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April 08, 2015 | 5:00 a.m.

WonderCon 2015: Diversity, authenticity are in focus

(Nickelodeon, BBC America, DC Entertainment, Cartoon Network)
Inside a large conference room at the Anaheim Convention Center, the line of fans waiting to question cast members of the BBC America sci-fi series “Orphan Black” at last weekend’s WonderCon was long. Most of the show’s enthusiasts expressed admiration for star Tatiana Maslany, who plays multiple characters on the show (but was missing from the Saturday panel), and asked about plot points and any hints they could share about the show’s upcoming third season. But when one fan asked actor Jordan Gavaris about his portrayal of Felix, the unapologetically sassy and effeminate gay foster brother of main character Sarah Manning, the conversation turned into a more thoughtful discussion on diversity and authentic representation of queer characters. Felix’s uninhibited approach to sexuality sets him apart from more socially acceptable gay characters often seen in mainstream entertainment. “We get stuck sometimes […]
April 06, 2015 | 12:34 p.m.

Ultimate Marvel Movie Marathon: Only the mightiest super-fans can survive

Captain America (Chris Evans) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) in 'Marvel's Avengers: Age Of Ultron' (Marvel).
Think you’re the ultimate Marvel Cinematic Universe fan? L.A.-area viewers can prove their mettle by binge watching all 11 MCU films — including an early screening of the upcoming “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” — as part of the Ultimate Marvel Movie Marathon at Disney’s El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood on April 20. For $70 a pop, fans will be treated to “Iron Man,” “The Incredible Hulk,” “Iron Man 2,” “Thor,” “Captain America: The First Avenger,” “The Avengers,” “Iron Man 3,” “Thor: The Dark World,” “Captain America: The Winter Solider,” “Guardians of the Galaxy” and, if they’re still awake (or alive) some 29 hours later, “Age of Ultron.” In addition to the films, the marathon will include a costume contest, raffles and giveaways, and “special guests” (keep your fingers crossed for Stellan Skarsgård). Viewers who survive all 11 films will receive an exclusive poster […]
April 05, 2015 | 9:59 a.m.

WonderCon 2015: ‘Orphan Black’ cast and co-creator dish on season 3

"Orphan Black" season 3. (BBC America)
Unfortunately for “Orphan Black” fans, Tatiana Maslany does not have any actual clones, but her absence from the BBC series’ WonderCon presentation did not deter members of the “Clone Club” from filling the room to capacity or diminish their enthusiasm Saturday at the Anaheim Convention Center. “Orphan Black” co-creator Graeme Manson, along with cast members Jordan Gavaris, Evelyne Brochu, Dylan Bruce, Kristian Bruun and Maria Doyle Kennedy were on hand to discuss the show during a panel that featured plenty of clips from the upcoming third season. Maslany appeared in a recorded video to send love to the show’s fans. “Orphan Black,” of course, follows Sarah Manning (Maslany) and her exploits as she further unravels the secrets behind the experiments that led to her and her sister clones’ creation while she tries to protect members of her now extended family. Last season […]
April 05, 2015 | 6:00 a.m.

WonderCon 2015: DC’s Convergence comes into focus

Convergence is a major cross-title event. (DC Comics)
DC Comics’ Jeff King did double duty at Anaheim’s WonderCon. The writer of the comic company’s major crossover series “Convergence” also served as the moderator of the comic convention’s panel designed to hype the comics and hopefully answer a few questions about the upcoming special event. It may not have completely succeeded in the latter, but with some of the interesting pairings and crowd-pleasing images, it certainly did OK with the former. Like its rival Marvel’s Secret Wars event, the people speaking about the comic book super series could not reveal too much about what was about to go down. However, an all-star panel consisting of Len Wein, Scott Lobdell, Dan Jurgens, Marc Andreyko and colorist Peter Steigerwald did show images from the titles that they’d be working on, and all talked a bit about how their characters would fit into the “Convergence” universe. First, King did go […]
April 04, 2015 | 5:55 p.m.

WonderCon 2015: Warner Bros. shows off ‘San Andreas,’ ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’

From left, Riley Keough as Capable (Brainy), Courtney Eaton as Fragile (Cheedo), Charlize Theron as Furiosa, Nicholas Hoult as Nux, PHS-4, and Abbey Lee as Dag (Smiley), in a scene from "Mad Max: Fury Road." (Jason Boland / Warner Bros.)
The Rock was missing, but explosions were plentiful at Warner Bros. WonderCon presentation, which kicked off Saturday’s lineup in the Anaheim Convention Center’s 9,100-seat arena. The studio showed footage from the upcoming Dwayne Johnson disaster flick “San Andreas” as well as George Miller’s much anticipated “Mad Max: Fury Road.” “San Andreas” director Brad Peyton (“Journey 2: The Mysterious Island”) was on hand to discuss the film, along with cast members Carla Gugino (“Watchmen,” “Sin City”) and Alexandra Daddario (“Percy Jackson & the Olympians”). Absent was Johnson — a force of nature in his own right — who stars as a rescue helicopter pilot who sets out to save his ex-wife (Gugino) and daughter (Daddario) after a massive earthquake and resulting tidal wave leave the California coast decimated. It’s a big-budget action movie, but during the panel, Peyton emphasized the film’s […]
April 04, 2015 | 11:58 a.m.

WonderCon 2015: Cosplay looks from the Anaheim expo

Carter Stednitz, 8, as Star-Lord from "Guardians of the Galaxy" at WonderCon Anaheim 2015. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Legions of Links, citizens of the Land of Ooo and the various iterations of Batman descended upon Anaheim on Friday for the first day of WonderCon, the annual pop culture expo celebrating everything sci-fi, horror, fantasy and comics. Last year the convention drew nearly 60,000 attendees to the Anaheim Convention Center. Many of the most devoted attendees are fans who, via their costumes, display their creative talents and knowledge of even the most obscure characters, from TV franchises to web-comics. Some of the cosplayers spotted so far include new favorites such as StarLord to classics such as Batman and Joker. WonderCon, now in its 29th year, was born in Oakland and moved to Anaheim after renovations at San Francisco’s Moscone Center forced the convention to seek a new home in 2012. Produced and operated by San Diego’s Comic-Con International, WonderCon […]
April 04, 2015 | 9:14 a.m.

WonderCon 2015: ‘Wayward Pines’ actors tease mysterious twist

Juliette Lewis, left, Melisa Leo, Matt Dillon, Tim Griffin, Toby Jones, Terrence Howard, Shannyn Sossamon, Charlie Tahan, Reed Diamond and Carla Gugino in "Wayward Pines." (Frank Ockenfels/FOX)
“Wayward Pines,” a new show that combines the government conspiracy crime mystery of “X-Files” and the creepy, exclusive small-town community of “Stepford Wives,” screened at WonderCon on Friday to a large crowd that seemed to grow until people were standing along the walls as the screening continued. The 10-episode Fox show, starring Matt Dillon, Terrence Howard, Juliette Lewis, Reed Diamond, Tim Griffin, Carla Gugino and Melissa Leo, is based on the novel “Pines” by Blake Crouch and produced and directed by M. Night Shyamalan (“The Sixth Sense,” “Signs”). “Always answer the phone” is the creepy refrain that many in the crowd were repeating as the lights came up after the screening. A short panel discussion afterward included producer Donald De Line and actors Diamond and Griffin, with Entertainment Weekly’s “Sandra Gonzalez moderating. De Line talked about reading the book and […]
April 02, 2015 | 6:43 p.m.

WonderCon set for pop culture playtime in Anaheim

WonderCon feature trio
A legion of superheroes, zombies, Jedi Knights and more costumed fans will be descending upon the Anaheim Convention Center this weekend for WonderCon, an annual pop culture expo expected to draw some 60,000 sci-fi, fantasy, horror and comic book professionals and enthusiasts. The expo, which begins Friday and has its roots in the Bay Area but has been held in Disneyland’s backyard since 2012, serves as the unofficial kickoff for Southern California’s burgeoning convention season celebrating fandom and pop culture. This year’s lineup includes mid-April’s Star Wars Celebration, Disney’s D23 Expo in August, the gaming industry’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in June, July’s Anime Expo, Stan Lee’s Comikaze in fall and, of course, San Diego’s massive Comic-Con International, set for July 9-12. WonderCon is a sort of junior sibling to the San Diego mega-convention, which has drawn upward of 130,000 […]
March 01, 2015 | 7:19 p.m.

Magruder and ‘M.F.K.’ win the Dwayne McDuffie Diversity Award

Nilah Magruder, winner of the first Dwayne McDuffie Diversity Award for her web comic "M.F.K." at the Long Beach Comics Expo. (Jevon Phillips / Los Angeles Times)
Nilah Magruder, a storyboard and concept artist in Los Angeles, and her web comic “M.F.K.” won the first Dwayne McDuffie Diversity Award on Saturday during a celebratory panel at the Long Beach Comics Expo. “I feel like Jell-O,” Macgruder said. “I am completely overwhelmed and it’s really exciting. I never expected this because there are so many good nominees. It’s a complete honor.” The other nominated titles and creators are: “Hex11” by Lisa K. Weber and Kelly Sue Milano (HexComics),  “Ms. Marvel” by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona (Marvel), “The Shadow Hero” by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew (First Second Books) and “Shaft” by writer David F. Walker and artist Bilquis Evely (Dynamite). Magruder’s “M.F.K.” is about Abbie, who wants to get to the mountain range Potter’s Spine, scatter her mother’s ashes and then live out her life […]
Feb. 28, 2015 | 8:06 p.m.

A moment of silence, an outpouring of affection for Leonard Nimoy

Mamie Stiger, left, Idalia Mejia, Alfredo Garcia, Jr., Richard Casillas and Sywa Sung give the Vulcan salute in memory of actor Leonard Nimoy at the Long Beach Comic Expo at the Long Beach Convention Center. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
The death of Leonard Nimoy, who played Spock on the “Star Trek” TV and movie series, touched millions of lives around the world, perhaps none more deeply than fans of science fiction and fantasy for whom Spock was a guiding light. So it was only fitting that a day after Nimoy’s death at age 83, the Long Beach Comic Expo — a two-day comic book and pop culture convention — celebrated his life and legacy with tributes both big and small. Not long after the doors opened at the Long Beach Convention Center, thousands of attendees observed a moment of silence while holding up their hands in the iconic Vulcan salute that Nimoy originated. The salute symbolized Spock’s universally known motto, “Live long and prosper.” “Obviously, when we heard it everybody was floored,” said Gabriel Fieramosco, the expo’s marketing manager […]
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