Article By Luis Vazquez
Whether you are a member of the media or an admirer of those people who become famous through the medium of television and film, we all have our favorites and we are all fans at heart. The Big Apple Con 2017 was going to be big. Stan Lee was going to return the conquering hero. But health can determine the course of many things. In his absence I focused more on the stories of the unestablished, the former stars who bask in the glory of days past, published authors, comic artists and one top tier star.
Peter Shinkoda who plays in the Daredevil series. The Montreal born actor of Japanese descent was exposed in Canada to a diversity of friends and cultures. It’s quite apparent when you meet him as he was gracious enough to have his picture taken and even did a short drop for me though he did not have to do either. Though I have a couple favorites in the show, Peter leapfrogged ahead with a simple gesture which won’t be forgotton.
Taimak Guarriello or simply Taimak, the man you know best as Bruce Leroy in the 80′s classic film “The Last Dragon.” was open to discussion and signed his autobiography CD for me. He will be more active under KPA Talent Management where he will continue to look for that elusive “glow.”
Comic book writer Amy Chu was hard at work during quiet moments as she is working diligently on Red Sonja and Kiss comic series in 2017. She just completed an X-Files mugshot which she displayed for us. But Chu will be dipping deeper into Sci-Fi with “Lion Force ” later this year. “I’m doing alot of sci-fi it seems,” Chu said, “Kiss series is actually sci-fi and technically speaking Red Sonja is a little bit sci-fi because she is in the future from her perspective, present day for us, future from her.”
“Creees” Hyunsung Lee was busy doing contract work on the premises as many artists do during the convention in remarkably short periods. His original arts and illustrations laying open like a living resume of his talents. “All the people are interesting and talking to everybody has been a good experience, ” Lee said. Having been introduced to comics by a high school friend though he aimed for animation in college. “I just loved drawing superheroes but my friend introduced me to comics and I feel in love with it,” Lee said, “It became more of a passion for me. I’m working hard to get my work out there.”
Kristen Gudsnuk, the “Henchgirl” creator with a shared Luthuanian heritage and interesting story about her name was quite a sight with her green hair and glasses looking like a perfect living anime character come to life with her drawing superpowers. “Henchgirl is about a girl who works for a super villian which comes out in two weeks from Dark Horse.”
As a fan of the Big Apple Con and place where she did her first show, Kristen feels at home. Only in New York do you get the unusual requests. “I got some really fun commission requests for WordGirl kissing Slobo, Kid-Lobo, from DC,” Gudsnuk shared. The assertion of women in society at large in all fields applies just as well in the world of comics.” l’m a woman and I want to write about woman characters,” Gudsnuk said, “There’s a bit of a dearth in general of well-written women characters. I’m interested in women. I think stories about women are particularly interesting, more of what I like.”
C.L Schneider, adult epic and urban fantasy writer showed off her first book, “Crown of Stones” about a man addicted to magic. Bookending it is her newest book Nite Fire. “It features a shapeshifting creature-hunter from a parallel world ruled by dragons,” Schneider said.
A woman who loves interacting with readers and people-watching, C.L loves the creative types that inhabit this world of conventions. “I spend a lot of time people-watching. There are a lot of cool and interesting costumes,” Schneider pointed out. But in a genre dominated by young adult works, C.L targets the grownups. “I write for adults. They want the mature themes,” Schneider said, “I like to make my writers feel, not always good, sometimes bad. I like to take them on emotional journeys and drag them into the story.”
Jesse Wolfe had a comic based on an interesting premise of what happens to persons who get hit by lightning or firestorms in “Elemental Conductors.” Wolfe explained, “It’s about people who survive natural disasters and they get powers based on the disaster they survive.”
Minority-geared comics were prominent and they must be mentioned here. Examples that stood out was Gregory Renaud, an illustrater and Cartoonist whose work can be followed on R.J’s Journal at GregoryRenaud.com. Greg Anderson’s Is’ Nana, the story of a Were-Spider. Tony Robinson, President/Owner of Descendant Productions were comics focusing on urban themes.
The most innocent and entertaining session was the “Saber Guild: Empire Temple” who were conducting Padawon training for several youngsters with lightsabers. Once they mastered the basics, two Sith warriors came out and challenged the Jedi-in-training. They used their training to defend and finished with a force-push which dumbfounded the Sith again and again. A pleasant memory to close out our stint here at the 2017 Big Apple Con.
The thing that stood out is that there is a lot of talent under the radar and conventions like this make it possible to be seen and appreciated. We thank Dan Fogel and his team and those who took the time to speak to us. You are why conventions are fun.