Amazing Arizona Comic Con 2014 took place at the Phoenix Convention Center last weekend, January 24-26. I represented BOOM! Studios at our booth, along with writers Paul Jenkins (“Deathmatch,” “Inhumans”) & Eric M. Esquivel (“Bravest Warriors,” “Loki: Ragnarok and Roll”) and artists Wook-Jin Hunter Clark (“Adventure Time: Flip Side,” “Megagogo”) & Missy Pena (“Bravest Warriors”), plus BOOM!’s Marketing Assistant, Stephanie Hocutt. They’re all awesome people! Below are some memories from throughout the weekend.

This weekend was the 5th annual Long Beach Comic & Horror Con at the Long Beach Convention Center in California. It was a mellow show with a consistent stream of excited fans who were interested in the BOOM! Studios and Archaia line-up, and indie stuff in general. Below is a small gallery of my favorite photos of the show, taken from behind the BOOM! booth!

Had my mind blown today reading First Second’s “The Moon Moth” by Jack Vance & Humayoun Ibrahim.

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It’s about an insane world where instruments and the music played with them are used to determine class status. Masks convey one’s social worth. Now, picture Captain Kirk on this planet hunting a murderer, wearing a moth mask and ignorant of the musical customs — that’s where things begin.

I took pictures of Alyssa Milano with fans at the BOOM! Studios/Archaia Entertainment booth during Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo this past weekend in Los Angeles. Scored a quick selfie!

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Alyssa was promoting her upcoming comic book with Archaia, “Hacktivist,” due out in January 2014. And scope this — when I humble bragged about this photo on twitter, Alyssa tweeted back:

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Word.

During Comic-Con International in San Diego last month, I covered TheOneRing.net’s “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” panel for Spinoff Online!

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“TheOneRing.net Brings “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” to Comic-Con” — Click to read full article

“With Peter Jackson absent from Comic-Con International in San Diego to finish production on The Hobbit trilogy, the duty of bringing Middle-Earth to Comic-Con fell to the staff of the TheOneRing.net. Consisting of TheOneRing personalities Alex and Kellie Rice, Josh Rubinstein and Rebecca Perry, with Cliff Broadway and Cathy Udovch driving most of the dialog, the panelists dug deep into the The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the second film of The Hobbit trilogy.

Releasing December 13 with limited information currently available from which to draw theories and deduce conclusions, the panelists energetically showed off their expertise of Tolkien lore, analyzing known sequences adapted from the novel. The most fun came when the panelists cut loose theorizing on new scenes and relationships from Smaug, including a larger role for the wizard Radagast, the inclusion of new elf character Tauriel, talking giant spiders, a Jackson-created side story for Gandalf, elven goddess Galadriel seeing combat action and Bilbo’s impending encounter with Smaug the dragon, voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch.

Breaking down the structure of Smaug and its parallel with the chronology of J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel, the panel took the crowd through the film’s outline, beginning with Bilbo Baggins and his dwarven allies meeting the giant bear-man Beorn. This encounter precedes The Company venturing into the dangers of Mirkwood, wherein lie the deadly spiders teased in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

“I want to see the ponies and sheep come out and do that catering gig at Beorn’s place,” Broadway commented with enthusiasm, referencing the anthropomorphic servants of the giant bear-man. A still shot of Beorn’s house was shown, as the giant animal played by Mikael Persbrandt towered over the small companions.”

At Comic-Con International in San Diego, I covered IDW Publishing’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” panel for CBR!

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SDCC: Turtle Power Energizes TMNT” — Click to read entire article

“At Comic-Con International in San Diego, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman took the spotlight during IDW Publishing’s Turtles panel, alongside ongoing series writer Tom Waltz, “Secret History of the Foot Clan” co-writer Erik Burnham and editor Bobby Curnow.

The big announcement was the latest installment of the “TMNT Villains Micro-Series” line featuring the Turtles’ arch-nemesis, The Shredder, written by Paul Allor and featuring art from the artist who launched IDW’s TMNT revival, Dan Duncan. Then, following the fan-favorite “City Fall” storyline in the ongoing TMNT title, “Northampton” will launch, with art by “Glory” artist Ross Campbell.

Tom Waltz opened the day’s Turtles discussion, touching on how the events of the ongoing series have led to the surprising and dramatic transpirings of “City Fall,” where Leonardo has been seduced by Shredder and the Foot Clan. “We spent a lot of time bulking the backstory of the characters, which is a distant separation from past backstories of different Turtles iterations — we fit certain parts in,” Waltz said. “The family dynamic in our series is different, especially regarding conflicts between the brothers. We had Leo and Donnie bumping heads, where in the past it was Leo and Raph. It had us thinking about Leo more and his place in the pantheon. He’s the Cyclops of the team — the straight and narrow, by the rules kind of guy, so we thought, lets shake that up a bit and manipulate his psyche and — forgive me for saying this — bring him over to the dark side.

“Leo and his demeanor is something Shredder in the modern world is attuned with and it appeals to him,” Waltz continued. “In being resurrected from Feudal Japan, Shredder has an old school attitude and he isn’t too keen on Karai. She’s female and he does not believe she’s able to lead, even though she’s capable of doing so — and Karai knows that. So bringing Leo into the fold changes things in not only what he’s doing in the mythos, but in adding conflict — family conflict. We have two families at war with one piece, Leonardo, being tugged back and forth.””

Spoke with new “Lady Rawhide” writer Eric Trautmann about reviving the 90s “Zorro” character with Dynamite Entertainment!

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“Trautmann Cracks the Whip with ‘Lady Rawhide'” — Click to read full article

“Lady Rawhide first appeared in 1995 as a “Zorro” spinoff series published by Topps Comics in the height of the decade’s “Bad Girl” comics craze. Now, Trautmann continues the legacy of Anita Santiago, introducing her into the new millennium for a different generation of readers.

Writer Eric Trautmann spoke with Comic Book Resources about his “Lady Rawhide” run, explaining how he’s adapting the character for a modern audience, the way her revealing costume serves a story-driven purpose and even giving his take on “Rawhide” creator Don McGregor’s comments about Dynamite’s relaunch.

CBR News: Eric, Lady Rawhide hasn’t been seen in an original comic book story since the 1990s — how are you approaching her revival in the new millennium for a modern audience? Are you sticking with her ’90s “Bad Girl” roots?

Eric Trautmann: Pretty much, yes, though I’d argue Lady Rawhide has been mislabeled as a “Bad Girl.” I ran a small comic shop in my hometown in the middle of that period in the ’90s, and Lady Rawhide always stuck out to me as being more akin to classic “Good Girl”/pinup girl art in style. Certainly the costume was revealing but just seemed more “cute” than her heavily sexualized contemporaries of the day.

I’ve endeavored to not make any changes to her origin. If anything, I’ve pushed her timeline ahead a couple years.

Joseph Michael Linsner’s cover for “Lady Rawhide” #1 looks identical to her original outfit. Does the interior art by Milton Estevam reflect this or does your interpretation of Lady Rawhide don a new look?

I’ve stayed faithful to the original material; her costuming remains unchanged.”