Oz Comic Con Report & Geek Goodies Haul!

After a terrible experience with the 2012 Melbourne event and stories I had heard from friends about Oz Comic Con in other states recently, I was hesitant to ever attend another one. I was expecting crushing crowds in an over packed venue, ridiculous queues with hours of waiting time and people lined up out into the main floor preventing movement, Q&A panels starting late and guests not getting their fully allotted time.

What I got, I am pleased to say, was quite the opposite, even though I thought the day was going to be as terrible as it started…

First there was a mix up at the bus station due to there being no definite signage as to where the free shuttle to the event was – they said Bay 13 on the website but as I don’t live in Sydney, I had no clue where it was. Then when I arrived, there was a very annoying mix up when a volunteer scanned my ticket multiple times while another volunteer was rudely ushering me down the line. I got told I was already checked in (that will happen if you scan the ticket more than once) and they couldn’t give me a pass. But after that was sorted the rest of the day went fairly smoothly.

One thing that I noticed straight away was what a great layout the con had. The stages were away from each other, so the noise from each Q&A didn’t filter in, making it hard to hear (something that happened in Melb 2012). Although sitting at the back of stage 1 where I was, meant you had to suffer the noise of a TARDIS from a vendor and not hear the guests. Speaking of panels, while they didn’t run overtime (miracle!) I found it annoying the crowds weren’t being moved out at the end of each one. I like this method and feel its a good one to stick with. Yes, it takes time for everyone to move out and others get seated, but at least you get a fair chance to have a good seat. And it’s more fair than letting someone park their butt up the front all day when they’re really only there to maybe see one panel. Perhaps it was because there was no area to line up for panels, so maybe something for them to think about bringing back in the future.

Another thing I appreciated were the autograph tables being well away from the main floor. They appeared to have lots of space to line up and not filter back into the crowds blocking access. I didn’t get any photos or autographs this time, but a friend waited in the token line for about an hour, which is about the standard on a general admission ticket, and certainly not the length we waited at Supanova back in June (three hours even with a priority pass).

The con didn’t seem too over crowded at any stage on Saturday, which I’m not sure was due to a lack of attendees or there really was that much space to spread out. Perhaps it was the caliber of guests this time. While its always great to see Stargate guests and William Shatner, they have all been here multiple times recently.

Overall it was actually a pleasant experience and makes me less cautious about attending future events, so well done Oz Comic Con, you’ve surprised me.

Now on to the goodies!

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Review: The X-Files Year Zero #2 (IDW Publishing)

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Publisher: IDW Publishing
Written by: Karl Kesel
Artwork by: Greg Scott and Vic Malhotra
Review: Kate @ All That Geek.

While I continue to struggle with the main X-Files releases, The X-Files Year Zero remians the shining point in the X-Files comic universe.

In issue #2 Mulder and Scully are still on the hunt for the mysterious Mr. Zero and the connection it has to the very first X-File while in 1946 Bing Ellington and Millie Ohio continue to do the same.

The story opens with Mrs. Sears recounting her visit from the mysterious Mr. Xero. Its a strange confrontation that turns into a conversation about PB&J. It is potentially disturbing as we learned from the last issue that she is apparently killed by Mr. Xero. Bing and Millie conclude from their conversation with Mrs. Sears and the message from ‘her friend’ that they need to go to Montana to further investigate their case. Once there, they come face to face with something more terrifying than they were expecting.

In the present, Scully shoots down Mulder’s theories about the cases being connected in typical sceptical-Scully fashion. That is until they start to close in on their Mr. Zero and she starts to see some connections for herself.

I enjoyed both sides of the story, and felt that once again, Mulder and Scully were captured true to character by Karl Kesel. Their rational/single-minded dynamic is perfectly in tact and dotted with their usual humour. However, for me, I felt their story slowed down a little in this issue. It wasn’t until their encounter with Mr. Zero that I felt that it really started to move forward again.

It was Bing and Millie who stole the show in this issue. Their story moved along at a much more steady pace and I enjoyed them encountering more action than they bargained for. I like that their dynamic is very similar to Mulder and Scully – both females being strong and perfect counterparts to their male partners – but Bing and Millie feel distinctly different and I am just as invested in them as my two favourite modern day agents.

I like that Bing and Millie’s case has connections to the season 1 episode “Shapes” (a highly underrated episode in my opinion) rather than the mythology that the season 10 comics are tackling.

The artwork once again is great, but there isn’t a lot of difference in design or colouring between the two eras which doesnt really set them apart. The standard cover for this issue is probably my favourite out of all the new comics. Carlos Valenzuela continues to amaze me with his beautiful artwork for this series. And Robert Hack has created another wonderful pulp novel cover for the subscription variant.

The series is a definite for fans, but also those who were casual viewers of the show and just want a good X-Files story.

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Review: The X-Files by Frank Spotnitz, Marv Wolfman and Doug Moench (WildStorm Comics)

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Publisher: WildStorm (2009)
Written by: Frank Spotnitz, Marv Wolfman and Doug Moench
Artwork by: Brian Denham
Review: Kate @ All That Geek.

THE X-FILES lives on in this new collection that serves as a lost season of the smash-hit TV series. Mulder and Scully are sent to San Francisco to solve a string of murders, then become targets of the Tong underworld and travel to the mysterious Badlands to investigate a series of disappearances in this title collecting THE X-FILES #0-6.

In 2008/09 following the second X-Files movie, WildStorm released seven comics based on The X-Files television show which were set to further expand on the series. The first three issues are penned by X-Files executive producer and writer Frank Spotnitz which is where this collection shines. Telling two different stories of possession, Spotnitz talent as a writer on the show easily translates to the pages of a comic. They felt like they could have been two missing episodes from the series.

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Review: The X-Files Year Zero #1

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Publisher: IDW
Written by: Karl Kesel
Artwork by: Greg Scott and Vic Malhotra
Review: Kate @ All That Geek.

When I first heard about The X Files Year Zero, a new five-part series delving into the beginning of the X-files, I was sceptical. As a long time fan, I remember the less than popular episode from season five “Travelers” and feared this comic may venture into the same tedious territory. However, I was happy to be proven wrong and found on the pages of issue #1 an interesting story that had me anticipating issue #2.

In “The X-Files: Year Zero” a blue-collar worker from New Jersey passes prophetic messages to the FBI from a mysterious “Mr. Zero.” Mulder is convinced it is the same otherworldly entity that contacted the FBI through a suburban housewife in the 1940s. This similarly named “Mr. Xero” pointed the FBI toward many unusual cases, leading to the establishment of the X-Files!  Read More

Review: The X Files Annual 2014

xfannualThe X Files Annual has been highly anticipated by fans across the globe as it sees the return of series writer/producer Frank Spotnitz with an untold story from Mulder and Scully’s first time in the FBI.

The Priest written by Frank Spotnitz, Gabe Rotter and Shannon Eric Denton.

“When a man returns from the dead with a warning for his wife, the agents investigate and cross paths with a very peculiar priest.”

I loved this story, it was simple, engaging and everything you would expect from classic X Files. The story captures the spirit of the early seasons and is perfectly creepy in that way that fans of the show will love. Mulder and Scully were written true to character, which is no surprise with Spotnitz being one of the best writers from the television series.  Read More

Review: The X Files Conspiracy

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One of my biggest peeves about the new X-Files comics is how very dead characters in the TV series have been brought back to life on the pages. They are explained away with some moments that feel no more meaningful than “ha-ha just kidding, we’re not dead!”

Don’t get me wrong, I understand why these characters have been brought back and there is a part of me that is pleased about it. It’s just that the other part just screams at how it’s ruining the canon. I understand that The X-Files franchise is going to be more profitable with its popular secondary characters such as The Lone Gunmen alive and well to tell stories of their own. I guess rather than create stories set in the 90s/early 2000 when the characters were alive, someone thought it necessary to have them suddenly not dead and their stories set now. For the sake of what? Use of smartphones?

When I first heard about the new Lone Gunmen spin off comics Conspiracy, a crossover with IDW’s other titles (TNMT, Transformers, Ghostbusters and The Crow) I was dubious. I wondered how far they would venture into bad fan-fiction territory. Fortunately I was surprised, and unfortunately, I was also disappointed.  Read More