July 09, 2012 | 6:27 a.m.
Even with Comic-Con, Botcon, Power Morphicon, Wizard World and Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo all in play, there may not be a convention that matches the costuming originality and gusto of the Anime Expo. There were three masquerade showcases this year, but most of the cosplay warriors pictured above were decked out for the love of their creations. Jay West was on hand to watch the fans flaunt an impressive array of characters derived from comics/manga, movies, TV, pop music and video games (plus original creations) in and around the Los Angeles Convention Center. Anime Expo has already announced that the 2013 edition is scheduled for July 4-7. — Jevon Phillips RECENT AND RELATED: ‘Planetes’: Misfits cleaning up space junk Expo 2012: ‘Martian Successor Nadesico’ is funny ‘Ghost in the Shell’: TV variations on cyberpunk ‘Fullmetal Alchemist’ delivers spectacular finish ‘Trigun […]
March 26, 2012 | 8:08 a.m.
Jay West, a frequent contributor to Hero Complex who writes about fan culture, collectibles and alternative reality games, braved the rain last weekend to visit WonderCon in Anaheim. He brought his camera along and, of course, what member of the cosplay tribe can resist a photo op? Above, West’s collection of costume memories from the convention. RECENT AND RELATED Johnny Depp and Tim Burton, back in black WonderCon: Felicia Day’s Geek & Sundry arrives WonderCon: Watch for free Hero magazine ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ comes to WonderCon New comics: ‘Dragon Tattoo,’ Anthony Bourdain Andrew Garfield: Fame terrifies me ‘John Carter’: Creating Woola, lizard-dog of Mars Johnny Depp in ‘Lone Ranger’ first look Batman Live arena show starts U.S. tour on Sept 5
Feb. 24, 2012 | 3:48 p.m.
“The Mark of the Spider-Man” ARG certainly lived up to its name. First some background: We told you earlier that this alternate reality game started with the delivery of a backpack containing the “personal effects” of Peter Parker, effects that led to a website, which in turn revealed six Twitter accounts that belonged to ARG operatives in Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, Denver, Phoenix and Seattle. That far-flung ARG team then tweeted five locations in each city — it was then up to the players to dash to be the first to arrive at one of those destinations. Those players who managed to arrive first (and provide a password that had also been tweeted) were handed a cellphone and a black hoodie with the “Mark of the Spider-Man” logo. I was part of the winning Los Angeles team, and later we each received calls on […]
Feb. 14, 2012 | 1:26 p.m.
Jay West writes about fan culture, collectibles and alternate reality games for Hero Complex and a few hours ago he got a special delivery. The mystery began with a backpack delivered to my door. Inside I found a variety of items and, taken together, they created a clear portrait of the bag’s owner: I was rummaging through the possessions of Peter Parker, the hero they call Spider-Man. The items I found: keys, tennis shoes, sunglasses, safety goggles, a chemistry textbook, pencils and a pencil sharpener, a protractor, screws, rubber bands, film rolls, contact sheets, urban-setting photographs, Daily Bugle newspaper article clippings, and a sketchbook filled with costume ideas and various equations by Parker attempting to figure out viable angles and trajectories for web swinging with maximum velocity. This delivery follows a recent trailer debut for “The Amazing Spider-Man” — a trailer that contained […]
Jan. 17, 2012 | 3:29 p.m.
Jay West is a guest writer on Hero Complex with a focus on toys, collectibles and fan culture. While being caught up with work at my computer last week, a friend accepted a Fed Ex package for me at my door. My friend, knowing that I’m a collector of movie-related collectibles, asked if I’d ordered some kind of vintage, movie tie-in lunchbox. I understood the question when I saw the battered metal box with the creaking hinged top. There was a letter inside with this message: Dear Jay West, We invite you to inspect these artifacts from Alcatraz. Over the next few months, we will be looking to you, and your audience, to help us uncover the mysteries of the island. Should your careful examination of the contents of this box lead you to any new discoveries, we urge you to share with […]
Jan. 10, 2012 | 4:03 p.m.
Toy collector Jay West writes occasional guest essays for Hero Complex about vintage collectibles. Today: The empty box that became a holiday gift sensation in 1977. The hottest Christmas gift for 1977 was the one that wasn’t available — “Star Wars” had opened in May of that year but no one, least of all the toy company called Kenner, was prepared for the film’s galactic success and the massive consumer demand that followed. Kenner was thrilled to hold the toy-making license for the George Lucas epic that was quickly becoming one of the largest grossing movies of all time but aside from a small amount of merchandise that hit stores at the time of the movie’s release, the toymaker was woefully unprepared to handle the hunger for Jedi products and playthings. As the year wore on, that meant a yuletide dilemma that presented […]
Nov. 14, 2011 | 1:40 p.m.
Over 30,000 people attended the first Comikaze Expo on Nov. 5 and 6 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Comic book legend Stan Lee, actors Mark Hamill (“Star Wars,” “Batman” animated series), Ernest Borgnine (“The Black Hole,” “The Poseidon Adventure”), Richard Hatch (the original “Battlestar Galactica” series), and even Charlie Brown himself (voice actor Brad Kesten) were on hand. The real stars, though, might have been the fans themselves — the tradition of cosplay has become a true sensation in recent years and, in the photo gallery above, you can get a sense of the heroic lengths that fans will go to create their own costumes and step into the sci-fi, fantasy and superhero worlds they adore. — Jay West RECENT AND RELATED ‘Hunger Games': See the character posters Wonder Woman at 70: DC’s icon gets new origin ‘Hawk & Dove’ preview: Chaos […]
Sept. 08, 2011 | 9:01 a.m.
In honor of the 30th anniversary of “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” Hero Complex will be screening the film on Monday with an onstage Q&A with Steven Spielberg. Leading up to the event, we’ve been looking back at the landmark film and its influence on cinema and pop culture. Today, a trip down the toy aisle. As strange as it sounds, “Raiders of the Lost Ark” toys and merchandise were somewhat hard-to-find treasures when the film became a box-office sensation back in 1981. The usual scenario these days is to start launching movie tie-ins weeks or months before a film’s opening weekend, but it was a different landscape three decades ago when Indiana Jones became a box-office sensation. That’s not to say that the fedora hero was nowhere in sight — there were trading cards, a movie novelization, a collector’s magazine […]
May 27, 2011 | 9:06 a.m.
We took you to Disneyland for opening day of the renovated and relaunched “Star Tours” ride and we sat down with Anthony Daniels to discuss the years of planning that went into the project. Now, thanks to frequent Hero Complex contributor Jay West, here’s some video of the ride itself. RECENT AND RELATED Star Tours: Disneyland brings the Force Anthony Daniels on C-3PO’s role in new ride ‘Star Tours’ flashback: The rapping C-3PO of 1987 Did Lucas change cinema with prequel trilogy? “Empire” director Kershner, remembered “Star Wars” brings Force to Legoland “Phantom Menace” on the way in 3-D Seth Green: Lucas wants to be silly “Clone Wars” characters show their age Kurtz: Toy sales took Lucas to dark side VIDEO: Ford and Hamill on “Today” show, 1980
May 09, 2011 | 12:48 a.m.
When it comes to “Tron” and the digital world it led to both on- and off-screen, there’s no bigger expert than Jay West, a guest writer over the last year for Hero Complex on all things concerning the Grid. He recently attended an event celebrating the release of the 1982 movie and 2010’s “Tron: Legacy” on DVD and Blu-ray at a West Hollywood Best Buy location where he spoke to “Tron” director Steven Lisberger and “Tron: Legacy” director Joseph Kosinski and visual effects supervisor Eric Barba (who took home an Oscar for his work on the David Fincher drama “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button“) about how the films play at home, the challenges of creating a youthful representation of Jeff Bridges as the evil computer construct CLU and their favorite movie moments. JW: Many people will see “Tron” and “Tron: Legacy” […]