Travis Nye showing off his cool business the Spellbound Magic Shop & Theater

Veteran SiouxperCon magician Travis Nye is one of the announced guests for SiouxperCONLINE. Even though I am perhaps a bit of a comic geek, I think cons like this sometimes fail to get enough non-comic guests. Luckily this con is getting a good number of other cool guests. And what is cooler than a magician?

Last year, I spoke with Nye briefly as he set up a nails bed to perform a stunt. The guy is super sharp and knows some extraordinary card tricks. One of my sons is still trying to figure out how he did one trick. Maybe my son should take one of Nye’s classes available through his business Spellbound Magic Shop & Theater

Instead of blabbing on about how good Nye is, I’ll share this promo video he shared on YouTube a couple of years ago:

Wow, that is crazy (in a good way). Not only is Nye a great magician, but he does stunts that make you cringe. I mean, who can lay on a bed of nails, hold a piece of concrete on their chest, and have someone smash that cement with a sledgehammer? Apparently, Nye can.

During SiouperCONLINE, Nye will have a panel with podcast guru Robert Mehling. Maybe Robert can find out what makes Nye want to do those crazy yet cool stunts.

Song of the Day: A Kind of Magic

I’m always looking for a reason to play Queen. I think this one is pretty self-explanatory.

Bonus Song: Under Pressure

Yes, this is another Queen song. But this is Under Pressure as featured on The Magicians and performed by the cast.

Earlier this month, SiouxperCONLINE announced Magdeline Vissagio as a guest at this year’s con. Vissagio has written comic stories for DC, Marvel, Valiant, Dark Horse, and IDW. One of her comics, Vagrant Queen, was adopted into a SyFy series. I haven’t read a lot of her work, so this post will probably be pretty short. 

Vagrant Queen

Vissagio is the writer of the Vagrant Queen comics published by Vault. Since I’m a massive fan of the titles put out by Vault, I decided it was better to read this story from Visaggio instead of a story from one of the big publishers. So far, I’ve only read the first issue, but I can say I like it. This issue reminds me of a classic space sci-fi type of story. The humor and situations in the book remind me of the old Space Quest games from Sierra (hopefully I’m not the only one who remembers those). It also seems like a pretty solid beginning to a story. When I find the time, I’ll finish reading the series. SyFy also happened to make a 10 episode TV series based upon the Vagrant Queen comic. I think it is pretty cool SiouxperCONLINE has a guest comic writer with a relatively recent book that became adapted into a TV series.

Transformers vs. The Visionaries

Visionaries promo from Hasbro for the action figures back in the mid ’80s.

The Transformers/Visionaries crossover is actually where I have read Vissagio’s work before. I just didn’t realize it until just now after I looked at what she has written. Before going on, I will say that I loved this series as a Visionaries book. But not so much as a Transformers book. I was warned about this title ahead of time and went into reading this as if it was a modern story featuring The Visionaries. Going in with that mindset is a must for this book. Reading this going in as a Transformers fan will probably leave you disappointed…

Having said all that. As a Visionaries story, I think Vissagio did great updating an old cartoon that few us remember anymore. Personally, I barely remember watching the cartoon, and only because of the cool animal magic thing the knights have going on. Vissagio wrote a story that showed the complicated relationship between the Visionaries factions. I would love to see more Visionaries stories, as long as the Transformers avoid becoming a backdrop.

Vissagio’s Q&A should be interesting.

I think it is pretty cool Vissagio wrote a series that became adapted into a TV series. Hopefully, at her Q&A, she will speak at least about what it’s like to see her work brought to the small screen. Plus, she is a human Start Trek lexicon. So maybe we’ll get to hear some interesting Star Trek trivia from her.

Song of the Day: Star Trekkin’

Since Vissagio is a Star Trek trivia buff, I thought this song from The Firm was appropriate as the song of the day (or song of the post, since I’ve written multiple today?)

Bonus Song: The Visionaries Opening Theme

I can’t do this post without including the opening theme for The VIsionaries. After seeing this clip on YouTube, I remember more about the show. Maybe I’ll have to binge-watch this short-lived cartoon from my childhood on YouTube.

As I continue through my posts about the guests attending SiouperCONLINE, we come to a comic artist whose books I look forward to reading. A couple of weeks ago, SiouperCONLINE announced Harvey Award-winning creator Trevor Mueller as a guest. Mueller is the author of the award-winning webcomic Albert the Alien. Plus, Mueller has a variety of comics he created, most of which I find intriguing. 

Albert the Alien

Albert the Alien is a long-running webcomic created and written by Mueller. I just got done reading the first few issues of this webcomic and found it a very fun comic. For anyone looking for something appropriate for kids, I would send them to this comic. I think middle-school kids, or even younger, would love to follow an alien student’s adventures at a typical earth school (well, typical pre-COVID). Each story has plenty of action. Plus, there are lessons to be learned with each issue. The series has a whole The Magic School Bus vibe going on. That is meant as a compliment, as think kids reading Albert the Alien could be entertained and learn useful life lessons just as well as children did back in the day watching The Magic School Bus. 

A variety of cool original comic titles

Samples of what Mueller has in his Deluxe Preview Edition. Image from http://trevoramueller.storenvy.com/

While I think Albert the Alien is great, it is some of the other titles Mueller has listed on his site that has me intrigued. In particular in his store he has a Deluxe Preview Edition collecting the first chapter of some new titles and reprints of earlier self-published titles. Here is what I am seeing listed in this edition:

  • Consumer
  • Beyond the Pillars
  • The Witches of E Wick BLVD
  • Los Ojos
  • Junkyard Chase
  • The Fan

I looked at the description for each of the above titles. These stories seem to be a cool mix of sci-fi and horror. Each story also appears to be action-packed. Consumer is probably the title that has me most intrigued, as it deals with a virtual entertainment tool gone wrong, very wrong.

Beyond the Pillars also has me intrigued. This title intrigues me mostly because it isn’t often a dishonorably discharged Vietnam soldier is the main character of a comic. That is especially true when the fate of the world seems to be at stake.

Looking forward to Mueller’s Q&A

Trevor, of course, will be participating in a Q&A session for SiouxperCON. I look forward to what he has to say. Mueller appears to be a comic creator focused on a quality story that is fun to read. I’d like to hear about his storytelling approach and if he aims different stories at kids or adults. Plus, I notice he will be promoting his deluxe preview edition, which I hope to snag.

Song of the Day: The Magic School Bus Theme

Not to date me, but this show came after my time. But even I know this show enough to remember its theme song.

Bonus Song: Fortunate Son

Since Mueller has a Vietnam connection with one of his titles, I couldn’t help but get Good Morning Vietnam stuck in my head. Plus, I am always up for playing some CCR.

Mythbusters Jr promo from the Science Channel.

SiouxperCONLINE is not just about comics when it comes to guests. One of the announced guests is a talented young scientist (among many other things), Rachel Pizzolato. Fans of Mythbusters may know her from the 2019 show Mythbusters Jr, where she was the builder/designer.

Mythbuster Jr

As mentioned above, Pizzolato was on the show Mythbusters Jr. I just watched the first episode on Hulu and must say I like the show as much as the original Mythbusters show. Of course, the episode was about duct tape, and you can never go wrong with that as a subject! For those without Hulu, I noticed the Science Channel streams the show free on their website. Instead of trying to write about Rachel, I’ll post this video intro about her from the show:

This young lady is involved in many cool activities.

Being a member of Mythbusters is in itself very cool. But, this young lady does a lot more. Her website has tons of things she is involved in and the awards she has won. Instead of trying to break all that down, I will simply repost this:

Rachel Pizzolato is a multitalented, award-winning scientist and Patent-Pending inventor, published writer and poet, published fashion and runway model, National Champion Trampolinist, public speaker, cosplayer, and activist. She is also an actor starring in Discovery Science Channel’s MythBusters Jr.

Her inventions have garnered success at the Greater New Orleans Science and Engineering Fair where she won the Grand Award in 2016, 2017, 2018. She has competed in many National and International Competitions such as Broadcom MASTERS (2016, 2017, and 2018), Coolest Projects (2019 and 2020) and ISEF (2019 and 2020). She recently received the 2020 Tulane Brain Institute Award, 2020 Bruce J. Heim Foundation Scholarship, 2020 Albert F.W. Habeeb M.D. Scholarship, 2020 American Welding Society Award, 2020 Aspiring Researcher Scholarship – Presented by The Emmy Noether Awards, and the 2020 ASM Materials Education Foundation Award. In 2016, she was awarded, from MIT, a minor planet named after her – Appropriately named (Pizzolato 33187). Recently, she won 2018 Akron’s Global Polymer Academy’s National Award in Science and Engineering. Also, her scientific writing has garnered awards from NASA, and in 2018, she won the AIAA National NASA essay competition for her article published in Aerospace America (September 2018) entitled, “Astronauts – The Right Stuff Indeed!”

Her panel is a must-see.

As someone just getting back into electronics/robotics/science, I have to admit that I am happy to see you people like Rachel going full steam into science. The panel with her and SiouxperCONLINE staff member Mike Fletcher is a must-see. Hopefully, we all can learn something from this bright young lady. And since she also appears to be a cosplayer, I wonder if she will talk about using science in creating cosplay. No matter what, I think Rachel will be a guest placed at the top of the must-see list during SiouxperCONLINE.

Song of the Day: Weird Science

When I think of a young person and science, I can’t help but think of this classic Oingo Boingo song:

Bonus Song: She Blinded Me With Science

OK, I’m stuck in the ’80s. But how can I not play this Thomas Dolby song after playing Weird Science? Besides, among her many talents, Rachel is a model, so she probably blinds many young men with science.

One of the announced guests for SiouxperCONLINE is cartoonist extraordinaire Judd Winick. Kids attending SiouxperCONLINE should be excited because he is the creator of the HILO graphic novel series. Of course, he also has a long history of doing cartoons and superhero comics. He also happened to have been the head writer for the excellent animated series The Awesomes. 

HILO

I love any content that can get kids interested in comic books. With the HILO series, Winick has hit a grand slam in accomplishing this goal. HILO is an action-packed graphic novel series aimed at a younger audience. I haven’t read any of the series yet, but I added issue number one to my list on Amazon to buy the book for my son (and realistically me too). Reading the panels available on Amazon makes it look like a fun book to read. I think it would also be an excellent gift for nephews and nieces. Kudos to Winick for finding a way to get kids interested in comics!

The Awesomes

The Awesomes promo by Amazon.

Not everything Winick has done is for children. Winick was head writer for the Hulu original animated series The Awesomes. The show is, well, awesome! The show seems to be a mix of superhero comics, Saturday morning cartoons, and adult humor. Plus, the show had something called character development. Cartoons made for adults seem to focus on one-time gags. This show was not afraid to spend time building up to a joke. Kudos to Winick for working on such a great show. Sadly the show only lasted a few seasons.

Under the Hood

Winick has a long career of working on various comics, especially for DC. Most notable for me is when he resurrected the second Robin, Jason Todd, during the Under the Hood storyline. Todd became Red Hood (not the Joker version), and Winick even wrote a prequel series to explain how Todd’s resurrection. To take it a step further, Winick wrote the animated movie Batman: Under the Red Hood. I have seen that movie and think it is an excellent story. Actually, that is an understatement; it is probably one of my favorite animated DC movies. If DC would take lessons from that movie for its live-action films, it would likely compete better with the MCU.

Winick has both a presentation and Q&A

Before his Q&A session, Winick will be doing a presentation. It should be interesting to see what he has to say. Personally, I would like to hear more about HILO and what he has been doing to get younger audiences interested in the world of comics.

Song of the Day: The Real World

Back in the mid-90’s Winick was a cast member for The Real World. I never watched the show, but this little tidbit about Winick reminded me of a song by Matchbox Twenty. I believe this song, named Real World, also came out in the mid-’90s.

Bonus Song: The Awesomes

For the bonus song, we have The Hold Steady performing the theme song they created for The Awesomes.

Transformers/Ghostbusters: Ghosts of Cybertron issue number 5. Cool alternate cover by Evan Stanley. Signed by the writer Erik Burnham.

Erik Burnham that’s who! Burnham is one of the great guests SiouxperCONLINE has arranged to participate in this years virtual con. He is the talented comic book writer that has been handling TMNT and the Ghostbusters for the last decade or so. Plus he has a dang good comic strip that I think most geeks and nerds would really appreciate.

Ghostbusters

 Admittedly I’m a massive fan of Burnham for his work as a writer of the Ghostbusters comics for IDW. I am a Ghostbusters fanboy (even a member of the SD Ghostbusters) and comic geek. I will admit I avoided reading the IDW comics for several years because of my love for both comics and Ghostbusters. It seems too many fandoms I loved as a child, and still love, have been ruined by writers completely changing everything about what made that particular fandom so great. Luckily last year, I finally read some of the IDW comics, and I now can say I am a massive fan of Burnham’s writing. He treats the Ghostbusters franchise with respect and doesn’t seem to have a ‘lets rebuilt the wheel’ mentality. Most importantly, Burnham’s humor is dead on and matches what I would expect from a Ghostbusters product.

My favorite IDW Ghostbusters project is by far Transformers/Ghostbusters: Ghosts of Cybertron. All five issues were outstanding. Plus, it was a great crossover with two of my favorite fandoms. Actually, the first comic’s opening scene in this series is one of the best/funniest things I’ve ever read. I won’t give it away, but I will say Gozer going to Cybertron led to a perfect scene. All five issues are fun, and it was a cool introduction to Ectotron as a team member.

Last year I was able to get all of the comics in the Transformers/Ghostbusters series signed by Burnham. He also signed the comic shown in this post. It is an excellent alternate cover by Evan Stanley and features a Ghostbuster Optimus Prime on the cover. This cover has inspired me to create this in cosplay (I have the helmet printed, mostly, but I have time to finish it before in-person cons start again).

Comic strip.

Burnham has a lot of cool comic projects on his resume. But I must admit my current favorite non-Ghostbusters project from him is a comic strip. The Down Side is published on his Patreon account and on twitter a month or so later. Here is one of the comic strips he has published:

I really think think this is a comic strip all geeks and nerds can appreciate.

What will Burnham have to say?

I look forward to what Burnham has to say during this Q&A for SiouxperCONLINE. Personally, I want to know if there are any other crossover comics planned for Ghostbusters. So far, I have read and love the Transformers/Ghostbusters and TMNT/Ghostbusters crossovers. If I had to choose a crossover, I would love a Doctor Who/Ghostbusters series, especially with Doctor number 5.

Song of the Day: Ghostbusters

Of course I have to do a Ghostbusters song in a post where Ghostbusters was the main focus. Instead of the version we all know and love, I thought I would share this version released by Heavy Metal Heroes.

Bonus Song: Transformers

Since I now have Optimus Prime in my head, I have to play a transformers song. Actually, this song is from the ’86 movie. I still remember how much it rocked to see that movie in the theater!

Ok, not really. But yeah really. One of the guests scheduled to attend SiouxperCONLINE is Dave Wheeler. Not only is Dave the creater and writer of The Misadventures of Wonderboy; I happen to think he is secretly Wonderboy himself. Woderboys real name is Dave Wheelan. Cmon Dave, your gonna have to work harder to hide your secret identity. Anyway Wheeler is a great guest for SiouxperCONLINE. He has been apparently been a part of every SiouxperCon and will be a guest for SiouxperCONLINE.

Mindwave Comics

Wheeler is the co-founder and Head Editor for Mind Wave Comics (MWC). MWC focuses on family-friendly comics that are fun. Here is what I found on their website:

We are all about creating comics for the young and young at heart! Enough with the doom and gloom in comics, we’re bringing back the rad vs. bad!

Mind Wave Comics

I have to admit I like some doom and gloom here and there. But at the same time, I think the doom and gloom thing has been overdone (for at least a few decades…). Someone forgot to tell most comic books nowadays that grunge went out with the ’90s (ok, I still listen to Nirvana too). MWV appears to be trying to spread that message.

Misadventures of Wonderboy

Misadventures of Wonderboy volume 1 signed by Dave Wheeler .

I have read volume 1 of The Misadventures of Wonderboy (pictured in this post). This volume includes the first two issues of the comic, plus some cool extras in the back. I have to admit Wheeler did write a fun comic that I enjoyed. I mean, how can you go wrong with a Nazi dinosaur and a toaster being two critical characters in a story? Plus, it isn’t written like a “kid comic.” I think sometimes family-friendly gets taken to mean it is not meant for adults. Wheeler does a great job of writing a story that any age can enjoy. Actually, I was kind of hoping to grab more MWV comics this year at SiouxperCon. I guess I’ll have to order them online. Not the same, but at least I can get my comic fix that way.

On a side-note. The pencils in this volume were masterfully done by Samir Barrett, who is also a guest at SiouxperCONLINE. I will be doing a separate post on him in the near future.

Wheeler is a super nice guy

Last year while attending SiouxperCon, I had a chance to speak with Wheeler for a few minutes. He did a great job getting me interested in Wonderboy (enough so I bought the book). But what really stuck out to me was him asking whether I wanted him to sign the book. I immediately said yes! He then said he has to ask because he knows some people don’t like their comics written on and wanted to make sure I was OK with it. That surprised me a bit. I mean, who wouldn’t want one of the people who made the comic signing it? Well, anyway, due to that conversion, I can’t help but say that Dave is a super nice guy (or is that Wonder guy?)

Looking forward to seeing what Wheeler says during the Q&A

There will be a Q&A session with Wheeler. I look forward to what he has to say. Maybe then we will find out if he really is Wonderboy.

Song of the day: Breaking the Ice

Ok, I’m going to date myself with this song. But I remember back in the mid-’80s watching a movie called Rad. I don’t remember much about the film, other than the main character who wanted to win a big BMX thing. And since the Wonderboy comic (and MWC website) feature the word rad a lot, I couldn’t help but highlight this song from the movie Rad. It’s a pretty typical 80’s soundtrack song performed by John Farnham.

Bonus Song: We Will Rock You

Ok, I am stretching really hard to get a Queen song here. But rad is mentioned a lot, as I noted above. In the movie Dodgeball, the character Pepper famously says, “that’s rad.” We Will Rock You was on the Dodgeball soundtrack. Therefore the bonus song for this post comes from Queen:

Earlier this week, I noted that I would do posts highlighting some of the guests attending SiouxperCONLINE. There is no better place to start than with the SiouxPerCon’s announcement of Dan Jurgens as a guest. Jurgens is probably best known as the man who killed Superman back in the early ’90s. This post will highlight a few Jurgens’ extended career areas of which I am a fan. 

The Man Who Killed Superman

Admittedly I am somewhat more of a Marvel fanboy. But once in a while I would find a reason to check out DC titles. In the early ’90s, Jurgens and a few other writers came up with a Superman crossover that had me reading various DC titles. It was a well-produced storyline, and I still have every crossover issue in my collection. Of course, like many others, I also have multiple copies of Superman 75.

Over the years, many people have tried to tell me the death of Superman was nothing more than a publicity stunt by DC. While I do believe DC would do such a thing, I never thought that rang true. Jurgens and crew put a lot of work into a well-written story. Plus, Jurgens created great characters, most notably in Doomsday, that continue to be important in comics. Many comic book writers have tried to recreate what Jurgens did in Superman’s death, but I really don’t feel any have come close to what he was able to achieve.

Captain America

Artwork done of me as Captain America during SiouxperCon in 2019. It has nothing to do with Dan Jergens, but I like his run a writer on Cap and wanted to show this off.

In the early 2000s, Jurgens was the writer for Captain America for a couple of years. It’s an essential run for Captain America. As a writer, Jurgens seemed to return the title to being more of an old-school superhero comic, something I can appreciate. The stories seemed focused on the good guy (Cap) fighting the latest bad guy (usually Nazi or AIM). To me, this is where Marvel comics used to excel way back in the day, and Jergens seemed to be giving a hat tip to the days of yesteryear. I also liked this run of Cap comics for how Jurgens treated Falcon. Sometimes, I felt writers undervalued Falcon over the years, but I never felt that way from Dan’s writing.

Secret Origins

One Jurgens website, there is a section called Secret Origins. I highly recommend any comic geek check out this page. It is a collection of exciting artwork and concept tidbits from Jurgens. One of the tidbits is some early Doomsday drawings, and even notes highlighting what Jurgens felt were important when creating the character. 

Typically when I think of Jurgens, I think of his work as a writer. This little secret origins section of his website is a good reminder that he is also an artist. Realistically we shouldn’t forget he is an artist because he seems to have also been an artist on many of the titles he has written for, including the Superman and Captain America runs I mentioned earlier in this post.

Looking forward to Jergens Q&A

SiouxperCONLINE is asking questions to be submitted for Brian to ask of Jurgens during the Q&A. It should be an exciting session. I mean, how can you go wrong having the man who killed Superman as a guest? 

Song of the Day: Kryptonite

How can I write about Superman without getting this song from 3 Doors Down in my head?

Bonus Song: Holding Out For A Hero

For the bonus song, its time to go back to the ’80s. Not only is this a great 80’s music video relic, but the song also beckons back to a day when superheroes were actual heroes…

In just a little over a month, the premier fan convention in Sioux Falls, SiouxperCon, will host its annual gathering. Unlike the previous four years, though, this year’s convention will be moved entirely online. With this being 2020, I don’t think any explanations are necessary; everything seems to be getting canceled this year.

Over the next month, I hope to do posts highlighting some of the guests that will be a part of this convention. But before doing that, I wanted to remind everyone that SiouxperCon (or SiouxperCONLINE as its know this year) is not just about getting together and celebrating geek culture. An essential part of SiouperCon is that proceeds from the con go to support two deserving charities right here in South Dakota: REACH Literacy and the JY6 Foundation. Both charities are worth checking out and supporting. 

That is all I have to say for right now. I just wanted to make sure people are aware of these crucial charities before posting posts about the great lineup of guests appearing at SiouxperCONLINE this year.

PS. I know I haven’t blogged for a few months. That was a mixup with Facebook, which I think is fixed now.

Song of the Day: The Book I Read

This classic Talking Heads song isn’t about reading. But when I think of Reach Literacy, I can’t help but think about this classic song.

Bonus Song: Heroes

Any group that is doing something to fight pediatric cancer has my utmost respect. So when I think of the JY6 Foundation, this song from David Bowie comes to mind. This is a great live version of the song.

Optimus making Bumblebee feel better after hearing Voices Against Cancer was postponed.

Due to this coronavirus pandemic, it seems everything is getting postponed or canceled. Earlier this week was a postponement I knew was coming, but still dreaded. The organizers for Voices Against Cancer officially announced that the event would be postponed until the summer of 2021. Of all the cancellations lately, this one is probably the saddest for me. Not only was the geek in me looking forward to meeting all of the great voice actors, but I was genuinely hoping the event would raise tons of money for pediatric cancer. 

The good news though, is that the organizers have a full extra year to make sure the event is truly epic. Honestly, an event such as this would have required a lot of attendance to raise money. With social distancing, I don’t see how that could have been done. Now the next year can be spent getting the word out and preparing for an event that I think could become a benchmark for all geeky fundraisers going forward.

Over the next year, I will continue to do posts about the event. I hope to do continued posts highlighting the talent scheduled to appear. And once the podcast gets going, I want to have an organizer on my show.

Song of the day: Seasons in the Sun

I was pretty sad when I first heard this was postponed. This classic Terry Jacks song came into my head at the time.

Bonus Song: The Show Must Go On

Luckily I wasn’t sad for long. Queen better portrays my feelings of the Voices Against Cancer event being moved to 2021.