Doc’s Guide to Montreal ComicCon 2019

Here we are again my friends! Another year another wonderful Montreal ComicCon. Now, since I’m sure some of you are new to this so sit back, relax and take notes because I’ve got you covered. If you’re a seasoned Comic-con adventurer you may have been to Montreal ComicCon, or Fan Expo in Toronto, BlerDCon in DC, heck maybe even NYCC convention in the fall or for the geekiest of us all…maybe even San Diego ComicCon (widely considered the “BIG SHOW” to most geeks). One thing that stands true through all these conventions is that they get crowded. The following is a guide on how to explore, shop and get the the best out of your ComicCon experience.

Scheduling: The first thing you should do is to find out which guests are attending and what day. Most conventions have their biggest guests come on the Saturday, giving them the chance to try and draw in as many attendees as possible (within safety limits) with their biggest names. Check the schedule, look up panels, check out the vendor list and make your own personalized schedule. You might have some conflicts once things get moved around, but that’s half the fun of Comiccon; you can only plan so much, sometimes you have to let the con guide you. For example, Tom Welling and Michael Rosenbaum of Smallville fame, were both expected at Montreal ComicCon this year, but due to both their schedules, they had to pull out (not before announcing they would be at Fanexpo with costar Kristin Kreuk though). If you bought tickets with plans to see them, you’ll still have Dean Cain, Robert Sheehan and Elijah Wood. Don’t let that discourage you though, it just means you get different stars.

Know the layout: Possibly one of the most important things to note. Knowing the layout of the convention isn’t only important for your safety, it can make getting around a breeze. Take advantage of the Montreal Comiccon site and all the links, because if you explore the site, you can find the layout for the convention before they release the official one in the swag bags (hint: it’s in the exhibitor section under Floor Plan). Once you find it, you can use the Exhibition Hall list and start marking off your main points of interest. Use landmarks like The Ecto-1 from GGhostbustersor the big Dreamhack Gaming Zone booth. Once on the convention floor, it is easy to get turned around.


Montreal Comiccon Q&A

Shopping: If you’ve ever been to a ComicCon you may have noticed that the prices for some items can be… inflated. It happens partially because the vendors are trying to make back the money they spent on their tables. Tables at Cons can get pretty expensive, so the vendors work hard to at least breaking even. Your job as an attendee is to be informed: if you have a specific comic you want to pick up, maybe a figure from your favourite game or even a shield, know your prices going in. With a couple thousand fans walking around the convention hall, service can sometimes be slow. If you’re negotiating a price on a limited edition Star Wars figure, for instance, you want to know 1) how much it should cost? and 2) how much you’re willing to spend to add it to your collection? The game has changed with the internet, so take advantage and get informed before someone takes advantage of your wallet. Plus, there is always the Sunday Fire Sale. When the convention is coming to an end on the last day, many vendors would rather not have to lug everything back to their stores or storage lockers. This can really work in your favour, especially on TPBs (trade paperbacks), mystery boxes, and clothing.

Food & Water: This one is short and to the point: pack some snacks! If you are going to be moving around a lot, whether it be from panel to panel or game room to convention floor, you will need to recharge those batteries, so have some food. There are usually food counters at the con, but again, those prices can be inflated and if you’re like me, you want to save your money for autographs and action figures, packing a bottle of water, and a couple granola bars can mean the difference between two Marvel Legends figures or one.

Health: This may seem like a weird one, but “Con-Cold” or “ComiCough” are real things. With that many people touching and checking out all this cool and interesting stuff at the convention, not everyone is cleaning their hands before they touch the merch. You don’t have to wear gloves, but you should do your best to clean your hands often and sneeze or cough into your elbow. Vampire routine still works folks, it isn’t just for kids.

All this to say, Comiccon can be an amazing time, especially if you go in with a plan. More info on the programming of the weekend-long convention can be found here, and for info on the early badge pick-up (expected Thursday July 4th) here. Happy planning, and have a merry ComicCon!

Doc Holidae’s Guide to Montreal ComicCon

Here we are again my friends! One year later, ComicCon is upon us Montrealers and if you went last year then you are one year wiser. Now, since I’m sure some of you are new to this so sit back, relax and take notes because I’ve got you covered.  If you’re a seasoned Comic-con adventurer you may have been to Montreal ComicCon, or Fan Expo in Toronto, heck maybe even NYCC convention in the fall or for the geekiest of us all…maybe even San Diego ComicCon (widely considered the “BIG SHOW” to most geeks). One thing that stands true through all these conventions is that they get crowded. The following is a guide on how to explore, shop and get the the best out of your ComicCon experience.

Scheduling: The first thing you should do is to find out which guests are attending and what day. Most conventions have their biggest guests come on the Saturday, giving them the chance to try and draw in as many attendees as possible (within safety limits) with their biggest names. Check the schedule, look up panels, check out the vendor list and make your own personalized schedule. You might have some conflicts once things get moved around, but that’s half the fun of Comiccon; you can only plan so much, sometimes you have to let the con guide you. For example, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson of X-Files fame, were both expected at Montreal ComicCon this year, but due to Gillian’s filming schedule, she had to excuse herself. If you bought tickets with plans to see her and Duchovny, you’ll still have David, Mitch Pileggi and William B. Davis. Don’t let that discourage you though, it just means you get different X-Files stars.

Know the layout: Possibly one of the most important things to note. Knowing the layout of the convention isn’t only important for your safety, it can make getting around a breeze. Take advantage of the Montreal Comiccon site and all the links, because if you explore the site, you can find the layout for the convention before they release the official one in the swag bags (hint: it’s in the exhibitor section under Floor Plan). Once you find it, you can use the Exhibition Hall list and start marking off your main points of interest. Use landmarks like K.I.T.T. from Knight Rider or the big central Sony Playstation booth. Once on the convention floor, it is easy to get turned around.


Montreal Comiccon Q&A

Shopping: If you’ve ever been to a ComicCon you may have noticed that the prices for some items can be… inflated. It happens partially because the vendors are trying to make back the money they spent on their tables. Tables at Cons can get pretty expensive, so the vendors work hard to at least breaking even. Your job as an attendee is to be informed: if you have a specific comic you want to pick up, maybe a figure from your favourite game or even a shield, know your prices going in. With a couple thousand fans walking around the convention hall, service can sometimes be slow. If you’re negotiating a price on a limited edition Star Wars figure, for instance, you want to know 1) how much it should cost? and 2) how much you’re willing to spend to add it to your collection? The game has changed with the internet, so take advantage and get informed before someone takes advantage of your wallet. Plus, there is always the Sunday Fire Sale. When the convention is coming to an end on the last day, many vendors would rather not have to lug everything back to their stores or storage lockers. This can really work in your favour, especially on TPBs (trade paperbacks), mystery boxes, and clothing.

Food & Water: This one is short and to the point: pack some snacks! If you are going to be moving around a lot, whether it be from panel to panel or game room to convention floor, you will need to recharge those batteries, so have some food. There are usually food counters at the con, but again, those prices can be inflated and if you’re like me, you want to save your money for autographs and action figures, packing a bottle of water, and a couple granola bars can mean the difference between two Marvel Legends figures or one.

Health: This may seem like a weird one, but “Con-Cold” or “ComiCough” are real things. With that many people touching and checking out all this cool and interesting stuff at the convention, not everyone is cleaning their hands before they touch the merch. You don’t have to wear gloves, but you should do your best to clean your hands often and sneeze or cough into your elbow. Vampire routine still works folks, it isn’t just for kids.

All this to say, Comiccon can be an amazing time, especially if you go in with a plan. More info on the programming of the weekend-long convention can be found here, and more info on the early badge pick-up (happening Thursday July 5th) can be found here. Happy planning, and have a merry ComicCon!

Can Ava DuVernay Save a Failing DCEU?

Warner Bros. has been playing catch up with their rivals over at Disney when it comes the superhero movie business. Although many would say they are the originators (Christopher Reeve as Superman & Michael Keaton as Batman paved the way), the movie industry is all about What have you done for me lately? And after the success of 18 major motion pictures from Marvel Studios has done a lot. While DC and their DCEU has only established 1 film as a stand out (you know who you are Wonder Woman).

While Wonder Woman excited fans with strong visuals, solid acting and a good 2/3rds of a movie, the rest of the DCEU has not faired so well. Both Batman V Superman and Justice League started strong, but did not have the same staying power as many other movies in the action-superhero genre.

In hopes of turning the tide, it has been announced that Ava DuVernay is in talks to direct Jack Kirby‘s New Gods film for Warner. However, more important than who is directing, is who is penning the script? While DuVernay is very talented, all the talent in the world can’t make a bad script into a good movie. Writer Kario Salem (who’s most notable achievement was winning an Emmy for writing an HBO mini-series… 20 YEARS AGO!) will be writing the script, with DuVernay being “closely involved”. Unless closely means, co-writing, we may have another film with a poor third act (looking at you again Wonder Woman).

What might save this movie is telling the story of the New Gods outside of the DCEU. The problem with that is, by making Steppenwolf the villain in Justice League, WB opened the gates to the New Gods, and not following through on that would look bad for them and their current (fledgling) DCEU. Only time will tell what the plan is from Warner, but you can expect more on this in the next #GeektastiqCypha.

Ava DuVernay is closing a deal with Warner Bros and DC to direct a big-budget screen adaptation of The New Gods.

Source 1: Ava DuVernay To Direct Jack Kirby’s ‘The New Gods’ For Warner Bros & DC | Deadline
Source 2: ‘New Gods’: Ava DuVernay’s New Comic Book Characters Explained | Hollywood Reporter

Actor Reg E. Cathey passes at 59

It was announced via Twitter by The Wire creator David Simon that actor Reg E. Cathey had passed at the age of 59.

Cathey is most recently known for his work on House of Cards, for which he won an Emmy for Outstanding actor in a drama series in 2015.

However children from the 80s and 90s may recognize Cathey smile from his time on Square One, a PBS children’s program that focused primarily on mathematics.

Source: The AV Club

Tracee Ellis Ross Should not Have to Ask for Equal Pay… She Should Have Had It All Along | Opinion

When you think about someone growing up as Diana Ross‘ daughter, it is easy to think that with that much fame around you, the person would grow up spoiled, yet Tracee Ellis Ross is anything but. If anything, she comes across as one of the most well-grounded actresses in the business. If you are interested in hearing how she rose to fame over, you can listen to her in-depth interview from August 2017 on Awards Chatter with Scott Feinberg from THR. I however am more interested in the current situation, Ross is another example of a woman being paid less than her male counterpart.

Recently the public came to find out that Mark Wahlberg was paid $1.5m for reshoots for the film All the Money in the World, while his co-star Michelle Williams was paid $1000. The pay wage gap in Hollywood between men and women has been an issue for a long time, however at this time Hollywood is going through a Renaissance, a chance to course correct an unfortunately very off course industry. From multiple cases of sexual assault, harassment and intimidation to the issue of unequal pay, it make sense that Hollywood actresses aren’t only using this momentum to fight sexual misconduct, but also taking the time to address inequalities of all kinds.

With that said, Ross being paid less than Anthony Anderson is not only unjust, but it is ridiculous. As much as Anderson has produced solid work over the years (from Hang Time on TNBC in the 90s, to his stint on The Shield, followed closely by his Law & Order), Ross has an equally impressive resume of movies, television and stage time. With the series Girlfriends alone, she should have pay on par with Anderson. Sadly this is not the case and Ross is rumoured to be looking to supplement her black-ish salary by working on other shows.

Ross has since released a statement regarding the rumours:

Ross’ character Rainbow is the matriarch, a doctor and often the voice of reason on the show – she is as important to the story as Anderson’s Andre Johnson. I will agree that the story is often told through the lens of Anderson’s character, but that was predominantly a season one trope and since then the show has moved past that focus, and the need for his narration (something I personally never thought they needed – this isn’t The Wonder Years or How I Met Your Mother).

Should ABC decide not to raise Ross’ pay to meet that of her costar, I think they are making a mistake. Although Anderson is an executive producer and was attached to the series early on, Ross was brought in by the show’s creator Kenya Barris, who knew her work from writing on Girlfriends in the mid 2000s. From the show’s inception, her talents were recognized and requested by the person who envisioned the show, something that doesn’t always happen in Hollywood. On that reason alone, I believe it speaks volumes to the importance of Ross’ contribution to the show as her character. What would also be helpful is if the entire cast of black-ish agreed and supported Ross. There has been no comment yet from Ross’ fellow castmates, but If the cast of Friends can rally together for everyone to get equal pay, I would hope the same from actors in our community.

Hollywood, like most industries, is run by old structures and ideas, with folks who say “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. But it IS broken, and now is the time to address the flaws and fix it once and for all. Paying Ross a fair salary on scale with her costar is a good start.

Tracee Ellis Ross might be the next Hollywood actress to join the watershed movement for pay equality. In its story about the way women are fighting for equal pay for equal work in Hollywood, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Ross makes significantly less than her black-ish co-star Anthony Anderson. The actress is in the process of negotiations for her fifth season contract and is arguing if the show can’t bring her up to Anderson’s pay level, she’ll do less episodes to allow her to appear as a guest star on other shows to make up the pay difference.

Source: Tracee Ellis Ross – Verified Twitter Account
Source: Tracee Ellis Ross May Appear Less in ‘Black-ish’ Due to Unequal Pay – Hollywood’s Black Renaissance

Piece written by Brian Doc Holidae for FranklinArmstrong.com
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