10 Reasons To LOVE Comic Con

  • July 28, 2014
  • Jenna Maxwell
10 Reasons to Love Comic Con 2014

Normally a bustling beach town with a laid back vibe, this past weekend San Diego suddenly exploded with a bonafide, almost beamed-up menagerie of characters that normally would be found only in video games, popular movies and television shows and of course, comic books.  What is going on here, anyway?  Well of course the answer is obvious.  Comic Con has come to town!  The annual geek-a-thon known as Comic Con is the convention that comic lovin’ nerds everywhere dream about all year long.  Ardent purveyors of this exciting event plan for months in advance in order to get their favorite character costumes ready, often designing and creating these costumes themselves.  What is there to love about Comic Con?  Here’s our top 10 list.

Guest Speakers and A-Lister’s:  If you are a movie or video game buff, it’s become commonplace for the hot new films or games to have a representative panel present at Comic Con, there to discuss upcoming and new projects and to promote them with the fans.  For the latest info on your passion, Comic Con is the place to be!

Toys and Merchandise:  Toy companies, comic book artists and all sorts of merchandisers will have booths at Comic Con showing off their latest wares.  If you are a die-hard fan wanting some pretty epic and authentic paraphernalia, you are going to find it here.

Photo Ops: With so many folks running around in amazing costumes, this makes for photo ops galore.  Don’t be surprised if you are in costume if people want their picture taken with you, too!

Hot Nerds Everywhere:  Amazing costumes do some pretty fabulous things for even average people and can attract a lot of attention that the every day nerd may not be used to.  Comic Con is a place where fantasy lives in rich abundance and even the geekiest of dweebs can dress up as something completely hot and some of these get ups can be quite skimpy.  (Cover your eyes children!!) Don’t be surprised if you see a lot of people running around that could be called downright sexy.

Be a Kid Again:  If your inner child has just been itching to come out, Comic Con might just be the perfect place to let that happen.  Don’t be intimidated by the throngs of die-hard fans dressed up in epic costumes.  All manner of nerdiness is welcome here and the crowd at Comic Con is all about having a good time. 

Comic Con 2014 Photo Gallery. Check Out Some of these Costumes!
...

Free Stuff:  Lots of booths set up by various vendors means lots of freebies.  Take advantage of a plethora of free samples!  When you enter Comic Con you will be given a large bag--there’s a reason for this. Posters, food, lanyards, buttons, stickers and fan gear--you will end up with all kinds of swag, baby, but do remember to only take what you really want as you will have to haul it around. You also might want to bring an autograph book for any autographs you are fortunate enough to obtain.

Good Nerd Times!  From one nerd to another, what other place could you go to that is guaranteed to be filled with bazillions of like-minded folks running around in costume for four days straight?  Comic Con is a nerd’s paradise and there are plenty of good-n-geeky times to be had.  You might have dinner next to The Hobbit and then ask a friendly Green Alien for directions, all while waving to five different Supermen on your way down the street…this would just be part of an average day at Comic Con.

Playing Dress up:  Comic Con is the ultimate arena for cosplay.  (Cosplay is the official terminology for costumed role-play.) The typical Halloween Costumes you see at Halloween can’t touch this level of costumery!  Although at Comic Con you will see some very detailed, creative and down right astounding costumes, there is still plenty of room for the more novice cosplayer.  Remember that even the most die-hard Comic Con fan was a beginner at some point.  

Fantasy:  Once upon a time, Comic Con used to be mostly about comics.  These days this massive fan convention has morphed into a celebration of a wide variety of all things related to pop culture. Comic Con also provides the perfect opportunity for tried and true fans to dive in and almost become a part of the fantasy that he has before only experienced vicariously at home in his living room.

Costumes!  Gone are the days when Comic book characters were the order of the day at Comic Con.  Nowadays at Comic Con you will see folks dressing up as just about anything.  Science fiction, Disney, Cartoons, Television, movies and video games--these are just a few of the media sources that will inspire the cosplayer attendees at Comic Con.

Comic Con is a great opportunity for even the geekiest amongst us to get our coolest game on…big time.  Serious self-expression through cosplay and a heckuva good time is the order of the day and around these parts, this is something we can definitely appreciate.


Monkey See, Monkey Do. Learn to Act Like an Ape

  • July 21, 2014
  • Jenna Maxwell

Monkeys have taken over at the box office.  Opening to a 73 million dollar weekend, the “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” has proven that this movie franchise is anything but monkey business.   Around these parts, we can fully appreciate any excuse to act like a monkey; the “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” is just the latest great reason to give the whole monkey thing a go.  Let’s face it; acting like a monkey is just plain fun!  We thought you might appreciate some tips on how to get your best monkey game on!

Lose Your Inner Human: If you are going to be a proper monkey, the first thing you must do is to learn to tap into your inner primate and lose some of the more obvious qualities that make you human.  It may make the mommies of the world cringe a bit, but now’s the time to forget about those nice human nuances that differentiate man from beast.  Good posture? Lose it!  Manners?  Forget about those, too.

Get the Stance:  The first part of learning to behave like a monkey is to get the correct monkey stance.  Hunch over from the waist and get low.  Go ahead and round your shoulders, as monkeys are not concerned with posture.  Once you are all rounded and hunched down low, dangle your arms so that they swing freely from the shoulders.  Maintain this bent over stance with arms dangling when ambulating.  Feel free to put your hands on the ground as needed, that’s very primate.

Got an Itch?  Well, you should do what any proper monkey would do--scratch it!   A monkey knows that there is little point in discretion or modesty when it comes to scratching what needs to be scratched, so when in monkey mode, just do what you gotta do without any human-like qualms getting in the way.   Try to keep your arms curled inward towards your sides when reaching in to scratch.  

Get Curious: Hey, they didn’t call him “Curious” George for nothing.  Monkeys are intensely curious about the world around them, so if you want to behave like a monkey, you are going to have to get seriously interested in all the little things in the world around you.  Adopt a monkey’s curiosity and by all means, add a goofy wide-eyed expression to your face, this will give you further primate credibility.  Stay low and look up at those around you with those big, curious monkey eyes!

Monkey Sounds: Monkeys use repetitive noises in order to communicate, so you will want to practice these continual types of sounds.  Depending on the type of monkey persona you are adopting you could vary your monkey linguistics from high pitched shrieking “EEEE! EEEE!  EEEE!” to more deeply bass, gravelly-toned “OOO! OOO! OOO!”  A variety of monkey sounds is good to have in your repertoire, as it will help you to get your point across in a hurry.

Monkey Eats:  Everyone knows that monkey’s love to eat bananas.  What you might not realize is that a lot of the time, monkeys don’t even bother to peel them before chowing them down.

Monkeyshines:  Once you have the monkey behavior basics down, it’s time to do what all primates do best and that is to just get into it and have fun acting like a monkey.  There’s a reason why kids of all ages love to “go ape”--it’s fun, it’s completely silly, and it’s the perfect way to channel your inner monkey, which according to what we’ve heard, is something that’s inside us all.


Mom, I’m Bored

  • July 14, 2014
  • Jenna Maxwell

It happens at about this time every summer.  With the Fourth of July weekend officially over and the family vacation still weeks away, perhaps the “natives” are starting to get a little bit restless.  You may have already heard the most dreaded statement of the entire summer.  “Mom, I am bored!!”  What’s a mom supposed to do to keep the kids entertained on a blistering hot summer day?  After waiting with so much anticipation for summer to finally arrive; certainly it is somewhat disappointing to have the kids already running out of things to do.  No mom wants to face the fact that her kids are already getting bored!

Now here’s an idea that’s a sure fire cure for summertime boredom.  Why not haul out all those old Halloween costumes from years gone by?  Kids LOVE to play dress up anytime of the year and summertime is a great time for your kids to get into some serious imaginative playtime, using costumes just makes it even more fun.  Here are some great ideas to get you started; before you know it your kids will be so involved in their costume play that maybe you can actually get something done! 

Classic Tea Party:  Kids love to have tea parties.  Let your kids dress up however they like with silly hats, feather boas, costume jewelry and other accessories.  Set the table appropriately and sit down and have a tea party.  You can make it as simple or fancy as you like.

Book Character Dress Up:  Many libraries have special summer reading days. If your local library holds events like this, you will want to take advantage of this free source of entertainment for your kids.  Find out what books are being featured and by all means, let your children dress up as their favorite storybook characters.

Costume-Inspired Epic Adventure:  When a child puts on a costume, it immediately sets the tone for an imaginative adventure.  Let your child explore the world of pirates, medieval knights, the wild west--anything that interests your child has lots of very exciting playtime potential.

Play Army:  Having pretend battles and neighborhood wars is a classic kid summertime activity.  If your kid has some fun battle gear to dress up in, it’s all the better. 

Monster Mayhem:  Dressing up as monsters doesn’t have to be reserved just for Halloween.  Why not let your kids dress up as their favorite spooks and have some monstrous good times.  Summer nights are actually perfect to gather together outside and tell a few ghost stories!

Superheroes Save the Summer:  Assemble your kids and all their friends together for an exciting superhero fest!   Dressing up as a superhero is a great way to begin the ultimate imaginative adventure.

Crazy Hair and Hats:  If you have a collection of past year’s costume hats and wigs, pull them out for your kids to play dress up with.  A wig or a hat results in an almost instantaneous transformation into another character.  Lots of giggles and hours of silly fun are the likely result!

Get a Job:  Encourage your kids to dress up in occupational costumes that interest them and let them explore an imaginary new career.  Firefighters, policemen, doctors, astronauts, race car drivers…let the fun begin!

Face Painting Fun:  Face painting does not have to be reserved for carnivals and county fairs.  With a few simple makeup tools, you can face paint your own kid’s faces right at home, just for fun, anytime!

Beauty Queen Pageant:  A pretend beauty pageant is a very fun activity for little girls.  Get out those tiaras, gowns and sashes and strut your stuff in the Little Miss Perfect competition!

Act it Out:  Older kids may really enjoy the idea of a full scale summertime theatrical production, created right at home in their own living room.  Encourage them to write their own play, assign the parts and then act them out.  Invite family members and other locals to the big debut! 

Silly Selfies:  These days everyone has a cell phone with a photo app nearby.  Make sure you capture these costumed moments for posterity.  #costumesarefun #sillyselfies

Costumes are a great resource to have on hand for some serious summertime fun that kids love.  Encouraging your kids to be creative and use their imagination is another huge bonus that comes with dress up play.  Costumes just might be the perfect cure for a bad case of summertime boredom! 


Heavy Metal: Transformers 4 Destroys

  • July 07, 2014
  • Jenna Maxwell
Transformers 4: Age of Extinction If you didn’t see Transformers 4: Age of Extinction last weekend, you might be alone.  In its debut-opening weekend alone, Transformers 4 set this year’s record with a stunning box office draw, bringing in over 100 million big ones.  “Transformers 4: Age of Extinction” picks up the story five years later, after the city of Chicago had been destroyed in the last installment of the film.  One day, an unsuspecting auto mechanic serendipitously happens upon a dormant Optimus Prime…and that’s where the story begins again…! Here are some fun facts and trivia from “Transformers 4: Age of Extinction” to get you pumped up for this exciting summer blockbuster!
  • The term “Autobot” actually stands for Autonomous Robotic Organism.
  • Bumblebee’s alternate mode was originally supposed to be a Volkswagen Bug.  Worried that fans might start to identify him with Herbie the Love Bug, the car was later changed so that Bumblebee now takes the form first of a 1967 Chevrolet Camaro and then later a 2014 Camaro.
  • Optimus Prime was known as Orion Pax before he adopted the cause of the Autobots, fighting in the war against the Decepticons.
  • Transformers 4: Age of Extinction is the longest film in the Transformer’s franchise with a run time of approximately 2 hours, 45 minutes.
  • A new character has been added in the newest Transformer film and known as a Dinobot, which is a robot that can transform itself into a Dinosaur.
  • Michael Bay was not originally planning on directing Transformers 4.  One day, while at Universal Studios, he saw the line for the Transformers ride and noted that it was very long and that fans were waiting for hours to get on this attraction.  Needless to say, the fans enthusiasm for the Transformers inspired him and he changed his mind.  Obviously, we are very glad he did!
Transformers 4 Destroys
  • A city/set made to look like Hong Kong was actually created and set up in downtown Detroit.
  • The U.S. Department of Defense actually supplied many of the uniforms for the film so that they would be totally authentic.  This helped to keep the film under budget.  U.S. soldiers in some cases were also used as extras.
  • If you watch the film closely, you will see a few other “Hasbro” toys.  Hasbro is the distributer of the very popular line of Transformer action figures.
  • Mark Wahlberg did most (about 90%) of his own stunts in the film.
  • Most of the automobiles that were destroyed and/or blown up in the film already had their engines and larger parts removed ahead of time so that they would flip over really easily.
  • The Transformers franchise has proven itself to be so popular that they have even been featured in episodes of both “The Simpsons” and “The Family Guy.”
Transformers 4 promises to have more action, more metal, more explosions and more amazing stunts than any Transformers movie has before. “Transformers 4: Age of Extinction” is showing now in a theater near you--don’t miss it!

Made In The USA: Patriotic Characters We LOVE

  • July 01, 2014
  • Jenna Maxwell
Made In The USAIndependence Day.  It’s far more than just a summertime holiday that extends your weekend and gives you the perfect excuse to down a ridiculous amount of hot dogs and potato salad.  The Fourth of July is America’s holiday--the day we come together to celebrate our many freedoms, the great American dream and pay some honor to all those who made the many liberties that we enjoy possible.  The Fourth of July has many traditions that go along with it and more likely than not, you will find yourself proudly flying your American flag, attending a Fourth of July parade and perhaps even watching a local fireworks display.  Here at Halloween Express, we also think that the Fourth of July is a great time to celebrate some of the best patriotic characters out there!  Who would you add to our “most patriotic” character list? Betsy Ross-Betsy is arguably the most well known of the female historic patriotic figures, even though many of the stories surrounding her life may be more legend than verified fact.  Betsy is credited, however, with being asked by George Washington to come up with the design of the very first American Flag.  Betsy was clearly an instrumental fixture in the designing of the flag (at that time the flag had thirteen five pointed stars placed in a circle on the field of blue) as well as considering the meanings behind each of the flags components. James T. Kirk-Yes, we mean that James Kirk and yes, we know you may be surprised to see the brave Captain of the Starship Enterprise on our list of patriotic characters.  Consider this.  Captain Kirk hails from Iowa, deep in the heartland of America. Additionally, as far as the idea of an All-American cowboy goes, who could embrace the adventurous American spirit more than someone exploring the vast, deep reaches of the universe?  Exactly! Wonder Woman-Wonder Woman was originally dreamed up as a powerful female cartoon character that would hopefully help to increase the morale of women during the era surrounding WWII.  Let’s face it, back in those days, with most of the men off fighting the war, the women left back at home really did have to almost have superpowers to make things happen.  They practically did everything!  Wonder Woman represents the strength, patriotism and courage of women! Superman-We love Superman and indeed think he qualifies as a super sized patriotic character.  Superman is technically an immigrant to America, but he was raised in the heartland of America with very down-home American values and ideals.  Superman has always been well known to stand firmly on the side of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and has made his life mission affirming those ideals. Captain America-You’d be very hard pressed to find a character more patriotic than Captain America!  Just his name alone screams patriotism!  Captain America, over and over again, has proven his devotion and loyalty to his country and if ever there was a character worthy of proudly donning the red, white and blue, we think the good Captain qualifies!  Check out our how to video for some great ideas on how to put together a Captain America look of your very own! Uncle Sam-On the Fourth of July, Uncle Sam will be one of the most popular characters out strutting his stuff--but where did this legendary personality come from?  As it turns out, his beginnings weren’t quite as illustrious as his persona would later become.  A meat packer named Sam supplied meat products to the U.S. Army during the war of 1812.  The packages of meat were stamped “U.S.” but some of the soldiers started referring to the meat as belonging to Uncle Sam.  The nickname stuck and nowadays the term “Uncle Sam” is a commonly used nickname that refers to the federal government.  A cartoonist named Thomas Nast is actually the one who gave Uncle Sam his groovy patriotic image--with the white beard, tophat, and the outfit loaded up with stars, stripes and red, white and blue!  Interested in putting together an Uncle Sam look of your very own?  Check out our video with all the patriotic how-tos! George Washington-There may be other U.S. Presidents that could also be called great patriotic characters, but for our purposes, we are going with the original.  Without George Washington, there may not have ever been any subsequent presidents to even be patriots--George Washington was definitely the original.  Always considered the “Father of our country” George Washington will go down in history as the most significant person of the American Revolution. Lady Liberty-The Statue of Liberty has long stood proudly in the New York City Harbor holding her spot as one of the most well-known and iconic symbols representing the freedom and liberty of the United Stated States of America.  The statue of Liberty, officially known as “Liberty Enlightening the World” welcomed millions of immigrants that came into America, arriving at nearby Ellis Island.  The Statue of Liberty also is a functioning lighthouse. G.I. Joe-G.I. Joe could arguably be today’s most authentic and REAL American Hero.  The character of G.I. Joe represents the American soldier, and as far as we are concerned, it really doesn’t get any more All-American or patriotic than that. Finding your inner patriot is easy and dressing up as someone patriotic has never been more fun! Happy Fourth of July from your friends at Halloween Express!