Anime/Manga/Comics

Katsucon is tough. Yes, I’ve been attending on and off throughout the years since the late 90’s… but it’s always at the beginning of February which is cold as hell! It’s almost always overlapping with Valentine’s day/weekend which is annoying. It also happens adjacent to MagFest which I’ve wanted to go to but couldn’t justify going to conventions two weekends in a row.

Squad

This year I went to Katsucon with Taz, Tony and Tony’s fiance Ashley. For the most part, I did things with Taz which was probably for the best since every time we met up with Tony he only had negative things to say. If we saw a cosplayer Tony took the opportunity to point out things he didn’t like about their costume and then still asked for a photo – what a dick. Anything we saw, liked, or purchased Tony took the time to say “Why don’t you just print out copies at home?” or “How much did that cost?” instead of simply keeping his mouth shut or pointing out something he liked about it. Even though Taz and I came away with differing opinions of some of the things we saw, we still had a great time.

Panels

Vertical Comics

Taz and I got to the Vertical Comics panel a little late, but still caught a bunch of good stuff. The highlight of the panel was the strangely awkward and hilarious interview with Ninja Slayer creator Philip Morzez. I wasn’t sure whether to pull the trigger on Ninja Slayer after that but Taz did. I’ll have to catch up with him on whether he likes it. The ones I saw that looked interesting were The Gods Lie, Wolfsmund, Abandoned Sacred Beasts, The Book of Human Insects, and Junji Ito’s Dissolving Classroom. I really hope they do a hardcover for the Ito book!

Webcomics

This webcomics panel was actually insanely good! As a casual webcomic reader, it was interesting to hear about how these writers and artists do their work. They covered everything from what budding webcomics writers should study in school, to what tools to use to publish webcomics online, how to promote their content, etc. The author of The Devil’s Panties shared quite a bit and was very informative and funny! The guys from The Guilded Age were pretty funny and had some great insight as well. As a kid that grew up on Katsucon wasting time doing stuff like playing games and watching anime in the video rooms I suddenly realized how much I’ve missed over the years. My goal with future conventions is to try more panels!

Merchants Room

I ended up spending a lot of time in the merchants’ room. There were the usual things like DVDs, BluRays, figures and such, but the standouts were the merchants selling things they made themselves. From leather workers, artists, costumers, prop and weapon makers, to custom pen and timepiece makers, there were tons of things to look at. I ended up picking up a Gundam figure which I’ll be working on as I get time in the coming weeks, Fist of the North Star for the NES, and a handmade pen.

Pens & More

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I met up with this interesting guy, Robert Wierbinski, out of Indiana who is an RN and hand makes pens as a hobby. He has engineered a number of mechanisms for exposing the ball point and demonstrates masterful craftsmanship. I ended up picking one up made out of a bullet casing that uses a bolt action mechanism for exposing the ball point. It also has a circuit board inlaid around the barrel. If you’re looking for something one of a kind you should look him up. #pen #katsucon2016

Artists’ Alley

I normally spend time in the artists’ alley, but this year I had the budget to get commissions and the time to see more than ever before.

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Agent Wednesday

I hit upon Agent Wednesday by accident while I was hitting up Edwin Huang for a commission. She was taking “commissions” for naked baby sketches on a “whatever you think it’s worth” price basis. We had a sort of speed-dating dialog while she learned about me to make my sketch personalized. It actually turned out to be quite funny and quite fun! Everyone else I came with ended up getting one once they saw mine. I hope to see her again at some future convention.

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Edwin Huang

With Street Fighter V just a few days away I stumble across Edwin with a huge Chun-Li banner behind him. He had some nice prints along with original sketches for sale. I ended up picking up the ladies’ lunch at the ramen shop pictured here, and I commissioned him to do a torso shot of Laura. His sketch of Laura really blew me away and I will cherish that for a long time to come. Now, to find someone to color it!

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Newsha Ghasemi

Walking around the artists’ alley is tough because there’s just so much to look at. However, when we turned the corner facing Newsha’s booth we both said “Holy shit!” Her flower series of scrolls were hanging behind the booth and were just stunning! There were a lot of good ones, but the one pictured here spoke to me so I picked it up. She also had some cool double sided bags and prints available. If her booth wasn’t so busy I would have liked to stop off and talk to her a bit. Maybe next time!

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ZipperTan

ZipperTan was doing cosplay, but also taking commissions for chibi drawings. I like that she got the flowers and stuff from my jacket. The price was a little high, but as part of the overall experience was totally worth it. I’m hoping to catch her next time and see more of her cosplay.

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Lucid Sky

Lucid Sky’s booth was hard for me to get to on Friday due to the crowd around it. Luckily on Saturday Taz and I were able to get to her. She had a bunch of really good artwork including a Legend of Zelda tribute, Sailor Moon, and Capcom Fighting Tribute along with a ton of other fan art that I was not familiar with. Unrelated but this girl was very cute! Haha, hope to see you again Lucid Sky!

I had the idea for a character in the Walking Dead. The idea struck me while playing Dead Rising 2 again, and fighting the psychopaths. The psychopaths represent a normal person who snapped under the immense pressure of abnormal situations, they become detached from the full reality of the situation. My particular character is not quite a psychopath in that sense, but a strong character within the Walking Dead universe.

Rick’s group crosses this character spinning his home-made polearm, a machete on one end, and a sledge hammer on the other. He was slicing and smashing walkers to bits, like a giant blender the way he spun his weapon. Heads and chests exploding, limbs and torsos flying this way and that. Finally, he’s pinning down the last live zombie, removing its thyroid gland from it’s still twitching body. He stabs the zombie in the side of the head and takes a few steps to a creek, rinsing the meat. He then hangs the small piece of meat alongside a few others to dry in the sun. You see, he has to remove them while the zombie is still “alive” for it to retain it’s effects on the human body.

Satisfied, the man produces a small pouch, dipping his knife inside to stir the powder around. Carefully balancing the knife while pulling it out, he snorts the powder along its blade. Rick, Darryl, and gang creep up on the man, weapons raised. “What the hell are you doing?” Darryl asks, genuinely confused by a man doing drugs all by himself outdoors.

“Eh?” the man says, standing up now. You could see the muscles on his arms pulsing, the veins along his arms throbbing like he’s been lifting weights. He stands tall and half smiles. “What do you want?”

Rick, content to let Darryl take this one, doesn’t move an inch. “What’s with the meat? What are you curing it for? Don’t you know they’re walkers?”

“Of course I know,” the man replies, “where do you think I get my strength?”

Darryl, Rick, Michonne, none of them knowing what to say, stand there unblinking. The man continues, “We’re all just like them anyway, at least, as soon as we die. I’m just borrowing their strength now before I turn.” His listeners, don’t even twitch, even Judith is quiet. “You see how much strength they have even though they’re dead, how long they can last without eating? That’s what I mean. So long as I take this stuff, I’m stronger than I ever was before all this happened. I won’t lie, I’ve never been this hungry, but I don’t need to eat.”

“I used to be with this group that had a doctor. He was experimenting on the biters, and I offered to be a guinea pig. At first I was eating their thyroid, that’s what he called it. But to make the thyroid last, so I could take it with me, I started drying it, grinding it up into a fine powder so I could snort it quick, or rub it against my gums.” The man now was scratching himself and playing with his fingers the way an addict would. He clasped his hands, a reflex he’d developed to keep his busy hands in order….


Overall, the character is stronger than any regular man, his wounds can heal, he can survive without water or food, but he has a few characteristics of an addict. Anyway, that was my idea for a character in the Walking Dead universe.

Katsucon this year was quite fun. Even with all the snow in the area, everybody came out – the registration line took me over an hour! It was well worth it though to see all the people in cosplay, seeing the artist’s alley, and of course the dealer room. Attack on Titan’s surge in popularity meant seeing people dressed in identical Survey Corps uniforms in groups of 5, 10, 20 and more. I even got a chance to hear Lolita Dark live who sounded quite good even if I didn’t always understand what they were saying.

There were only a few downfalls in my opinion. The first was the dealer room where prices for the same item ranged from $45-$80 depending on the dealer. With online shopping and the popularity of video game and Japanese anime it is unreasonable to price gouge on this stuff – c’mon people! Still, I was able to find a lot of good deals. The second thing was the dubbed anime in the theatres… I got a chance to sit in on One Piece : Strong World, which is an anime I have been watching for over 10 years, but so much of the humor is lost in translation that it was really terrible. I actually walked out of the show!

zzyzzyy Prints

Probably the most stunning to me were the prints by zzyzzyy. The action captured in the Portal print really got my attention, and then when we started talking she showed me her original works which were even better. I think the “Tink the Pen” was very imaginative and the detail on “The Year of the Snake” was just out of this world. I highly recommend you check out her deviant art – http://zzyzzyy.deviantart.com/gallery/

Steve Yurko Prints

Steve Yurko had a booth set up mostly featuring his fan art works. These include an electrifying Breaking Bad print and a One Piece print as Washington crossing the Delaware. He also had some comics I picked up… I’m hoping to read those later today! Check him out on his website – http://www.steveyurko.com/

Other Cool Prints

Sadly I can’t remember who I got these prints from, I will check my bag in case I got their card. My favorite might be the one from Frozen, but the Luffy one is quite cool too.

Figures

Honestly I was looking for a Kuma or Trafalgar Law figure, but my favorite character has always been Zoro. This figure is quite detailed I think, notice the personality of the swords, scabbards, scars and musculature. Pretty awesome right?

DVDs

I try not to buy DVDs anymore. If you’re going to pay money for a movie it might as well be BluRay, and if it’s common enough to stream I will do that. However, I found two particular movies that have been in my pirated DVD book for a while. Visitor Q – the heinous and unforgettable cluster fuck of a movie, and one of my favorites which I have seen multiple times Electric Dragon 80,000 Volts

That’s all I got loot wise. If anyone can identify those artists above that would be great! Who else went? What were your thoughts?

I had not been back to The BlackSwordsman for a while which sucks. I try to manage my free time and live a balanced lifestyle, it’s not always easy. Anyways, The Blackswordsman has been part of my life for years and that’s not going to end any time soon. My original goal was to make a sort of encyclopedia for Berserk, to catalog all the strange and bizarre parts of its universe. Whatever my original intent, people just want to read and talk about Berserk, so that’s what the site became.

If you haven’t read Berserk and are into manga or comics, I recommend it.