Nicholas Diak, Fanbase Press Contributor

Nicholas Diak, Fanbase Press Contributor

In the realm of pinup and cheesecake artwork, there are several important artists who have had a profound impact on the genre. These include luminaries such as Jim Silke, Dave Stevens, Alberto Vargas, and Gil Elvgren. Olivia De Berardinis is another influential pinup and erotic artist, known for her depictions of powerful women and iconic ladies such as Bettie Page and Julie Strain. De Berardinis has been prolific in her craft for nearly four decades, and a Saturday, April 1, 2017, panel at WonderCon provided an opportunity to not only honor her and her work, but provide an interview and Q&A session with her fans, as well. The panel was moderated by Bob Self of Baby Tattoo publishing, with model Ulorin Vex and De Berardinis’ husband Joel Beren chiming in, as well. A wall screen complemented the dialogue by showing many different pieces De Berardinis had realized over the years.

Pop culture conventions are first and foremost seen as a meeting ground for geekdom to congregate to purchase art and collectables, see their favorite cosplayers and celebrities, and gain first-hand news for major events in the industry. While these activities are certainly consumer-centric, there’s a large portion of attendees who are creators, or creators-in-the-making, who attend pop culture conventions to seek the advice of experts in one-on-one sessions or attend the various panels that impart advice on how to better their craft and careers.

In the final hours of this year’s Long Beach Comic Expo, as the attendees began to trickle out and a few vendors closed shop early, the panel programming was still vibrant with activity. One well-attended panel was the “Writer Seeking Artist: Finding and Maintaining Healthy Collaboration,” full of budding writers eager to be instilled with advice on how to partner with an artist in hopes to see their stories come to fruition. The panel was moderated by Rosie Knight (Cougar and Cub) with Kelly Sue Milano (Hex11), James F. Wright (Lupina, Nutmeg), Johnny Parker II (Elvish, Black Fist and Brown Hand), Joshua Henaman (Bigfoot: Sword of the Earthman), and Nick Marino (Cougar and Cub, Holy F*ck) participating as the subject-matter experts.

While many folks attend comic book cons for the “con experience” of meeting celebrities, buying art, and viewing all the cosplay, there’s still a significant amount of attendees that take advantage of the various workshops and panels that offer access to decades of industry knowledge and insight from the professionals who make themselves available.

Since its inception in 1999, IDW has become the premier comic book publisher of licensed IPs from movies and television shows. From '80s staples such as My Little Pony, Transformers, G.I. Joe, and Jem and the Holograms to more modern fare such as Silent Hill, Orphan Black, and CSI, IDW has given older properties renewed life and rejuvenation through continued stories via sequential art, employing amazingly talented writers and artists in order to give the properties justice; however, even though the licensed material is what IDW is known for, the publisher also has a handful of creator-owned titled as well, such as Amelia Cole, Satellite Falling, and The Electric Sublime! that all deserve underscoring, as well.

The comic series, Hex11, has had quite an adventure since its inception back in 2014. The series’ first six issues saw a release in a trade paperback collection after a successful Kickstarter campaign and was nominated for the Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity. The series is about to see the release of their ninth issue sometime in February, spearheaded by artist Lisa K. Weber, writer Kelly Sue Milano, and producer Lynly Forrest.

The SoCal Retro Gaming Expo held its 2017 winter edition convention this past weekend, on February 4th and 5th at the Ontario Convention Center. Previously, the convention’s 2016 summer show was held at the Frank and Son Collectible Show in the City of Industry and was a one-day affair. (Read the Fanbase Press coverage of the summer edition here.) Although the winter convention was a two day event, this write-up serves to document Sunday.

On January 27th, film legend John Hurt had passed away after battling pancreatic cancer. An old guard-generation actor with a career spanning sixty years, Hurt had a legacy with a profound impact on pop culture.

The ‘80s revival that has been steadily gaining momentum in the pop culture arena since the mid-2000s (post-Grand Theft Auto: Vice City) reached a new and impressive zenith in 2016, no doubt capstoned by the critical success of the Netflix original series, Stranger Things. This television show (which will be explored in a different retrospective at Fanbase Press) encapsulated all the trademark hallmarks of the decade: Cold War fears, slasher-horror elements, youth-centric stories, period piece music and nods to vintage advertisements, hair styles, and fashion. The show was a perfect example of homage-as-genre, a type of cinema pioneered by Tarantino in the '90s with Pulp Fiction. Other directors and producers attempted to mimic the homage-as-genre style to mixed results. This scenario has plagued the '80s resurgence as well, as the failure of the live-action version of Jem and the Holograms in 2015 illustrates; however, it is the true artisans and crafts folk, the ones who lived in the era and have come of age (late Gen-Xers and Millennials) that truly see the value and potential of the decade, and have been successfully mining it. Stranger Things may be the most prominent example for 2016, but beneath it a whole '80s world flourishes across different medias.

Fans of Lovecraft literature can be divided into two major factions. The first category are the Lovecraft purists, those folks who hold the works penned by H.P. Lovecraft himself as the only canon worthwhile to read and posit that successor works simply fail to capture the cosmic nihilism of the original texts. The other camp is composed of the Cthulhu Mythos fans, the readers hooked into Lovecraft via its most prominent and popular icon. This camp prefers stories that contain the most recognizable elements, such as the presence of Cthulhu, mentions of Miskatonic University, and throwbacks to the town of Innsmouth. This is a Lovecraft universe shaped by August Derleth beginning in the late 1930s and has been refined and expanded on by other authors since.

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