Tag Archive: San Diego Comic-Con


Peter Mayhew, the actor known best for playing Chewbacca in all three Star Wars trilogies, passed away Tuesday, April 30, 2019, according to a message distributed by his family yesterday.

I was lucky to have gotten involved in the past 20 years with the convention circuit.  It allowed me to meet some interesting people, including the gentle and soft-spoken actor.  I saw him at five conventions over this time, and he was always that friendly gentleman you’d expect the man behind the furry suit to be.  My first encounter was shaking his hand at the opening of an early Planet Comicon show.  Unless you’re also 7 foot 3 inches tall, your hand was immediately lost in his King Kong-sized hand.  When I met him he was either late or early to the show and had no helper so I offered to help him set up his table.  His conversation getting ready for a line of fans eager to meet him was generous and warm.

I next saw him in that lull between the prequels and the current trilogy at San Diego Comic-Con in 2011, when nothing much was going on in the Star Wars universe and for all intents and purposes the movies were done for good.  Folks wrongly accuse San Diego Comic-Con of being too busy to have meaningful experiences with others, but I always have found the opposite true.  I spun around in one of the wide floor walkways to see Mr. Mayhew alone, leaning back in his chair, nobody around at all, just watching the attendees walk around, walking past him and not even realizing they’d passed by one of film’s greatest icons.  It seemed sad that he didn’t have the longest lines of all, but I also felt lucky to get that much more time to chat and get his autograph.  He wasn’t bothered by not being swarmed, just an older gent enjoying a day of people walking about.  But the limelight would return only three years later after George Lucas sold Star Wars to Disney and J.J. Abrams tapped Mr. Mayhew to return to the role literally billions have loved him for over the past 42 years.  And there he was again, back in the thick of it at the table read for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, only five years ago.  Over the past five years his health gradually left it more difficult for Mr. Mayhew to do appearances, but I would see him three more times, each time still showing up for fans with a smile, happy to take a photograph or sign whatever nostalgic keepsakes fans brought to share with him.

My favorite memory of Mr. Mayhew was asking him about his experience working with Jim Henson on The Muppet Show in the famous Star Wars episode that aired February 21, 1980.  He had been answering questions from the crowd at a Planet Comicon panel, questions he’d clearly answered hundreds of times before.  But he lit up when I mentioned the Muppets.  Watching the show as a nine-year-old, I found the episode to be the perfect, rare event (like the Holiday Special), with Mark Hamill being featured with R2-D2, C-3PO, and our favorite Wookiee, not just another guy in the suit but the real deal, Peter Mayhew, along with Kermit and friends.  When TV shows aired in 1980 you had your eyes glued to the screen, because the idea you’d ever be able to watch the episode again was still a pipe dream.  Mr. Mayhew said he hadn’t been asked about that episode before and it had been years since he even thought about it, but details all snapped back for him.  He remarked about the joy of working with Jim Henson and said he was amazed that the Muppets above the floor were real characters that could interact with him and Hamill as if they were as real, as if by magic, and yet he stepped back and looked down to see a dozen people underneath, intertwined and synchronized to make it all appear so seamless to the audience.  You can imagine what that giant, usually soft-spoken fellow looked like when he was excited about something.  And anyone who ever met him could attest to the twinkle in his eyes that was part of who he was, those same eyes that revealed plenty of the real Mr. Mayhew behind the Wookiee suit that made it onto film and became part of his famous character.

Continue reading

Less than one month away, San Diego Comic-Con returns to the San Diego Convention Center full of writers, artists, publishers, TV and movie studios, and vendors with representation from every major property and franchise.   Legos, Sideshow, Super 7, Mattel, Funko, Mondo, and more.  Already distributors have begun previewing convention exclusives–those sought-after rare collectibles usually available only at the show, but sometimes available afterward in small quantities if all of the inventory from the show isn’t pre-ordered or purchased on-site.

We think it’s time to share some of the best exclusives scheduled to be available at San Diego Comic-Con this year for those of you who are attending or have friends attending that can pick up items for you.  Just can’t decide what to spend your money on?  Check out the SDCC 2018 website for even more information from the vendors and more collectibles.  There’s too much for anyone to be able to see everything at the big Con, so we’ve listed booth numbers so you can make sure you don’t miss out on those toys, posters, and comic books that you simply must have.

These aren’t all the exclusives you’ll find at SDCC 2018–we’ve selected a sampling of some of the best items from popular vendors who have previewed their items with still three weeks until the convention.

Now on to the exclusives.

Gentle Giant is releasing a variety of exclusive mini-busts, plus this large-scale version of the classic Kenner Star Wars action figure.  You’ve seen Boba Fett from Gentle Giant here before–the original was borg.com‘s favorite toy of 2012 and one of the best action figure re-creations we’ve seen.

This exclusive provides one more chance to get this figure, this time reflecting original packaging from Return of the Jedi (sorry, no firing backpack).

From Alex Ross Art (Booth #2415) pick up limited prints and comics, including these new variant covers for Amazing Spider-man, Issue #1:

Continue reading

A month ago here at borg.com we discussed looking outside the comic book medium for the artwork of your favorite comic book artists.  You don’t need to look too far outside of comic books to find the next great artwork from fan-favorite cover artist Ryan Sook.  Every year just in advance of San Diego Comic-Con, comic book stores are stocked with the annual update to The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide.  First published in 1970, the 1,200 page log of nearly every comic book published to-date arrives at its 48th volume this summer, dated 2018-2019.  Known as the go-to guide for prices for a generation of collectors, Robert M. Overstreet’s book of prices and thumbnail photos is also a source to glean what’s happened in the past year by way of comic book trends.  It features its own hall of fame for comic book legends, plus full-color sections highlighting some of today and yesteryear’s best covers.

For this year’s comic book store exclusive hardcover edition, Gemstone Publishing tapped Ryan Sook to create a cover to commemorate 50 years of Planet of the Apes films.  Sook reached beyond the original to reflect imagery from throughout the Planet of the Apes movie saga– a great homage to the original shocking environment as Charlton Heston’s astronaut Taylor arrives in the future horrifying world of human scarecrows, with General Ursus leading the charge and the creepy denizens in Beneath the Planet of the Apes, the return to the past by spaceship for the apes in Escape from the Planet of the Apes, to the militant world and apes under arrest in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, culminating with the eagerly-awaited first appearance of The Lawgiver in Battle for the Planet of the Apes.  The familiar image of Roddy McDowall behind John Chambers’ Oscar-worthy make-up takes center stage–McDowall connects all of the films alternately as Cornelius and Caesar (and later as Galen in the TV series), and here he cleverly blocks the identity of the planet.

You can only purchase this edition of the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide in comic book stores, so put in a call to Elite Comics to make sure you get a copy when this new edition arrives in July.

Continue reading

We’ve been covering the Kenner-style retro action figures being sold by Super 7 since the toy company first partnered with Funko and revealed its first line of vintage style Alien “ReAction” figures at San Diego Comic-Con 2013.  At the end of 2016 Super 7 discontinued partnering with Funko and returned to manufacturing and distributing the multi-license toy line on its own.  Super 7 revealed its 2018 plans for the ReAction line this weekend at New York Toy Fair 2018, with some new surprises and expansions to current action figure licenses.  Projections for any toy company at Toy Fair don’t always match reality.  Compare borg.com‘s coverage of Super 7 at New York Toy Fair 2017 here, and you’ll find several Super 7 action figures only now inching their way into the market.  The biggest reveals at this year’s show for Super 7’s ReAction line for fans of sci-fi/horror include two beloved film classics: Alien and Planet of the Apes.  

Super 7 is returning to its first pre-Funko toy line in revisiting its Alien action figures.  For the next wave, characters include more refined sculpts than the early waves, with new characters Brett, Parker, and Lambert, Jonesy the cat with new Ripley, Ash with removable head, facehugger Kane in spacesuit, and a new Xenomorph head with jaws out.  Although the company has previously hinted at the possibility, it doesn’t look like we’ll see figures from Aliens this year.

It’s been a year since we saw the prototypes for Planet of the Apes figures on display at New York Toy Fair 2017.  Finally the first figures are now expected to be released in two months, beginning with Taylor, Nova, Zira, Cornelius, General Ursus, and Dr. Zaius in the first wave.

Super 7 must expect some good sales results with the first wave for POTA as prototypes were on display at Toy Fair for Wave 2, also, including a Cornelius in astronaut suit, ape warriors and another ape general, a giant Lawgiver statue set, and the mutants from Beneath the Planet of the Apes with removable outer heads to reveal those (gross) inner-heads as seen in the movie.

For the Super 7 Universal Monsters license, it will revisit past ReAction figures (The Phantom of the Opera, Wolf Man, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Creature from the Black Lagoon), while adding some new ones, including the Metalluna Mutant and the Mole People.

Continue reading

In a strange twist to the home video release marketing strategy, IDW Entertainment, the company behind both Wynonna Earp the comic book series and the Syfy Channel television series, is well on its way through what looks to be a successful Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to bring Wynonna Earp Season One directly to its fans.  The first season will only be released on Blu-ray–no DVD–and only via the Indiegogo campaign.  Discs are expected to ship around September 2017.

Wynonna Earp follows Wyatt Earp’s great-granddaughter as she battles demons and other creatures in a town called Purgatory.  With her unique abilities, a demon-killing gun named Peacemaker, and a posse of dysfunctional allies, only she can bring the paranormal to justice.

Although fans and new viewers can also watch each episode of the first season on Netflix, as Wynonna Earp begins its second season (with the premiere episode of the season airing on Friday nights beginning last Friday, June 9), it’s going to be a little bit harder for the new viewer who would otherwise be willing to buy the first season to get caught up, especially if they missed the Syfy Network recap this Memorial Day weekend.  But this likely will really only have an effect on the fans of the show who would ordinarily pay to have Season One in-hand closer to the start date of the next season.  Will this be the next regular marketing method for shows that would otherwise not justify a home release to still be able to make fans happy?

Continue reading

   

Named for legendary comics creator Will Eisner, the Eisner Awards will see their 29th year, to be announced at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con in July.  This year’s nominations have been selected, resulting in a banner year for Fantagraphics and Image Comics with 22 and 21 nominations, respectively.

We at borg.com never align with the Academy Awards, but always are happy to agree on Eisner accolades.  Artist Jill Thompson is nominated in three categories this year.  Her Wonder Woman: The True Amazon was our pick for 2016’s Best Graphic Novel, and is a nominee for the “Best Graphic Album-New” Eisner Award.  Beasts of Burden: What the Cat Dragged In was our borg.com pick for Best Single Issue last year, and Thompson, Evan Dorkin, and Sarah Dyer are up for the Eisner for Best Single Issue.  Thompson is also nominated for Best Painter/Multimedia Artist.

   

Kudos go to our friend, writer Jason Aaron, for his nomination along with artist Russell Dauterman in the Best Continuing Series category for The Mighty Thor (Marvel).  Other notable nominees are Chelsea Cain and Kate Niemczyk for their Mockingbird series (Marvel) plus Cain’s nomination in the Best Writer category for that series.  The highest number of nominations went to Sonny Liew and his The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye (Pantheon), netting nods for Best Graphic Album–New, Best U.S. Edition of International Material–Asia, Best Writer/Artist, Best Coloring, Best Lettering, and Best Publication Design.  Archie Comics received nominations for Erica Henderson and Ryan North for Best Publication for Teens and Best Humor Publication for Jughead.

Continue reading

Star Wars Celebration 2017 is almost here.  This year the convention will take place in Orlando, Florida, April 13-16 at the Orange County Convention Center.  Hundreds of exclusive licensed collectibles will be available at this year’s show in light of the franchise’s 40th anniversary celebration.  But Gentle Giant wins the nostalgia award for its choice of throwback exclusive ideas–a reproduction of the Dianoga from the 1978 Star Wars Death Star Space Station playset in a jumbo format.

First unveiled at the Gentle Giant booth at San Diego Comic-Con in 2010, the toy company began to re-create the original line of 3 3/4 Star Wars Kenner action figures in the size of the original large-sized action figures–about 12 inches tall.  The company releases limited numbers of each figure with card backs and packaging reflecting the style of the originals.  The company creates the jumbo figures from digital scans of the small figures.  So if you fondly remember your first figure was C-3PO, you could purchase a giant version of the figure to display, or play with, at home.  We at borg.com awarded Gentle Giant’s prototype, rocket-firing jumbo Boba Fett the best action figure release of the year here back in 2013.

So taking the first Star Wars creature toy ever released and offering it again in this anniversary year is inspired.  The Dianoga was the only included figure in any of the regular release original Star Wars playsets–all others had to have been purchased separately (the only other “monster” from the movie to be made into a toy in the early years after Star Wars would be the Dewback).  The Dianoga came with its own “garbage”–three sheets of yellow, blue, and white Styrofoam broken into bits, to soften the fall of Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewbacca from their famous fall into the trash compactor.  Gentle Giant advertises this new exclusive release, too, will include foam garbage.

Continue reading

Meeting Lee Majors

Hey, looks like we made it!

Five years ago today, Elizabeth C. Bunce, Art Schmidt, Jason McClain, and I had already spent a few months talking through the technical details for the launch of borg.com.  What should it look like?  What should we write about?  How do we get to there from here?  Then it all came together on June 10, 2011, and I sat down and just started writing.  Should this be a weekly thing?  Once I started I just couldn’t stop and we cemented borg.com as a daily webzine.  And readers started showing up every day.  Soon we had hundreds of followers, and hundreds of thousands of visits per year.

The best part?  Working with friends and meeting new ones each year.

We’ve had plenty of high points.  Cosplay took off in a big way in the past five years.   Elizabeth and I hit the ground running at San Diego Comic-Con in July 2011 with our Alien Nation/Chuck mash-up and you can find us all over the Web in photos taken by others at the show.  Our years were dotted with the random brush with coolness.  A retweet by actress Alana de la Garza, coverage of Joss Whedon visiting the Hall H line at 3 a.m. outside SDCC in 2012, Zachary Levi calling out Elizabeth for her cosplay at Nerd HQ, interviewing the stars of History Channel’s Vikings series, our praise for the Miss Fury series appearing on the back of every Dynamite Comics issue one month, tweets from Hollywood make-up artist family the Westmores commenting on our discussion of Syfy’s Face Off series, our Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (negative!) review featured on the movie’s website, that crazy promotion for the Coma remake mini-series, planning the first Planet Comicon at Bartle Hall and the Star Trek cast reunion, attending the first Kansas City Comic Con and the first Wizard World Des Moines Con, hanging with comic book legend Howard Chaykin, Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Famer Darryl McDaniels, cast members from Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and Star Trek, bionic duo Lee Majors and Lindsay Wagner.  And borg.com gained some well-known followers (you know who you are) along the way.

sdcc-whedon-c shot

We’re grateful for some great Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and other feedback over the years from Felipe Melo, Mickey Lam, Michael Prestage, The Mithril Guardian, Francesco Francavilla, Adam Hughes, Judy Bunce, Mike Norton, Jack Herbert, Mike Mayhew, Rain Beredo, David Petersen, Rob Williams, and Matt Miner, and for creators we interviewed including Mikel Janin, Penny Juday, Tim Lebbon, Kim Newman, James P. Blaylock, Freddie Williams II, Jai Nitz, and Sharon Shinn.

Bunce Alien Nation cosplay x

What did readers like the most?

We amassed an extensive archive of hundreds of book reviews, movie reviews, reviews of TV shows, and convention coverage, thanks in part to the good folks at Titan Books, Abrams Books, Lucasfilm Press, Weta New Zealand, Entertainment Earth, Dynamite Comics, IDW Publishing, Dark Horse Comics, Image Comics, BOOM! Studios, and several TV and movie studios and distributors.

McClain and EC Bunce

My own favorites?  Sitting down to come up with my own five all-time favorite characters with the borg.com writing staff.

Schmidt and Bunce at PC 2015

Thanks to my family, my friends, especially my partner in crime Elizabeth C. Bunce, Art Schmidt and Jason McClain, my support team, and William Binderup and the Elite Flight Crew.

Onward and upward!

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

Star Trek Beyond Kirk poster    Star Trek Beyond Krall posterSince the first Star Trek reboot movie Paramount Pictures has presented fans with some attractive individual character posters.  In 2008 hundreds of fans waited at the Paramount booth at San Diego Comic-Con to land a set of four featuring Kirk, Spock, Bones, and Uhura.  The marketing team followed up with two sets of character posters for the 2013 sequel Star Trek Into Darkness, including action shots for each of Kirk, Spock, Uhura, Scotty, Chekov, and newcomers Khan and Carol Marcus.

The character posters are back again.  In this 50th year of Star Trek, Paramount has issued a new set of movie posters for display at movie theaters and other public display areas for the 13th film in the franchise, Star Trek Beyond, this time featuring Kirk, Spock, Bones, Uhura, Scotty, Chekov, and new featured aliens Sofia Boutella’s Jaylah and Idris Elba’s Krall.  This is in addition to a teaser poster, a Star Trek: The Motion Picture-inspired poster that appears to be the official standard release poster, and an international release poster reminiscent of one of the posters for Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

Note that the Sulu and Uhura posters have a pretty glaring error.  Can you spot them?  Will it have an impact on their collectability and future value?

Star Trek Beyond Uhura poster    Star Trek Beyond Sulu poster

These are pretty sharp and definitely the style we’d expect as giveaways at Comic-Con.  The world premiere will be at Comic-Con this year, Wednesday, July 20, 2016, at Embarcadero Marina Park, shown in IMAX.  The San Diego Symphony Orchestra will perform the score and the cast will make an appearance.  Follow the San Diego Comic-Con website for details and a chance to get tickets.

Continue reading

SDCC 2012 Overnight crowdSan Diego Comic-Con 2015 begins tonight at the San Diego Convention Center, officially remaining the home of the greatest convention in the world for the next few years now that the city has signed new agreements with Comic-Con International.  This past week you may have seen the annual feeding frenzy of naysayers, grumps, and fogeys, many from the mainstream press, who come out of the woodwork each year to talk about “the good old days,” why they aren’t coming back to Comic-Con this year, why they won’t come back again, how “crazy” Comic-Con visitors are, and posting their annual lists of all the reasons Comic-Con is somehow a bad or odd thing.

Don’t believe any of it for a second.

Maybe these folks didn’t score tickets, maybe they truly think a quaint small-town Con with merely a handful of guests and attendees is the best thing since sliced bread, maybe they forget that the good ol’ days weren’t all that good, or maybe they just don’t understand how pervasive pop culture is in the 21st century.

I’ve been to some great San Diego Comic-Con weekends over the years and wouldn’t swap them for anything.  And don’t get me wrong, local and regional Cons are great, but make no mistake, nothing compares to the excitement, energy and all-out fun you can only have in a venue full of 130,000 like-minded people.  You can’t get that anywhere else.

Comic-Con image b

Let’s dispel some Comic-Con myths:

Comic-Con Badges are Too Difficult to Obtain.  The badges required to attend Comic-Con are no harder to get than tickets to anything the excited masses want to attend.  They are no more difficult to obtain than tickets to the Super Bowl, the World Series, the Olympics, the World Cup, the All-Star game, tickets for [insert the name of the current greatest pop or rock band here]… you get the point.  Should attending the big annual nerd and geekfest of the year require any less effort than the biggest sporting event or best music show?  If can follow basic instructions, the SDCC process for purchasing tickets is straightforward.  And you don’t need to attend last year’s show to be able to get into this year’s show–a myth still perpetuated on the interwebs by those not-in-the-know.

Continue reading