THE ONE YOU’VE BEEN WAITING FOR!
Mikomi Chan, whose learned approach to cosplay has made her a nationally respected authority on the craft, has confirmed that she will be a guest at the inaugural BoroughCon event. The new pop culture expo, which caters to New York City’s outer boroughs, will take place May 26-29 at the Queens campus of St. John’s University.
She has been an avid cosplayer since 2011, having discovered cosplay in her junior year of college. Early into her hobby, she decided to learn how to make her own costumes, as many of her favorite characters were not available to purchase online. Through hard work, determination and the help of her cosplay friends, Mikomi learned how to create beautiful costumes from comics, anime, video games, television, and movies.
Mikomi continues to want to improve her art, and she has completed a formal leatherwork and woodwork apprenticeship under Dr. Mark Conley. Mikomi has been learning how to make armor and weapons for theater and reenactment purposes. Through the encouragement of her mentor, she opened her own costume design and fabrication business where she designs and creates costumes for clients all over the world.
Mikomi’s cosplays have received acclaim both in and outside of the convention circuit. She has won multiple awards for both craftsmanship and performance in masquerades, and her costumes have been featured in newspapers, magazines, art galleries, television shows and multiple geek and pop-culture websites. She has worked as a booth cosplayer for several geek and cosplay companies and is currently sponsored as a content creator and costume designer for the E-sports apparel company, RE: Activ Designs. Mikomi has also led panels on different cosplay topics from how to get involved in cosplay, to leatherwork and many things in between at conventions from Chicago to South Carolina to New Jersey. She loves leading panels and workshops at conventions, and uses panels as a way to teach the next generation of cosplayers and costume hobbyists.
Follow Mikomi on social media: Facebook.com/mikomiscostumedworld and @mikomiscostumedworld
I want to personally apologize to all BoroughCon.com visitors who were put off by yesterday’s post about Alexa rankings.
So many of you have become daily visitors to this site, and so many of you daily visitors had evidently spread the word to your friends. For that, the entire BoroughCon team is grateful and humbled. The last thing in the world we wanted to do was impose upon what we considered, at this end, to be our budding friendship.
That’s why I’d like to say I’m sorry for any bad feeling that post might have caused. It was presumptuous of me to post it, and I hope you can forgive me.
I doubt there was anything objectionable about the post itself. It was a pretty dry, data-driven piece about which major pop culture expos have the most visited web sites. Not everybody is going to be interested in that, but I don’t see how anyone could be offended by it either.
What was offensive to many was the way it was presented.
It was posted as part of our “Premium Content” section. And I suppose we haven’t explained what that means well enough and often enough.
Most of our stuff — blog posts, reviews, the event listings in the “Nerd Yorker” calendar — is offered to you for free for its entertainment value. We also provide you at no charge, for obviously self-serving reasons, updates on how BoroughCon is progressing in terms of guests, vendors, artists, sponsors and programming.
Premium content, though, consists of posts that have more business value than entertainment value. If you’re a comic book publisher, you might want to understand copyright law a little better, and members of BoroughCon’s leadership team have the experience, skill and willingness to explain it clearly. If you’re new to the game of being a featured guest at fan conventions, you might want to pick the brains of people who have negotiated contracts for such services on what you can reasonably ask for — and what you’d be remiss if you didn’t demand. If you’re a con-runner, you might want to know more about management, funding and social media marketing — and if there’s a fellow con-runner who’s an MBA with years of IT consulting experience, he might have something worth listening to.
We don’t ask for money. All we ask for is subscription. That means your email address — not even your name or any other identifier — just your email address. If you value this kind of Inside Baseball, then let us know how to contact you and let us send you our weekly newsletter. That’s all.
And if you don’t, for whatever reason, no problem. We hope you continue to enjoy our free content and, more so, look forward to meeting you at BoroughCon over Memorial Day weekend. We’re not Big Brother. But we want to be — and to be known as — the convention team that best understands the data and the technology as well as the needs of vendors, artists, guests and attendees.
And if you choose not to share your email with us, we understand. Lots of people on the Web — particularly those who recently came our way via Reddit — prefer to remain anonymous. We respect that.
We respect your choice.
We respect you.
The BoroughCon team keeps moving forward!
As you can tell, we’ve done a lot of fine tuning and content publication on this web site. Thank you all for your comments and letting us know where you ran into glitches! We intend to keep making these pages more user-friendly as well as informative. We definitely have seen a spike in downloads of our vendor and artist forms!
We’ve also been posting premium content, to which we hope you subscribe. It’s more for con-runners than the broader public. Still, if you’re an entrepreneur or just a fan-of-fandom who wants an Inside Baseball view of how the magic happens, you’ll get a lot out of it. We put together the first searchable, filterable table of all the pop culture conventions in the United States with 10,000 or more attendees, then we wrote a separate article featuring leaderboards for the biggest cons, the biggest second-tier cons, the busiest weekends for conrunners, the most competitive weekends for talent and the cities with the most major cons. Just this morning, we dropped a how-to guide for constructing the kind of business plan that will help you raise money for your event. More to come.
All this content is free (for now at least). We do ask that, if you would like to see this business-y stuff, you share your name and email address with us and permit us to send you a periodic newsletter updating you on all things BoroughCon, including news and features exclusive to our subscribers. Even if you don’t care for the premium content, you can still subscribe to the newsletter. You can also view all the insightful comic/film/gaming reviews and irreverent blog posts we’ve been putting up here.
Matt will be back from his East Asian adventure soon, and Victor will be returning from his month-long lost weekend on a beach in Mexico. They’re the ones tasked with securing the talent and vendors so, once they settle back in here, we’ll be making a bunch of announcements. Stay tuned!
William Gibson, the father of Cyberpunk has entered the ranks of other respected authors by writing a comic book. Archangel, was written in collaboration with actor Michael St. John originally as a screenplay for German television. The Germans passed on it, and when IDW approached Gibson about doing a comic, he had this script ready.
To many of us hardcore Science Fiction fans, Gibson is a legendary figure, who towers above the field. Although, he has only ten novels to his name, his influence is massive. In his 1982 story, “Burning Chrome”, he created the term “Cyberspace”, and in Neuromancer, he showed us the dark side of the internet before it had even been invented. In spirit he is more the heir to Philp K. Dick and Samuel “Chip” Delany than to Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein.
The Golden Age Science Fiction writers celebrated technology, seeing its advance intertwined with upward human progression. High technology was the logical progression of the taming of fire, and with it, Man would create a paradise.
With the advent of the New Wave Writers of the 1960’s we saw a shift in this belief. Harlan Ellison’s dystopic horror story “I have No Mouth and I Must Scream” (Winner of the 1968 Hugo Award) exemplified this new mood, that technology was not the miracle that would lead Man to godhood.
The works of Dick were particularly cynical and disturbing, setting the stage for 1984 when Gibson unleashed Neuromancer. I remember reading it during my second year of Law School. When I should have been spending time reading a couple of hundred pages from casebooks, I played hooky and read Neuromancer in one sitting. It was as seismic as the jump from Bob Kane’s Batman to Frank Miller’s Dark Knight.
Although only one issue of Archangel has appeared it’s too early to tell where Gibson is going. One thing is clear, he is not going to waste our time revisiting his old haunts. The story starts with a shattered 2016, where American democracy is dead and the country is run by a Father-Son team of despots. At a secret facility the Veep, Junior, has just undergone surgery to look like his grandfather did in 1945. He then enters “the Splitter” a device which splits and creates alternate universes, to go to a parallel 1945 to kill the grandfather and take his place.
A resistance group sends two marines after him, but their aircraft unfortunately appears in the middle of a B-52 formation flying over post-War Germany. The Americans got the Pilot, and the Soviets got the Plane. The Brits are trying to get a piece of the action.
The several characters are described in the book’s endnotes: Junior, Major Guadalupe Torres, Naomi Givens, Captain Vince Matthews and Pilot.
Junior, “ and his father are horrible assholes. They are cruel, smug, narcissistic uber-thugs, wrapped sanctimoniously in what’s left of the flag.”
Major Guadalupe Torres: “Face a study in determination, she pilots a noisy electric wheelchair and wears a brace on her leg… She’s hellbent on stopping Junior’s plans for 1945.”
Naomi Givens is British RAF who believes in the supernatural and unusual. “Difficult enough being a woman in British Intelligence. Being a smart one is quite unforgiveable.” According to Gibson, “I have a certain kind of over the top female character who never gets killed. They may not be realistic but I love them, and a lot of people evidently do.”
Captain Vince Matthews is Naomi’s American counterpart. He is torn by his position in the military and helping Naomi, whom he still loves. “He’s tough and doesn’t believe Pilot at first, but ultimately we like and root for him.”
Pilot, is a dark and mysterious marine.
Gibson has acknowledged that time travel and alternate universes are a standard science fiction trope. But, so were computers until “Burning Chrome” and Neuromancer. This is Gibson, he is unlikely to stray into stereotypes. The story runs smoothly, the characters well drawn and the dialog snaps.
The art work is done by Butch Guice, with Tom Palmer giving an assist on the inks. They go for the realistic school of drawing, which thankfully is crowding out the Super Hero school. The clothing is natural and wears appropriately on the character’s bodies. This is important for the realism of Naomi, on whom the uniform is definitely unflattering. Naomi is not drawn as an adolescent fantasy, but as a believable person. Diego Rodriquez’s masterful colors evokes the depressing atmosphere of post-War Germany.
There are just two gripes about this comic. One is the price of $4.99 for 20 pages, and second having to wait at 30 day intervals to watch the story unfold.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
Genre: First-person shooter
Platforms: PlayStation 4
Genre: Third-person shooter, action-adventure, platformer
Over the years we have learned to associate Naughty Dog with quality. From the stand out classics, such as Crash Bandicoot and Jak and Daxter, to the breathtaking in the Uncharted series and, most recently, The Last of Us. Constantly innovating the “platformer” genre, Naughty Dog keeps wowing us by taking everything they have learned and applying it to each new title and that is just as true of their last tour de force Uncharted 4.
Where to even start with this game? First of all, this is the best looking game on any console, period. The visuals are absolutely stunning. Inside of cinematic scenes we get unique facial graphics that allow characters to feel more real and show emotions deeper than simple anger and happiness. With a lift of the brow you can literally see the sarcasm on Nathan’s face, the bond and concern he has for his brother (first time entry into the series) Sam, or even the genuine caring between Nathan and Elena.
This aspect is very important as Uncharted 4 is unparalleled in character building. Characters matter, relationships are not so cookie cutter, and development is not limited to a few short cut scenes. Characters are constantly talking while moving through the game, and not in ways we have become accustom to but, instead we hear characters growing, adapting to their environment and changing their motivation and relationship based on what is happening at that moment in gameplay, not to mention the inclusion of optional conversations.
Speaking of environment, let’s talk about how the game looks outside of the cinematic scenes. Naughty Dog has been making games for some time, so naturally you would expect a certain pedigree from the world’s premier platform game developer. Uncharted 4 remains unchallenged in the sheer beauty, scope, and quality in its level design. The focus on this game is less room to room puzzle platforming and out and out action that we saw in Uncharted 3, but instead a focus on exploration. These focus suites the game well with its treasure finding theme and there are over 100 hidden secrets to find. You feel less like you are being pulled along rails and more that there is organic decision making and free roaming opportunities. Less you are Nathan Drake a man on a mission, more you are Nathan Drake looking for adventure.
This is not to say the game is without its action. Uncharted 4 features a third-person shooter style mechanic that we have become familiar with. I would say the game seems less focused on out and out huge firefights than in Uncharted 3, but that is not to say they do not exist. What is new mechanically to this game is its attempt to and a stealth element so you are not going in guns blazing every time. When coupled with some new smoother animations (I have yet to see a game handle going around corners as naturally as this one) you get the feeling that Nathan, for all his wit, skill, and quick thinking, is a man and ultimately fragile.
So this is how the game looks, and moves, but how does the game feel? There are very few games I can say have honestly brought tears to my eyes, Uncharted 4 enters this category. I am not sure if Naughty Dog is in a dark mood from The Last of Us because this game is absolutely gut-wrenching at times. I tried to nail down what exactly is it about the storytelling in this Uncharted that allowed for me to feel such a deep emotional connection from sad, to laugh out loud laughter. Was it Nolan North’s outstanding voice acting, his ability to somehow convey whit and sarcasm in one sentence, and fear and nihilism in the next? Was it the absolutely engrossing writing that told the story of a man who simply does not fit in the normal world? Was it the realness of how the dialogues were introduced both in cinematic scenes, in game placement, or optional organic conversations you did not have to have but could? I cannot quite put my thumb on it, but what Naughty Dog has proven to me once again is that they are character developers, and great storytellers. The focus on people in their games creates an attachment that cannot be described.
Naughty Dog’s Uncharted 4 is the best game out there right now. The few problems with the game, the slow start, unimaginative multiplayer, are far outshined by the pros. For those few holdouts on the validity of video games as an art medium, sit them down and have them play this game. There is a depth here that is refreshing and I hope Naughty Dog continues with this trend they have of making gaming masterpieces.
By William Freedman
The BoroughCon team was out in force at Washington’s Awesome Con this past month and, while Victor and Matt had the privilege of squiring around famed voice actress Grey DeLisle, I got a chance to simply wander around and soak it in.
Spending most of the time on the vendor’s floor, I of course saw a lot of people dressing to impress. Some people had some seriously inspired costumes, like that father and son above, but let’s focus for now on the ones that didn’t. I’m not going to embarrass people by mocking their appearance at a con and running those horrendous photos here – we want them to come to BoroughCon after all! – but some people did just phone it in. If you’re a guy who wants to cosplay but don’t want to actually put in time, effort or expense, you can do what one dude did and come as Matt Murdock. If you already have a suit and a pair of sunglasses, then all you need is a folding white cane.
Similarly, ladies, if you have a blue dress and a red hat, you too can call yourself Agent Carter. I lost count of how many Peggys there were at Awesome Con, but I venture to say it was by far the most popular outfit in Mount Vernon Square that weekend.
In the showdown of Marvel vs. DC, DC hardly even showed up. Avengers were very much assembled, and X-Men were well-represented too, as this combination of Psylocke and Captain Marvel illustrate. There was one woman dressed in a Fantastic Four uniform as Sue Storm. (I should say “at least one”. There might have been others but I didn’t see them.)
Star Wars was by far the most cosplayed space opera franchise. It’s telling that The Force Awakens drew the most emulators, followed by Episodes 4-6 (seems like there are more Boba Fetts and slave-girl Leias on the circuit each year). Absolutely nobody even brought up the subject of the prequels.
Not to say that Star Trek was absent, but everyone Starfleet officer on deck was in a uniform dating back to the original series. And let me be clear: I’m specifically saying they weren’t wearing the uniforms from the movie reboot with the same characters. This is definitely a Nichelle Nichols-vintage Uhura costume:
What does this mean? Not much. Hardly a scientific study. But it suggests to me that Trek and DC need to up their game if they’re going to inspire this kind of fan loyalty.
By William Freedman
There can be only one. And, in case you couldn’t tell by just those deep, dazzling eyes, it’s Charlize Theron. You could argue the point, but you’d be wrong.
If you don’t believe me, then let’s put her to the test. There’s a game I invented called “Charlize Theron could ________, and I’d still want to __________.” All you have to do to get started is name a movie she’s been in.
We begin with her most recent adventure, Mad Max: Fury Road.
“Charlize Theron could be bald, missing an arm, and have a truck-full of lovelies half her age in tow, and I’d still want to take her out dancing.”
I know what you’re thinking: Her latest genre film was The Huntsman: Winter’s War. But that is more of a mis-adventure. The only reason it didn’t get the razzing it deserved is that Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice came out just two weeks prior. But let’s consider Snow White and the Huntsman and go there.
“Charlize Theron could suck the youth out of the entire kingdom, get my hopes up about the resurrection of the love of my life then dash those hopes, and I’d still want to cook her a gourmet dinner set on a tablecloth strewn with rose petals.”
Let’s skip The Road. Too depressing. But I’d still hand the last can of lima beans humanity would ever produce over to her without a second thought.
Which brings us to Hancock.
“Charlize Theron could’ve dumped me 80 years ago after three millennia together, and her mere presence could strip away all my superpowers, and I’d still want to serenade her on a gondola as a Venetian sunset reflects off the canals.”
One more, and then I got to go do something else. Aeon Flux.
“Charlize Theron could be the clone of my plague-ridden wife, obsessed for the past 400 years with killing me, and I’d still want to write a thousand sonnets describing her shoulder blades.”
We haven’t even talked about her non-fantasy/SF work. Maybe some other time (I could write a whole post just on Monster). But if you know of other celebrities who could stand up to this scrutiny, tell us about it. Leave a comment, and maybe we’ll give them the same treatment.
Platforms: Android, iOS, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS
Genre: Interactive fiction
High tech, high art
By Jonathan Goodison-Orr.
Since the days of Pong, the artistic community’s upper eschelon has debate whether video games can be considered art. Could these pixels ever rival a great painting or orchestral composition? Could a video game ever make you feel something, like Beethoven’s 5th or A Midsummer Nights Dream? Today, we need not wonder anymore.
In fact, we live in a world where powerful and beautiful games don’t just exist, but are commonplace. Since games from The Last of Us to Heavy Rain have shown us the great thematic lengths that video games can reach, saying “the sky is the limit” can no longer quite do the medium justice. Seemingly every day, there is some game out there published by a small, dedicated group of folks just for the purpose of pushing the envelope and exploring a new and exciting world. Not just another FIFA, Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed or Madden, but a real, story driven examination of complex themes and powerful characters. Today, let’s look at just that: a game of small budget but massive scope and possibility: 80 Days.
80 Days is without question a story-driven game. Beyond that, it is almost entirely based around branching storytelling, allowing the player to make choices that impact the plot. The plot structure is loosely based on Jules Verne’s 1873 novel Around the World in 80 Days, where you, Jean Passepartout, are the valet to Phileas Fogg, a wealthy Londoner who has just made a wager at the Reform Club for £20,000 (equivalent to $2.3 million in 2016), betting that he can circumnavigate the globe in 80 days. During your journey, you will have to manage your finances, Fogg’s health, and trade in different markets around the globe in addition to which route you would like to take from point A to point B.
Each city you visit is unique, and it is estimated that in one full journey around the world, the player will only have seen about 3% of the game’s 750,000 words of textual content. Each choice you make (Brave a dangerous journey across the Arctic and potentially cut your trip time in half, or race across Europe aboard the Orient Express to Istanbul, etc.) will affect how the journey proceeds. Not to mention, there are no shortages of twists and surprises throughout which keep the game exciting and re-playable. The game’s style contains a great deal of steampunk-themed modes of transport such as giant airships, hovercraft, rockets, automated carriages, rudimentary airplanes, and plenty more in addition to the traditional trains, steamships, and hot air balloons of the day.
Every play-through gives you a chance to make your own adventure. Perhaps you want to try your chances on the Trans-Siberian Railroad, or see if you can find a shortcut by traversing the spine of Africa. Maybe this time you want to trust that mysterious rocketeer in Switzerland, or cross the Arabian Desert on camelback to discover a long lost treasure. The possibilities feel endless. You make the adventure that you want and, by the end, you will feel as though you have just written your own rendition of Verne’s classic work, and one even he would be impressed by. The writing is sharp and witty, and there are real-time updates from other in-game players so you can compete for the shortest completion time.
On top of just being a superb adventure, 80 Days, set in 1872, offers an excellent modern commentary on colonialism, and an insight into the mindset of the colonizers and the colonized alike. For instance, if you travel to Pangsau Pass in Burma, there is an Indian nationalist about to be executed for destroying a British munitions store. You are given the option to try to rescue him from prison, but if you are caught you will be arrested by the military and lose a nearly insurmountable amount of time on your trip. If you do not choose to help, however, you and Fogg will witness the execution the next day and be haunted by it for the rest of your journey.
There is never a moment where you don’t feel in charge of the game’s progression, and as such, you the player are held accountable for nearly every decision you make throughout the plot. Around every corner is something that threatens to slow you down, so you need to be smart in who you chose to help and who you chose to trust. Above all of this is the game’s sweeping score, which perfectly sets the tone for your journey and is one you are not likely to soon forget.
80 Days is a rare example of a purely enjoyable game. Whether you appreciate deep narratives or just want a new and exciting adventure every time you play, there is something for almost everyone here. So if you are in the market or a Time Game of the Year, 4x BAFTA-nominated, 3x-IGF nominated experience billed by PocketGamer as “rich with ideas, brilliantly written, and creates a world that you’ll want to visit over and over again”, then I would wholeheartedly recommend 80 Days. Happy Travels!