I attended WonderCon 2023 in Anaheim, CA. Was on a couple of panels and saw tons of fantastic cosplay. Enjoy!
Some of the doomed Space Marines from Aliens
My Speculative Fiction in Alternate History panel. From L to R: Lissa Price, me, Stacia Deutsch, Scott Sigler
The panel audience
Scott Sigler reads a snippet from his story.
Aquaman and Wonder Woman
Ahsoka Tano and Darth Maul: Theirs was a forbidden love.
Aang, Katara, and Aapa the flying bison from Avatar: The Last Airbender. “Yip, yip!”
Avengers: Hawkeye, Iron Man, Thor
Futrama’s Bender (on a bender)
The brest, I mean best Catwoman cosplay there.
Chainsaw Man. The convention staff actually bothered to safety tag his chainsaw blades.
A reliable and helpful cosplay repair man.
Cousin It from The Addams Family
“In his house at R’lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.”
Dancing Stormtrooper with real boombox music
With David Gerrold, the man who wrote the tribbles episode of Star Trek, among many other things.
Doc Oc from Spiderman
Edna Mode from The Incredibles was VERY busy telling all the superheroes, “No capes!”
Elves from a video game.
Final Fantasy cosplay. Speak softly and carry a big sword.
A huge Master Sergeant from Halo.
Poison Ivy and four Harley Quinns.
My KidLit author panel with, L to R: Tara Gilboy, Reggie Brown, me, Dee Leone.
You might think this is just a cute kid in costume. But it is also the most horrific costume at WonderCon. Why? This junior canine astronaut’s spacesuit has red stars, making her a cosmonaut. The Soviets launched a mutt Laika on a one-way journey into space at the early stages of their space program. That’s cold.
Middle grade author panel with, L to R: Greg Van Eekhout, Dan Santat, Cecil Castelucci, and Chris Baron.
Amazingly well rendered Poison Ivy from Batman.
Remote-controlled robot from WALL-E.
The villain Ronan from The Avengers
Star Wars cosplay
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Michelangelo
Tony Stark and Pepper Potts
At The Rings of Power panel, the signer for the hearing impaired wore elf ears.
Wise Uncle Iroh from Avatar – The Last Airbender
Walter White from Breaking Bad
Wednesday from The Addams Family
A second version of Wednesday from The Addams Family
The 45-minute WonderCon Norsemenpanel online premieres at 5pm PST on March 27. It features actors Kåre Conradi (Orm), Øystein Martinsen (Kark), Nils Jørgen Kaalstad (Arvid), Marian Ottesen (Hildur), Trond Fausa (Rufus), Bjørn Myrene (Torstein), Silje Torp (Frøya), and Jon Øigarden (Jarl Varg). Learn about who was the biggest prankster, what it’s like working on set with a spouse, and what big thoughts Arvid thinks.
The second WonderCon panel featured successful Middle Grade novel authors Bruce Coville (Aliens Ate My Homework), NY Times bestseller Stacia Deutsch (Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs Jr. movie novel), NY Times bestseller Nancy Holder (Wonder Woman movie novel), Rajani Larocca (Red, White and Whole), and Henry Neff (Tapestry series).
The 39-minute panel online premieres at 10am PST on March 26. It features the authors sharing their insights into the publishing industry, how to get started, and lessons learned on the journey to publication. Good times.
260-page 2020 Comic-Con Souvenir Book is now available as a FREE PDF. <– that’s the link
This is a 141 MB file. The PDF is set up in 2-page spreads, to better mimic the feel of an actual book. Remember to zoom in for easier reading of the articles. The main feature is the Ray Bradbury Centennial, honoring the 100th birthday of the beloved author and favorite Comic-Con guest. In addition, the Souvenir Book also celebrates the following anniversaries:
• Ray Harryhausen Centennial—The 100th birthday of the stop-motion animation legend
• 75th Anniversary of EC Comics—They brought us Tales from the Crypt and MAD magazine
• 75th Anniversary of Moomin—The world-wide comics sensation for all ages
• 50th Anniversary of Conan in Comics—Robert E. Howard’s barbarian conquered comics starting in 1970
• 50th Anniversary of Jack Kirby’s Fourth World—The King of Comics moved to DC in 1970 and created a whole new world of characters
• 50th Anniversary of Last Gasp—The pioneer underground comix publisher and distributor
• Plus the Proverbial “Much More”—Comic-Con Museum, 2019 Award Winners, and the “In Memoriam” section
Lisa Desimini grew up reading and drawing every chance she got. Her friends and fellow students told her that she should be an artist when she grew up, and Lisa agreed. She graduated from The School of Visual Arts in NYC. Now, she has written and/or illustrated over 35 books for children. She has also illustrated many book jackets for YA and adults novels.
For what age audience do you write/illustrate, and in what genre(s)?
My children’s books are for children ages 3-7. Some of my books are for all ages. My favorite genre is fantasy, but I’ve published non-fiction, too. I adore illustrating poetry collections.
Henry: I met Lisa at a book event at Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore, where she was signing her new picture book. I was especially surprised and pleased to learn she also illustrated the covers for the Sookie Stackhouse (True Blood) paranormal fantasy novels!
Tell us about your latest book.
My latest book is THE FLEATASTICS. It’s about an acrobatic troupe of fleas that travel from sleeping dog to sleeping dog to put on a show. Sarafleana’s family wants her to be part of their parasite pyramid, but she dreams of having her own act. When someone in the audience says the forbidden “T” word…Sarafleana gets a chance to prove what she can do.
Henry: My agent is right now shopping a narrative nonfiction picture book told by and about fleas. Fascinating little dudes.
What do you hope readers will get from reading that book?
There are two messages in this book. First, it’s important to do what it takes to follow ones dreams. The second message is that no matter what knocks us down, we have to get back up, brush ourselves off and get back on the horse… But I usually don’t set out with a mission for my books to have a message. It just happens sometimes.
Henry: If you’re a flea, you brush yourself off and get back on the cat.
What aspect of writing or illustrating do you find most challenging?
For me, writing is more challenging. I write something and, at first, I love it. Then I kind of like it, then I’m not sure about it at all, so I put it away for a few days. When I look again, I say, “OK, this has potential!” Then I show a friend and they make me see something I could do to make it better, so I do it and I like it better. Rinse and repeat and then maybe I send it to my editor and maybe it gets published. I don’t have as much back and forth when it comes to illustration because I’ve been making pictures since I was a little kid.
Henry: I certainly agree that critique groups (the external opinion) is absolutely vital to good writing.
What is a powerful lesson you’ve learned from being a writer/illustrator?
The powerful lesson I’ve learned is the more research the better! Nowadays, the internet makes it easier to find books, gather information, and see images from different regions. When I was younger I illustrated a book about the Navaho and I thought I did a good job in recreating their hogans, but I got a very sweet letter from the tribe saying they weren’t accurate. I felt terrible. More recently, when I illustrated, SHE SANG PROMISE about a Seminole woman named Betty Mae Jumper, I was thrilled that National Geographic sent my images to the Seminole museum to be approved.
What has been a memorable experience that you never would have had if you had not been a writer/illustrator?
The memorable experiences for me are when I do a drawing at the end of all my school visits. They’re not preplanned. I use the students’ ideas, and they never cease to amaze me. When their creativity is lit up, there is an exuberant energy in the room. They might call out instead of raising their hands, bounce around, and get a bit loud, but it’s all worth it to me because when creativity is unleashed, it’s wild. It’s not always about being perfectly behaved.
Henry: I also call out instead of raising my hand.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors or illustrators?
I would tell aspiring authors and illustrators to read as much as you can. Go to the library or bookstore every week–read classics and the latest books. Take a class and join the SCBWI. If kid’s books are truly your passion, you will have the energy and desire to follow the ideas that come to you. Some of my ideas have flowed quickly, but most of my books have taken years to come together and sell.
Henry: The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators has been helpful to many a career. Their website is http://www.scbwi.org.
Do you have any favorite quotes?
My favorite quote: “You must do the things you think you cannot do.” –Eleanor Roosevelt
Henry: I also like “Whether you think you can, or you think you cannot, you are right.”
Do you have any strange rituals that you observe when you write/illustrate?
I like to clean up and organize before I start working on a new project. Then I read a bunch of favorite books. Even if they’re not related to my new project, they get me excited and revved up about stories and the infinite worlds they create.
Henry: Is that preparation or procrastination? 🙂
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
My superpower would be the ability to teleport myself–anytime and anywhere.
Henry: I love it. No time wasted commuting or in traffic. No greenhouse gas emissions.
If you could have three authors over for dinner, who would it be?
Is it OK if I answer a slightly different question–a dinner with my favorite characters from books instead of authors? I love authors, but Owen Meany, Harry Potter and Pippi Longstocking popped into my mind!! Owen because he is so dearly earnest, Harry because of his bravery, and Pippi because of her adventurous spirit!
Henry: No, it is not OK. This interview is cancelled! Per Wikipedia:
A Prayer for Owen Meany is the seventh novel by American writer John Irving. Published in 1989, it tells the story of John Wheelwright and his best friend Owen Meany growing up together in a small New Hampshire town during the 1950s and 1960s. According to John’s narration, Owen is a remarkable boy in many ways; he believes himself to be God’s instrument and sets out to fulfill the fate he has prophesied for himself.
What is your favorite creature that exists only in literature?
My favorite creature is a centaur. I like that they have the intellect of a human and an animal’s wild nature.
Henry: I like them too. One is featured on the cover of my first book.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing/illustrating?
When I’m not writing, I like to be with my husband and our kitty Crash, cook, read, watch movies, be in the garden and do yoga.
Henry: But not all at the same time…Yoga cooking!
What would you like it to say on your tombstone?
I plan on being cremated and turned into a tree, so my treestone would say, “She always tried to be better and do better.”
Henry: I’m going to go out on a limb and say the root of that choice is that one must be thick-skinned to be an author.
Here, in no particular order, are photos from San Diego Comic-Con 2017
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Only D&D fans will get that pun.
A classic Comic-Con mashup. Elvis Boba Fett!
Cabbage merchant: An obscure, but lovable character from Avatar: The Last Airbender
A huge dragon you could ride. Stuffed animal sold separately.
D.VA’s mech video game character from Overwatch
A flying (thanks to magnetic repulsion) Iron Man and friends.
NY Times bestselling fantasy author Gail Carriger
Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy from Batman
NY Times bestselling fantasy author Ilona Andrews
Life-sized Iron Man model
Pint-sized General Grievous and Boba Fett
The eloquent First Second editorial director Mark Seigel
NY Times bestselling fantasy author Mary Pearson
Megaman video game character
My fantasy novel panel with Seanan McGuire, Robin Hobb, Gail Carriger & Mary Pearson
The authors of my panel packed the room!
Authors Todd McCaffrey, the Winner twins, and Seanan McGuire
The world’s largest Pikachu (from Pokemon)
Two fun posters. “Gandalf Airlines. Fly you fools! Our planes are never late. Nor are they early.
They arrive precisely when they mean to. You shall not need a boarding pass!” and
BatPug: “I am the night… but mostly I just piddle on stuff”)
Three princesses, or perhaps two princes and a Mother of Dragons
NY Times bestselling fantasy author Robin Hobb
Even the animals get in on the cosplay action. Ye scurvy dog!
Does this Skyrim helmet make me look fat?
Super Saiyan Blue from Dragon Ball Z
Some fun toothy artwork I bought.
Fantasy/sci-fi authors Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Jonathan Maberry, Seanan McGuire and Scott Sigler.
I never imagined that parents could have a two-year old AND too much time on their hands. But I was wrong. From Vaiva Vareikaite and the mad geniuses at Bored Panda.
“Sometimes what you need to get creative is just a pile of cardboard boxes and a baby, who needs to be entertained. This is exactly what inspired Leon Mackie and Lilly Lang to recreate their favorite film scenes after moving into their new home.
A young couple with a baby on their hands recently moved from Melbourne to Sydney, Australia, and got left with a lot of spare cardboard boxes. The boxes were a perfect source of inspiration for some astonishing things that were about to happen. Lilly and Leon are passionate cinephiles, so they didn’t take long to come up with an idea to bring most memorable moments from their favorite films back to life, except this time starring their 2-year-old son.
The beautiful initiative to have a quality family time became an inspirational project titled Cardboard Box Office and a source for quite a successful weblog. The adorable couple and the little one have already re-enacted such movie classics as Alien (Bubbalien), Jurassic Park (Goo-Goo Gaa-Gaa-Rassic Park), Castaway (Castababy), and Jaws (“You’re Gonna Need A Bigger Baby…”).”