davemerrill: (Default)
2017-07-19 04:15 pm

the world of ed wood

So yeah Neil came to down and we did the all-night Ed Woodstockathon at the Carlton. Shain came along which was nice. The Carlton STILL had AC issues, in that there was none. That's a deal killer for me; I had fun and enjoyed the films but dammit, I was uncomfortable, and I shouldn't be uncomfortable when trying to watch bad movies. I won't be back unless they can guarantee my air conditioned comfort, dammit.

Crowd wasn't as heavy as it was for the Godzilla movies, but there were more women. The weird part is how well the films work as films on the big screen in a theater setting. They actually do. Even Bride Of The Monster holds up tolerably well. We left at 4:30 after Glen Or Glenda - Night Of The Ghouls is probably his most competently filmed movie, but it's also not as wacky.

Earlier in the day we did some shopping and went out into the sticks and walked through York Regional Forest and got some fresh air, and we met Donald & David at Fran's before the film. Sunday we got up tolerably early (before noon) and went back out into the hinterlands for more junking and chili dogs at the Oasis in Caledonia. We went through some pretty heavy rain on the way out and some lightning on the way back, which was interrupted by Hwy 6 getting closed and us taking a weird detour that swung us all the way down to Stoney Creek. Neil's probably pretty sick of Southern Ontario by now.

This week it's been getting ready for the beach trip, nailing down routes and collecting music and thinking about doing some surf fishing. We've been doing some long drives but I'm still looking forward to the drive down. I need a vacation, that's for sure.
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2017-07-18 12:25 pm
Entry tags:

this week in con fail

So a little while ago on Twitter a Twitter pal in Buffalo mentioned a Niagara Falls convention called "Fan World" and how they were being really vague about whether or not their big Japanese guest was going to show up. They're a "con in a box" type show: a guest list with five musical acts, four voice actors, and five "professional cosplayers" and not much else. They don't have any roots in local fandom and their website was designed by the same guy who designed the website for the Midwest Media Expo, which was a Detroit "fan con" that was cancelled days before it was supposed to take place.


In fact, both the Midwest Media Expo and Fan World Niagara had the same guest, used the same guest bio and the same photo of the guest - Akira Yamaoka - the same guest that Fan World Niagara was now being so vague about.

Turns out that Fan World Niagara just announced that Yamaoka cancelled. Which isn't a surprise, when shows say anything about a guest that may in any way indicate that guest might not show, you can count on that guest not showing.

The con also had an ambitious cross-border event plan, with most events happening on the US side and a few on the Canadian side; the Canadian side events have all been cancelled.

It looks to me like this is Midwest Media Expo all over again - a new show rides a little wave of interest and publicity, but is unable to maintain momentum and withers away after a few years. Who knows if Fan World will make it past two?

I've done a lot of "how to start conventions" panels in the past, and we always holler START SMALL at the top of our lungs, but people don't want to listen. I don't do those panels any more, because people don't listen. They have to find out for themselves that conventions have to grow organically, from the community, that you have to build relationships with staff and facilities and fans (your customers) over time, and that the good will you start with by running a fan event will vanish overnight if you abuse it.
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2017-07-12 04:29 pm

fixing the let's anime

Got up Saturday morning to find that image hosting site Photobucket had decided that they were no longer going to allow third-party linking to photos posted on Photobucket. This means that all the images I had put up at the Let's Anime blog that were hosted at Photobucket were no longer there - and THAT meant that I was going to spend the next four days editing pretty much the first five years of Let's Anime posts, taking out the links to Photobucket images, and replacing those images with images hosted through Blogger. So that's what I've been up to. I still have a banner ad that needs fixing, but most everything else is where it needs to be, I think.

As God as my witness, I do NOT know what else you'd use Photobucket for, if not to post images for use on sites that don't have their own image hosting available. I will be wiping my Photobucket account clean and deleting it forthwith and will never use the service again.

Also Saturday: got the oil changed in the car and the fan belt replaced so that it doesn't squeak so loudly that it frightens children and small animals. Got a haircut. Did some walking. Sunday and Monday and Tuesday was more Let's Anime maintenance (and work). Fixing broken links, updating the more obviously out-dated news items, finding better images, that kinda thing.

Neil is coming to town this weekend for the all-night movie marathon and hopefully the Carlton's AC is better suited for the task than it was last year. I made it until about 4:30am last year before the swampy claustrophobia set in and I simply had to leave. This year's marathon is a bunch of Ed Wood movies, which at least are a little snappier than "War Of The Gargantuas", which is the one that broke me last time. Still, I don't make any promises that I'll be there all night long.

Next weekend we head South for a beach vacation. Looking forward to some time off. Then it's back home and time to get ready for AWA!
davemerrill: (Default)
2017-07-07 08:22 am

fear and loathing in duckburg

disturbing horrors lurk beneath the placid surface of Duckburg in this week's Stupid Comics


davemerrill: (Default)
2017-07-05 04:11 pm
Entry tags:

PR emails

As a noted anime blogger (?) I occasionally get emails from PR firms that have been hired by various fan-related events or products, trying to get me to interview somebody to promote their thing. Usually these just go straight into the trash, but every once in awhile I get one that piques my interest, like this latest series of emails (name of convention has been redacted).

The subject line is "Disney World for nerds of all ages", which is a big WTF. There already is a Disney World for nerds of all ages, it's called "Disney World".

The basic gist of the first email was "Gamers, cosplayers and anime nerds don’t need to cross the ocean to access authentic Japanese anime, video gaming and manga because CONVENTION is bringing Tokyo to CITY." In other words, it's just one more anime con. This one is special, kind of, because their guest list is heavier than usual with American entertainers... nerd musicians, YouTube "celebrities", and 80s-era standup acts that have theaters in Branson. There are also actual Japanese animation industry guests, but the convention's website does not promote these actual anime guests over the nerd-rapper guests and the cosplayer guests and the video blogger guests. I mean, there are fourteen (14!) different musical acts performing at this "anime convention."

A second email sent a few days later tries a different tack: "A three-day, $60 pass will open 100+ doors for your readers with a convention that is finally all-inclusive. At CONVENTION, they don’t need to pay extra for autographs, events or exhibitions. For a potential blog post, I can connect you with a member of the CONVENTION team to discuss the event, the growth of the cosplay culture and how this shift in conventions from ala-carte to all-inclusive is improving the fan experience."

In other words, this convention is trying to claim "not charging extra for events" is some sort of exciting new policy. Sorry guys, we've been doing it like this all along. Not charging extra for autographs is nice, but all that means is that the convention negotiated a rate with the talent beforehand. The talent is getting paid regardless.

A third email, sent a week later, is a lot shorter and to the point: "This weekend is THE weekend... for CONVENTION! Would you be willing and able to share the news with your anime fans who happen to live in the Midwest and may want to check out the all-inclusive convention this weekend?"

Yes. PR emails are going out the week before and THE WEEK OF their convention. Who exactly are they targeting here? Are there fans who make their anime convention plans a week in advance? Who just says, "hey, I read about this anime con that's happening next weekend, let's take time off work and make travel and hotel plans for this thing?" I don't know anyone that casual. Maybe they're out there. Most anime fans I know have their convention plans nailed down months before the show.

My conclusion is that CONVENTION might want to go with a different PR team next year, one that starts sending out PR emails earlier and that has a better grasp on anime convention culture, and that might actually look at the blogs they're sending this spam to, because my blog is about thirty year old cartoons, not cosplayers or YouTube stars or Yakov Smirnoff.
davemerrill: (Default)
2017-06-30 09:18 am

robot staring contest

enjoy a comic filled with repeated images of a blank-faced robot staring at you with his black, dead eyes. Maybe “enjoy” isn’t the right word, Anyway it’s all happening at Stupid Comics!

davemerrill: (Default)
2017-06-29 04:33 pm
Entry tags:


we were at a fan event in a restaurant last Sunday and it was kinda crowded. Shain and I were at a table that had two other spots, and someone from our group was urged to sit down at our table by both the waiter and Shain and I. He didn't want to sit there, though, he wanted to sit against the wall at another table on account of his backpack, which was filled to bursting with... something.

Now, I can remember fans bringing backpacks to anime club meetings in the 1990s, and they'd be gigantic overstuffed backpacks full of giant 1990s era video game systems and cartridges and VHS tapes and issues of Animerica and CDS and manga and whatever he (it was always a he) was bringing to the club meeting to share. A lot of the fans were college students used to filling their backpacks with whatever they were likely to need for the next twelve hours, if I had to venture a guess. I suppose it gets to be a habit, I'm leaving the house, gotta take the backpack. I still see a lot of people at AN staff meetings with the backpacks. Me, I show up at the AN meeting with a pocket notebook and a pen and my phone, and that means I'm good to go.

This event Sunday was not a club meeting. It wasn't any sort of fan organization business meeting at all, strictly a social eat-food-and-socialize kinda thing, and days later I am still haunted by the question... What on Earth was in that backpack? I mean in this day and age you can fit the entirety of 1990s video game history, anime, and manga in the palm of your hand, so it's not that. What was it? A change of clothes? A year's worth of library books? Nice ripe grapefruit? What was so vital to life and comfort that it needed to be hauled into a crowded restaurant and sequestered in its own chair against the wall where it was safely out of everyone's way?

I still see this a lot, particularly at conventions, comic shows, and the like; worlds apparently bereft of hipster messenger bags, worlds where ever carrying implement has to jut out a full twelve inches into space, becoming a giant blunt object smashing into whatever is unlucky enough to be behind Nerdlinger Backpack Man. Because that's what backpacks do, they sit on backs and they get in everybody else's way, especially in crowds.

I am kicking myself because I didn't ask the guy what was in his backpack. "Man, seriously, I gotta ask, that backpack is jam full of stuff, what the hell is in there?" Maybe I'm being too nosy. But you don't manhandle that thing into a crowded room full of diners, not without a good reason.
davemerrill: (Default)
2017-06-26 08:41 pm

the osamu tezuka story at let's anime

There's a new Let's Anime all about the gigantic life story of a gigantic talent, The Osamu Tezuka Story!

It's happening now at Let's Anime! http://letsanime.blogspot.ca/2017/06/the-osamu-tezuka-story.html
davemerrill: (Default)
2017-06-23 08:29 am

war, huh

War is sexy, racist, sexist, slightly kinky hell over at this week's Stupid Comics!


BY THE WAY; you may remember me discussing the DMCA takedown notices the Let's Anime blog had been receiving from "Remove Your Media LLC" on behalf of Funimation, Sentai, and other anime localizers. The latest round came on behalf of Nozomi Entertainment. Well, I mentioned it on the Twitter and Nozomi got back to me pretty quickly, asked some questions about the blog posts, and then they got in touch with Remove Your Media and Google and suddenly my posts were OK again.

So that's a victory for common sense, I guess, as well as a gold star for Nozomi, who does a great job on their DVD releases and does a great job sticking up for the fans.
davemerrill: (Default)
2017-06-20 04:02 pm

means abnormal

I found this poster for the 1966 release of "Hentai" at the "Temple Of Schlock" blog, which is this aptly named deep-dive into super obscure exploitation films that were released under two or three names in fourwalled theaters in small towns and regional cities across America.


I posted it on Twitter and it's gotten a lot of traction and some amusing @s from people who either want to argue with its translation of "hentai" or aren't sure why it's funny. If you don't think kitschy old movie posters that have to work hard to explain themselves are funny, then I don't know what to tell you.

The yard sale went well. We beat the rain, sold a bunch of stuff, I got a new bicycle seat and a plastic Doraemon bank and a new yoga mat. I don't think there was as much foot traffic as last year, but we seemed to make about as much money, so go fig. Sunday we went out to the woods and did some walking, some catching up with the new Twin Peaks, which I'm enjoying a lot.

The old anime hell domain name went bye bye, so I bought a new one that is a work in progress at the moment.


It's 2017 and this is the first domain name I ever bought and the first website that I've built myself. (Shain does all the work on Mister Kitty). There's a learning curve, but that's what life's about, learning new skills.

This week it's hot and rainy and cool again and rainy and hot again. This weekend is the Anime North post-con banquet, which means free Chinese buffet, and maybe a comic book show. We kind of need to save money for next month's vacation, though, so we might not go to that. I'm working on a review of the "Osamu Tezuka Story" that Schodt translated for Let's Anime. Need to get back to drawing comics too. And I gotta put that new seat on my bike. Always something to do.
davemerrill: (Default)
2017-06-14 09:02 am

Liberate Your Locker

This Saturday here in Liberty Village it's time once again for us to get a sunburn and sell some stuff at the Liberate Your Locker sale, where condo dwellers and urbanites clean out their closets of purchases they regret!

 photo liberate 2017_zpsxd6cc1yb.jpg

We're gonna be there with a bunch of stuff to sell including comic books, books, games, toys, records, and even an Ibico plastic-comb binding machine that may be of interest to Toronto zinesters.

 photo ibico_zpsqhhmaujy.jpg

See you Saturday! Bring money!
davemerrill: (Default)
2017-06-09 08:13 am

friday morning

so last weekend was a yard sale - picked up some beach books and a milk crate. This weekend is a big Danforth yard sale. Next weekend is the Liberty Village yard sale where we'll have a table and we'll be selling some of our unwanted stuff and getting a sunburn.

The new Stupid Comics this week is an exciting tale of fun with firearms, looting Southeast Asia, and misidentified idol action!

 photo dgm5_zpszjpm1ivh.jpg

it's all happening at Stupid Comics! http://misterkitty.org/extras/stupidcovers/stupidcomics534.html

What are we doing this weekend? Maybe some bike riding, maybe some drive-in movies, maybe Donald & David are coming over Sunday so's we can watch some Yamato 2199 - sorry, Yamato 2202. We may not make that Danforth yard sale. I got enough junk already.
davemerrill: (Default)
2017-06-03 09:52 am

June already?!

Yes! Gonna go to the Cowanation yard sale today. Weather's nice and I don't have a lot on my plate this weekend, finally. Time to relax a little.

Jesse Betteridge and I did an episode of the Zannen Canada podcast about Captain Harlock/Albator, how it aired in Quebec before it did in France and how the last 3 episodes didn't get dubbed until the year 2000, all this stuff about Albator that I didn't know.


The new Stupid Comics is up and it stars a bad fake-anime comic from the early 1990s drawn by one of the many Americans who drew Robotech comics, all about women with giant breasts and the men they capture, deep in the Amazon Jungle.


I went back in and fixed a 2009 Let's Anime about the film Noel's Fantastic Trip, a bewildering whimsy of a film made by Japanese folksinger Iruka, starring Iruka's alter ego Noel and her journey to give the Sun ice cream, meeting the Beatles, convincing a planet to go nudist, and calling on a flying whale to defeat pollution. Also the Space Battleship Yamato makes a cameo.


and that's been my week! Now for more coffee.
davemerrill: (Default)
2017-05-29 05:56 pm
Entry tags:

another anime north in the history books!

Well! That one's over with. Got an article in the NOW about Anime Hell, no technical hitches, panels went as planned, everybody seemed to have a good time. We ate lots of food at a Mongolian hot pot place on Sunday night and are still stuffed. Found some interesting and reasonably priced stuff in the dealers room. Got to spend quality time with Neil and Mike. We had the usual fumfoolery getting badged up but I think I know the problem and will put a solution into effect.

Thursday it rained like crazy and it was ugly out there. Friday wasn't as bad. Saturday was nicer, and Sunday was downright pleasant.

Anime North found itself in the center of some political adventures over the weekend. Allow me to explain.

Since Stephen Harper stepped down the Conservative Party has needed to elect a new leader, and to do this they have a conference, and they had their conference in the North building of the Toronto Conference Center. Which is where Anime Hell and Anime North's Costume Contest was last year - AN has always had the South building but had recently expanded into the North building. This year we had to contract back a little.

Anyway, the Conservatives failed to let the attending party voters know which building they'd be in. So lots of Conservative voters were showing up to a parking lot full of cosplayers, ravers, photographers, and anime nerds, confused about what was going on and where they needed to be.

The voting polls closed at 4, leaving a lot of frustrated Conservatives unable to cast their ballots, but they didn't take it out on the anime fans, who instead got a lot of confused looks and some honest questions. And yes, there were a few anime fans who were Party members and who cast their votes (some in cosplay) for the least objectionable Tory candidate.


I think my panels went OK; the Hot Tub panel went much better this time than it did at AWA, the Desert Island panel was interesting and fun, and the Chargeman Ken panel was a blast. Stupid Comics wasn't as well attended this year and I don't know if it was the time slot or if the crowd is getting tired of it. Maybe both. Incomplete Cartoon Education went well and I think we're going to bring that back next year and show more things these kids didn't grow up with. Anime Hell went great- the tech was flawless, the crowd was into it and stuck around until 12:45, and even though I spilled Diet Coke onto the laptop during the show, it didn't miss a beat. That's a win for the new age, I guess.

Now we're really tired. We actually left the con on Saturday to come home and feed the cat, and we wound up napping for an hour. We got home this afternoon and took another nap. The older I get, the more these things wipe me out. I don't know how people do convention after convention and keep their energy levels up. Red Bull and disco naps, I guess.
davemerrill: (Default)
2017-05-25 11:58 pm

the ups and downs

So it's been a day of highs and lows, the lows being a friend in trouble, the highs being Anime Hell getting some local Toronto free weekly paper love as NOW covers My Life In Anime Hell, a story all about ME and my Anime Hell!


This time tomorrow night Anime Hell will be over, but birdcages and puppy training pads across town will still be extolling the virtues of confusing Japanese audio-visual entertainment for weeks to come. An accomplishment, I suppose.
davemerrill: (Default)
2017-05-25 10:02 am

current events make me tense

If you're keeping up with Steve Harrison, you might have seen his LJ post this morning.
Before you get all freaked out, I have been informed that he's OK and has been transported to care.


Now I feel lousy, because I was this close to making a 911 welfare check call on him last night, and I didn't do it, and I wish I had.

Repeat: in spite of what this LJ link says, he is still with us, thank goodness.
davemerrill: (Default)
2017-05-19 08:32 am

updated 2017 events

May 22- Anime North Staff Meeting

May 26-28 - Anime North http://www.animenorth.com/live/
Going to be doing Anime Hell and some panels at this one!

June 4 - Ancaster Collectibles Extravanganza http://www.collectorshows.ca/Shows/TOY_2017-06-04.php

June 10 - giant Danforth yard sale http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/city-s-largest-yard-sale-will-take-over-much-of-the-danforth-next-month-1.4118713

June 17 - Liberate Your Locker yard sale in Liberty Village, which I have already signed up for!

June 25 - Toronto Comic Book Show http://www.torontocomicbookshow.com/

June 25 - Ancaster Nostalgia Show http://www.collectorshows.ca/Shows/NOS_2017-06-25.php

July 28-30 - Con Bravo - but this is also the weekend we're meeting my family for a vacation somewhere down South, so we will miss Con Bravo again. Sorry fellas.

August 6 - Toronto Comic Book Show http://www.torontocomicbookshow.com/

August 20- Zine Dream 10 is happening August 20, 2017 at the Polish Combatants’ Hall in Toronto. http://zinedream.com/

Sept. 24 - Toronto Comic Book Show http://www.torontocomicbookshow.com/

Sept 28 - Oct 1 AWA http://awa-con.com/
Gonna be doing Anime Hell and panels at this one too, obvs

Nov. 26 - Toronto Comic Book Show http://www.torontocomicbookshow.com/
davemerrill: (Default)
2017-05-18 05:12 pm

thursday slackin goff

I was supposed to do Stupid Comics last night - I generally do the scanning on Wednesday night and the actual writing of the text pieces on Thursday morning - but I got distracted and didn't get started and that thing just isn't happening this week, sorry. Not happening next week either because of Anime North.

That's what I've been spending my free time on, the Anime North. I'm doing Anime Hell and Hot Tub Anime Club Time Machine and Desert Island Anime with Neil and Stupid Comics with Shain. Neil is doing Totally Lame Anime and Mike Toole is coming and doing Bootleg Korean Anime and Dubs Time Forgot. We'll probably meet Steph. L for dinner Sunday and maybe hit Tilt at some point during the weekend and play pinball.

Speaking of pinball I got interviewed on Tuesday for a potential Now or Vice piece about Anime Hell. Dunno if it'll come out or where it'll appear if it does. The author went to what I think is the first Anime Hell I did up here back in '05 and is working on a history of pinball that sounds like a good read when it comes out.

This weekend is the final staff meeting and hopefully we can get out of the city for five minutes and enjoy some nature. Right now it's really warm outside, finally. Gonna cool off for the weekend but it should be OK for Monday which is a holiday here.

I put in for our vacation, the last week of July which means we miss Con Bravo again, but that's how the family vacation thing happens, my family is more important than some convention. Let my 19 year old self hear that and watch his head explode. We're gonna drive South until we hit whatever beach has been decided upon; it might be south Georgia or it might be Myrtle Beach SC. Either way there's sunburn in our future.

Watched "Guardians Of The Galaxy" and was underwhelmed. Watched "Logan" which I enjoyed more, probably the most out of any of the X-men movies. They can put that whole thing to bed now, I think.

Looking forward to getting the anime con out of the way so I can get back to drawing comics.
davemerrill: (Default)
2017-05-12 10:32 am
Entry tags:

end of civilization

This week's Stupid Comics is kind of a worst case scenario for our progress as thinking animals here on planet Earth.

Tell your grandchildren that you were there the minute it all started to fall apart, this week at Mister Kitty's Stupid Comics!

davemerrill: (Default)
2017-05-11 11:32 am

thursday musings

can't decide if my ambivalence towards TCAF is due to the show not having anyone I'm particularly interested in seeing, the show being super crowdy, the show having some kind of Image Comics celebration (??), or the show being filled with great cartoonists who are producing great work and me being envious of having the time and the focus to produce great cartooning. Because I don't and I don't, and rather than me wander around and get grumpy about the whole thing, I will keep my dentist appointment on Saturday. Anyway, I still have Anime North stuff to do.

Yesterday: got a haircut. Went to the ophthalmologist. Last weekend it turned out it didn't rain as much as had been predicted, so Saturday we had lunch with Steph and saw her studio space, Sunday we went out and did some walking and got some nature.

In your stupid fandom news department... well, there's a concise explanation here: https://twitter.com/thedreamcreek/status/862492511205380097 but the gist is, AX artist-alley artist says dumb stuff on social media, AX volunteer says dumb stuff about artist that way oversteps volunteer's position at AX, artist is not coming to AX, volunteer is no longer volunteer.

And that's where it intersects with my experience, which is that when you have volunteer staff at fandom conventions you occasionally get volunteers who fail to grasp their position on the Table Of Organization and who fail to understand exactly how much power they have in the organization.

My experience is watching staffers unilaterally appoint themselves guest coordinators, staffers invite people as guests without checking with anyone else connected with the convention, staffers make policy decisions way above their pay grade. Staffers who composed, printed and distributed their own convention flyers and who gave us big, blank looks when we told them that they couldn't do that (actually that staffer now takes public-domain comics he downloads from the internet and sells them in compilations, so there may be an ongoing failure on his part to grasp the subtleties of where his grasping hands end and the rest of the world begins).

I don't know if I've mentioned this recently but I'm super glad I no longer am responsible for dealing with this level of convention staffer. My stress level is a lotttttttt lower.

Stupid Comics up soon today! Stay tuned! It's terrible!