WonderCon 2014 – Part 1 (Panels, Floor, and Shenanigans)

IMG_0129WonderCon is a trip for me because it’s grown so much since I first started going to it up in Oakland back in 2002. Just in the few years it’s been in Anaheim it’s gotten a lot bigger. It’s a great balance between the little conventions and Juggernaut that Comic Con has become.

Mama Jedi and I got a 3-Day pass and headed up to WonderCon in Anaheim from San Diego after working a half day on Friday so we were there for the latter half of Friday, all-day Saturday and most of the day on Sunday. Saturday is the day I crossplayed as BBC Sherlock and I got Mama Jedi to Crossplay as Dr. John Watson. It’s the first time Mama Jedi has dressed up for a Convention and no one had any idea who she was dressed as even when she stood right next to me. Unless we told them. Oh well, it IS a pretty subtle costume, I guess.

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We even ran in to a few friends and acquaintances while we were there. Shout outs!

Top row, left to right: my sister-in-law, Reba’s friend Cat (Mario) ran into us over by John Mulhall’s booth, my High School friend Rich (who did this amazing HNG Delilah art) and I spent 10 minutes trying to find each other near the food court, where I then randomly ran into Paige (red hair) who is the best friend of my friend Cris.

Bottom row, left to right: Geek Outlaw and I met Daniel at Comic Con in 2012 and seem to run into him at every Con we go to, we met Capt. Seekerman at ConDor last month and have since hung out with him sans amazing Steampunk Costume at the LRH Writer’s of the Future Awards (coverage of that coming soon), and through Capt. Seekerman we met Andrea.

HNG friends WonderCon 2014

And these don’t even include what we call our “ConFam” – the writers, artists, and cosplayers we see at most of the conventions we go to and have gradually developed friendships with. You’ll see some of them later. This year, I even ran in to someone who might turn out to be ActualFam. This illustrator and concept artist’s name caught my eye while I was making my way towards my friend Brett’s booth in the Small Press section. I zeroed in on it because I am also a Doering and it’s not a surname you see very often in the US. Matt Doering was incredibly nice (and uber talented) and I think we even kind of look alike (Maybe? A little?). Who knows if we’re actually related but, either way, he’s officially one of my new favorite artists.

Watch out, there's two Doering's in the hizzouse

Watch out, there’s two Doering’s in the hizzouse

Speaking of Brett (the guy who’s booth I was looking for when I ran into long-lost-maybe-family), he’s been a good friend of mine since High School and he was there representing his hilarious online web comic, Orky the Porky Orca. It’s possible we love Orky a little too much.

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Brett also wrote and illustrated a book about 101 Random Conversations with Strangers (most of which are true) that is turning out to be very popular thanks, in part, to it’s extreme hilarity. Mama Jedi bought one and I caught her laughing out loud for real in her hotel room while reading it.

Mama Jedi Brett DeWall WonderCon 2014

Artist Mike Hicks is a recent addition to our ConFam. We met him at (I think) Long Beach Comic Con and were immediately drawn (heehee) to his unique style. He creates beautiful drawings using one continuous line that never crosses or touches. (Want to follow the line and see for yourself? Click HERE). The first time we met he offered to do a piece based on one of my Batgirl poses. When Hayden found out, he naturally wanted a Geek Outlaw one as well. We finally met up with Mike again at WonderCon and were able to pick up the originals. Thanks, Mike!

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I was already a fan of Patrick Ballesteros‘ art when he sent me an email about his latest piece a couple of years ago. I was only too happy to share it! Since then we’ve connected at several conventions and he’s one of the friendliest guys you’ll ever meet. See that adorable Firefly picture behind him? I’ve got it hanging on the wall in my office 🙂

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Another member of the ConFam, we met author John Mulhall at a convention a couple of years ago (we had a whole conversation trying to remember exactly which one and couldn’t decide) and started hanging out with him more and more at each subsequent con. Even though I bought it a looooong time ago, I only recently read his book Geddy’s Moon and, to be honest, it’s fantastic. I wish I’d read it sooner. And I’m not just saying that because he’s now my friend. I’ll write up a review of it and fill you in on exactly why you need to read it. Because you do. John also participated in a panel which I’ll get to later.

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Side note: John Mulhall, Blayne Alexander of the band Idiot StareGeek Outlaw, and I recently started recording podcasts for a geek round-table idea that John had, the first of which should be coming out any time now. So stay tuned for that!

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Hayden and I met Georges Jeanty when we had our very first booth at the LA Comic Book and Sci-Fi Convention where he broke a piece off of my Mal Reynolds pistol (yes, I forgave him). Georges is one of the cover artists for Dark Horse’s new Serenity comic book series that takes place immediately following the events of the movie. We even found a girl dressed as Illyria from Angel who was really excited to get Georges signature on her costume.

Georges Hot Nerd Girl WonderCon 2014

Geremi Burleigh is another artist we look out for and visit at Conventions. His comics Morningstar and Eye of the Gods are great reads and Geremi is a ridiculously nice guy. He’s starting to do Cons all over the US (I think his next one is in Minnesota) so keep an eye out for him at your local con!

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Mama Jedi and I first ran into this lovely Oregonian couple while we were walking back to our hotel room and got distracted by a giant blue Furrie (REALLY wish I’d gotten a picture of that) and then Guinan speedwalking past us. Together the four of us wandered over to a room labeled “Ten Forward” (this Trekkie could NOT pass up seeing that) which turned out to be the flotsam and jetsam of what I’m sure was once tables teeming with beverages and snacks but was now merely an exhausted volunteer and some leftover cans of pop. Once the disappointment receded, we chatted them up about the pink stuffed critters attached to them. It turns out that John is the brains behind the adorably terrifying and very aptly named, Tentacle Kitty. Why would school girls run away from such a cute little critter?! John has a web comic that includes a ninja kitty, a pirate kitty, and a rat tailed unicorn. I checked it out and it’s delightful! Welcome to the ConFam 😀

I love my new posters! Ninja Kitty and Doctor Who crossover ftw

I love my new posters! Ninja Kitty and Doctor Who crossover ftw

Hey, Mjolnir! I’ve got one of those too!

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The USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D bridge restoration project folks were there but instead of the bridge they had a transporter room on display. We took full advantage of the Transporter Room.

A - B - C. As easy as 1 - 2 -3!

A – B – C. As easy as 1 – 2 – 3!

I even took a stab at Chief O’Brien’s old job.

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I would like for Chris Hardwick to become a member of our ConFam but I wasn’t about to wait in the crazy long line just to meet him or his Lego alter-ego. I only wait for Star Trek actors and Stan Lee.

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And rounding out Part 1 of the WonderCon 2014 coverage, we’ve got the Panels! I only made it to four of them this year but they were good ones!

Falling Skies

Panelists: Seychelle Gabriel, Moon Bloodgood, Sarah Carter, Doug Jones

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I went to the Falling Skies panel last year and enjoyed it so much that I really wanted to make it again this year and I was definitely not disappointed. They started off with an amazing trailer for Season 4 (which starts Sunday, June 22nd at 10:00pm) before they introduced Seychelle Gabriel (Lourdes), Moon Bloodgood (Anne), Sarah Carter (Maggie), and (YAY!!!) Doug Jones (Cochise). It was worth it for Doug Jones alone.

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They revealed a surprising amount of details about Season 4. I don’t want to give too much away but everyone gets split up after a very intense opening battle scene (which they showed us and which looked REEEEALLY good), we get to see Lexi all grown up, Anne become a badass, Lourdes overcompensating for her Season 3 bug, and Pope meet his match in Mira Sorvino. The general consensus was that the show is really nuts this year. One fun tidbit we learned is that Seychelle and Moon once snuck into an ER and pretended to be medical students in order to see how a real ER looked and felt and had to fend off the teaching Doctors when they were asked to perform tasks like change a catheter.

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Psychology of Cult TV Shows

Panelists: Dr. Janina Scarlet, Josue Cardona, Dr. Travis Langley, Elizabeth Ann

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We sought out this panel mostly because we’d seen Dr. Travis Langley (Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight) on a writing panel at a previous WonderCon and it was one of our favorite panels of all time. They basically said that it was OK to be obsessed with TV hows like Doctor Who, Sherlock, and Firefly as long as it doesn’t prevent you from living a fulfilling “real” life. There was a really long line for this panel so we only caught the last third of it but it was fascinating!

Afterward we stayed and chatted with Dr. Langley and Alan Sizzler Kistler who was also on that previous writing panel and who had stayed and answered all of our questions last time we saw him. Awesome guys!

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Game On!

Panelists: David Buckley, Inon Zur, Woody Jackson, Charles Deenen, Gwen Riley
Moderator: Thomas Mikusz 

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This panel was about the sound and music of video games and started off with a video montage of Video Games, Live! in which a live (no, really, they’re live) orchestra performs the theme songs from your favorite video games while scenes from those games play on giant screens in the background. It actually look really rad. Video game music is tough in that the player is going to be stuck with it for several hours so it better be good. Because of that, the developers now really understand how important the music is. The original World of Warcraft had approximately 2.5 hours of music. The latest one has approximately 52 hours.

After this panel, Hayden and I had the opportunity to interview Batman: Arkham Knight Composer David Buckley!

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Check out the interview here:

[youtube:http://youtu.be/IB35qo_351E]

Surviving Well

Panelists: Markorie Liu, Cecil Castellucci, Genese Davis, Gretchen McNeil, John Mulhall
Moderator: LeAnna Herrera

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We attended this panel because our writer friend and Podthingy co-star John Mulhall was a panelist and I’m glad we did. It was about how saving the world isn’t enough if the world isn’t worth living in after you’ve saved it.

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As the lone male on the panel, John was able to offer a different and unique perspective from the ladies. At one point the conversation veered off into a commentary about what it means to be a “strong female character” and how that term really isn’t very appropriate.

At this point Hayden lost the hand from his Rick Grimes action figure which we found HILARIOUS.

Geek Outlaw no hand

Stay tuned for the cosplay pictures tomorrow!

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Side note: the first run of HNG calendars sold out (yay!) and I need to order some more for an upcoming event. If anyone would like to get one, now’s the time to order! The calendar features all of the nerdy holidays (and the regular ones too) and a convention calendar. Order one today!

WonderCon 2013

Mama Jedi, HNG, Geek Outlaw

Mama Jedi, HNG, Geek Outlaw

Hope y’all had a very happy and nerderific Easter! I apologize for the lack of posts recently. Between working full-time (yes, I have a “real” job!), out of town guests, and just plain old life, I just haven’t much time to blog. But I’ll try to be better.

So, a lot of cool crap happened this past weekend. There was new Doctor Who, the season premier of Game of Thrones, and the season finale of The Walking Dead. And, of course, WonderCon.

I mentioned in my wrap-up of last year’s WonderCon that WC was the first comic book convention I ever went to (back when it was in Oakland) and it holds a very special place in my hearts. It’s a nice combination of comic books and TV/movies. San Diego Comic Con is great, but it focuses so much on the Hollywood stuff that the comic books tend to get a little lost. A comic book vendor and I were joking on Saturday about the audacity of the people who actually buy comic books at a comic book convention! Inconceivable!

After cosplaying as Thor for a day at SDCC last year, I honestly didn’t think I would cosplay in public again for a very long time. I’m quite shy, especially around large groups of strangers, and my instinct is to blend in. Cosplaying is the opposite of blending in. Because of the timing of the day, I didn’t spend much time at SDCC walking around as Thor. But in the brief times that I did, it garnered a lot of attention. Attention that I’m not used to and that made me a bit panicky. I was very uncomfortable and not just because of the corset. I’ve been putting together a Tenth Doctor costume for quite a while now. He’s my favorite of the Doctor incarnations (followed by Eleven, Four, Nine, and Five) and, if I’m being completely honest with myself, I was looking for an excuse to buy a sonic screwdriver. Because of last year’s experience, I almost didn’t wear it, but I’m glad that I did. It was comfortable and fun and was a great ice breaker (that and the flask of liquor I kept in my backpack *ahem*)

Enough rambling, on to the panels I attended. Sadly, the TV show panel I was most excited about was the Vikings one and I missed it thanks to the traffic around the convention center. I was very, very sad because, as many of you know, I’m very proud of my Viking heritage. But I sat in on a bunch of really cool ones that made up for it.

Allons-y!

Geeking Out with the League of Extraordinary Ladies

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Panelists: Autumn Massey, Dina Kampmeyer, Emily Heyer, Geek Girl Diva, Jenn Fujikawa (Just Jenn), Sarah Kuhn, Stephanie Thorpe, Theresa Wollenstein

These geektacular ladies are very much in line with my favorite motto: “nerd girls of the world unite.” They are a positive group of strong, independent, intelligent women who love to geek out together and support each other. As someone who can’t stand cattiness, these ladies are right up my alley. The first thing I did when I got home was to join their facebook group. I encourage everyone (men are also welcome) to join as well.  Unfortunately, we had to leave their panel early to make it to the next one. What I wouldn’t give for a time-turner so that I could go to multiple panels that are scheduled for the same time.

Falling Skies

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Panelists: Drew Roy (Hal), Sarah Carter (Maggie), Seychelle Gabriel (Lourdes), Remi Aubuchon (Executive Producer)

I’ve been a fan of Falling Skies from the get go. As my NerdBFF Geek Outlaw says, “if it’s got aliens in it, I’ll watch it!” And it keeps getting better. We got to see some clips from the first episode premiering June 9th on TNT, including a new baby girl, some more Karen, a badass new punk rock haircut for Matt, promotions for Tom and Lourdes, new alien technology, conflict for Maggie, and some pretty epic looking battle scenes. It definitely got me excited.

Oddball Comics Live: Sex, Drugs, and Rock ‘n Roll

HNG Oddball

Panelist: Scott Shaw

I’ve never laughed harder at a panel than I did at this one. Scott Shaw has collected some of the most bizarre comic books imaginable over the course of the last 50 years. It’s filled with crotches, boobs, phallic symbols, crazy concepts, and hidden-in-plain-sight imagery (kind of like the dirty stuff found in every Disney movie made from 1989 to 1992). It’s hard to tell if they were done intentionally or unintentionally.  He’s compiled them into a power point presentation that he complements with witty commentary. It’s hysterical and I highly recommend checking it out if you ever see him on a convention schedule.

Roddenberry Presents

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Panelists: Rod Roddenberry, Trevor Roth, Tory Mell

As a life-long Trekker, I always enjoy checking out the Roddenberry Presents panel. I’ve had the pleasure of hanging out with Rod and Trevor a few times now and even interviewed Rod at SDCC last year (I’m still perfecting my interviewing skills, mmmkay?) They are super nice and working on some seriously awesome stuff.

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Rod Roddenberry, HNG, Trevor Roth. I have no idea why I look bored in this picture, I SWEAR I wasn’t. I was probably wondering if Mama Jedi knew how to operate my camera.

Things worth checking out right now: Days Missing, Mission Log podcast, and White Room: 02B3. Things worth checking out in the near future: Worth. We were teased about exciting new things TBA at SDCC this year. One of the highlights of the panel? Winning this awesome “Cool as Kirk” t-shirt for answering one of the trivia questions correctly.

HNG Star Trek tshirt

Geeks Get Published

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Panelists: SG Browne, Katrina Hill, Alan Kistler, Alex Langley, Dr. Travis Langley. Moderated by Jenna Busch.

This panel was extremely informative. It was a panel full of geek-centric authors offering up free advice on how to get published. The main thing I took away from it was that I’d like to get a literary agent and that I’m doing the right thing by writing what I love. Afterwards, Alan Kistler found me downstairs and wanted a picture (he’s a big Doctor Who fan and is coming out with a Doctor Who book later this year.

Alan Kistler and HNG

Alan Kistler and HNG

He graciously stayed and chatted with Geek Outlaw and I for a good 10-15 minutes about writing while his friends wandered off to the bar without him. Thanks again, Alan!

Here’s some of what happened down on the Floor…

One of the first booths we noticed was that of Lion Forge Comics. It was a mighty impressive booth.

Geek Outlaw oohing and ahhing

Geek Outlaw oohing and ahhing

They had a healthy line for the slot machine which we were talked into joining. It was manned by this lovely lady armed with a sonic screwdriver.

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Mama Jedi went first and won a giant bag.

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Then it was my turn.

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The machine didn’t seem to be working properly so I fixed it when no one was paying attention and won a bracelet.

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Then Geek Outlaw went and won a bracelet. I totally took a picture of him doing it but he didn’t send it to me so blame him for the empty space here.

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Based out of St. Louis, MO, Lion Forge has a lot of projects in the works and were some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. We chatted with a number of the people involved, including the Creative Director, the YouTube channel host, one of the primary writers, and even the guy who’s in charge of Licensing who was kind enough to help me get Mama Jedi into the giant bag she’d won.

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It seemed like a good idea at the time

There was a large “celebrity row” including Boomer aka Herbert Jefferson Jr. from the Classic Battlestar Galactica.

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Star Wars staple Chewbacca aka Peter Mayhew.

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The ghost of Richard Hatch aka OG Apollo and reboot Zarek.

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The Soup Nazi aka Larry Thomas, who’s decision to sign soup ladles convinced Geek Outlaw to buy an autographed one for his parents who LOVE the Soup Nazi.

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And then there was this guy who Mama Jedi made a beeline for. I still have absolutely no idea who he is or what he does besides sitting there shirtless.

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We ran into SDCC buddy Daniel who was holding down the fort at the booth of a friend.

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We also visited a buddy from this past Long Beach Comic Con. Artist Matt Stevens creates metal fan art. Last time I bought Tenth Doctor and Wash. This time I got an Eleventh Doctor and River Song bookmark. They sit right by my desk and I LOVE them. Not only is Matt a fantastic artist but he’s a super cool dude so you should definitely check him out HERE.

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That’s a mighty fine t-shirt you got there, Matt

One of the ships from Oblivion.

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There was a parade of R2 units lead by a small child.

Where were those brakes again?

Where were those brakes again?

They got into a fight with a couple of WALL-E‘s.

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There was some spitting and at one point the Black R2 unit totally flipped off one of the WALL-E’s as you can see in this video I took:

[youtube:http://youtu.be/gfu_uFi_W6E]

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It wouldn’t be an HNG convention wrap up without the costume pictures!

One of the very first cosplayers we ran into was Toni Darling, better known to the interwebz as Lady Thor. She’s a friend of Daniel’s and the artist who’s booth he was manning (see the posters and artwork behind him?)

I have no idea why I'm making that stupid face

I have no idea why I’m making that stupid face

On our way to the Falling Skies panel I time crashed into my future self in the form of a delightful guy with a very convincing British accent named Jack.

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Something’s up with the universe because we ran into each other again at the end of the night while Geek Outlaw and I were chatting with Alan Kistler and took some more pics.

This is Alan's friend who took off for the bar while we were deep in conversation about writing and stuff

This is Alan’s friend who took off for the bar while we were deep in conversation about writing and stuff

Jack even helped us out by taking the picture of our little group in front of the WonderCon sign.

WonderCon Hot Nerd Girl

Time crash number two occurred down on the Floor. This time I ran into my Fourth incarnation.

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Four is my favorite of the Classic Doctors so he gave me a jelly baby which I totally ate, because, heck, it’s a jelly baby from the Doctor! It was delicious.

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It was a little freakier when I saw myself. I’m just going to assume that he’s the Meta-Crisis Doctor 😉

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Mini me. Seriously, this kid was adorable. He was a bit upset with his Mom because she ruined his jacket. It’s not easy being the mother of a Time Lord, mmmkay kiddo?

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There were many, many, many ladies dressed up as the TARDIS. Apparently a Time Lord dropped some TARDIS coral on Earth at some point in the past.  This one was one of my favorites because it was so unique.

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Let’s move away from Gallifrey and check out some of the other costumes, shall we?

This Lady Thor sat next to us during the Roddenberry panel.

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I ran into this walker at least three times. It freaked me out just as much each time. *shudder* He obviously ran into Haley from Woodbury because there’s no way Daryl would have missed that badly. Twice.

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There are always a few Ghostbusters wandering around conventions. This time they were everywhere. We chatted with a group from Sacramento for quite a while. I like the Ghostbusters groups, they do great things in their communities.

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The Ecto-truck (behind Ecto-1) belongs to one of the guys from the Sacramento group.

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The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man was the Dad of the Mini Tenth Doctor (see him down in the right hand corner? He’s totally thinking he has the coolest Dad ever).

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Stay Puft helped me out by posing with Flat Stanley. I was put in charge of Flat Stanley by a friend who’s kid read the book. I honestly have no idea what the heck Flat Stanley is all about but I returned him to his owner yesterday. Apparently I’m getting him back when I go to Wisconsin for my family reunion next month,

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Rad.

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Steam Punk Snow White can kick your ass.

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Disney Princesses + Rainbow Brite = every little girl’s fantasy come true.

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Jon Snow admiring Daenerys’ …uh…eggs. Riiiight…..

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THIS.

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COBRA Command from GI Joe. I’m pulling this entirely from memory here but the group seems to include Serpentor, Destro, The Baroness, and I think Zarana, a BAT and a Night Creeper. Please correct me if I’m wrong, it’s been more than a few years.

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Marvel goodies vs. DC baddies.

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LEGO Darth Maul!

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This fellow HNG was mighty hot for a scruffy looking nerf herder.

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That’s a nice multipass you got there, Leeloo (and a view from the rear for anyone who’s interested).DSC00511Finally, there’s CMDR William T. Riker as portrayed by a guy who’s name really is William (no joke). He was very nice and we chatted for a few minutes about how much we love Star Trek. It was only after I got home that I realize we’d already met and taken a picture together at Long Beach Comic Con back in November. Kismet!

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And that concludes my wrap up of WonderCon 2013. It was loads of fun and I’m looking forward to next year!