The Qwillery | category: NYCC


The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

NYCC 2015 - Weta Workshop

by Tracey Maknis/Trinitytwo

Being a huge Lord of the Ring's fan, I am always excited to visit Weta Workshop's booth at NYCC and 2015 was no exception. This year was even more thrilling because I was able to spend quality time getting to know a few of their talented, behind-the-scenes people. Take Warren Dion-Smith; Warren is an acclaimed hair and makeup artist, working on such films as The Hobbit trilogy, Man of Steel, King Kong and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. At NYCC, fans of Middle Earth had the opportunity to have Elf or Hobbit ears applied by the artist himself. I really enjoyed my time spent with Warren and the ears even impressed, John Rhys Davies, LOTR's Gimli, with whom I had a photo op later in the day. Fans could also watch Warren perform make-up magic as he transformed ordinary men into dwarves or warriors.

Daniel Falconer was also manning the Weta booth. Multi-talented, Daniel is both a designer and writer at Weta Workshop. He is best known for working on conceptual design for The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Avatar, and The Hobbit trilogy. He has written books such as The Art of District 9, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: Chronicles: Art and Design, Smaug: Unleashing the Dragon and the most recent, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies: Chronicles: The Art of War. When I visited, Daniel was busy signing books, Hobbiton maps (note the personalization in the bottom right hand corner of the map) and interacting with fans.

I was fortunate enough to strike up a conversation with Isaac (Ike) Hamon who works both in the stunt and motion capture departments for Weta. Ike was gracious enough to grant me an interview (see below) and give me a tour of the Weta booth. Although, I begged, he couldn't give me too many details about the Krampus movie that is set to hit U.S. theaters December 4th, but he did tell us a bit about himself, the motion capture process, his most memorable film moments, and spoke about Weta's upcoming projects. Ike is a fantastic emissary for Weta because he is passionate about his work and his enthusiasm is contagious.

Weta's booth was one of my favorite things about NYCC 2015. It was staffed by friendly, knowledgeable and gifted people and I hope to be fortunate enough to visit them again next year.

The Nightmare Collection by Mario Chiodo

Happy Halloween! Trinitytwo/Tracey interviewed master sculptor Mario Chiodo at NYCC 2015 about The Nightmare Collection which features 14 hand-crafted masks and costumes created exclusively for

Not only is NYCC a venue to see great cosplay and attend cool panels, it is a place to discover amazing artists. Mario Chiodo is the creative genius behind the fabulous Nightmare Collection, an eclectic array of monsters and mythical creatures that aren't just for Halloween. This special collection is available at I had the pleasure of interviewing Mario and he gave me some insight into what it takes to design these fantastical creatures.

The Nightmare Collection includes
Click on a title to go to that mask at They are amazing!

Her Universe Launches Her Universe Press; a Publishing Imprint

Her Universe Launches Her Universe Press; a Publishing Imprint

Her Universe Launches Her Universe Press; a Publishing Imprint
Her Universe Launches Her Universe Press; a Publishing Imprint

Her Universe Launches Her Universe Press; a Publishing Imprint
by Trinitytwo, NYCC

Her Universe Launches Her Universe Press; a Publishing Imprint
Ashley Eckstein
Ashley Eckstein, founder of Her Universe, actress, and voice of Ahsoka Tano in Star Wars: The Clone Wars opened her standing room only NYCC panel entitled "Calling All Aspiring Writers! Hear Big News From Her Universe and Get Expert Advice to Become a Published Writer" with a question. "Why is Her Universe, which specializes in apparel and fashion holding a writing panel?" The answer to her question was this exciting announcement: Her Universe is launching a publishing imprint! Eckstein stated that over the years many of her fans would present her with their books and manuscripts at NYCC and other conventions. They wanted to share their stories but couldn't get them published by conventional means. She brainstormed with her friend Russell Binder, President of Striker Entertainment, and he suggested she start her own publishing imprint. He introduced her to Anthony Ziccardi, publisher at Permuted Press which features books with an apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic, or survival horror story bent. Ziccardi is responsible for helping Eckstein get the Her Universe imprint started.

The first book scheduled for release is Weirdest by Heather Nuhfer who is well-known for her comic book work on My Little Pony, Fraggle Rock and Wonder Woman. Nuhfer says her book is about superpowers, but not necessarily helpful ones. Veronica, the thirteen year-old main character, finds out what happens when she can't control her feelings. Her superpower may be that she is "Weirdest". This title will hit bookstores on April 26, 2016 and is available now for preorder on Amazon.

E. Anne Convery and Ashley Eckstein wrote The Confidence Chronicles, a YA steampunk fantasy with a mystery element, which will be released sometime during the summer of 2016. It features tween heroine Adelaide and her automatic owl, Eureka, and takes place in an alternate universe in Gold Rush era California. Convery credits Eckstein as the inspiration for The Confidence Chronicles. The novel's illustrator, Dave Filoni, says what's great about Addie is that she is drawn so that "everybody could be this heroic character."

Panel members E. Anne Convery, Heather Nuhfer, and Melinda Hsu Taylor, gave aspiring authors plenty of expert advice. Convery advised writers not to be nervous about submitting their work. "Do what you love and your passion will shine through." She conceded that sometimes writing can be a struggle, but she encouraged writers to stick with it. Nuhfer's recommendation was direct and to the point: "Finish what you start." Hsu Taylor is the author of the third book from the imprint. She urges writers to "write when you don't feel like it, when you don't have time and to continue writing, even when you think your work is terrible. You will always have time to make it better later."

This imprint was created with first time writers in mind. Her Universe Press is looking for empowering stories that feature positive female protagonists in the sci fi or fantasy genre; think "average girls can do great things". While the main focus is on YA and tweens, they are also open to non-fiction and fiction stories but not comics or graphic novels. Although the press was created with fangirls in mind, Eckstein wants submissions from everyone that has a story to tell. She stressed to the audience that "Her Universe Press is a safe and welcoming space to submit your writings." Eckstein guaranteed that Permuted Press will read each and every submission, and that Her Universe will be looking at them as well. Writers who think their story fits into Her Universe's niche should go to and complete the submission form. It's that easy.

Cosplay is Cool; Especially at NYCC by TrinityTwo

Cosplay is Cool; Especially at NYCC
by TrinityTwo

One of the major reasons I love cosplay is that I look forward to seeing what wild, wacky, and wonderful characters con-goers have created or recreated. I love the way people showcase their creativity and at the same time pay homage to beloved characters, introduce us to new characters, or invent amazing mashups. This is my second year attending NYCC and since I attended all four days, I was able to spend more time interviewing and speaking with cosplayers. My experience to date has been that 99.9% of cosplayers are friendly, good-natured, polite and enthusiastic people. Of course, there is that .1% that just doesn’t seem to get it. NYCC has 0 tolerance for any type of harassment and as a reminder, these signs were placed throughout the convention; Cospplay IS NOT Consent.

From what I could see, everyone seemed well-behaved and it really looked like a fantastic time was being had by all.

There are varying degrees of detail that the cosplayer can choose to immerse themselves in. For example, take this Clark Kent and Lois Lane, simple yes, but also simply stunning!

On the other end of the spectrum was this crazy cool Mojo Jojo who’s inventive costume was spectacular. He totally cracked me up because he nailed the diabolical simian’s voice as he instructed “Bring me the Power Puff Girls!”

I admit to being a complete sucker for cosplayers who portray characters from my favorite fandoms. I have a soft spot for anything Studio Ghibli so this creative Calcifer, Sophie, and Turnip Head from Howl’s Moving Castle really touched me with its beauty and innovation. Kiki from Kiki’s Delivery Service shared a dazzling smile and I also was lucky enough to spot No-Face from the movie Spirited Away.

My newest fandom is Attack on Titan which just completed its first season on Funimation. In the past, I’d see these cosplayers at Comic conventions but I had no idea who or what they were. I researched the costumes, discovered the name of the anime and started watching the series. I can honestly say I became hooked on Attack on Titan because of conventions! Shown here are: Eren Jaeger, a phenomenal Female Titan and soldiers from the Scout Legion.

The gaming world’s Legend of Zelda series was represented in quality fashion as evidenced by these charismatic cosplayers.

I learned that some of the cosplayers go as different characters over the span of their time at Comic Con. This mean Mr. Freeze from Friday came back on Sunday as an interactive Doc Ock.

He stayed totally in character as Mr. Freeze but interestingly enough, later in the day I caught up with him removing his costume and that’s when he really blew me away. It seems that he feels cosplay is important because it helps the environment, or at least the way he does it. He has a knack for collecting items that would end up as land fill and figures a way to incorporate them into his different cosplays. Upcycling to the finest degree! Who would have thought that diabolical Mr. Freeze was so articulate? I was really impressed with this gentleman. He was a fan favorite for both his costumes and his interactions with con-goers and although he portrayed villains at NYCC, he is definitely a hero in my book.

The summer blockbuster, Guardians of the Galaxy was big this year. My favorites were Star Lord, this baby Groot, and of course this ready for action Rocket Raccoon.

Discovering these delightful (and one not so delightful) inhabitants of Middle Earth got me in the mood to shop at Weta Workshop.

I was thrilled to see that they brought Smaug with them. He was glorious to say the least, especially when he woke from his slumber, opened his eyes and the fire began to burn in his throat and chest.

Gollum, fish in hand and Azog the Defiler were also in attendance. The Weta Workshop staff couldn’t be friendlier. While purchasing a leather bracelet and some pins, I asked what the best time of year to visit New Zealand was. A staff member told us the best time of year was March or April and that we had to come to Wellington and visit the Weta Workshop Cave.

My daughter and I spent quite a bit of time there and enjoyed all the delightful sights. Weta Workshop displayed must have items like Gandalf’s hat, weapons, like this black Arrow from Lake Town and even the Two Towers.

Star Wars fans seemed to outnumber Star Trek fans this year, even with Star Trek: The Next Generation cast members in attendance, signing autographs, taking photographs, participating in a panel and being cosmically cool.

Maybe it’s the light sabers, or the fact that filming is underway for Episode VII, but no matter which universe you prefer; at NYCC there were only winners.

It wouldn’t be NYCC without Super Heroes and Villains. From the strongest to the smallest here are some of my favorites.

NYCC is a blast and I even found the time to ham it up with a few fun characters. I posed with a look a-like Adam West from the original Bat Man Television series, Boba Fett, a fan favorite, and the most adorable Padawan learner from the Star Wars universe.

Chris Hardwick from the Nerdist and AMC’s Talking Dead was on hand Friday afternoon to take selfies with fans. Chris was nice enough to stay on the floor for a good chunk of time, taking photo after photo. My excuse for the blurry shot is that this man was so full of energy, he stayed still only long enough to snap a pic, and then he was on to the next fan and their camera phone. I was pretty impressed with his positive and fun loving attitude.

There are so many facets to NYCC and cosplay is only one. I thought that to understand cosplay better, I should cosplay myself so I chose Sunday as it was my lightest work schedule. My daughter and I decided to be Katniss Everdeen and Effie Trinket, respectively from the Hunger Games franchise. I thought I would be the version of Effie as seen from the upcoming Mockingjay Part 1. My daughter was pretty easy to spot as Katniss, but not too many people had seen the drab, gray, District 13 Effie. So I went virtually unrecognized. People still asked for photos and a few even stopped to read my name tags: Effie Trinket on one side, District 13 on the other. Effie was a fun character to get my feet wet as a cosplayer and I received many positive comments, but I definitely plan to go bigger and better next year.

Upon reflection, I am even more impressed with NYCC than last year. It keeps getting better and better. The staff did a great job of keeping attendees safe and happy. My interviews with cosplayers increased my respect for their time and talent in creating these works of art. The cosplay at #NYCC2014 was all about wit, artistry, intelligence, and especially exuberance.

Can’t wait for next year, hope to see you then!

And excerpts from all the interviews:

You'll be able to see TrinityTwo's full interviews at The Qwillery YouTube Channel here.

NYCC: Marc Evan Jackson and the Detroit Creativity Project

To kick off the posting of our many videos from New York Comic Con 2014, we are featuring an interview with Marc Evan Jackson. Marc is an Actor, Improv Comedian, Musician, Voice-Over Actor, and a Co-Founder of the Detroit Creativity Project. This Saturday, Keegan-Michael Key is hosting the 2nd Annual Detroit Party to benefit the Project.

Hosted by Keegan-Michael Key (Key & Peele)

Featuring: Marc Evan Jackson
(DCP co-founder, 22 Jump Street, Brooklyn 99)

Paget Brewster
(Criminal Minds, Huff, Friends)

Kumail Nanjiani
(Silicon Valley, The Meltdown, Portlandia)

Thomas Middleditch
(Silicon Valley, Splinterhead)

Allee Willis
(Grammy Award-winning songwriter for the “Beverly Hills Cop” soundtrack, & nominated for “Friends” theme song “I’ll Be There for You”, Artist, Author, & Director)

Benmont Tench
(Founding member of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers)

And performances by
Sara Watkins
(Watkins Family Hour)

Martin Starr
(Freaks & Geeks, Party Down, Silicon Valley)
with Common Rotation

and more!
Proceeds will provide arts education for Detroit kids.

Tickets may be purchased here. And if you can't attend the Detroit Party,
you may make a donation to the Detroit Creativity Project here.

Marc Evan Jackson
Actor, Improv Comedian, Musician,
Voice-Over Actor, & Co-founder of

Hailing from Amherst, New York, MARC EVAN JACKSON is an enormously interesting person. After graduating with a degree in Philosophy from Calvin College and a couple years sailing aboard schooners in Maine, Marc worked as an on-air host for National Public Radio affiliate stations in Michigan before joining the Second City's resident company in Detroit as Musical Director and Stage Actor before moving to The Second City in Hollywood as Improv Instructor /Director.

Marc voiced the title character in the 2011 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Award-winning “Brick Novax’s Diary” and acted in 2013 Sundance Film Festival Official Selection Film, “Toy’s House” along-side Alison Brie, Nick Offerman, & Megan Mullally. Now titled, “The Kings of Summer”, this film was released in 2013. Marc also appeared in the 2014 audience favorite, “22 Jump Street”.

He also plays “Sparks Nevada, Marshal on Mars” (a sci-fi western set in Mars) in the nationally acclaimed old-time radio show “The Thrilling Adventure Hour” which is a stage production performed monthly at Largo at the Coronet in Hollywood, CA. The Thrilling Adventure Hour is also syndicated in a weekly podcast on iTunes via the Nerdist Network

Film and television credits include: “Parks & Rec”, “Brooklyn Nine Nine”, “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”, Broken Lizard’s “The Slammin’ Salmon,” ”Funny or Die Presents” on HBO, “Psych” on the USA Network, “Last Comic Standing” “Key&Peele,” and “Reno 911!” on Comedy Central, “Happy Endings” and “According to Jim” on ABC, “Scare Tactics” on NBC/Universal’s SyFy Channel, and many others.

Marc Evan Jackson was cast as the lead, Jim Dunnigan, in “Suit Up” produced by Fox Digital Studio in association with DIRECTTV. This digital comedy follows a crisis guru, Dunnigan, as he pilots a college athletic department on the brink. Yahoo! Screen launched this eight-episode digital series in September 2012 and CRACKLE in November 2012. Since January 2013, “Suit Up” has been broadcasted on DIRECTV’s Audience Network. The broadcast series included bonus content, such as behind the scenes features and outtakes.

Marc, an actor, improviser, musician, writer and voice-over talent, lives in Los Angeles with his (current) wife Beth, a cat veterinarian.

Press Release - NYCC: Dark Horse to Publish The Witcher!



Critically Acclaimed RPG Explores New Worlds at Dark Horse!

NEW YORK, NY - Dark Horse Comics proudly announces its next hit video game tie-in series, The Witcher, based on the critically acclaimed games by CD Projekt RED.

From Paul Tobin, the Eisner Award–winning writer of Bandette, with art by Joe Querio (Lobster Johnson, B.P.R.D.) and covers by Dave Johnson (100 Bullets), comes a riveting comic based on The Witcher, a series of dark fantasy RPGs with a character-driven, nonlinear story set in a gritty living world and inspired by a series of extremely popular novels that have been translated into nineteen languages. The comic series introduces a new adventure featuring Geralt of Rivia—a witcher, one of the few remaining monster hunters.

“We’re very happy to be working with Dark Horse Comics, which is one of the biggest and most interesting comic book publishing houses in the world. What makes it even more exciting is the fact that, for many of us, the Dark Horse logo has near legendary status, standing for classic stories such as Hellboy or Usagi Yojimbo. We’re very happy to be once again expanding the Witcher universe,” said Adam Badowski, head of studio for CD Projekt RED.

Traveling near the edge of the Black Forest, in the land of the Angren, monster hunter Geralt meets a widowed man whose dead and murderous wife resides in an eerie mansion known as the House of Glass, a place of endless rooms where horror waits around every corner. Geralt will have to use all his witcher prowess to solve the manor’s mystery and survive.

“We’re very excited to work with CD Projekt Red on The Witcher. With the rich world they have created, and an enthralling central character like Geralt, we feel The Witcher is ripe to tell a compelling story through comics,” said Nick McWhorter, director of custom programs at Dark Horse Comics.

With the two Witcher games already available, fans can get to know Geralt even before the release of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt in 2014 on PC, Play Station4, and Xbox One, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft. The Witcher games have collectively earned over 270 awards and sold more than five million copies worldwide.

Fans can check out the exclusive interview with writer Paul Tobin only on Newsarama!

The Witcher #1 will be available for purchase on March 19, 2014, in comic shops everywhere!

About Dark Horse

Founded in 1986 by Mike Richardson, Dark Horse Comics has proven to be a solid example of how integrity and innovation can help broaden a unique storytelling medium and establish a small, homegrown company as an industry giant. The company is known for the progressive and creator-friendly atmosphere it provides for writers and artists. In addition to publishing comics from top talent, such as Frank Miller, Mike Mignola, Neil Gaiman, Brian Wood, Gerard Way, Felicia Day, and Guillermo del Toro, and comics legends, such as Will Eisner, Neal Adams, and Jim Steranko, Dark Horse has developed its own successful properties, such as The Mask, Ghost, Timecop, and SpyBoy. Its successful line of comics and products based on popular properties includes Star Wars, Mass Effect, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Aliens, Conan, EVE Online, Halo, Serenity, Game of Thrones, and Domo. Today Dark Horse Comics is the largest independent comic book publisher in the US and is recognized as one of the world’s leading publishers of both creator-owned content and licensed comics material.

About CD Projekt RED

Development studio established in 2002 and based in Warsaw and Cracow, Poland. Creators of The Witcher and The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. Both RPGs were praised by critics and fans, gathering over 200 awards and selling over 5 million copies to date. Originally a PC developer, CD Projekt RED has released The Witcher on Mac and The Witcher 2 both on the Xbox 360® games and entertainment system from Microsoft and Mac. The studio is now working on The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, the grand finale of the Geralt of Rivia saga. The game will be released in 2014 on Xbox One, Playstation 4 and PC. The developer is also working on Cyberpunk 2077 in collaboration with Mike Pondsmith, the original designer of the pen-and-paper Cyberpunk® futuristic RPG system in which the upcoming game is set. CD Projekt RED developers’ mission is to take the passion they have for games and harness it to make the best RPGs in the world. Along with GOG.COM, the prime destination for the retro gaming enthusiast, CD Projekt RED is part of the Warsaw Stock Exchange listed (ISIN: PLOPTTC00011) CD Projekt Group.

Press Release - NYCC: Dark Horse to Publish The Witcher!

NYCC 2015 - Weta WorkshopThe Nightmare Collection by Mario ChiodoHer Universe Launches Her Universe Press; a Publishing ImprintInterview with Amber Benson at NYCC 2014 & Giveaway - January 5, 2015Cosplay is Cool; Especially at NYCC by TrinityTwoNew York Comic Con 2014 - Thoughts and Giveaway 3New York Comic Con - Some More Thoughts and Giveaway 2New York Comic Con 2014 - Thoughts and Giveaway 1NYCC: Marc Evan Jackson and the Detroit Creativity ProjectPress Release - NYCC: Dark Horse to Publish The Witcher!

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