Friday, September 18, 2015


Welcome to the third chapter of my report on Indy Pop Con 2015. Despite the title, it contains no dancing with Ewoks. I still have the scars, physical and emotional, from the last time I went to one of their parties.

The joint was jumping on Saturday, June 27, the first full day of the convention. I know it was a busy day because the event journal I kept over the weekend was far less detailed than on Friday. Let’s see if I can turn those sparse notes into coherent sentences and - Dare I dream? - paragraphs.

My first note for the day reads: anime girl pillows. I actually knew what that was even before I saw an Indy Pop Con exhibitor vendor selling anime girl pillows or maybe just anime girl pillow cases. I first saw one of these on 30 Rock, the television sitcom starring Tina Fey. Guest-star James Franco had one and, yes, it was just as creepy as you think.

According to a website that sells these: An anime hugging pillow is very popular in Japan and other Asian countries: over-sized pillows designed to be extremely huggable. These are security objects and usually never leave the grasp of sleeping Japanese children. So addictive is the comfort provided that many older men and women still use them. Snuggle up with their favorite Anime characters at night!

The website offers hundreds of anime girl pillow cases and around 40 anime boy pillows. Some are called hugging pillows and some are called love pillows. My son Eddie was horrified that I visited the website so that I could write about these things. I’m afraid these images will, once seen, never leave my brain. It is just one more burden I carry to save you, my beloved readers, from having to go research this sick shit yourselves.

On the other hand...I wish I would’ve made the time to have a meal at the Neko Wu Kabura Maid Café. Based on the maid cafes so popular in Japan, it featured “lovely butlers and maids who will serve you one of several dishes while tending to your needs and performing entertaining dances.”

Over the course of the day, I walked by the room where the Café was located and was impressed by the costumes and demeanor of the guys and gals, and by a musical number they performed outside the Café for customers waiting to get in. They looked and sounded great. I won’t miss out on this when I return to Indy Pop Con.

I appeared on three panels over the weekend. The first was “Movie Blogging: Tales from the Trenches” with Kevin Bachelder, podcaster supreme and the founder of the Fans of Original Syfy Movies group on Facebook. Kevin is crazy knowledgeable about the “B” movies we both love. Next to writing about comic books, reviewing such films is one of my favorite things. The panel went very well and makes me what to do more movie reviews in the future. If you’re a film maker looking to spread the word about your movies, feel free to send me screeners of same. I can’t guarantee a positive review, of course, but my affection for the movies is such that I can enjoy even less than sensational productions.

Bill Dever is the host and main writer for the great B Movie Nation website, which features hundreds of articles on the films. Though he didn’t make the panel, he was involved in other events and was another guy I enjoyed meeting.

I also enjoyed chatting with Lloyd Kaufman of Troma. We know each other through our mutual friend Jim Salicrup. Hearing of my desire to attend more monster and horror conventions in the coming years, he graciously invited me to hang out at his tables whenever we were at the same convention. Talk about being friendly and savvy. He knows I won’t be able to resist buying his movies if I’m looking at them for hours.

I talked about the Indy Pop Con cosplay a few days back, but I want to again praise the quality and the variety of the costumes I saw during the weekend. There was a great Godzilla costume, which made me realize that the world and particularly the conventions I attend need much more kaiju cosplay.

One of the most fun cosplaying groups were a mom dressed as Wonder Woman with three young boys dressed as Batman. I made a note that I need a better phone so I can take pictures of cosplayers for my future convention reports.

As I also mentioned earlier, my convention journal includes ideas that come to me during the event. One of those ideas is for a low-budget movie with a wonderfully crazy title and a concept I don’t think has ever been done in horror movies. I’ll add that one to my bucket list of things I want to write before I kick the bucket.

It’s also gratifying to chat with readers who have enjoyed my work over the years. Several Comics Buyer’s Guide readers expressed how much the newspaper/magazine meant to them. They were very happy to hear my “Tony’s Tips” column still appears every week at Tales of Wonder and that Bob Ingersoll’s “The Law is a Ass” can be found at the ComicMix website.

I spoke with many fans of Black Lightning as well. There were older African-American fans who told me how much the character meant to them when they were kids. One such fan said he felt Black Lightning was a significant contribution to diversity in comics well before diversity in comics was a thing. I am humbled by the love readers have for my creation and I am determined to do everything I can to keep Black Lightning not just in the public eye but in a prominent role in the comics and entertainment industries.

There was also considerable love for my and artist Richard Howell’s work on Hawkman in the 1980s. At the risk of sounding immodest - if  that ship hasn’t already sailed - I believe what Richard and I did deserves to be collected and soon. If only to give me the chance to write an afterword in which I explain how the series was supposed to go if a shortsighted editor hadn’t decided to end the Shadow War saga prematurely.

I was tired when I returned to my hotel, but sleep eluded me most of the night. It was hard to shake off the adrenalin rush from my terrific Indy Pop Con day. It was also hard to sleep when loutish remnants from a wedding held at the hotel had loud arguments in the hallway. Between the convention rush and the outside turmoil, your weary blogger ended up watching a Scream marathon on some channel or another. When the arguing louts continued into the wee hours of the morning, I began to sympathize with Ghostface.

I’ll be back tomorrow with the final part of my Indy Pop Con 2015 report. See you then.  

© 2015 Tony Isabella

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