100 Days of Horror welcomes you to ... SATANFEST 2013

My photo

"Y'all know me, know how I earn a livin'. I'll catch this bird for you, but it ain't gonna be easy. Bad fish! Not like going down to the pond and chasing bluegills and tommycods. This shark, swallow ya whole. Little shakin', little tenderizin', and down you go. And we gotta do it quick, that'll bring back the tourists, that'll put all your businesses on a payin' basis. But it's not gonna be pleasant! I value my neck a lot more than three thousand bucks, chief. I'll find him for three, but I'll catch him, and kill him, for ten. But you've gotta make up your minds. If you want to stay alive, then ante up. If you want to play it cheap, be on welfare the whole winter. I don't want no volunteers, I don't want no mates, there's too many captains on this island. Ten thousand dollars for me by myself. For that you get the head, the tail, the whole damn thing."

Monday, September 9, 2013

"I am a friend and a companion of the night ..."

"Before Watchmen"artist Adam
Hughes.
"The terror you feel is real."

Merry Morbid Monday to you, faithful legion. The Unstoppable Movie Monster terror train continues to barrel down the track, with our October Satanfest rapidly approaching! We are still hard at work compiling our list of movies and getting them on the schedule for a month of devilish delight.

We are also working on getting you our list of area attractions for the Halloween season, and while we may be a day or two off schedule, we are still launching the first story this week. So stay tuned for that update any day now!

But first, let's take a quick step back and discuss weekend's activities - mainly, our attendance at the
Baltimore Comic Convention.
Mike Mignola, of Hellboy fame.

Insanely cool Dr. Strange!
You may not know this about Your Humble Narrator, my loyal readers, but I am a bit of a comic geek. I say a bit, but in reality I own a serious collection (in volume, anyway, if not in quality pieces - but I gots a few of them, too), love comic book movies and even have a Spawn tattoo and figures littering my creepy bachelor pad. Among others.

To quote Gale Boetticher: "Yes, I am a geek."

But as big of a comic geek as I am, I have never been to a big comic convention type event before. Oh, I hit up Free Comic Book Day every year and I have been to a few small conventions that are mostly dealer expos, but this was my first foray into the depths of the Comicon culture. And I knew I was in over my head the moment I signed up.

A UMM Must-Have - Munster's
toys! Need! Want! Need!
Fortunately, we had our best friend and loyal UMM staff member Shannon along for moral support, and to help us navigate the con since she is an old-school Otakon attendee.

Since Otakon has been at the Baltimore Convention Center for the past 20 years, Shannon was very familiar with the layout, and also had a solid plan on how to tackle the event - which, while I was convinced was massive and so crowded that I wanted to hack my way through with a machete, was evidently nothing compared to Otakon.

Ashley J. Simpson with a li'l
Boomstick action. 
"This is nothing compared to Otakon," Shannon said with a dismissive wave of her hand at the paltry crowd of cosplayers and lookers-on milling about on the convention floor. "They had 35,000 at Otakon this year."

Still, while Otakon may eclipse the BCC in terms of sheer scale, that doesn't mean that the few thousand attendees over last weekend's con were no less enthusiastic about their respective obsessions than the average Otakon maniac weeaboo "glomping" people and shouting "KAWAIIIII!" and "SUGOIIII" and other stuff Shannon said that they scream but I forgot.

Phantomex, one of my
favorite Grant Morrison
Mutants from New X-Men.
That said, there were people walking around in costumes of various quality, from duct tape and hand-drawn tee-shirts to "Whoa, how much money/time did you need to invest in THAT?" and all things in between.

There were also more toys and schwag than Ron Jeremy could shake his sizable schween at. So much that my poor little head was spinning in just a short time. And what really sucked is, I had very limited funds to spend there, despite being warned in advance by Joe Murray of Capt. Blue Hen Comics to "set a budget and then double it."

Tom Hiddleston as Loki in pencil, by
artist Cory Smith of Chicago. 
So instead of spending money, I wandered around in a daze, looking for hot chicks in revealing outfits, leaving my camera sitting on a box of Avengers comics at the Apocalypse Comics booth and seeking out my buddy Jeff McComsey of FUBAR fame, who was hunkered down at the tail end of Artists Alley in their heavily armed, fortified and camouflaged bunker/booth.

"We're by the shitter," McComsey joked, jerking a thumb to his right at the nearby Men's Room. "But we're doing really well."

After a quick lunch at Moe's Southwest Grill, and a brief foray back into the dealer's room to snag a Thor pint glass for Shannon, we ventured upstairs in search of more fun and shenanigans, and to find a fabled Starbucks kiosk that was allegedly located at the far end of the building.

A handicapable artist and yes, that
pencil is in his mouth ...
And although we found that fabled Starbucks kiosk, the line of people that snaked its way around the front
of that sucker turned us away quicker than Peter Cushing can turn away ersatz vampires in a Hammer film.

Now exhausted, and suffering from a bout of the "Itis" after Moe's, Shannon and I sat down at a table on the second floor and let the tired seep in as we continued our people watching duties.

"It's starting to fill up more with cosplayers, I think," I said to Shannon, who was, at this point, actively struggling with consciousness. "The contest must be soon."

"Nothing compared to Otakon," she muttered. "This would be filled, packed - we wouldn't have been able
to sit!"
Vintage Star Wars toys for sale. I had
quite a few of these playsets myself. 

"Still," I started. "A lot more people down there --"

"OTAKON!" she grunted and slumped forward onto the table, her war with sleep nearing an end.

I could see she was inconsolable, and I left her to her thoughts. Years of Otakon madness had left her bored and jaded by the mild antics unfolding before us; a glimpse at a six foot tall chubby black man dressed as Wonder Woman failed to get even a second glance from Shannon's weary eye.

Our beautiful - if blurry - companion,
Shannon: "DIS CON AIN'T SHIT."
"That shit doesn't even phase me anymore," she said quietly, her tone that of a Vietnam vet who'd seen one too many buddies walking around with strings of rotting ears dangling from their necks. "That ain't shit compared to Otakon. Nothing."

I didn't - nor could I - argue, having never had the pleasure of attending Otakon. Instead, we laughed as a pair of kids who looked like they would have been more at home at Otakon that they did at the BCC mugged for photos in the same two poses for the better part of an hour.
Yes ... that's a boy ... dressed as Misty
from Pokemon. God save us all. 

We left not long after that, having had our fill of comic-related fun. By the time we got to the car two blocks
away, we were smiling and recounting the day with joy - it was a lovely time in the city, and a fine exploration of the fringes of the rising geek culture that gains more street cred by the day.

In fact, there are plans to return next year - and to perhaps make a foray into the Otakon world, where we would truly be out of our element ...

Without the guiding hand of our tour guide Shannon alongside us, that is ... and that won't happen.