2013 A Year in Review – Top 10 Television Series/Seasons of 2013

Best TVA lot of time in the film industry we focus a lot more on movies than we do on television, and don’t give TV Shows the proper credit that it’s due. Despite the fact that for the right price you can buy a Golden Globe from the HFPA there are some really great performances on television that deserve recognition. I know that I am spoiling my list by saying so in the little blurb up front, but if there were an Academy Award for Best Acting in a TV Series, obviously Bryan Cranston for Breaking Bad would be the front runner, I would argue that the Academy should change their rules and give him a Best Actor nomination regardless, but that’s not how things work around these parts. Without further ado: the top 10 Television Shows/Seasons of 2013.

Graceland10. Graceland (Season 1) – This show was a wild card. I really liked it, but didn’t know if it deserved a spot in the Top 10, but after hearing that almost no one has heard of this show, it has to go here just to boost its popularity. Focussing on a group of young adults who all work for various government agencies (FBI, CIA, DEA) living in the same house, helping each other with stings, it has the potential to get really messy, but instead, we were delivered a tight cop drama that could rival The Shield. Bitingly intense and exhilarating I binge watched this show so quickly and can’t wait for Season 2.

brooklyn nine-nine9. Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Season 1) – I was really hoping this show was going to bomb. Don’t get me wrong I don’t mind Andy Samberg, but I really thought that after SNL his career was over. I was wrong. Brooklyn Nine-Nine is by far one of the funniest shows on TV and one of the best new shows of 2013. Sure, the humour isn’t the most mature in the world, but when you partner the comedic timing of Andy Samberg with the straight-laced acting of Andre Braugher, it ends up being comedy gold.

homeland8. Homeland (Season 3) – While Season 3 was definitely one of the more boring seasons of Homeland, it really just wraps up the intensity of Season 1 and 2. And without giving too many spoilers away, thank God that the writers had the balls to do what needed to be done a season ago in the end. They could actually finish Homeland now, not do any more seasons, and have created a beautiful story that has the perfect and necessary conclusions it needs. I worry that with a large cast change in store that Homeland is going to become muddied and lose its integrity as the tight, spy-thriller I’ve come to love and adore.

Suits7. Suits (Season 2 Part 2 & Season 3 Part 1) – I was late jumping on the Suits bandwagon, but, thanks to my wife, am now an avid fan that won’t miss an episode. While Season 2 Part 2 was much stronger than Season 3 Part 1 I’m just glad to have this fun, quirky legal drama to follow now that Boston Legal has been off the air for a few years.

bering sea gold6. Bering Sea Gold (Season 2) – I am a “reality” TV junkie, but I try to leave that off of these lists. Bering Sea Gold is my guilty pleasure. Maybe it’s just because I don’t fantasize about money in the same way that the people on this show do, and I am just fascinated by the lengths that people will go to in destroying their personal, financial and professional lives just to make a few ounces of gold a day. Almost every episode is the same, but I still find myself tuning in every week to catch up on the drama on the gold mines outside of Nome, Alaska. Season 3 just started and I’ve saved up a few episodes to binge watch in the New Year.

justified5. Justified (Season 4) – I love Justified. There’s really not too much more I can say here. Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens is great. Walter Goggins as the typical FX villain shines. The writing is great. The plot lines keep my captivated. No way in hell I want this cancelled anytime soon.

the newsroom4. The Newsroom (Season 2) – Here’s my problem with The Newsroom. I love it. I get engaged and just want to keep watching. BUT. They suck at resolving storylines. End of Season 1 has a serious death threat against Will McAvoy which I was hoping would be resolved in Season 2, instead, it’s never mentioned again. I did love Season 2, despite the fact that I found it frustrating from time to time in the way it would jump back and forth in time. It is classic Aaron Sorkin, so it could go on for many seasons, which gives the writer(s) a lot of time to work on resolving story lines.

sons of anarchy3. Sons of Anarchy (Season 6) – I may get a lot of hate for saying this, but if you were in shock and awe of the Season Finale of Sons of Anarchy than you know NOTHING about this television show. Without giving away spoilers, the events that happened in this finale were set up from the beginning. It was an inevitable conclusion. It was only a matter of time; I was just surprised it took this long. If you’ve ever watched anything by Kurt Sutter before you had to know this was going to happen. Despite the fact that everyone was like: “NO WAY!” I still thought Season 6 was a very strong season and truly capitalizes on how the downfall of the M.C. is just around the corner. I’m excited for an explosive 7th and Final Season.

game of thrones2. Game of Thrones (Season 3) – I have to admit, I stopped reading The Game of Thrones books because of how great the television series was and how true to the book it stayed long before Season 3. So the events like The Red Wedding, which knowing George RR Martin, shouldn’t have been a surprise, truly blew me away, unlike the Season Finale mentioned above in Number 3. I like the whole notion Martin has with the whole ‘every time someone tells me who their favourite character is, I kill them off.’ Game of Thrones is a great show that continues to impress week after week after week. Bring on Season 4.

breaking bad1. Breaking Bad (Season 5 Part 1 & Part 2) – No surprise here. I was late to the Breaking Bad party. I was in Season 2 when Season 5 Part 2 was starting, but I caught up in time to watch the Series Finale live and was so blown away by how perfect a series this show truly turned out to be. Ozymandias may actually go down as my favourite episode in Television History knocking Casinko from Sealab 2021 from its current position.

Honorable Mention: The Following (Season 1), The Blacklist (Season 1)

Advertisements

2013 A Year in Review – Top 10 WORST Films of 2013

Top 10 WorstAs we not only enter 2014, we’re also entering Award Season in the film industry. So over the next month I’ll be putting out a few Top 5 or Top 10 lists surrounding the 2013 Film and Television year in review. I figure I’ll start things off with a Top 10 list of the WORST FILMS of 2013. Now right off the bat I must admit that there are just so many gosh-darn bad movies that come out each year that it’s impossible to include them all in this list because some films I just refuse to watch. A good example of this would be sequels like The Smurfs II, Scary Movie 5 or Grown Ups II, all sequels for movies that I ultimately despised and wouldn’t watch again even if paid money – but here is an exhaustive list of where Hollywood has gone wrong over the past year:

Hangover 310. The Hangover Part III – while not the worst movie of the year, this franchise wore itself out with its second installment. While there is nothing new under the sun, there was nothing original about this movie, no matter how hard everyone tried. I was bored from the very opening sequence until the very last sequence. I actually stopped watching it at one point and contemplated not even finishing the film.

kick ass 29. Kick Ass 2 – I have to be honest, I really like the Kick Ass comics. I get that they are ultra-violent, over-the-top and comical in their display of its overt gore and violence, yet it still leaves a lot to the imagination. I despised the first Kick Ass movie as I found nothing humorous or entertaining about watching a 10 year old girl nearly get the life beat out of her in such graphic detail. When it came to Kick Ass 2 I gave it a chance, but wish I hadn’t, as once again, there is nothing funny or entertaining in the way we watch a multitude of cops being gunned down outside a house, while a villain viciously masturbates to try and get his d*ck hard so he can proceed to rape a girl, all supposedly played for laughs. What may work in a comic book definitely does not translate onto film with grace.

21 and over8.  21 & Over – This film had every party-film cliché in the book. Yet didn’t have a single laugh for the entire film.

good day to die hard7. A Good Day to Die Hard – John McClane goes to Russia to see his son Jack. Jack and John proceed to travel to Chernobyl and blow sh*t up. The end. Die Hard 5 was supposed to return this franchise to its former glory. Needless to say it failed. Please, kill the franchise now.

The heat6. The Heat – A buddy cop comedy that has no funny moments. Melissa McCarthy is the same character in all of her films. And while it’s funny the first or second time, it definitely isn’t funny anymore, and wasn’t here. The very few chuckles that exist are overshadowed by a convoluted and unnecessary plot. Bullock didn’t even seem to give a single damn about anything in the film and seemed to be in it for the paycheck. I’ve heard a rumour of a sequel. I hope it stays a rumour.

the big wedding5. The Big Wedding. – A huge cast. A large number of stars. A huge disaster. Enough said.

only god forgives4. Only God Forgives –  God may forgive this atrocity. I don’t. Ryan Gosling reteams up with Nicholas Winding Refn from Drive and gives audiences the dullest 90 minute performance in theatres this year.  Only God Forgives is reprehensible in its portrayal of pretty much everything. Gosling’s 16 lines (approximately) felt like 16 lines too many and his performance was more dull than anything I’ve ever seen from him.

CBGB (2)3. CBGB – The story of Hilly Kristal and the founding of the punk-rock club CBGB is an irrelevant film for an irrelevant audience. Read my full review (filled with a bucket full of hate) right here.

battle of the year2. Battle of the Year – I hate dance movies. I was dragged to see this film. It was by far one of the worst movies of the year, with pathetic performances, dialogue that felt like it was written by a 4 year old, and was basically just a commercial for the film Planet B-Boy. I am so glad that this film bombed at the box office. I would have lost faith in humanity if it did any better than it actually did.

ripd1. R.I.P.D. – Ryan Reynolds is to comic book movies as Dane Cook is to comedy. Reynolds has successfully killed 4 comic book films now to date. He destroyed Blade III, bombed in Wolverine Origins, killed the Green Lantern and absolutely devastated RIPD. Let me state that I don’t walk out of films. I can count the number of movies I have walked out of on one hand, good or bad. I sat through 30 minutes of RIPD, based on the Dark Horse comic by the same name, before boldly walking out of the film, feeling more liberated with each step I took.

Honorable Mentions: Identity Thief, Mama, The Purge, A Haunted House and Oz: The Great & Powerful

Adam Astbury: From Here We Can See Forever – A Music Review

Adam Astbury CoverBritish indie pop-rock artist Adam Astbury’s second feature length album, From Here We Can See Forever, hit shelves on December 9, 2013, and what a breath of fresh air it is. Astbury hails from Leeds, UK and over the past 2 years has now released two studio albums, one EP and the single Balloon Hearted Boy which appears on his current album. From Here We Can See Forever definitely steps up the indie scene’s game as Astbury exudes a professional sound, an intense musical talent, and an emotional range of lyrical expression.

Astbury ProfileMusic is supposed to elicit an emotion. It’s supposed to connect you to a person, an event, or ultimately the medium (artist) who is baring themselves in front of you. Adam Astbury does this. I’ve only listened to his album a handful of times, never met the man, and yet I feel like I know him. I feel connected to him through his music. The feeling I get when I listen to this album is the feeling that keeps me looking for new bands and artists all the time. As I’ve been writing this review and going back over and editing it I find myself constantly being distracted because I have the album playing on repeat in the background.  I just keep getting so caught up in the album that I have to stop, close my eyes and just soak in the music.

Astbury Playing

The first time I listened to this album I was instantly hooked. I was sitting at work, had my headphones in my laptop, turned to a co-worker and said: ‘you need to hear this.’ When I pulled out the headphones and let the laptop speaker take over we both just sat there and soaked in the rich melodies and profound depth to the music. In that instant two new Adam Astbury fans were born.

Recording Session

The first track on the album is Living in Colour and it’s a great start to a great album that continues to get better with each song. Living in Colour features Sarah Lloyd on vocals alongside Astbury and he gives her room to shine throughout the entirety of the song. Throughout the album it is clear that Astbury has a great voice. It is controlled and yet has a great vocal range that allows him to really take a lead and keep it, yet there’s something humbling about the way that when he shares the mic with a featured artist, you know he is giving them his spotlight and it doesn’t faze him in the least bit.  Just by listening to a single song on this album you can tell that Astbury is truly in this profession for the musical integrity, and not for any personal gain. The other album featuring an artist is the final track on the album I Guess It’s Over Now which features Lucy Mizen, who I’m assuming has some relation to Dan Mizen, the amazing producer on this remarkable album.

Astbury NightOther notable tracks on the album include the already mentioned single Balloon Hearted Boy whose acoustic opening sucks you in and holds you until the last beat. My favourite song on the album is Vaccine. I don’t fully know what it is about this song that gets at me, but lyrically it tugs at my heart strings, musically it just stays with me. It’s haunting, yet hopefully optimistic and manages to make me as, an individual, feel very much like the music that Astbury is deconstructing: stripped down and raw. Making Rain Clouds is another favourite as it adds a brassier touch to the Astbury feel. I wish there were more songs that incorporate the brass band backing, but I’ll definitely take what I can get!

AstburyThe more I listen to this Adam Astbury album the more I want to see him live. His musical styles (not his vocals in this example) are very similar to that of Chris Carrabba, formerly of Dashboard Confessional and currently of Twin Forks. As someone who has had a blast every chance (and it’s been multiple times) I’ve had to see Carrabba live with either band, I just imagine that Astbury would carry the same energy, professionalism and fun-going spirit that would make a small, intimate concert in a local bar, by far one of the greatest musical events I would ever attend. Adam, if you ever read this and ever end up touring Canada, please make a stop in Ottawa and play at Zaphod Beeblebrox, it is by far the perfect venue for you! I’ll show up and bring a crowd!

Check out Adam Astbury’s website

Check out Adam Astbury’s Music Videos

Stream some of Adam Astbury’s songs here

Ickoo: The Pussification of America – A Music Review

POA

Ickoo has been making breakcore and electronic music in Houston Texas since 1994. He recently released his 7th Project: The Pussification of America. There are 4 songs on Ickoo’s 16 minute EP The Pussification of America and for the most part the only lyrics you will hear are the repeated lyrics of the title. Maybe it’s a stylistic genre of this trance-electronica – breakcore music that I just don’t understand, but even when it comes to musically speaking, each song sounds the same. It sounds like a demonic orgy with a never-stopping multi-car pileup happening in the background and I guess there’s a market for that.

Ickoo at AvalonThe Pussification of America is absolutely vile. I wish I could articulate my displeasure at having listened to this EP more effectively than simply using the world vile, but it’s hard. There are a lot of presumptions that I am technically presuming Ickoo makes when you sit down to listen to this… noise. The first is that America has become “pussified” (whatever that technically means) the second presumption is that you’ll be able to make the connection from song title to political ideation. And if I’m completely off track on that line of thinking and the song entitled “My P*ssy Belongs to Daddy” is not a comparison of the American people being owned by “daddy” or big government and simply is just the lyrics “My p*ssy belongs to daddy” repeated over and over again for entertainment sake, I don’t want to live on this planet anymore.

IckooI’m not sure if the second track, Kristi Yamaguchi (It’s About That Time), is supposed to be a tribute to the American figure-skater, or not. Once again the drum & bass, jungle trip hop beats deafen the senses to only be able to accept the repetitive lyrics of “Kristi Yamaguchi. It’s About That Time”, and repeat, and repeat, and repeat.  Tyra’s Fivehead, the third album on the EP is quite literally a sh*tty song with the subtitle “Dookie’s Tooch.”

Ickoo SpinningThe final track on the album, F*ck Monsanto is perhaps the only song on this album that possesses any real content and was one that I didn’t cringe at when I listened to the EP a second and third time. It should be noted that this final track, F*ck Monsanto features Virus B-23 and Black White Mike, which may have something to do with it, but I can’t say I’ve listened to either of those artists to be able to do a full comparison.

Ickoo 2I really wish that I could have enjoyed this album more. I do like exploring new musical genres and artists I have never heard of, but maybe I just don’t do enough bath salts to enjoy this album. So, I’ll end with telling you who I think this album was specifically made for. This album is for you if you have ever found yourself drinking rubbing alcohol in a dirty truck-stop bathroom stall somewhere along the I-95 in North Carolina. This album is for you if you’re the kind of thrill seeker who gets off by hooking car batteries up to your testicles and shooting bleach into your veins for fun. This album is for you if you like to trip balls on acid and go streaking at Monster Truck Rallies, while the trucks are racing around the arena.  This album is for you if you drink your own homebrewed moonshine; sh*t so strong it will make you bleed from your eyes. Can’t say the album is for me… but then again, it’s not for everyone!

If you want to check out Ickoo’s Website

If you want to check out The Pussification of America

The Yellow Dress: Faint Music//Ordinary Light – A Music Review

yellow dress cover

Full disclosure. I have not heard The Yellow Dress’s first or second album yet. The keyword in that last sentence is the word yet. What I have had the pleasure of listening to is their third album Faint Music//Ordinary Light which is set to be released on January 4, 2013. The Yellow Dress is a DIY-indie band, totalling a large number of 8 people, all from other music projects in the San Francisco Bay area, that came together by group founders Dan Weiss (lead vocals/guitar) and Jonathan Kirk Moyer (bass) in 2007. Over time they’ve added in back-up vocalists Jasmine Moser (who also plays the glockenspiel) and Zoe Rose Palladino, guitarists Dan Nordheim, percussionist Mark Roquet and Morgan Womble-Dahl on clarinet and Rachel Shearer on saxophone. Their music style is comparable to Of Monsters and Men while the poetic nature of their lyrics immediately brings the likes of Leonard Cohen to mind.

yellow dress band 4The first thing you notice once the album starts is that lead vocalist, Dan Weiss’s, voice is reminiscent of B-52’s front man Fred Schneider. It’s got that unique, lower baritone, nasally crunch to it, and while it may not work in all musical acts The Yellow Dress has written music that allows this type of vocal range to shine.

Faint Music//Ordinary Light is an album of sad ironies that is as tongue in cheek as it is solemn and sombre. The lyricist for this band is truly a poet clutching at the listeners heart-strings in a modern form of Grecian tragedy. It seems that even when the tempo picks up and creates a joyful anthem, the lyrics will still keep us grounded in reality.

yellow dress bandWhile I’m not going to go through each song on the album, there are a few stand out songs that definitely deserve to be recognized for the excellent musicality that went into them. Existential Heckle is a song that truly embodies the sad irony that this album emits. The chorus continuously echoes: “it’s going to be ok” when the tone and even the title imply that we are only fooling ourselves into believing that it’s going to be ok, when truly it’s not. The closing song on the album: Isaac Fitzgerald (bum bum bum) is extremely catchy and has a je ne c’est quoi feel to it that just brought a warm feeling to me as I listened to it; it was definitely a song that went on repeat for a while. FatherSunFunRun//Walk Towardson//Daniel Pennypacker is by far the weirdest title on the track, not just for the name alone but for the wide range of emotion it packs into the song. And finally A Complete List of Fears Ages 5-28 is just plain fun. It doesn’t take itself as seriously as the rest of the album and provides a touch of comic relief in an album that musically light but lyrically heavy.

yellow dress band 5Faint Music//Ordinary Light is a truly inspiring album that it becomes easy to overlook its flaws. While there really aren’t many flaws in this alternative-indie act I have to note that the album is only 8 songs long and without adding another feature vocalist to the album, 8 songs is enough. Not to harp on Weiss’s singing abilities, because it is different and refreshing when you start to listen, but eventually it his vocals start to sound the same, and the songs all blur into one by the last few songs on the album. The only other disappointment I found in this album was the involvement of their woodwind section, a clarinet and a saxophone, who when they don’t sound slightly off key, are having tempo issues and tend to rush their parts slightly.

yellow dress band 2Over all I was extremely impressed with The Yellow Dress and now have to go out and find the first two albums to add to my collection. They will definitely be on my watch list for new music in the future.

Check out The Yellow Dress on Bandcamp (where you can stream a few songs from the album)

Check out The Yellow Dress on Facebook

Ottawa Pop Expo – A Convention Review

Pop Expo 2Ottawa Pop Expo, the little sister of Ottawa Comic Con, debuted this past weekend at the Ernst & Young Centre to a modest, but enthusiastic crowd of fan boys, cosplayers, and bargain hunters. Being a fan of the Ottawa Comic Con’s I picked up a ticket as quickly as they became available, regardless of the guests to show up. Over time the announcements rolled in: a slew from The Walking Dead (Sarah Wayne Callies, Scott Wilson, Lew Temple, and Norman Reedus), The Boondock Saints (already mentioned Norman Reedus, but attached to him was Sean Patrick Flanery and David Della Rocco), Ernie Hudson, Jason Momoa, Tom Felton, Sylvester McCoy and a handful of others.

IMG_0905I don’t typically go to the cons to meet the celebrities. I’m not really interested in paying money to get their autograph or a photograph with them, I’m more interested in hearing what they have to say – so I really love going to the panels. This con I did go up and meet Ernie Hudson with a buddy who was stoked at the chance to get his photo taken with him, but aside from that I typically steer clear from the autograph alley.

Pop Expo was a much smaller version of Comic Con. It didn’t attract the same number of vendors, artists, or fans, but it still had heart. I figure the best way to discuss the con in any form of effectiveness is to break it down into the aspects I took in.

The Panels

I already said I typically go to these events for the panels. Because Pop Expo was quite small there were relatively few panels. There were days at Ottawa Comic Con where I would literally go from panel to panel to panel to panel all the way through the day. With the lack of panels at Pop Expo I didn’t get that privilege this time around. I actually only attended three panels.

IMG_0899The first was Ernie Hudson, who was actually quite boring. He had no real interesting stories to talk about; in fact he encouraged the audience to share gossip about what happened on the Ghostbusters set with him as he stayed as far away from it as possible. When I met with Ernie Hudson before the panel we talked about Ghostbusters 3 and Bill Murray’s reluctance. Hudson shared a fear that he’s afraid Murray’s going to take it away and reboot the series and drop him and everyone else involved. We then shared a laugh at Murray doing Garfield for next to nothing but refusing to do Ghostbusters 3. Hudson did share some thoughtful insights into The Basketball Diaries, one of the best movies he was ever involved with. He talked about how important of a movie it was in relation to drug use and drug addiction, but that America wasn’t ready for it when it came out.

IMG_0919The second panel I attended was The Boondock Saints featuring Norman Reedus, Sean Patrick Flanery and David Della Rocco. Rocco was mute almost the entire panel. Reedus was worshiped by fan girls and Flanery shot his mouth off about anything and everything for the entire time. He really dominated the panel, but it was fresh and funny. No real news came out of this panel as half of the questions were just directed at Reedus in regards to his role on The Walking Dead and the rest of the time was Flanery telling amusing anecdotes. At the end we were all invited to stand up with them and recite the iconic prayer from the film which was a great way to go out.

IMG_0948The final panel I attended was The Walking Dead panel featuring Sarah Wayne Callies, Lew Temple & Scott Wilson. I don’t want to give away spoilers for those who haven’t seen the past few episodes of The Walking Dead, so I won’t say much here, except to say it was fascinating to watch three characters from different evolutionary stages of the show talk about how important the role of family was amongst the cast and crew and how the love they have for each other plays out on screen to the fans who are allowed to join in with that family for an hour each week.

Overall the panels were refreshing, nothing too exciting, but a chance to humanize some of these iconic characters that we’ve grown to know and love on the big and little screen alike. Bruce Campbell has already been announced to be a guest at the 2014 Ottawa Comic Con and I am truly excited for his panel.

IMG_0913

The Vendors

One of the other main draws for me to attend these cons are the vendors. I’m a comic geek. I love reading them and collecting them and discussing them, so I know I can always find decent deals at these cons. The past few cons I have been looking for a very specific Captain Canuck omnibus that I haven’t been able to find in shops, and I was able to snag it for $12 from a vendor. I thought the deals, for the most part, were on par with what you would find as a regular in a specific comic book shop, like a lot of “US cover prices” or “20% off the US cover price”. But part of the fun of these cons is the hunt for something rare for rather cheap. IMG_0911I devoted a few hours of both days to just digging through comic book boxes, and while I didn’t find anything mind-shattering, I did walk out of there with a lot of great deals at relatively low costs. While I may have had a good time at the vendors, this wasn’t necessarily the case for the vendors. Near the end of the day on Saturday I overheard two vendors talking. One was from Montreal and he said that he was planning on just cutting his losses and heading home that evening and wasn’t even going to bother coming in the next day because he was just hemorrhaging money at this con.  He was frustrated that the con was (in his words): under attended, under promoted, in the middle of nowhere and overpriced for vendors. Another vendor I was talking to said he only sold $1000 worth of sales on the first day, which wasn’t going to be a significant profit for what he paid to have his table and the staff he paid to be there.

The Location

IMG_0885Because I mentioned location briefly in the vendors I should stop and chat about this right now. The Ernst and Young Centre is near the airport. It’s quite far from any sign of civilization, which prevents people from just being able to walk on in. It’s a lousy location to bus to, it’s a far location to drive to (for most people), and there is absolutely no foot traffic. However, it would be too pricey to host such an event at the Ottawa Convention Centre downtown, yet for something like Pop Expo to exist as a smaller version of Comic Con; this event really does need to be moved to a more centralized location. Leaving Ottawa Comic Con there isn’t going to hurt anyone as that regularly sees 30,000+ annually, while Pop Expo would have been lucky to break the 10,000 person mark

IMG_0953

Artist Alley

I think when all is said and done this was my favourite part of Pop Expo this year. I typically don’t go down artist alley that frequently because I don’t want to get sucked in and end up spending all my money on commissions, because there’s a good chance I would be a sucker for that, however, this con I did frequent it quite regularly. I met a lot of great artists, had some great chats and have left with a lot of great items, as well as contacts in the comic book and pop expo world. Some of the highlights include Andrew Armelim and Rob Thibodeau who were giving away free limited edition lithographs for the event. IMG_0906They were also a pleasure to chat with. Geof Isherwood, Marco Ruddy and Dan Parent were also in attendance and I got to chat with all of them, and have them sign some of their work. I have to say though that I was just blown away by how great of a guy Tom Fowler is. Tom is an Ottawa local who recently worked on Quantum & Woody and The Hulk Season 1. He was selling his graphic novels at his table, but for each graphic novel bought he would do a sketch inside of the book. He was also super down to earth and a pleasure to chat with. The last artists I spent time chatting with were authors from Northern Wales and this was their first time attending Ottawa. Sam Stone and her husband David J. Howe. Howe works for his own publishing company in The United Kingdom, if I remember correctly, and was a really down to earth guy. His wife Sam has written award winning novels including Zombies at Tiffany’s, Zombies in New York and a series called Vampire Gene. They were delightful to chat with, and I truly wish all the best for them and continued success in the future.

IMG_0912

Date

My biggest problem with Pop Expo was the time of year that it was held. 3 weeks before Christmas is a horrible time to hold a con. Sure, I could use the time to buy some Christmas presents, but I know that I’m not the only one with a lack of control when it comes to seeing something super cool and debating between the want and need to buy it. Move it closer to Halloween and I think you may have had a bigger attendance, and maybe a crowd more willing to spend money.

Pop ExpoOverall Pop Expo worked, at least for me. The ticket was relatively cheap ($30 for the weekend pass), the company enjoyable and the deals half-decent. While there is a lot of room to improve on Pop Expo could definitely become a fixture for Ottawa.