Maine's Comic Con: A Weekend in Bangor

Maine's Comic Con: A Weekend in Bangor

The third Bangor Comic and Toy Con was held over Memorial Day weekend - and here's my short but sweet rundown.
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The third annual Bangor Comic and Toy Con was held over Memorial Day weekend, after months of build-up and changing of dates due to issues involving scheduling at two venues. Having attended the last two, I once again made the trek upstate to go to the convention. It was smaller in scope but larger in terms of attendance, and proved to be yet another great time. With the show being a lesser-known con and an evolving event, travel log type discussion seems in order. It was a much smaller event than Boston Comic Con, an event I have previously discussed – but still, it's worth it to talk about.

The first night, Friday, was primarily for us to pick up our VIP passes and get a feel for what the con would be set up like – the convention is held in a ballroom just down the hall from the main auditorium at the Cross Insurance Arena. While it would have been nice to be in the larger venue, the smaller room made conversations much more common and possible to see everything without getting overwhelmed. For the first time at this show, there were people selling Lego minifigures, a top selling item at Boston Comic Con (see my previous article on that convention). We stayed for about an hour, walking around and figuring out what the plan would be for the next two days. Not too many purchases were made, but we were given random free mini-poster sized prints, among other items. Free art is always great to have, especially art that fits perfectly with my other nerdy posters. We left, had dinner, wandered the Bangor Mall – where we discovered that Hot Topic put Twilight Funko Pops on clearance, a fitting end for the almost-forgotten series. After that, we settled back into the hotel to relax, play some Cards Against Humanity, and get some rest.


Saturday was practically an all-day affair. Cosplays were worn – myself as the original 1991 animated Gaston from Beauty and the Beast, and my sister as Barb from Stranger Things. Upon getting in half an hour early due to VIP badges, we went back to the con floor. Outside the main ballroom, several artists, dealers, and costuming groups –one, the Maine Ghostbusters, brought a fully-street legal Ecto-1 car. The crowds were larger, and oftentimes we had to use an alternate route to avoid the people that were filling the thin aisles between the tables in the dealer's room/artist alley. There was a good balance between comics and toys, with many dealers selling both while specializing in one or the other. There, I met two actors from my childhood – Steve Cardenas and Johnny Yong Bosch, the second Red and Black Rangers in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. Also, I met comic writer Larry Hama and Jeff Kline, the showrunner of Transformers: Prime, one of the more recent Transformers cartoons. All the celebrities were incredibly nice, and it seemed like they were having just as much fun at the con as the attendees were. The other celebrity guests included Kel Mitchell (my sister asked “why did they get the guy from Game Shakers, and yes I was disappointed that was all she knew him from) and voice actor Jim Cummings, best known for voicing Winnie the Pooh. Artists were doing commissions, people were talking about their interests and coming together in the name of a comic convention. Overall, it was a pretty average Saturday for a convention.

Arriving on Sunday, the plan was to hit up as many deals as we could – word of advice, if you go to a convention, save the most of your money for Sunday, as you'll get more for less because nobody wants to bring home all their merchandise. Anyway, we walked around, I bought more comics (I may or may not be a comic addict), including some from local indie writers and artists. This was a much slower day, leading to more conversations with the vendors – I spoke with several artists and the costuming groups. After looking through a selection of comics, I stumbled across the table for professional cosplayer Ani-Mia, and we had a great conversation about the Maine weather and how the seasons don't exactly line up with the conditions. Throughout the rest of the day, we were picking up more items and no dollar comic bin was left unchecked. One toy dealer said all prices were negotiable, though with the Sunday deals he was making, negotiations were barely needed. When all was said and done, we took a final walk around the con floor, and my final purchase of the day was Amanda Kahl's adaptation of The Raven. I highly recommend Cornerstone Creative Studios, Escape From Jesus Island and The Infernal Pact – all local comics that are on par with mainstream publications. Indie artists were very common at this convention, and they really do need all the support they can get – because you never know who might get a job at one of the big publishers.

This was yet another great year at Bangor Comic and Toy Con. From the usual celebrity autographs to the conversations with vendors and artists, there's always something interesting going on at a convention. Of course, not everybody is up for dealing with massive crowds and spending more money than they planned on spending, but for those that do, it's a great experience. Maine isn't really well known for their nerdy culture, but for one weekend a year, we get to see that subculture come together in Bangor, just miles from Stephen King's house. In August, I'll be attending Boston Comic Con, and I'll have more stories to tell of that weekend. For now, it's back to working on costumes and planning out the trip – then it all cycles back around, getting ready for the next show.

Cover Image Credit: Jack R. Herard

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21 Lies College Students Tell Their Parents

I can almost guarantee that you have used at least five of these.

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Let's be honest. College is the best time of your life for a lot of reasons, and maybe you should not tell your mom all of them when she calls. I can almost guarantee that you have used at least five of these, and the others — maybe you should try next time!

1. "I can't talk now, I'm in the library."

Typically used when the student is too hungover to talk.

2. "Gotta go now, I'm walking into class."

Then hit play on Netflix.

3. "I think it might be food poisoning."

Was it the food, or all of that alcohol? Your symptoms sound more like a hangover to me.

4. "No, I didn't just wake up."

It is 4 p.m. and, yes, you did.

5. "I need more money for laundry and food."

Meaning, "I need more money for things I don't think you will give me money for."

6. "I never skip class!"

When we use this one, it usually does not refer to anything before 11 a.m.

7. "I studied all night for that test!"

If by "studied all night" you mean you watched TV shows in the library, then, yes, all night.

8. "Everyone failed that test."

And by everyone, I mean me and my friend who did not go to sleep until 3 a.m.

9. "I'm walking home from breakfast with my friends."

Yeah, OK. You are just lucky she cannot see last night's outfit and the high heels you are carrying. We know where you have been.

10. "Potbelly's is a restaurant."

I mean, they may sell tacos, but I'm not sure I would call it a restaurant.

11. "I go to Cantina's for the Nachos."

I hope that is not the only reason but, hey, you do you.

12. "The $40 charge on the card from last Saturday? That was for school supplies!"

Yeah, right. It was for a new dress.

13. "Nobody goes out on weeknights, especially not me."

We all know grades come first, right?

14. "I can't remember the last time I went out!"

Literally.

15. "I make my bed regularly"

About as often as I clean the bathroom.

16. "I did not say 'Margarita Monday,' I said I went to 'Margaret's on Monday'!"

Following the use of this lie, do not post any pictures on social media of you with a margarita.

17. "I use my meal plan, and eat in the dining hall all the time."

As you scarf down Chick-fil-A.

18. "I eat healthy!"

For those without a meal plan who have to grocery shop on their own, we all know you spend $2 on a 12-pack of Ramen noodles and the rest on a different kind of 12-pack.

19. "No, I don't have a fake ID."

OK, "John Smith," and where exactly in Wyoming are you from?

20. "I'm doing great in all of my classes."

We use this one because you cannot see our grades online, anymore.

21. "I did not wait until the last minute to start on this."

We all know that if you start a paper before 10 p.m. the night before it is due, you are doing something wrong.

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To Love a Broken Vase — An Ode To Valentine's Day

"To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides." --David Viscott, How to Live with Another Person, 1974

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I remember an anecdote my elementary school teacher told us in the fifth grade. When a mother is pregnant with a child, they feel comfortable in their flesh. Provided with everything they needed to survive, they don't have to worry about anything. It's not until after they are born and the umbilical chord is severed that they realized they were not good enough, and insecurities fester.

I went through a similar process when I was growing up. Contained within my family and books, I felt like I held the world in my hands. It was not until high school where I seriously sought out others for company and wanted to apply myself to the social universe. And I saw myself changing in not only my behaviors, but how I see myself within the world.

With working hard to get good grades, with trying to get my driver's license, and becoming a better person overall, I realized the process involved a lot more effort than I ever had expected. And I found myself unprepared for the slow drudgery of it all. While I once pushed through to get things done, now I find myself giving up on projects while coming up with new ones. I frequently turned to my laptop for solace, as it kept my fantasies alive, but it also stole time away from me.

These behaviors showed in my relationships: I found it hard to meet up with friends, and my parents started worrying about what would my future look like. With the latter, I've had multiple conflicts with them, with me asserting I wanted to be free from everything, including accountability. Of course, that perception was quite unrealistic — to love and be loved, as well as to succeed, there has to a tug to know when you're doing something wrong.

***

A year ago, I wrote an article about how I saw romantic love from somebody who has never been in a relationship. Many things still apply today — I'm better off working towards my educational and career goals than seeking out love, though with Valentine's Day, it still fascinates me on whether or not I could be loved from somebody else.

From what I've heard from others, they would be charmed by my intelligence and kindness, neither fulfilling the stereotype of a nerd nor the perfect angel. However, the naivete would also put someone off, and potentially puts them in danger. I also see myself as the spontaneous type, but to the point where I forget where my priorities are, again making them worse than they really are. I imagine they would be intrigued by me as a friend or a lover, but end up breaking away after a short amount of time.

I don't imagine finding myself loving other people in the short term; however, I find myself open towards others. And that what makes me more afraid about how people view me--will they not be able to see the positives in myself when the time comes? Will they be just as capable of forgiving me the same way my family does?

At the end, I should take my friend's advice for Valentine's Day — love oneself. And take actions to make sure that I can love myself deeper and further.

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