Abracadaver Events of Fullerton, CA, brought a bit of horror to Orange County on Sunday, October 2. Held at the Hotel Fullerton, attendees were treated to over 60 vendors and exhibitors assembled in two of the facility’s larger ballrooms. Jewelry, books, t-shirts, masks, books, food, art, and collectibles of a macabre nature were available for purchase.

Super Nintendo. The Sega Genesis. The PS1. Neo Geo. These are just a few of the consoles of yesteryear that evoke a sense of nostalgia. The advent of console emulators, Hyperkin's Retron series and the Sega Genesis Classic Console, or handheld versions that include Supaboy and Neo Geo X, as well as the upcoming November release of the NES Classic Edition loaded with 30 iconic games, has steered vintage collecting of original game cartridges and discs beyond the die-hard collector to the general video game fan. With renewed interest in revisiting the games under the Tengen and SNK monikers for example, video game fandom has given rise to conventions showcasing vintage and retro consoles, games, and other paraphernalia to delight collectors and fans.

With the slogan “Keeping Your Childhood Rad,” Yestercon the Sequel was back for a second time on Sunday, July 31, in Carson, California. The Carson Civic Center served as the locale for the one-day annual event which included exhibitors, creators, media guests, as well as a handful of video game arcades.

NerdHQ founder Zachary Levi (Chuck, Tangled) took to the stage as soon as the audience of approximately 200 people took their seats Sunday afternoon, July 24, at 4 o'clock. The small venue evoked an informal and more intimate feel, quite opposite to the 6,000-plus seating at Comic-Con's Exhibition Hall panels. In addition, Levi's organization raises funds from panel ticket admissions for Operation Smile, a non-profit group that raises money to pay for cleft lip and palate surgery for children around the world.

For five days each July, San Diego, CA, becomes a mecca for fans of all things related to popular culture, be it comics, films, novels, toys, art, video games, and every medium in between. Just a short walk down the street at The New Children's Museum, NerdHQ was in full swing Sunday afternoon, July 24th. Established by actor Zachary Levi in July 2011, the NerdHQ panels raise funds for Operation Smile, a non-profit organization that raises money to pay for cleft lip and palate surgery for children around the world.

As dusk waned, creators and publishers from the comics industry gathered for the “Oscars” of the industry, the 28th Annual Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards on Friday, July 22, at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. Administrator of the awards, editor, and publisher Jackie Estrada opened the ceremonies by explaining the voting and nomination process, followed by thanking sponsors and organizers of the event. Then, she introduced the special host of the evening, actor John Barrowman, known for his roles on Arrow and Torchwood, but who has also co-written with his sister Carole for Arrow: The Dark Archer (DC) and Torchwood (Titan). He was the perfect choice: representing both comics and Hollywood.

“We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.”
Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream

Beneath a broken canopy of threatening rain clouds and rays of sunlight, square white tent peaks dotted the manicured green lawns of the urban campus, and it felt like the opening of a sweeping English novel as the annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books got underway Saturday morning, April 9. Held at the University of Southern California campus, this cultural zeitgeist is touted as the largest of its kind in the U.S, annually attracting 150,000 visitors over the two-day event. In addition, on Saturday evening, the event hosted the 36th Annual Book Prizes with honors going to novelist James Patterson, among others.

In the Glendale Civic Auditorium, the smell of old books waifed in the air, mingling with the myriad of ongoing conversations, the shuffling of plastic, and flipping of book pages as attendees to the 37th Annual Los Angles Vintage Paperback Show got underway last Sunday morning, April 3. With over sixty book sellers in attendance, the room was packed with stacked books on and under tables throughout the auditorium. Approximately 55 guests were set up at vendor tables or taking turn in the signing area in front of the stage, making themselves available to sign books and chat with fans. Some of the guest highlights included Lisa Morton, Cody Goodfellow, Joe R. Lansdale, William F. Nolan, and Wendy & Richard Pini (ElfQuest) – many who had long lines of people waiting to have one book or bags full of books to be signed.

James Ganiere (Chief Editor, Fallen Angel Press; CEO-Rio Vista Universal) moderated the Saturday afternoon WonderCon panel, “Romance in Sci-Fi and Fantasy,” which assembled actress Gigi Edgley (Farscape, Star Trek Continues), writer Rebekah R. Ganiere (Fairelle series, President of Fantasy Futuristic & Paranormal RWA chapter), writer Mark O'Bannon (The Dream Crystal, Star Raiders), and actor James Kyson (Heroes, Nobility). Unfortunately, actress Mira Furlan was unable to attend due to being on a shoot. Why a romance panel? Romance sells well; at least 50% of the books sold are romance, and romance is a critical component of any story told.

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