San Diego Comic-Con 2015 Artist Roundup

SDCC 2015 GeekMom Artist Roundup. Image by Ariane Coffin.
SDCC 2015 GeekMom Artist Roundup. Image by Ariane Coffin.

Every year my husband and I spend most of my San Diego Comic-Con browsing the booths of artists on the show floor. Without fail, we purchase more art than we have room for—yet we always manage to fit on a wall somehow—and I find a new set of artists to add to my list of favorites. Joining the list with all the wonderful people I showcased last year are the artists I’ve discovered at SDCC this year. Here they are, in no particular order:

Otis Frampton

Art of Otis Frampton. (permission pending)
Art of Otis Frampton, used with permission.

Otis has a long list of projects he’s worked on, but I’m here to tell you about ABCDEFGeek. They are a series of hilariously clever, ultra-geeky alphabet picture books that won’t fail to make you chuckle. My favorites are “C is for Canceled” with an image of Jayne, or “I is for Indispensable (Also Irony)” picturing a Redshirt.

Sara Richard

Art by Sara Richard. (permission pending)
Art by Sara Richard, used with permission.

Here’s a fresh take on some old favorites! On Sara’s website you’ll find just about every geek fandom represented—with a unique twist—like Back to the Future, Dragon Ball Z, Doctor Who, and many more.

Chrissie Zullo

Art by Chrissie Zullo. (permission pending)
Art by Chrissie Zullo, used with permission.

Chrissie has a lot of comic-based art, and rightfully so, since she has worked as an illustrator for DC, Dark Horse, IDW, and more. However, I was especially fond of her Kiki and Nausicaa prints pictured here.

Alina Chau

Art by Alina Chau. (permission pending)
Art by Alina Chau, used with permission

Alina has some whimsical watercolor art for both adult and children. She has worked in the animation industry on small little projects you probably haven’t heard of like, oh, Star Wars: The Clone Wars. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) She now works on her own projects, and I’m glad because she has a big variety of prints and other items in her shop to show for it.

Travis Hanson

Art by Travis Hanson, used with permission.
Art by Travis Hanson, used with permission.

Travis has some really great kid books, and he should know seeing as he has five kids of his own. My husband and I purchased Adventures for a Lazy Afternoon, a compilation art book with an inspiring text flowing through it about the power of inspiration, creativity, and good ol’ determination. He offered to make us a drawing on the first page and we described our two girls. Travis got them pretty dead on, all while holding a conversation with us and quite surprisingly not looking down at the paper all that often—how does he do that?! Be sure to check out his picture book about teddy bear pirates too, because teddy bear pirates.

Patrick Ballesteros

Art by Patrick Ballesteros, used with permission.
Art by Patrick Ballesteros, used with permission.

Patrick can turn any geeky fandom into a scene of boisterous kids. He’s all about bringing fun into art, evoking nostalgia, and embracing your inner child. He has a huge series of “25 Cent Wonders” featuring our favorite geek icons on themed kiddie rides. Fun? Check!

Finni Chang

Art by Finni Chang, used with permission.
Art by Finni Chang, used with permission.

I didn’t get to meet Finni first hand because I decided to take a break while my husband went to visit the Artists’ Alley one last time. He bought one print from her during that time and spent the rest of the day browsing her website, umming and ahhing about which print he’d buy next. Finni is especially fond of Zelda, and we love her “Zeldamon” series—that would be Zelda and Pokemon merged together. Win.


Art by Patara at Vuduberi. (permission pending)
Art by Patara at Vuduberi, used with permission.

If you can say no to your impulse for buying these super cute prints to decorate your child’s bedroom, you’re a stronger person than me. Patara is an artist at the studio Vuduberi, who specializes in the adorable and whimsical from prints to games and toys. I especially liked the print pictured here with the little girl stuffing pandas in her closet. I can’t look at it without thinking too many pandas is a good problem to have.

Kei Acedera

Art by Kei Acedera, images used with permission. (permission pending)
Art by Kei Acedera, images used with permission.

If you’re into Alice in Wonderland, look no further than Kei. Her illustrations cover other subjects too, and all of it is intricate and delightfully strange. She is the art director at the Imaginism Studios, home of many other very talented artists worth checking out.

This is it for my list this year. There’s always more talented and ingenious artists than I can actually see while at SDCC, but these were the ones that caught my eye. Did you also attend? Please share your favorite finds and experiences in the comment section, I’d love to hear them!

SDCC: ‘Agent Carter’ vs. ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ … In a Dubsmash War


San Diego Comic-Con has been a whirlwind of information this week. The Force Awakens takes Hall H to a private concert! The debut of the new Batman v Superman trailer!

But perhaps the greatest thing to come out of SDCC 2015 is… the Agent Carter vs. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. dubsmash war. Enjoy.


Here’s Why I Want the New ‘Die Hard’ Blu-ray Collection

The Nakatomi Plaza: Die Hard Collection. Photo: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, LLC.

“Welcome to the party, pal!”

Sure, I’ve seen the Die Hard movies a jillion times now. Okay—I’ve seen the first one a jillion times. The second and third come in… well, second and third. I’ve actually seen the third one a lot. I’m working my way up to quoting the fourth and the fifth.

However, I would proudly call those last two flicks my own just to have the upcoming Nakatomi Plaza: Die Hard Collection.

The original is probably one of my favorite action movies and definitely one of my favorite Christmas movies. It’s also one of the movies that will always keep me awake at night.

This upcoming special edition packs all five Die Hard flicks into a replica of that very familiar Los Angeles tower. Yes, it’s the same one that had most of its windows shattered, the same one that had John McClane’s bloody footprints stamped onto the side, and the same one that aided in blowing an FBI helicopter right out of the sky.

Inside, it has Blu-ray and Digital HD versions of Die Hard, Die Hard 2: Die Harder, Die Hard: With a Vengeance, Live Free or Die Hard, and A Good Day to Die Hard. The last two also feature an unrated version of each film. There’s also a bonus Blu-ray on “Decoding Die Hard,” a 32-page booklet about the franchise, and five villain collectible cards. Hans, booby—you’ve got yourself a trading card!

Fox will start taking pre-orders for the Nakatomi Plaza: Die Hard Collection in their booth at San Diego Comic-Con, as well as online. You can expect to pay $89.99 for this magnificent piece, and I’m guessing they won’t take bearer bonds. Otherwise, you can score one when it’s released on October 13, 2015. Yippee-ki-yay!

Photo: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, LLC.

Marvel Offers Unlimited Comics for 1 Cent

The Marvel Unlimited promotion is valid through July 27, 2015. Photo: Marvel.

Remember when you used to be able to get comics for just a few cents? Well, Marvel is making comics available for a penny—about 17,000 of them.

The company just announced plans to offer its Marvel Unlimited service for the introductory price of 1 cent. As part of the San Diego Comic-Con festivities, this deal will only be offered to new subscribers and only for the first month.

However, that’s an awful lot of eye candy for the price of well… penny candy. The collection features 75 years of Marvel Comics, which includes The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, Daredevil, Spider-Man, Ms. Marvel, and so much more. If it seems really overwhelming (in a good way, of course), click over to the Discover section, which allows users to search by storylines, characters, or creators.

To get the discounted goods, you will need to use the promo code PENNY during your checkout process. Just know that this offer is only good through July 20, 2015. (Editor’s Note: The offer has been extended through July 27!) There are a few other restrictions as well. Like, don’t expect to cancel your current subscription to get the discount; the offer is only open to new and former (now-cancelled) members who have not subscribed with a promotional offer in the last 6 months. It also doesn’t work on gift subscriptions, Annual, or Annual Plus memberships. Make sure to read the fine print!

The Marvel Unlimited app is available on the iPhone, iPad, and Android devices. After the 1-cent promotional period is up, expect to pay $9.99 per month. However, that fee ensures that you’ll always have plenty to read, since both classic and new issues are being added on a weekly basis.

Get Ready For Geek-Inspired Couture In The Her Universe Fashion Show at SDCC

Her Universe founder Ashley Eckstein in a Darth Vader inspired look, photo credit Kelsey Edwards Photography

If you love TARDIS gowns and gender-bending Loki cosplay, you’re going to love to see what Her Universe brings to San Diego Comic-Con. If you like to design those things, you’re going to want to participate. Her Universe will be presenting a “geek couture” fashion show and design competition, and the grand prize is your own fashion collection for Hot Topic.

This isn’t a cosplay competition. It’s a fashion design contest. They can be couture-style or ready-to-wear. (See below for a few sample idea sketches.) And you don’t have to be a professional to enter–call it your own at-home, geeked-up version of Project Runway. (You’ll have to furnish your own Tim Gunn telling you to, “Make it work!”) Two grand prize winners will get that chance to co-design a collection for Hot Topic with Her Universe’s founder Ashley Eckstein.

For those who just want to see the results, The Her Universe Fashion Show will be held July 24th during SDCC at the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel (near the San Diego Convention Center where Comic-Con is held). Entry will be first come-first served and admission is free with a San Diego Comic-Con 2014 badge.

“Fangirls are already using the halls of San Diego Comic-Con International as their runway to showcase custom fashions. We wanted to give these designers a bigger stage to share their talent and also provide an educational experience in the fashion industry,” said Eckstein.

Only 30 people will be chosen to show their designs at SDCC, so get to work! The deadline is April 4. Enter at You can also watch Eckstein rocking a handcrafted leather ensemble designed by Doug Dunnam in this video:

Bumblee-inspired look, credit Her Universe
A frock to make even Captain Kirk jealous, credit Her Universe
Lookin’ like Loki, credit Her Universe
Try to look a little livelier than Lori’s Ghost, credit Her Universe
TARDIS dress not actually bigger on the inside, credit Her Universe


San Diego Comic-Con: Mixo Kooky Kans

Batman Kooky Can…Nice Abs, Batman

Even if you never see a single panel, you can still keep yourself completely entertained and likely empty your wallet looking through the vendor booths at San Diego Comic-Con. It’s been three full days and I still walk down the rows certain that I’ve seen everything, only to find that there are entire areas of the floor that I’ve completely missed.  It’s like little elves sneak in at night and add new stuff while I’m sleeping. Wandering through a newly discovered area this morning I came across Mixo Kooky Cans and fell in love.

This brand new product is launching itself during the convention and judging by the number of sold out signs scattered across the booth I wasn’t the only one drawn to these adorable renditions of superheros and Smurfs and monsters.  I was too late to get Batman or Superman because they were behind the dreaded sold out tape, but the monster series, which includes kid-friendly, cute versions of vampires is going home with me.

Vampire Kookycraft Graveyard

These retro-style tins are 8.5″ tall and come in sets of four that are sold individually.  Open them up and they get even better.  Each is filled with either tasty Mixo candy or a Kookycraft which is a bit like old style paper dolls only better. I spoke with Reis O’Brien, Art Director at Mixo, who told me that they wanted to turn scary monsters into lovable creatures, striving for that warm-fuzzy vibe that kids and adults both love.  If you look at the vampire graveyard you can see that effort in the smiling faces that stare out from gargoyles and the moon and even the vampire in his hearse.

Who Ya Gonna Call? Ghostbusters!

Since this was the company’s debut, not every item was available for purchase just yet.  There are plans for Ghostbusters and Hello Kitty cans as well as more monsters and superheros.  If you couldn’t make it to San Diego you can still get these adorable collectible tins directly from Mixo as well as see their future releases.  Just remember, these are so cute that if you want them for yourself, you’re going to have to fight to keep them away from your kids.


San Diego Comic-Con: Sleestaks and Sea Monsters with Sid and Marty Krofft

Sigmund and the Sea Monsters

I grew up in the seventies when Saturday mornings belonged to kids. I’d wake up at the crack of dawn and run downstairs to turn on the TV just loud enough to hear, but not loud enough to wake my still sleeping parents. There were some wonderfully cheesy programs on Saturday mornings, but my favorite show, the one I’d never miss, was Land of the Lost.

First, it had a fantastic opening sequence, with an earthquake and then a little raft plummeting to it’s near doom. Second, it had a theme song that to this day, I can sing on cue. And lastly, it had Sleestaks, those creepy human-alien-lizard-things-in-rubber-suits-that-hissed. I hated the Sleestaks and they scared me so much that they gave me nightmares, but I still loved that show. At San Diego Comic-Con on Friday I attended a panel with the show’s creators, Sid and Marty Krofft, and I was star-struck.

These two little old men sat at a table on a stage while fans who still remember shows like Banana Splits, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters and H.R. Pufnstuf delighted in their every word. We listened as they talked about their early lives selling cars and working in a circus. We heard about how cheaply their shows were made and how they would be impossible to make today.

They made jokes at each other’s expense and were so genuine that it felt like we were all just sitting having coffee, not in the middle of a convention center with thousands of people outside the doors. And yes, they did address the what-are-you-smoking accusations and assured the audience that no drugs were used in the creation of their wild and crazy shows. Amid the stories, the reminiscing, and the brotherly teasing, there was one thing that was perfectly clear. These guys love what they do.

They love it so much that they’ve never stopped. The fans have never stopped loving these shows either and the Krofft brothers are rewarding them with new projects like the September release of Sigmund and the Sea Monsters on DVD and a new version of The Bugaloos. At the end of the panel they encouraged everyone to take a free posters promoting Sigmund and come by their booth later that afternoon for signatures. We all dutifully filed past the little box of posters to grab our treasure and then snapped pictures as H. R. Pufnstuf himself waddled out onto the stage and it was wonderful.

It wasn’t a room filled with two thousand people who’d been waiting in line for a day just to get a seat. There weren’t hundreds of cameras and screaming fans, but these guys, these two brothers with some crazy ideas and a lot of determination reached the hearts of countless kids years ago, and with the release of their new projects are certain to create a whole new generation of devoted fans.


Gearing Up for San Diego Comic-Con

I read something scary on Twitter the other day: words so alarming they actually made me gasp.

Only six weeks until SDCC!

Six weeks until San Diego Comic-Con?! It hardly seems possible! And yet it’s true. Actually, since that tweet was several days ago, there are less than six weeks until the biggest event of my family’s summer: Comic-Con begins on Thursday, July 21.

Time for this con-crazy mother to get her ducks in a row. This will be my fourth time attending SDCC, which is the biggest and most crowded comics convention in the United States. Every year, I’ve shared photos, stories, and panel recaps at my blog. This year, to pile extra fun on top of the Mountain of Fun that is SDCC, I’ll be writing about my con experiences here at GeekMom. I’m super-excited to be here!

As the con countdown commences, I’m keeping a sharp eye on the Comic-Con website for panel and event announcements. This year my husband (a comic book writer and editor) and I are bringing our three oldest kids, so we have a lot of planning to do. Some of my favorite things about comics conventions are the writer and artist discussion panels—I love to hear other creative folks talk about their work. Last year’s panels were amazing, especially the kids’ graphic novels discussion, the epic fantasy panel, and Michael Scott’s interview with Rick Riordan.

It was also pretty exciting when the actor who played Young Benjamin Linus popped up in the audience at the LOST Encyclopedia panel.

Of course the very best part of any comics convention is gawking at the fabulous costumes.

I hear a couple of other GeekMoms will be in attendance, so we’ll have to have a geek meet for sure. If you’re going too, leave a comment and let us know!