room did not open until noon and many of the guests in the Artists’ Alley were not there that early, perhaps due to jet lag from the day before. Still, it’s not hard to have fun at a convention just going around and talking to the people who are there.

Case in point: I spent a goodly hour chatting with Brandon McKinney of White Apple Multimedia about comic books and other things while he was setting his booth up. Brandon, it turns out, was the artist who designed the various badges for AnimeFest – including the rather fetching reporter lady who graced my Press Badge. I would offer a scan here, but the lamination is somehow blocking my scanners efforts to scan it. So take a gander at this, that my may see of his glory.

Brandon is a good artist and a class-act, who gave me an alternate-background version of a print that reminded me of my lady Sierra gratis when I didn’t have the money for it. The version of this print that can be purchased off his site, along with a number of other good prints, is shown above.

I also got a chance to talk to a trio from Florida; respectively a writer, an artist and a writer/artist of Manga whose work I had heard of, but not read. The writer/artist in question is the sweet and lovely Rivkah whose book Steady Beat, recently made the American Library Associations list of good graphic novels for Young Adults. The library I work at recently got this manga and I intend to review it, as best as a white-boy like myself can, at a future date.

I fear the same cannot be done for the other pair making up this trio, as their book is sold out darn near everywhere. I know this because I recommended it to my bosses at the library when they asked me what comics/manga we should try and pick up and my bosses said, after going through channels, that they couldn’t get it through their buyers. This dynamic duo is known to the world as Jared Hodges & Lindsay Cibos and if you can get a hold of their book Peach Fuzz, consider yourself lucky indeed. It is the story of a girl and her ferret and I can say without any qualms whatsoever that the artwork looks cute – even if I am not the target audience for a book about a girl and her ferret.

Still, as much fun as it can be to wander about, chat with random folks and take pictures of the costume-players, there is one important part of conventions that cannot be ignored: shopping! Even if you are living paycheck to paycheck like me, there is much fun to be had at a con just looking around and haggling dealers down.

I have one rule for patronizing a business – see how they treat you when they say you are just looking and don’t have money today and see how they react when you ask about special requests. The good ones appreciate browsers and while there are a lot of jerks who abuse the merchant goodwill, that won’t stop these good people from at least trying to make a potential customer happy. Sadly, my spending funds for this con were limited but the following merchants are very much worth patronizing on the World Wide Web

Trinkets and Baubles – A local dealer and maker of chainmail, I would have gotten one of their teddy-bears with a mail vest and a sword had I had the scratch. As it is, I’m going to have to contact them about getting a pink chainmail bikini bear for Sierra at some point.

Pegasus Publishing – Makers and sellers of all manner of Fandom t-shirts and bumper stickers. Odds are you’ve seen their work if you’ve ever walked through the parking lot at a convention. From the more common fandoms (Star Wars and Star Trek) to the more obscure (Forever Knight and Firefly), chances are you can find something to clothe your carcass or cover your car at Pegasus Publishing.

The Lazy Dragon – Another fine merchant of weaponry of all sorts, you have to love any business that keeps two stuffed monsters that sing “Mahna Mahna” hanging down at kid-height to delight passing children. And what is more, they will be having their own convention next summer with Peter “Chewbacca” Mayhew as the guest of honor. Wookies and weapons? I’m so there.

Platypus Dreams – While a hand-knitted pair of cat-ears or a similar cap is not my cup of tea, any would-be catgirls out there could hardly do better than to buy their kitty headbands from Austin artist Kathy Bateman.

Knighthawk Armory – Makers of fine weapons yes, but very special weapons. All of their gear, from short swords to shields, is crafted from a special latex-foam blend that grants their gear two benefits. First, they are very durable despite being very soft and light. Second, they are a good deal safer than any home-made custom weapons and they look a lot better too! Their products are a bit pricey (daggers start at $20 and swords average about $70 from what I saw) but they are worth every penny to a LARPer or a parent who wants a nice safe toy weapon for their kids. I have one of their throwing daggers and can vouch for the strength, balance and general coolness of their weapons. And they do custom orders as well, allowing you to order props and weapons of any design if you have the cash and the ability to describe it. (Mental note – look into getting a Jack Knight cosmic rod at some point…)

After crashing for lunch and finding out why most people seemed to be skipping the hotel cafes ($9 for a Snapple and turkey sandwich?), I finally got a chance to make a historic meeting with R.K. Milholland – writer and artist for the much acclaimed webcomic Something Positive.

I’ve mentioned the comic before here but Randy hardly needs my help promoting his comics. The man was mentioned by name in Neil Gaiman’s speech at the Harveys in 2004, after he managed to raise enough money to match his yearly salary after he made an off-the-cuff remark that if people were that bothered by the delays in when the comic got posted due to his work, that he would quit his job and do the comic full time once they gave him the money to do so.

That is a very remarkable thing and I was lucky to get as much time to talk with him as I did given the constant crowd of fans that were circling about once he did get set up Friday afternoon. Not only did he have all manner of postcards and prints for sale, he had a Sailor Scout assistant. Classy!

Suffice it to say, he is a great guy and a terrific artist who I am fortunate enough to have written a few things with back when I was in high school – the legendary (if you were on a BBS in DFW during the 90s, anyway) Stories from Hell.

The Story From Hell was the first place I ever wrote anything for an audience. Somehow, they tolerated me despite a tendency to make far too many Monty Python references and my eschewing proper paragraph structure. I doubt I would be half the writer I am today, or indeed would have kept writing, had it not been for Randy and all the other members of the Squad From Hell.

So blame them if you don’t like my work.

But as for Randy’s work, he has generously allowed me to post this on his behalf. It is a little flyer he hands out at conventions detailing the joys and wonders of hygiene for clueless fanboys.

Aubrey’s Guide To Con Hygiene

Sadly, I wasn’t able to stick around the whole day or for the evening events. And quite honestly, AnimeFest isn’t quite my flavor of Pocky. It is a good convention if you’re a fan of Anime or Manga, to be sure! But there was only one dealer selling my kind of comics and nobody selling gaming gear that I saw. And my weekend work schedule sort of limited my chances to return on later days. Still, I had fun for what that’s worth. And for an American Fanboy in an Otaku Heaven, that is no small thing.


All the attendees and merchants of Anime Fest 2006.

All the staff and volunteers of Anime Fest 2006.

The staff of the Hyatt Regency Hotel of Dallas.

Christine and Keith, for offering to pay my way if I couldn’t get a press pass.

R.K. Milholland, for asking about my girlfriend’s health.

Tune in next week. Same Matt time. Same Matt website.

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