I got an e-mail from Doug around the time Batman v Superman was coming out – a movie I had not seen yet, but one that I had a lot of reservations about when I heard it announced. Warner Bros was so desperate to catch up to where Marvel had gotten over the last several years, they made a mediocre Superman movie (Man of Steel), and then immediately announced the next movie would be the Justice League. Fan reaction to this announcement was…toxic at best…so they went back and said, “Just kidding. It’ll be a Batman and Superman movie. … And also, it’ll have all of the Justice League in it.”
The movie was terrible. Absolute garbage. But I hadn’t seen it at the time I read the script (to avoid spoilers, I tried to just keep to my lines as Lex Luther), but then I walked in while they were filming the scene where they call our Zack Snyder for killing Superman in the second movie. I didn’t really mind the spoiler – I knew the movie was going to suck – and now I knew how much it was going to suck. So much so that even Warner Bros was after a reboot after their second movie. Well done, guys.
Based only on the performance of Jessie Eisenberg from the trailers, I channeled my inner “terrible actor” and threw it into the performance, which Doug loved. I’m not a fan of Jessie Eisenberg nor do I enjoy his movies (Zombieland was pretty cool, though, despite his best efforts). But pretending to be the guy for a night was a lot of fun.
The wig was a huge pain in the butt, though. I haven’t had hair in ages, and the length was just long enough to get in my eyes but too short to tuck behind my ears. It just kept getting in my face and into every shot – but we rolled with it. We made it work. And it was a lot of fun. I only got to interact with Malcolm, which was fun. We were in front of a green screen, but I kept coming up with ways to annoy him with candy.
Eventually they kept adding makeup to me the whole night – which was a pain to wash out. It was just Halloween makeup, though, and they had remover in the studio, so I just kept wiping until it all came off.
What has been your favorite NC review? Who’s your favorite supporting character from the show? And who would you like to see me play next?
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD REVIEW
This was a fun one. But when Doug reached out to me, I was a little nervous. He told me I’d be playing a Warboy, but they were all shirtless in the movie. Was I going to have to run around with no shirt on for his video?
I immediately hit the gym.
But much to my appreciation, he put me in a white shirt and a thick leather jacket. And thick makeup. That kept coming off, but that’s another story.
Doug’s direction was hilarious: keep up the energy and testosterone. Everything we did involved shouting, head butting, and extreme facial expressions. I even head-butted Doug during a take early in the video, where we needed to get nose-to-nose. But both of us wear glasses normally, so without them we had limited depth perception. So we almost gave each other a bloody nose.
We also did a lot of improve in the car, which was fun. The whole searching for the explodey stick and then saying, “I never learned how to read.” I was happy Doug kept that in. It even showed up for a while in his opening credits.
All in all, this was a very fun video to participate in. And I LOVED the movie, so that made it all the more special.
The Matrix Revolutions Review
Doug went through a review month dedicated to The Matrix movies, which was a favorite series of mine (well, the first movie, anyway), but less so for Doug. None-the-less, always on the lookout for a part of for the bald man (and forgetting my inability to memorize dialogue from the Last Airbender review), Doug invited me to be in another of his reviews. This time with a LOT of dialogue, and finally appearing in a scene with Malcolm and Tamara while we were in the room together.
My appearance starts at 22:09 in the video, and it calls back to another favorite movie of mine. I won’t spoil it for you, but if you haven’t seen the movie I’m the reference for, I would recommend changing that. This video would also lead to me doing more dialogue in my appearances with Doug, which is always a fun time.
After appearing in the Dragonbored 5th year movie with Doug Walker, Doug found another role I could help him on: being the tolken bald guy in the Last Airbender review. It was a small role (I show up at 37:40, and only for a few lines), but was still a lot of fun to do. Although, he and I still joke about how terrible I was at memorizing my lines. Which, at only 2-3 lines, it’s a little embarrassing. Because no matter what I did, I couldn’t remember my lines.
It’s a story that, to this day, Doug still teases me about.
A while back, I was approached by Doug Walker (the Nostalgia Critic) to appear in his 5th year movie. He had moved on from the NC, and started doing a series called Demo Reel, and he wanted to take the new skills and techniques he had learned in film making and apply them to a new flick that wouldn’t involve all of the Channel Awesome reviewers. Co-written by his brother, Rob Walker, this movie was about an office employee who obsessed over playing a video game called Dragonbored. However, one day the character he created comes into our world and starts throwing a wrench into his life!
I played the game company CEO, appearing at the very beginning of the film in an interview, as well as in a post-credit scene. It was a lot of fun to do, and we did a lot of improv during that filming session. Doug had a few important talking points for me to hit, but otherwise said I could say basically whatever I wanted to keep the energy high and make people want to play this game. I did just that – and did a lot of swearing – which you can see some of the outtakes in the blooper reel, below!
2016 was not a huge year in comics for me, but it was a huge year for life events. Beth and I bought a house and moved to the suburbs, found out we were pregnant, and then had a beautiful baby girl. I also traveled the world for work, visiting countries like Mexico, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, and China.
If that wasn’t enough, I also did a bunch of awesome stuff for comics:
2016 COMICS (and other) PROJECTS COMPLETED:
– LOS OJOS (Pop! Goes the Icon)
– OMEGA COMICS PRESENTS vol 2 (Pop! Goes the Icon)
– Albert the Alien webcomic updated every Wed and Fri without missing a single update; and also, that Harvey Awards nomination (www.AlbertTheAlien.com)
– Over 16 convention appearances
– Zootopia prequel comic (unpublished)
– 5-7 pitches for publishers (unpublished)
– Like 12 other unpublished projects
– Several Nostalgia Critic videos, including Batman V Superman
– Several Awesome Comics episodes, including hosting the Batman ’66 debate
– Reprising my role as Lex Luther in the Channel Awesome Christmas Snydering production
2017 COMICS GOALS:
– ALBERT THE ALIEN vol 3: HOME LIFE (Kickstarter will launch in February)
– More episodes of the NC and Awesome Comics, I’m sure
– Starting a video series for my Patreons, maybe syndicated on my YouTube page
– 1-2 untitled self-published graphic novels
– 3-5 pitches for publishers, minimum
– 5 convention appearances (and maybe a few panels and single-day library shows)
– I’m cutting back on cons in 2017 because of the baby, but will kick it back up again in 2018
– Maybe start a prose novel…just because
We had a blast at Anime Iowa this year. It’s a fun show in the middle of Iowa, with a killer guest lineup, and one that I continue to enjoy attending. Want to hear all about it (including the adventure I had to endure that almost prevented me from attending?), check out the links below:
– PART 1: Where the weather kept myself, and most of the other guests, at bay. In fact, one guest wasn’t able to make it BECAUSE the weather was so bad.
– PART 2: Where the guests and I got rowdy, had fun, went to the pub, and played Cards Against Humanity.
– PART 3: Despite being tired, I lead a 9am panel and sold for an entire day. How did I make it through? Click here to find out.
– PART 4: The final day of the con is always the most exhausting. But despite all that, Steve Blum bought me dinner and kept me company at the airport. Really nice guy.
My second convention (in a row) in March was in my own backyard of Chicago, C2E2! Typically for this show, I run the Reading with Pictures booth (this year the table was across from the Jelly Belly booth, for free jelly beans all weekend!) and only sell my all-ages books. Additionally, the proceeds from the sales go back to benefit the non-profit – so buying from me at C2E2 you get great content AND support a great charity. Bonus!
Friday morning, my buddy Phil Chan (Digital Pimp Online) and I drove into the city with our stuff in tow, and dropped off at the McCormick Convention Center in downtown Chicago. I stopped into the Airbnb I was going to be staying in, to grab the key, and then headed to the show floor to get my badges and set up the table.
The Reading with Picture booth, hidden behind Neal Adams
Reading with Pictures was set up right by the Marvel booth, behind Neal Adams, and across from the Jelly Belly booth. This was nice, because they kept us full of sugar all weekend – necessary after the late nights and early mornings. Since I arrived earlier than anticipated, I had a chance to walk around a bit and see some familiar faces. I took a stroll through artist alley to see who all was in already, said hi to some buddies, and then went back to the table in anticipation of the flood of attendees piling into the place.
Russell Lissau and Trevor Mueller – brothers in comics
Comic book creators, and good friends. From left to right: Russell Lissau, Ashley Erickson, me, and Gabo
After the doors opened, our volunteers showed up for the day. Helping us promote our latest initiatives (including a charity event we were hosting Saturday night), as well as helping us to sell some books, our volunteers were invaluable to our efforts and successes that weekend. Also, I got to reunite with Garrett, who helped us out last year and has been a big part of RWP’s efforts in the last several years.
Hanging out with Garrett Hill
As the day continued and books kept flying off the table, several friends started to stop by the table. Mark Waid stopped by to say hi, and to check out the Albert the Alien trades (he had yet to see volume 2). I was also visited by several of the cast of the Nostalgia Critic, who are always a blast to hang out with. And also some cosplay friends of mine stopped by to say hi, and to hopefully schedule a hangout for later in the weekend.
Special celebrity guest appearances by Tamara Chambers!
Good cosplay friends showed up, dressed as Captain America and Agent 13
After the floor closed and sales ended, I regrouped with my buddies and tried to figure out our dinner plans. My buddy Phil needed to eat, and we were joined by Channel Awesome stars Doug Walker, Brad Jones and Fard Mohummad as we walked to China Town for a quick bite. We stopped into a little place (that was not crowded, thankfully), and sitting down felt amazing. The food was also delicious, spicy (the way I like it), and plentiful. We ordered family style, and just shared everything together, while chatting about comics, cons, and movies.
Dinner out in China Town with Doug Walker, Brad Jones, Fard Muhammad, and Phil Chan
By the end of dinner, we were all pretty exhausted, but I made a quick stop back at the Hyatt bar to say hi to some friends. Gene Ha was there, sketching, and I got to meet some of his friends. I was also introduced to Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo (who were really just saying hi to Gene Ha, but at least shook my hand). I hung out for a bit with friends Justin Jordan, John Bivens, and several others before it was time to call it a night.
I got up early at the condo I was staying in, took a shower (their bathroom was immaculately clean), and headed down the street to the corner shop, which had breakfast sandwiches. I headed to the show, ate, and set up the table for another day of incredible sales. We had another volunteer coming in on Saturday, too, who was cosplaying as Batgirl – so the kids could take pictures with her.
Reading with Pictures booth, day 2…now with significantly less inventory
Batgirl was volunteering at the Reading with Pictures booth on Saturday!
More cosplay friends came by to say hi, dressed as the 5th Evil Ex and Poison Ivy, respectively
Warrior Princess Peach!
More awesome cosplay from some good friends
Monty Python cosplayers are probably my favorites…that rabbit is just so vicious!
As sales winded down for the day, we broke down the table and headed off to my favorite sushi place in the city, Niu! With a reservation of 20+ people, this restaurant has never had an issue accommodating the lot of us. And we took up 3 rather large tables. I sat with my friends Russell Lissau (Old Wounds), Bryan Glass (Mice Templar), and Robin Dale. We talked about comics, comic movies, and the state and evolution of conventions.
After dinner, we returned to the hotel and I had a quick drink with some friends, and then headed back to the condo for some much needed sleep.
The final morning of the show is always a rough time. You’re tired, but you’re also energized to sell through the last of your stock and see your friends for a final time before returning to the real world. This morning was no different. We had very little stock left on the table to sell through, however we also had no volunteers coming in on Sunday to provide any coverage – so I was at the table for the bulk of the day. I did have to shut down, briefly, in order to attend a panel on Self-Publishing (moderated by my buddy, Jim McClain).
Come buy the last of my comics!
The Secrets of Sustainable Self-Publishing with Jim McClain, Jim McClain, Scott Bachmann, Tom Stillwell, Trevor Mueller, and Kelly Heying
More friends stopped by, in even more amazing costumes!
By the end of the panel, and the weekend, we were beat. I broke down the table, helped Phil pack up his inventory and take it to the cab, and then we hopped into separate cars and took off – he to his flight, and me to my condo so my wife could give me a ride back home.
C2E2 was nothing shy of amazing this year (as it is every year). The staff and volunteers are incredible, the attendees are great, the sales are amazing, and I love hanging out with everyone after the show ends. I can’t wait for next year!
A while back (Anime Milwaukee, in fact) I was a guest at the show with Doug Walker (www.thatguywiththeglasses.com) and he has a series of Artist Alley interviews and videos at the shows he attends. And I happened to be part of that.
Check out the video below!