Comic-Con L.A. – Comic Book Nerds Rejoice!

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Formerly known as Comikaze Expo, Comic-Con L.A. is a three-day event that brings comic books lovers, writers, and cosplayers alike in one place to celebrate the ever-changing and expansive world that is the comic universe.

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I’ve always been an avid comic book reader since the age of six, in particular of horror comics and Archie comics (so yes, I DO love Riverdale, don’t judge me).

This event usually brings 90,000 people to share their communal love for comics. I met a lot of people that had come all the way from Italy and the U.K. to be at this event, and many east coasters found their way to Los Angeles too.

Of course, everyone goes to Comic-Con for the comics, but you can’t help but also go there to see all the cosplayers or to dress up yourself. This was my first time going and I decided not dress up (or at least I semi-did by wearing a Sabrina The Teenage Witch shirt and kinda selecting the rest of the outfit and makeup based on what the character of Sabrina would wear). But I had a blast getting to see everyone else dressed up (and I’ll admit that I veered on taking photos of people that were more of the goth realm than any other subculture).

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It was also very cool to see some iconic movie props and costumes being displayed at the event. From the Ghostbusters car to the suit Winona Ryder wore in Stranger Things when her character went to the Upside Down world. But one of my absolute favourites was being able to see the armor that Gary Oldman wore in Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula.

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I also had a chance to meet the co-writers Jim Krueger and Samantha Levenshus when I was given a free copy of the new comic Neon Future (co-created by Emmy-nominated producer and global DJ sensation Steve Aoki in partnership with Impact Theory Studios). Not only were the writers kind enough to sign my copy of the comic but I had a pleasant chat with Jim Krueger who loved my Sabrina The Teenage Witch tee and we discussed our communal love for The Afterlife with Archie comic series and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina series and how much we’re looking forward to the new Archie horror series that has the Blossom twins as protagonist called 666. Taking a look at the comic Neon Future, I was delighted to see that the comic explored the idea of how it isn’t technology that brings about the evil of the world in a futuristic dystopian society, but rather it’s the human use and feelings towards that technology that brings about the downfall of man, making it thus so that the world can be taken by cyborgs. The idea is utterly compelling and I highly recommend to check it out if you have the chance!

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And lastly…I was in comic book heaven when I saw all of the retro Archie Comics that the event had to offer. Sadly, some of the very awesome retro ones from the 50’s were out of my price range (a rare Sabrina comic was up for sale for $200) but I found many from the 70’s that were in good condition and not crazily expensive. One of the most interesting crossovers was one Archie meets Batman comic that I had to get just because it was THAT out in the left field. While I was there I also picked up a horror comic too that explores the themes in the Grimms Faerytales. I would’ve loved to purchase some retro Tales from the Crypt, but alas, the price range for those were out of this world ($500!).

For any 80’s fans, the con also had a ton of 80’s toys (from Teddy Ruxpin to Popples) it pretty much looked like someone had cleared out their attic and brought these toys to sell, which left me wishing I could clear out my own garage of 80’s toys so that I too could slap a $100 price tag on a Cabbage Patch Kids or $50 on a Pound Puppies plush. Are there any takers?

Comic-Con L.A. was a truly fun experience, and if you wish to immerse yourself in comic world memorabilia and unleash your inner child, then this event is truly for you.

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ScareLA – Summer Screams

pumpkinscareDo you love horror? Do you fall in that group of people that wished Halloween wasn’t just one night a year? If you answered YES to both these questions, then ScareLA is the perfect convention for you! It celebrates the horror genre, but also the spirit of Halloween with frightening haunts and mazes. I managed to snag Press Passes for this event, and took The Inkblotters to the appropriately darkened convention for some spooky fun!

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The event took place during the weekend of August 25-26. As soon as you entered you were immersed into the scary realm of darkness with a zombie pandemic haunt, which was the only interactive fright zone where we were told that if touched by the zombies, then we were considered “infected.” Luckily, I managed to survive the zombie apocalypse, but the same fate didn’t befall my boyfriend and friend who were both brought into a separate room to be “executed.”

 

 

The next haunt we checked out was an asylum dubbed Nightmare Clinic, which wasn’t too creepy unless you fear clowns and tiny spaces (I wouldn’t recommend the maze portion of the haunt for those that suffer from claustrophobia as all your red flags will be flashing wild). The last haunt we checked out was a medieval one called Descension Castle, that had a banshee on the loose. I appreciated the amount of detailed work that was put to create a castle in the middle of the convention floor.

 

 

Besides the haunts, ScareLA offered virtual reality, panels, live shows, photo ops, short film viewings, zombie ballet, and many other horrificly fun amusements. Out of the three short films I viewed, my favourite was Holy Fatman’s Please Love Me Forever, wherein a surreal Tim Burtonesque world, Lili 14-year-old albino lives with her strange scientist mother, Claudie, who is constantly replacing aging parts of her face with new younger parts. When Lili declares her love to her handsome neighbor, Lyesse, and he doesn’t reciprocate, Lili decides to take out his heart to understand why the boy doesn’t love her back. The movie was visually stunning and ended with such a bang that I totally recommend watching it!

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Dreadful Little Things

Another major component of ScareLA were all the vendors. There were shops for anything your macabre heart desired from custom-made corsets and hats, FX makeup, feral kitty adoptions, and rare international horror DVD’s and comics. My favourite shop hands down was Dreadful Little Things, where old dolls were repurposed for a new life. The dolls found in that shop were utterly creepy, making Annabelle look like Barbie in comparison.

 

 

Once you got tired of all the walking, you could relax in the lounge area where you could order drinks (I got a cocktail appropriately named Radioactive Embalming Fluid garnished with a gummy eyeball), and rent headphones for free to get in your zone.

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Here I am with George C. Romero

I had a chance to chat with George C. Romero who told me that Rise is going to be a prologue (not prequel as he corrected me) of the Night of Living Dead franchise, that he was hoping to work together with his father George A. Romero, but who sadly passed away. It should be out by November 2019. I also had a chance to interview Robert Mukes of the Rob Zombie House of 1,000 Corpses who was exceptionally nice. I asked him if filming horror movies is more difficult than normal movies, as Robert Englund has always mentioned the struggles horror movies bring to an actor in regards to the makeup and physicality of roles (running, jumping, etc.). However, Mukes stated that for him, he hasn’t noted the difference as he hasn’t had to do extensive makeup like Englund, and that usually his height (a whopping 6’10”!) has been enough to make him appear scary. He’s got a score of movies coming out soon, one of them being a zombie flick entitled Valentine DayZ. Linda Blair of The Exorcist fame was also at the con, but she didn’t seem that keen on wanting to chat, so I didn’t approach her.

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All in all, ScareLA is an immersive experience for those that live and breathe Horror, and I recommend checking it out if you have a chance, you won’t regret it!

For more info check out: SCARELA

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Photos by David Hanger

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My Bad Romance: The Southern Gentleman

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We met in July. I was there to see your bestfriend perform, but after the gig you asked me if I wanted to go out for ice cream. We soon found out that the only place that serves ice cream at midnight is a Denny’s Diner, so there we spent over two hours just talking about everything and anything. I loved listening to your voice. Your Texan accent was warm and inviting. We laughed like we had been friends forever.

It was perfect.

The first time you kissed me, you first stopped to kiss my nose. I smiled at the gesture. I thought that you were different. I thought that it felt nice to be in your presence. And my hand fit perfectly with your own, forever linked.

We were in Oklahoma hiding in the closet with a Tornado approaching our hotel room. My heart was racing, but you held me close and strummed your guitar, singing to me, “Riders on the Storm,” as the winds increased. Tears were streaming down my cheeks, I thought our building was going to lift up just like Dorothy’s home in The Wizard of Oz, and saw my fear and held my hand and whispered, “We’re going to be okay. Even if this could be our final moment, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

We were at a gas station in the desert when your bandmates were filling up the van’s tank and Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl,” came on the radio. You grabbed my hand, and singing the lyrics to me, pulled me out of the van. I laughed as we danced under the hot desert sun. Your crooked smile made me melt, and once again I thought that everything about that moment, about us, was perfect.

And for a while it truly was.

Until.

This is the part of the story where it takes a detour for the worst.

Until you grew weary of me wanting more. Needing more. And it crushed my heart when you handed me a ring for my birthday but punctuated, “It’s not the sort of ring you were hoping for, you know I’m not ready, yet.”

But that yet kept weighing on me. Was it really a yet, or were you just buying time? I began to believe that you didn’t care. I was certain that you were getting bored or maybe exhausted of me.

Then one February night, I saw my phone with all your texts and voicemails. You had spent most of the day trying to reach me because you were going to break up with me.

Something deep inside of me broke. And like Thom Yorke in “Karma Police,” for a minute there I did lose myself. I spent my nights driving around L.A. listening to songs on repeat as I tried to find a way to get back to you. I’d text you obsessively. Sometimes I was sweet, other times I was angry. I reached a point where I didn’t care whether the attention I was receiving from you was negative. I was starving for any tiny morsel. Your hate would’ve been better to me than your indifference. And all I could think about was how much I missed you. I started to hate you because I didn’t like this new person I had become. But at the same time, I didn’t know how to be different. I spent two years trying to forget the twenty months we spent together.

You hollowed me out. Sometimes, I feel as though if anyone peers closely into me they can see just how much I’m lacking. That they can see how all my cracks haven’t been placed correctly, that I’m not fixed. And maybe I never will be.

This is the new me. Not newly minted, but an amalgam of broken pieces haphazardly glued together, trying to pretend that I’m okay.

I’m okay.

I hope that wherever you are, you’re okay too.

By: Azzurra Nox