Posts Tagged ‘charity’

In the wake of the senseless tragedy that occurred at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida back in June, DC Comics and IDW have decided to combine their powers and jointly publish LOVE IS LOVE, an anthology honoring the 49 shooting victims and celebrating the LGBTQ community. Scheduled for release in December for $9.99, all proceeds will go to the victims, survivors, and their families via Equality Florida.

Art by Elsa Charretier

Art by Elsa Charretier

Spearheaded by writer Marc Andreyko (Batwoman, Sensation Comics, Manhunter), LOVE IS LOVE will feature 100 1-2 page stories by at least 200 creators showing their love and support for a community still in mourning yet bolstered to fight back against bigotry and hate. While a full list has yet to be provided, many artists and writers have already announced their association with the project. Currently, we know the anthology will feature the talents of Phil Jimenez, Steve Sadowski, Paul Jenkins, Mike Carey, Matt Wagner, Marguerite Bennett, Aneke, Damon Lindelof, Patton Oswalt, Steven Orlando, Rafael Albuquerque, Jason Aaron, Jason Latour, James Asmus, Ming Doyle, James Tynion IV, Cecil Castellucci, Brandon Peterson, Jesus Saiz, Olivier Coipel, Leinil Yu, and Elsa Charretier. More names will be disclosed as we get closer to the release date.

Said Andreyko of the project:

 

When tragedy happens, art responds. And after the Pulse massacre, the comics community responded quickly, decisively, and with open hearts. I could not be more proud of this book, or to be a member of the comics community. The talent and emotion on every page is staggering. LOVE IS LOVE mourns the 49 lost, honors the survivors, and celebrates love in all forms.” [Source: The Beat]

 

With DC Comics backing the project, some of the stories will feature characters from the comic book universe and, if the cover art by Albuquerque and Charretier is anything to go by, it looks like the queer community of the DCU will thankfully be leading the charge.

Art by Rafael Albuquerque

Art by Rafael Albuquerque

 

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critical-role-castI’m only 65 episodes behind the curve, but I’m a fast learner when it comes to the fun, entertaining, and surprisingly heartfelt Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) web series, Critical Role. A live broadcast and weekly peek into a world beset with ancient dragons, barbarian hoards, and some rather unconventional gnomes, Critical Role follows the exploits of Vox Machina, a group of mostly heroic adventurers as they traverse the fictional land of Tal’Dorei. The intrepid band of misfits, however, are brought to life by an equally, and mostly, heroic group of dice-slinging voice actors, all of whom have been playing their characters for three years; two on the live stream and one year prior to the inception of the show. The characters and their actors are as follows:

  • Vax’ildan “Vax” (Liam O’Brien) – a half-elf rogue/paladin and twin brother to Vex’ahlia
  • Vex’ahlia “Vex” (Laura Bailey) – a half-elf ranger/rogue and twin sister to Vax’ildan who also has a pet bear named Trinket
  • Grog Strongjaw (Travis Willingham) – a goliath barbarian
  • Keyleth (Marisha Ray) – a half-elf druid
  • Percival de Rolo “Percy” (Taliesin Jaffe) – also known as Percival Fredrickstein Von Musel Klossowski de Rolo III, a human gunslinger
  • Scanlan Shorthalt (Sam Riegel) – a gnome bard
  • Pike Trickfoot (Ashley Johnson) – a gnome cleric

And guiding our heroes in their exploits is the world-building powerhouse of a Dungeon Master (DM) that is Matthew Mercer. Pulling some impressive double-duty, Mercer not only crafts the realm of Tal’Dorei but he also effortlessly voices all of the non-playable characters (NPC), running the gamut of high-born ladies, lowly orcs, and a thoroughly confused bear.

I’ve only played D&D, and some other tabletop games, a few times in my life with varying degrees of DM and party performance, but I can say wholeheartedly that this is the first time in a long time that I’ve ever wanted to get back into gaming. Hell, this is the first time in a long time I’ve wanted to join somebody else’s game just to experience the energy and absolute fun they have for roughly three hours every Thursday night. The camaraderie of the players and the DM is infectious because they’re just as invested in the welfare of their characters, just as shocked when a plot twist occurs, and just as devastated when events go horribly, horribly wrong. To put it another way, they love their characters and it shows to the point where even a husk of human emotions like myself can get a little teary-eyed.

So, really, this is just an overblown, non-ranked list of reasons why I’m now obsessed with Critical Role. Trust me, it doesn’t disappoint.

Oh, and SPOILERS for the series. Just in case.

 

The Gameplay

 

This seems like a no-brainer, but a significant portion of what makes Critical Role such a success comes from how the players, and by extension the characters, interact with their fictional environment. Setting aside the little character moments and exploratory missions (we’ll get to them in a bit), when Mercer tells the party to roll initiative to battle some greater foe, they’re in it. No one slouches, everyone pulls their weight to support the success of the group in destroying beasts and baddies alike. The physicality of the players speaks louder and louder as the battle rages: eyes wide, mouths agape, everyone fidgeting with nervous energy at each role of the die. Full sessions have been devoted to taking down one enemy (to be fair, it was a dragon) until Mercer asks, “How do you wanna do this?” and the whole group explodes with excitement knowing that the killing blow is just moments away. I’d be lying if I said my own erratic movements didn’t mimic theirs. Even smaller, more desperate, moments are rife with tension as the characters struggle against mind control or frantically try to resurrect one of their own.reaction

There are a couple of episodes that stand out in particular regarding moments of triumph and potential tragedy. In the case of the former, I’d recommend episode 52, “The Kill Box,” wherein Grog, unable to defeat his uncle, leader of the barbarian herd, in single combat, calls upon his friends for help. There are plenty of moments where each character shines but the best bit of teamwork comes when Vex flies in on her broom (long story) and sucks a badly beaten Grog into her necklace (just go with it) to get him somewhat out of harms way. She then releases Grog from high up in the air, giving him the advantage needed to deliver the deathblow to his uncle. It’s definitely an engaging three hours of fictionalized combat and by the end even the players look exhausted. In the case of the latter, it would have to be episode 44, “The Sunken Tomb,” that finds the party searching for enchanted armor beneath the city of Vasselheim. Neglectful in the wake of defeating a Beholder, Percy accidentally sets off a trap that kills Vex, but the party, joined by some guest adventurers, springs into action to bring her back. It’s really more about Laura Bailey’s reactions as well as the other players. The second she realizes what negative hit points means there’s this gutted look on her face as the others search for spells to resurrect Vex. Everyone’s practically in tears until Mercer informs them that she’s alive again.

 

Character Moments

 

It would either be awfully dull or too stressful to watch a group in a constant state of combat. Luckily, the players are actors and they act the shit out of these characters. While some episodes are combat heavy, there are others where the most action that happens is the group goes shopping and some epic haggling ensues. The breathers are needed, though. It gives the party time to rest and recuperate and it gives us, the audience, a few moments alone (so to speak) with the characters, all of whom have their own little story arcs, wants and desires, that tend to overlap with the main story. There are too many character moments to name, and all of them have landed some fantastic one-liners or shared some tears, so here are a few favorites:tumblr_nl9tzk10pe1r201t0o2_1280

  • Vex and Vax – pretty much every episode has a nice moment or two between the twins, Episode 40 has a brutally emotional scene as Vax pleads with Vex not to stray too far from his side in the wake of a dragon attack, but one of my favorites involves some boots, ghostly servants, water and flour, and some brother/sister heckling (Episode 56, “Hope”).
  • Grog and Pike – after Grog purchases a new, badass hat, Pike decides to try it on and takes it for a run (Episode 57, “Duskmeadow”).
  • Keyleth – I’m pretty partial to the druid princess’s awkward high fives after some kind of emotional admission (Episode 44, “The Sunken Tomb,” and Episode 65, “The Streets of Ank’Harel”)
  • Scanlan – any time Scanlan sings to inspire. Anytime (All episodes) Also…Spice? You spice? (Episode 65)
  • Percy – there are a lot of very sweet moments where Percy waxes poetic or wallows a bit, but it’s really when he’s acting like a spoiled rich kid that he shines. His attempt to get Scanlan’s daughter out of prison is a particular favorite (Episode 39, “Omens”)
  • Group Effort – that time opening a wooden door was a nearly impossible task (Episode 29, “Whispers”)

 

Matthew Mercer is Amazing!

 

This can’t be effectively described in words. You have to see and experience just how great of a DM Mercer is. Just know that his character work, as well as his world-building, is phenomenal.

Charity

 

The cast and crew of Critical Role have been supporters of the charity 826LA since the beginning, encouraging fans to donate during the broadcast on Geek & Sundry and thanking those who do on air. However, due to the overwhelming generosity and creativity of their fans that made for some sweet Critmas day unwrapping, the players each chose a charity for fans to support in lieu of the money going to smaller items like dice bags or gigantic bear statues that take up space and are hard to store.

D&D For The Good of All

fi-cr_cast

We’ve definitely come a long way from the days of Mazes and Monsters, but there are still certain stigmas associated with gaming and gamers that keep people who might find RPGs to be a pleasant experience. Currently, we’re in a bit of a cultural upswing in regards to D&D-style role-playing. I don’t know what, if any, influence Critical Role has had where the bigger picture is concerned, but it’s certainly at the forefront of the pro-gaming change to the status quo. Not only do we have Critical Role, but Matt Mercer and Ashley Johnson are part of the Force Grey filmed RPG show for Nerdist. There’s also Dan Harmon’s Harmon Quest on Seeso that mixes live role-playing with animation and one of the best shows on Netflix, Stranger Things, features the main characters playing D&D as bookends to the series. Small steps, yes, but important nonetheless.

So those are the reasons why I’m currently obsessed with Critical Role. Maybe this encouraged you to check it out or maybe you’re already a fan. Either way, what are your thoughts on the show? What are your favorite moments? Characters? I’m eager to know.

Oh, and…Is it Thursday yet?

REEDPOP AND EMERALD CITY COMICON JOIN FORCES TO PRODUCE THE ‘PREMIER COMIC BOOK AND POP CULTURE CONVENTION IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST’

Emerald City Comicon Joins the ReedPOP Family as ReedPOP Continues Rapid Growth as #1 Producer of Comic Conventions Across the GlobeReedECCC-630x420

NORWALK, CT — January 13, 2015 – ReedPOP, the world’s largest producer of pop culture events, is adding another show to its portfolio with the Emerald City Comicon (ECCC). Today, the company announces that the ‘premiere comic book and pop culture convention in the Pacific Northwest’ has joined its family of leading experiential fan events. The partnership will take effect for the eagerly anticipated 2015 event taking place March 27-29 in downtown Seattle, Washington.

ECCC, known for being a fan-oriented and comics-focused show, was founded in 2003 by local comics retailer Jim Demonakos and opened to 2,500 fans its first year. Since then, attendance has grown steadily reaching a record 70,000 in 2014 and an expected 80,000 in 2015, with 3-Day already sold out! With new comic and celebrity guests each year, ECCC stands out in the industry as providing a unique experience with heart for fans of all ages. Additionally, ECCC has created a charity art book each year since 2009 – Monsters & Dames – that has raised over $75,000 for Seattle Children’s Hospital.

GOTW_Jim1Demonakos had this to say about the partnership, “We are huge fans of what ReedPOP is doing across the globe in this pop culture space and the ECCC team is excited to have them help us elevate the fan experience at our event. We are also very much looking forward to bringing the ECCC brand of fan-focused events to help ReedPOP amplify their conventions even further.”

Since ReedPOP’s first event in 2006, the sold-out New York Comic Con, the group has sought to produce exceptional experiences for passionate audiences and grow the industries surrounding these passions, and this philosophy has led to burgeoning attendance, the support of major creators and publishers and partnerships with leading entertainment brands including Lucasfilm (Star Wars Celebration), UFC (UFC Fan Expo) and Penny Arcade (PAX).

In recent years, ReedPOP has turned its attention internationally, recognizing pop culture audiences emerging throughout the world, where it has produced once-in-a-lifetime experiences for these new fans and connected exhibitors to these hungry, unexplored markets. ReedPOP’s previous global events have been set in London, Germany and Singapore, and the company planted its biggest global flag to date last year in Australia, creating an Australian team to launch PAX Australia and partner with the Oz Comic-Con series of events. ReedPOP’s efforts in India were recently announced through a partnership with Comic Con India — with events in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. The company also added Paris Comic Con into its fold as announced at New York Comic Con.

“The addition of ECCC to the ReedPOP family is a huge win and we couldn’t be more excited to see how we can make each other better,” said Lance Fensterman, ReedPOP’s Global Senior Vice President. “The ECCC team is tremendous and have put together an amazing show. I know there are things we can introduce to the mix and look even more forward to what the ECCC team can bring to all our events around the globe.”monsters and dames.jpg-large

For more information on this year’s Emerald City Comicon please visit www.emeraldcitycomicon.com.

About ReedPOP:
ReedPOP is a boutique group within Reed Exhibitions exclusively devoted to organising events, launching and acquiring new shows, and partnering with premium brands in the pop culture world. ReedPOP is dedicated to celebrations of popular culture throughout the globe that transcend ordinary events by providing unique access and dynamic personal experiences. The ReedPOP portfolio includes: New York Comic Con (NYCC), Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2), Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) Prime, East, South and Australia, Oz Comic-Con, Comic Con India, Paris Comic Con, Star Wars Celebration and UFC Fan Expo. The staff at ReedPOP is a fan-based group of professionals uniquely qualified to serve those with whom they share a common passion. ReedPOP is focused on bringing its expertise and knowledge to world communities in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, India and Australia. (www.reedpop.com)

ABOUT ECCC
Built on a fan-first mentality, Emerald City Comicon (ECCC) has established itself as one of North America’s largest and most respected shows of its kind. Since 2003, ECCC has continued to cement its reputation in both national and international circles in the industry as the show to be at to kick off the convention season.