Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Help Is On The Way

Hopefully help is on the way for the craziness that is going on over at Wall Street (I'm glad that Congress didn't just do a quick approval vote on Monday and rather took a couple more days to look at the ramifications of what the bailout plan proposed by the government for Wall Street means - actually two days isn't really enough to examine what this will mean for the country at large, but it seems that something needs to be done in a hurry to avert even more craziness on Wall Street).

Anyways, I'm not here to talk about that kind of help, rather I want to put a spotlight on a comic book that came out last week from Dark Horse called Help Is On The Way, a collection of an online comic strip called Basic Instructions by Scott Meyer. Basic Instructions is a four panel comic strip with how-to titles such as: "How to Lie to a Child", "How to Call in Sick", How to Open a Snack Quietly", and "How to Accept Gratitude". Consider these words of wisdom from "How to Greet People": "Many men employ a silent head nod as a greeting. This is the greeting equivalent of tofu, as it is interpreted by the greetee based on their mood." or from " How to Slow the Spread of Germs": "I recommend you sneeze into a megaphone. This allows you to channel the germs away from people you don't want to infect, and focus them like a laser on people you do."

Help Is On The Way / Basic Instructions is drawn by Scott Meyer tracing photographs (his words from a strip in the book) and really just looks like your basic training manual that is illustrated. Go to: www.basicinstructions.net to read some of the strips, but the book is a mere $9.95 for 120 pages.


Last night I saw a preview screening of Religulous (which opens this Friday), a documentary by director Larry Charles (Borat), featuring Bill Maher interviewing people around the world about god and religion. Religulous was fantastic, with an especially powerful ending that pulls no punches as to what Bill Maher thinks about religion and god, the belief in those concepts, and how those beliefs continue to be the biggest cause of the worlds problems. The movie is often very funny, which is to be expected if you know Bill Maher from his previous stand up comic routines and his television show Politically Incorrect. Religulous feels like a Michael Moore docu-film (not a bad thing in my book) and unfortunately like Michael Moore's movies, Religulous will almost exclusively only be seen by those that agree with the central theme of the movie (the non belief in god and religion).

The thing that surprises me the most about Religulous is that some of the religious "authorities" and people talking about their beliefs in this movie actually signed whatever release to allow what they've said to end up on the big screen (and on dvd). Surely they know that they would end up looking like crazy people? One statistic that the movie quoted was that 16% of the U.S. population claim to not have any religious affiiliation. What wasn't mentioned was how much of that 16% is agnostic or atheist. Religulous went into how much religion plays a part in U.S. politics, but I wish this aspect of the movie was examined more because one has just to look at the presidential race and think about if one of the candidates announced that they were atheist (well for starters they'd have even less of a chance than Dennis Kucinich or Ralph Nader ever had). Atheist people are looked upon with more scorn by most of the population of the U.S. (and world at large) than those followers of the Mormon and Scientologist faiths.

So at least 84% of the U.S. population will not see this movie let alone think about the message it conveys. I wish the representative from Lionsgate (the studio that produced this movie) that was at the screening last night had asked the audience before the movie started as to whether they had any religious beliefs and then asked those that said yes whether they questioned their beliefs after watching the movie. I'd suspect that most of those that claimed religious beliefs would have answered like the woman who gave a comment to the Lionsgate guy in the lobby and said that the movie was one-sided. The answer to her is that Religulous is the other side of how the U.S. and most of the world present religion as the answer for the world's woes, when in fact they are the cause with all of their divisions and tunnel visions.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Ugly Couch Show

The Ugly Couch Show is a very funny, informative source for interviews and reviews of just about all things relating to pop culture with a focus on movies, comics, television, gaming, and conventions. I've been way overdue in having an entry about this site put on by Paul (The Famous Paul, as he's billed - actually I'd be surprised if he isn't famous some day - in addition to having great taste in comics he was a Klingon at the Star Trek Experience and was part of the Vegas Second City Troupe at the Flamingo), Barry, Todd, and Jeff. They're up to 29 different podcasts, which they have archived and can be viewed in quicktime or windows media format. Some of their recent episodes have covered the San Diego Comic Con, the last days of the Star Trek Experience at the Hilton, and Anime Vegas (including Paul interviewing me, but if you watch that one you'll think I'm more of a spaz than you already may think me to be). They also have audio "couchcasts" and a blog.

Visit: http://uglyshowcouchshow.com

And I'd like to say thanks to the The Ugly Couch Show lads for all the props they give me and my store!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

James Jean & Fables

Fables #76 came out this week with another fantastic cover by James Jean. The actual story behind the cover was really good also and serves as a good jumping on point after the big events in last issue for anyone who wants to switch over from the trades. Mike Allred is the guest artist for this issue and as much as I like regular Fables artist Mark Buckingham, I love Allred and he doesn't get anywhere near the love that he should (seriously look at any issue of Madman, which is actually getting better, if that's possible).

Next month's Fables #77 cover. More pretty.

Fables #78 cover. Still more pretty.

Fables #79. Yet more James Jean prettiness, he hasn't won the Eisner for best cover artist multiple times for nothing! Sadly, I think Fables #79 will be his last cover for this title. I don't know if Vertigo already has another artist on tap, but I was talking to Kate about this and she thought they should go with Christopher Moeller or Scott Hampton. I should have known she'd suggest them and not just because she's friends with them and bought art off of them.

This is Brian Bolland's cover to this week's Jack of Fables. Another example by Bolland that makes whatever book he does a cover for just totally pop out from the sea of other titles. Jack of Fables is a spin off book from Fables and basically the premise of the two Fables titles is that fairy tale characters are actually real and live alongside us (but the titles are for mature readers so don't read them to your kids as bedtime stories!).

Starbucks week 20

Looking really good I'd say. Nevada Power told me that it looks like the new Starbucks could be opening in two weeks. I've looked inside their windows and it looks like they just have some fine tuning to do as all of their equipment and furniture is within.
It looks like they mostly just have some more outside signage to do (along their drive thru area) and landscaping and they should be ready to go. I already know one of the employees is a comic fan because he shops at my store (he worked at the Starbucks by Einsteins Bagels and is being transfered) so I think it's a good bet that he can help steer Starbucks customers over to my store for some fine comics.

In another new development here by my store, my neighbor, Cloth and Canvas, closed up this week after having their one year anniversary. Truthfully I knew their longevity was suspect almost right when they opened. I liked the gal who owned the place, Cyndi, and her business partner, Ricco, but I don't think they did anything in the way of research for how to get a new business off the ground. Their store was an urban clothing store with art on their walls by a different local artist each month (for which they'd do an opening / reception for on the second Friday of each month). The store was nicely designed, but it was really sparse with merchandise and I always wondered how they would make their monthly rent. I thought even if they turned over all of their product in their store four times in a month that they'd still have a hard time making their rent and their customer traffic was pretty non existant. They did no kind of advertising at all that I knew of around the university area and I'd think that would have been their prime audience. Cyndi did work at clubs doing some kind of promotion for them, but that never translated to any of that audience coming over to her store (and they had nice clothing and good prices). They started having increasingly funky hours for the store the last few months and I don't remember seeing them get much in the way of new product since they opened other than the things they'd bring in every once in a while. Cybni, Ricco, and myself would talk to each other whenever we saw each other, but they never asked me for any tips on what they could be doing so that they wouldn't have to close. I try not to meddle in other people's business unless I'm asked, but I always thought it was curious that Cyndi and Ricco didn't pick my brain for what I thought worked and didn't work pertaining to having a new business.

There's been so many businesses that have occupied that space next to me since I've had my store and the space has also been vacant for long stretches, which I see happening again. Las Vegas has too many strip malls and there is not enough unique businesses out there to fill all of them. So what happens is a business will open up close to a similar business that already exists in that area (like tattoo shops) and they'll end up canceling each other out.

Anyway, I welcome Starbucks as a neighbor, think the building looks great, and think it will be good for the center. Hell, if it increases my business even fractionally, I may go crazy and ask my landlord what kind of lease deal they'd work out for me to knock down the wall where Cloth and Canvas was and increase my store space (maybe put in a roller skating rink)!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Spending the night with Obama / McCain

I didn't especially care about whether I listened to or watched the debate tonight because really for those that are already decided (as I am to vote for Obama)I nothing that their candidate was going to say was going to change their mind about how they're going to vote. I liked what I know about Obama and think he'd make a good president (and thought that about Hillary also) so I don't need any more convincing to vote for him, but I'd vote for almost any person that ran on the Democatic ticket because this country needs major changes and I don't think that having a Republican president in office for another four years is going to be that road for those changes. I don't think Obama or any other Democratic candidate will be able to initiate any change for some time especially in light of what's happening on Wall Street, but the road to that change is there with the Democrats that will not be possible with McCain as president (and doubly true if Palin ends up having to step in, with her redneck, religious right wing agenda).

I listened to the first hour of the debate on NPR and after Kate and I got home I watched the post game commentary on CNN and MSMBC. As I was listening I thought that both Obama and McCain weren't saying anything new and I definitely thought that Obama was "playing" way too nice in "attacking" McCain. I thought Chris Matthews on Hardball (on MSNBC) had really good analysis on how the debate went, specifically on how McCain wouldn't directly ever look at Obama and how Obama didn't come out all full throttle against how McCain has aligned himself with Bush's policies. When Obama stated to McCain that he (McCain) voted 90% of the time in line with Bush, McCain answered that the record shows that he has differed many times with Bush and that he was a maverick (groan) and Obama just let it go at that. Eugene Robertson, a commentator on the Hardball show, suggested that McCain's not looking at Obama was his way of personalizing the presidential race by way of viewing Obama as the enemy. Chris Matthews also brought up the good example of how Eisenhower ended the Korean War in 1953 not because the U.S. had won, but because it was the right thing to do and I think if Obama had broad sided McCain with an illustration as weighted as that, he'd have won the night.

So of course the debates are most important to those that are undecided on who to vote for and I'd say that McCain won this round as Obama didn't follow through with his initial jabs towards McCain's policies and thus McCain looked stronger (but I think this is only true if the listener or viewer hadn't heard both candidates talk before and or didn't know much about either candidate). Both candidates also weren't specific on what they would do about the financial crisis the country is in or how their planned policies would be affected by this finacial crisis (which certainly is going to superceede just about everything else), but that's because as long as I can remember politians are so worried about upsetting any of the voter base so they just talk in circles or generalizations. As Matthews said on Hardball, McCain was more passionate then Obama when speaking about his agenda and sadly a number of people do equate emotional responses as a sign of strength (and I don't think that being visibly passionate about something is bad, just that because one doesn't always emote doesn't mean that they aren't passionate about what their position is).

Next Thursday Biden should walk all over Palin in their debate, although after her laughable interview with Katie Couric this week I'm sure she's going to be getting a lot of coaching from her camp as to how to better answer the tough questions. November 4th is going to be very interesting indeed and it's too bad that that first Tuesday in November doesn't fall on the 5th (Guy Fawkes Day). Will we as a country be playing David Bowie's Changes or Led Zeppelin's The Song Remains The Same?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Janes in Love

Janes in Love is the new Minx graphic novel by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg and is a follow up to The Plain Janes. Anyone who's read The Plain Janes has been eagerly awaiting its sequel and I'm happy to say that all of the ingredients that made The Plain Janes great are present in Janes in Love.

The premise of this Minx graphic novel series (with the low price point of only $9.99 for 152 pages) is a group of friends (the Janes) who have taken it upon themselves to enrich their boring community through public art projects in the hopes of inspiring others and creating works of beauty. Janes in Love can be read without first having read The Plain Janes, but I'd recommend starting with the first volume because there are character progressions. The Plain Janes and Janes in Love are books that are instantly likeable and you'll want to share them with others.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


At the Diamond retailer summit last week, DC had advance copies of the new Minx title, Token, written by Alisa Kwitney and illustrated by Joelle Jones. I don't have anything insightful to say about Token, I just wanted to post an entry to give this book a shout out to readers who like good solid coming of age stories, with good characters and good art. Token arrives to finer comic book stores Novemeber 5th.

If I was going to nitpick about any story element within Token, I did have a problem with Shira, the central character, starting to shoplift as a way of having some "control" in her life. I realize that people shoplift, but it seemed to me that this aspect of Shira's character was just introduced to be a character nuance without really going into what the act of shoplifting does to a person and society (I'm sure that wasn't the point of the book, but at the same time the big intended audience for the Minx tiltes is young girls and they might get the idea after reading Token that shoplifting is no big deal).

Monday, September 15, 2008

online negativity

Last Wednesday I had a blog entry about the Diamond retailer summit and mentioned that the highlight of the summit for me was Billy Tucci's SGT. Rock presentation. I prefaced talking about Tucci's upcoming SGT. Rock by relating how I wasn't a big fan of his previous comic work. Whether I liked or didn't like Tucci's previous comic work wasn't really relevant to his great presentation at the summit and in retrospect I wish I didn't include that digression within my entry last Wednesday. Originally I wrote the entry with the digression on my thoughts on Tucci's previous comic work in an attempt to illustrate that I was wrong about his commitment to the comic book medium, but ultimately I think I just ended up contributing to the flood of negativity that exists online.

Since starting my blog over a year ago I've tried to stay away from negative entries about the comic industry and events as I see them in the world around me. This may come as something of a shock to people who don't know me real well, but I'm kind of a negative person. I try not to succumb to negativity though and try whenever possible to focus on positive things. I can't say that I won't have more blog entries in the future that have a negative slant, but I do think it's too easy to give in to negativity and thus instead of talking about all the bad comics that are being published or goofy things that go on in this industry, I made the decision to mainly talk about the good comics that do exist and bring attention to them. Certainly there's more bad comics then good comics, but this is true of any form of entertainment. This doesn't mean that I won't give my opinion of a comic that I thought was bad if someone asks me what I thought about it here in my store, but I will often preface my opinion with the saying "one person's treasure is another person's trash", not to come across as Mr. Neutral, but to illustrate that just because I liked something doesn't mean everyone will (although I have read quite a few comics over the past few decades so I'm more right than not (grin!).

Too many people will write / say things online that they wouldn't say when talking to an actual person on a face to face basis and will post things not really thinking about what they've just stated, kind of like letting one's id out without any restraints. Comic messageboards are full of mostly negative comments and if the people who just post negative comments would put just a tenth of their energy into promoting or doing something positive, the internet wouldn't be anywhere as noisy as it is.

Having said the above here, I'm not saying that blogs or reviews that are largely negative with regard to their content are not worthy of reading from time to time or that people making those reviews or statements don't have valid viewpoints because I do enjoy reading sites like Brian Hibb's Savage Critics (as they can be especially scathing and intelligent at the same time), I'm just not going to air my negativity out on my blog on anywhere close to a regular basis because there are enough good comics to talk about (and or other topics) that any negative entries I post would take away time I spend on the positive. BUT if McCain wins in 50 days, all bets are off and super dark negative Ralph will take over and I'm probably going to have to change the name of my blog to "Holy Crap The U.S. Is Going Down The Crapper, Man Am I Glad I Don't Have Kids!" I say the preceeding only half-jokingly and while there are those that say people shouldn't wear their politics on their sleeves so as to not offend any of their audience, I really feel strongly about how wrong it would be for there to be a republican president for another four years. Now I have to find a good comic to read to purge these negative thoughts from my frontal lobes!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Unknown Soldier - upcoming

Yesterday I was excited to have gotten an envelope from the desk of Vertigo executive editor, Karen Berger, that contained the advance black and white pages of the first two issues of Unknown Soldier, a new Vertigo series written by Joshua Dysart and illustrated by Albert Ponticelli. I have to admit that getting to read some comics before most people is one of my favorite things about owning my store. Advance copies are not sent out though just to satisfy my desire to be the first on my block to read something before anyone else, companies and creators do this so that retailers can make better ordering decisions and to help the title find an audience. I think sending advance copies out of upcoming titles is a great marketing tool, but it's actually pretty rare for any retailer to get advance copies partly because of the fear of spoilers appearing online and also because most titles have such narrow windows in their production process.

The Unknown Soldier has had a long, scattered history as a comic book at DC. Originally the character was created, written and drawn by Joe Kubert and was set during WWII. The concept has gone through several incarnations and has been set during different time periods, with one of the best being Garth Ennis and Killian Plunket's 1997 four issue Vertigo version which was a particularly dark interpretation (and I hope the trade paperback is brought back into print even though it doesn't have anything to do with the new Unknown Soldier).

I was glad to have gotten two issues of the upcoming new Vertigo Unknown Soldier because while I was sold after (actually during) reading the first issue, with the second issue the reader can see where Dysart and Ponticelli are going and why this book is titled Unknown Soldier. This Unknown Soldier is set in the turmultous region of present day Africa and just based on having read the first two issues, Dysart and Ponticelli aren't sugar coating the horrendous events that are taking place in that country. If you read comics purely for escapism, Unknown Soldier isn't for you, but if you think one of art's reason for existence is to create awareness and cause you to look at the world differently, then Unknown Soldier is a new title to look out for. Unknown Soldier will be debuting in October from Vertigo and will be in color with covers by Igor Kordey.

Friday, September 12, 2008


This week the newest issue of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips Criminal came out with the second part of a four issue story called Bad Night. There are presently three Criminal collections out, Coward, Lawless, and The Dead and the Dying. There aren't recurring characters in Criminal and most issues are self contained and easy to pick up on as to what is going on so any issue a reader picks up of Criminal will give them a sense of what Brubaker and Phillips are doing with this title.

Brubaker and Phillips also worked on the excellent four volume Sleeper, which is sort of in the crime fiction genre except it features some Wildstorm characters with hard boiled edges. Criminal is crime fiction comics at its finest with great nasty characters, crazy scenarios, great moody art (with coloring that isn't monotone), and great dialogue and pacing. The newest storyline, Bad Habits, about a cartoonist with a shady past who gets forced into doing some ID forgery and other crimes, is my favorite so far and I can't wait to see how all of this plays out.

Every issue of Criminal also has a back up usually guest essay on something related to the crime fiction genre like movie or novel recomendations and this issue jas two essays, one by Steven Grant (who's written many great crime fiction comics such as Badlands) and the other by Marc Andreyko (who co-wrote Torso with Bendis and presently writes Manhunter for DC). Andreyko's essay is on the excellent movie from 1992 called One False Move, directed by Carl Franklin, and featuring actors Bill Paxton and Billy Bob Thorton. Reading that essay makes me want to watch that movie again because it really is full of surprises and just really good story telling. Steven Grant's essay is on crime fiction novelist Eugene Izzi and I want to tip my non-existant hat to him for attempting to introduce Izzi to a new audience. I used to follow (read) a lot of crime fiction novelists including Max Allan Collins, Lawrence Block, Warren Murphy, and Andrew Vachss. Andrew Vachss (his first novel, Flood, is especially excellent and will have you seeking out other books by him), a crime fiction novelist from Chicago, was the writer who turned me on to Eugene Izzi, also a crime fiction novelist from Chicago and as brutal as Vachss' writing often was, Izzi's writing was maybe even more so. As Grant writes in his essay, Izzi always struggled with finding a larger audience and he was found hanging at the end of a rope on Decmber 12, 1996. Eugene Izzi's hanging was ruled a suicide, but many are not convinced that that was what really happened. Off the top of my head I rember especially liking Izzi's Invasions, King of the Hustlers, and Tony's Justice.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

American Widow; a 9-11 memoir

This week finer comic book stores and "regular" book stores everywhere received the new graphic novel, American Widow, by Alissa Torres (with art by Sungyoon Choi) about how her husband, Eddie, who had just been hired by Cantor Fitzgerald on September 10th, died the next day on the attack on the World Trade Center of September 11th, 2001. The book is also about how Alissa (who was also pregnant at the time of her husband's death) had to put her life back together afterwards and all the hurdles she encountered. I've already blogged bout this book in early August after getting an advance reading copy, so regular readers of my blog (thank you) will already know that I think American Widow is excellent. One error I made in my review though was assuming that the artist, Sungyoon Choi, is male, which was corrected for me in a great interview with Alissa Torres up on Newsarama.com today.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Diamond Comics retailer summit

This past weekend (actually Sunday-Tuesday) Diamond Comics had their annual retailer summit at Ballys here in Las Vegas. Diamond Comics is of course the distributor of over 95 percent of all of the comics that comic stores receive. I hadn't been to one of their summits in a few years as they've been in Baltimore. Anyway they had one here in Las Vegas this year so that more of the West Coast stores could attend. These summits exist to allow retailers to communicate with Diamond's upper management on a one to one basis, allows publishers to give presentations of upcoming projects (actually this aspect of the summit is less and less valuable in this internet age as publishers can't talk about things that they don't want spoiled five minutes later online), and a great way for retailers to talk amongst themselves and maybe take away new things that would work in their shops. Probably the biggest benefit for attending these summits is the workshop panels upon which stores can hear ideas about how to improve their stores and or do better outreach.

On Monday night Marvel had their upcoming publishing presentation and as their special guest they had Brian Michael Bendis. Brian was very entertaining with his teases on what's going to happen to the Marvel universe post Secret Invasion (and all that was talked about was already on Newsarama yesterday morning). I'm actually not "feeling" Secret Invasion so I really hope it does have the strong ending that they're saying it will and not just be a lead in to their next event. I'm especially awaiting Bendis' and artist Alex Maleev's long awaited Spider Woman series as their four year run on Daredevil was excellent.

The highlight of the summit for me though was DC's presentation late Monday night and their special guest Billy Tucci. Before I get into why this was a highlight for me, I'm going to talk about my previous dislike for anything Billy Tucci ever did in comics (prior to his talk at the presentation Monday night). Billy Tucci's claim to comic book fame was a character called Shi which he wrote and drew starting in 1994. Actually I always thought that Shi was a poor man's Kabuki, which also started in 1994. I'm not saying that Tucci copied David Mack's Kabuki as I really do think that it was just a coincidence that they both came out at the same time, but I lament that Shi was always more popular. My problem with Shi was I thought it had potential (even though not on the personal level as Mack's Kabuki), but instead Billy Tucci hardly did any of the writing and art on Shi before he farmed it out to others and he always seemed to have his eye more on Shi happening as a movie than any concern for the comic (Tia Cararia was long attached to that project that never happened).

So a few months ago I was groaning upon hearing that Tucci was going to be doing an upcoming Sgt. Rock comic as I thought that character was amongst the farthest away from what he was capable of doing as a cartoonist. Well Monday night Billy Tucci sold me on his Sgt. Rock actually being good (and I'm thinking that maybe he was just young and inexperienced when he was doing Shi and the crazy Hollywood money or promises of such just distracted him). The Sgt. Rock mini series he's writing and drawing is subtitled The Lost Battalion and is based on the U.S. army unit during WWII made up of mostly Japanese Americans who in a campaign in 1944 saw huge casualties, but also was the most decorated unit in U.S. history. Billy Tucci even invited three of the surviving Japanese Americans (one of whom lives in Henderson) that were part of that unit to the Diamond summit and from hearing Tucci talk it was obvious that he was very passionate (and had done his research) about doing justice to their story in his Sgt. Rock mini series. The first issue comes out November 5th, about a week before Veterans' Day and I think it'll be great for a new audience to find out about that units contributions.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

cosplay at AnimeVegas 2008 pt.2!

A cute Pikachu. Pika!


Two characters from Sailor Moon.


So another AnimeVegas wrapped up this past Monday (Sat-Mon) and from my perspective it was another huge success. Before it started I was thinking that this year's convention would be smaller because there's been a lot of downsizing happening to various U.S. manga and anime companies. I still think that manga and anime in the U.S. is in a transitory phase which I think is largely due to people just downloading it online and not buying them when the U.S. editions hit the stores. I can understand the financial cost of following your hobby when you have other financial obligations or if you're a student and have limited finances, but at the same time because less people are buying manga and anime (because they can download it, read it in bookstores or libraries) less of their favorite entertainment is going to be produced when there's no finacial compensation to the creators and publishers of the actual content.

While I think how things continue to fall out for U.S. manga and anime companies for the remainder of this year and into next year will determine its long term health, as I said in my earlier blog entry today, AnimeVegas was much more successful this year than I thought it would be so I'm happy to report that things may not be as bleak as I'd thought. I'd say that attendance at this year's AnimeVegas was at least as big as last years (a little harder to tell with the smaller space). Kate had one panel and she helped out on two other panels and the attendance for the panels throughout the show was good. Early plans are already afoot for next year's AnimeVegas and while nothing is set in stone yet, I've heard that it'll be in a bigger venue close to the Hard Rock and that it'll be happening on Halloween weekend. I'd like to again say thanks to the king of the show / founder Richard Stott for organizing such a well run convention and for all the voice actors and musicians that came to the show. Thanks also to his legion of volunteers (or as they're lovingly called "minions") for all they do to keep the show running smoothly for everyone.

2008 AnimeVegas!

This is Izzy and Cat (I know their "real" names, but I've been sworn to silence as they are on the run from the law - grin!), a mother and daughter team cosplaying as characters from Clamp's Clover. Cat (the daughter, with the white hair) won first prize at the masquerade Sunday night and I was happy to hear that because they always put a lot of work into their costumes and looked especially great this year.

This was the 5th AnimeVegas here in Las Vegas (of course) and the fourth one I've attended with a booth. I always do really well at this convention and had a great time, as did seemingly everyone else that attended. I liked the new venue that was used this year and even though there were half as many dealers as in the past few years, it looked like people were buying things and the energy level of the whole dealers room was high the entire three days.
This gal (whom I've seen at all of the AnimeVegas' that I've gone to, but never have gotten her name - doh!) always looks great and also puts a lot of work and thought into her cosplaying. She usually has a least two diffferent costumes during the three days and her father has wore costumes as well. Generally the people into manga and anime are more into dressing up as their favorite characters than "regular" comic fans are.
These two people look very smashing (listen to me trying to sound British!) as characters from Fullmetal Alchemist (an especially great anime)!

Me with some great cosplayers doing characters from Spirited Away - they were especially popular with those wanting to take photos.