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Photo by Luigi Novi

Anthony Michael Hall wasn’t just nerdy before it was cool, he helped make nerdy cool. From Rusty in “National Lampoon’s Vacation” to Farmer Ted in “Sixteen Candles,” Brian the brain in “The Breakfast Club” and Gary in “Weird Science,” Hall gave audiences a nerdy outcast to love. And for more than a few of us in the ’80s, he gave us a nerd we could relate to perhaps more than we were willing to admit.

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Photo by Luigi Novi

Photo by Luigi Novi

Ray Park is ready for another fight, and more weapons, please. That’s the message the Scottish actor and martial artist -- best known for his roles as Toad in Bryan Singer’s “X-Men,” Darth Maul in “Star Wars: Episode I” and Snake Eyes in the live-action “G.I. Joe” movies -- delivered at Wizard World NYC this past weekend.

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Photo by Luigi Novi

When talking to Stan Lee, I’m always left feeling like a minor league rookie on the pitcher’s mound facing off with the marquee player. After being in the business for about 74 years, and on the comic book convention circuit longer than my lifespan, the 90-year-old has answered every variation of a question – probably hundreds of times over.

I have been fortunate enough to talk to the beloved writer, creator and living legend – a label I apply without an ounce of hyperbole –multiple times in the past few years. But I still feel like a rookie when it comes to interviewing “The Man.” And one thing I’ve learned as a writer is that there is no talking to Stan Lee; there is only listening. Even when I think I’ve got a fresh question to pitch to the mustachioed one, I may not get the answer I wanted, but nonetheless feel an enormous sense of pride when he hits it with a clever response he chose.

So it went at Wizard World Comic Con NYC Experience this past weekend. Held at Manhattan’s Basketball City, Lee had a packed schedule of a meet-and-greet, autographs, photo ops and a panel. I have never seen him not have one of the biggest lines at any con he’s attended, and this was no different. Not surprisingly, our scheduled interview had to be postponed.

Still, Lee brought me behind his autograph table to chat with him between signing comics and memorabilia, and meeting fans. The activity was enough to wear me out, but Smilin' Stan Lee seemed as fresh as ever: Read More...

darth

Photos ©2013 Marnie Ann Joyce

Though Denver Comic Con occupied much of the news cycle this past weekend, it was not the only major comic event going on – Wizard World's Philadelphia Comic Con was also a huge deal, drawing a number of creators, editors, celebrities, and costumed fans to the Pennsylvania Convention Center for a star-studded weekend of geekdom.

My initial impressions were mixed.  One one hand, the show was packed and everyone there seemed to be having a great time; on the other hand, the event seemed to be searching for a clear identity, and suffered a few logistical issues.

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Most of the time, the most famous fan in Philadelphia is a large green fuzzball in a Phillies baseball jersey. Not so during the Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con last weekend where the largest fanatic was literally Lou Ferrigno, a formerly green Hulk, also rocking a Phillies jersey. But the fans who came to see the notable names in nerd culture, and to support innovators and creators in comic arts, might give the Phillie Phanatic a run for his cannon-launched hot dogs in terms of zeal.

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John Barrowman is best known for playing Captain Jack Harkness: immortal leader of Torchwood, former Time Agent and companion to Time Lord Doctor Who. However time was limited for the actor, who was running between autograph signings, a panel, more signings and photo ops at Wizard World’s Philadelphia Comic Con this past weekend. But Barrowman invited me to be his own companion on a run between duties at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, and made the time to chat about Saturday’s news that Matt Smith would depart “Doctor Who” at the end of this year.

Barrowman -- who has further increased his nerd cred with his villainous turn on The CW’s “Arrow” – found out about the news while on a flight to Philadelphia. But the actor joked that he didn’t break down in tears over the news.

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It's Jersey Shore's Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino as you never seen him before! Or, judging by that tanning bed (or is that some sort of gamma ray generator?) on the cover, it might be exactly how you've seen him before. Either way, you're not going to want to miss this upcoming comic book, written by Sorrentino and Eisner-winning comic book writer Paul Jenkins (Wolverine: Origins, Batman, Hulk, Spider-Man). And if you happen to be at Wizard World Chicago Comic Con in August, you'll have your chance to buy the first issue!

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David Vonner is known throughout the toy collecting community for his instrumental work on action figure lines like Hasbro's Marvel Universe. After spending years making sure your shelves are covered by your favorite superheroes, he's now moved on to making sure your backs are covered by pop culture-inspired shirts with his design work for Kasual Friday. During Wizard World Philadephia, Kasual Friday will be on hand, along with a couple of con-exclusive "Corner Man" style shirts based on designs from Rocky III. That's right, now you can put to rest the question of where you stand on the whole "Rocky Balboa vs Clubber Lang" that's been at the forefront of your life for the last 30 years,(Don't deny it!) and what better place than Philadelphia?! Read More...

Two new digital versions of familiar publications about comic books debuted recently: Wizard World Digital and The Comics Journal. Let's take a quick look at each:

Wizard World Digital: This is basically a digital mashup in PDF format of Wizard Magazine and Toyfare that you can read for free on your computer or iPad-like device.

The Awesome: Focusing on a wide variety of different types of comics (Image's Who Is Jake Ellis? is featured on the cover), Wizard World Digital brings together some of the features of the old magazine I liked (I'm a fan of those wacky "Robot Chicken" type action figures with the word-balloons, I admit it) with a more broader focus on comics today (such as the aforementioned "Ellis," Top Shelf, a spotlight on digital comics, and an "In Memoriam" for Dwayne McDuffie) than the former print version. Read More...

By Valerie D'Orazio

Gareb Shamus has been in the news quite a bit lately -- what with his Wizard Magazine and Toyfare ceasing production, his new company Wizard World Inc. going public, and the large influx of cash pouring into his e-newsletter venture GeekChicDaily. We took some time to have a candid chat with Shamus about the future of Wizard in digital, the Wizard World conventions, GeekChicDaily...and even about some of the criticism leveled at him in the comic book media.

MTV Geek: After two decades, how does it feel to no longer have a print edition of Wizard Magazine?

Gareb Shamus: There’s certainly part of me that feels that print is this incredible media – and it’s something I built my life around – but when you look at my life, as being a pioneer in so many different types of media, I’m very excited about the opportunity that not having print enables us to have. So from that perspective, yes, there’s a part of me for which having the magazine in printed form is very exciting - but there’s also a part that recognizes print has a very limiting factor that prevents us from reaching our full potential, and our full audience that exists out there throughout the world.

Geek: What do you feel was Wizard Magazine’s legacy to the world of comic books?

GS: I actually think it’s extraordinary what we have been able to do in the comic book industry, and when you think about how we’ve influenced generations of people and their tastes – what they’ve been interested in and excited about, or what got them into the business and what got them into reading comics – we’ve had a significant impact in the way generations have grown up, and have consumed this content out there. I can tell you that for many many years, up until recently, Wizard sold many more copies than 95 percent of the comic books out there. So from that perspective, Wizard, right up until we ceased publishing, reached more people than 95% of the comics out there. So when you look at that, we’ve had an influence over everything in that regard. Read More...

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