New York Comic Con 2018: My Haul & My Thoughts

New York Comic Con has changed for me which of course is both a good thing and bad thing. First off some of my favorite vendors are no longer there. For example you don’t see many TCG/ CCG or trading cards (baseball cards, basketball cards etc) stands anymore. They seem to move on to Funko pops. I just hope the board game stands don’t go. Mystery bags/ boxes seem to be more prevalent year after year (which I love but I have gotten burned way too many times). This year’s NYCC also seem to experiment with more VIP experiences like paid panels etc which is a slippy slope. Most of all, autographs are SOOOO expensive these days. I remember a time not too long ago where most autographs were $20 and $50 for some of the bigger stars. Now $50 is the minimum and autograph can cost $100, $150 and probably more if I looked.

All this means is I have to do new things and have new expectations! For one, I still love going to panels. I never try to go to the super popular panels that are outside the convention center. It is such a time commitment. My favorite panel was back, Twisted Toonz and they did one of my favorite movies, Clue. It just sucks that there was a small fire and it had to end early. I recently been getting into role playing games (RPG) and there is slowly a bigger and bigger presence of RPGs (mostly Dungeons & Dragons) in NYCC. For example, there were a few Critical Role events, two Pat Rothfuss panels and an art of D&D panel. Plus you know D&D is in when you have this.

Rick and Morty Dungeons and Dragon Comics

Yes it is a Rick & Morty and Dungeons & Dragons crossover comic. I got the character sheets covers because I would love to run a campaign with the Rick & Morty characters. The black character sheet cover is a NYCC exclusive!

NYCC is still a great time to try new comics and pick up some comics and graphic novels for real cheap. I always come back with a stack (that takes me way too long to read) and this year is no different. One of the most interesting in this bunch is a comic from Steve Aoki.

Comics from NYCC

I am addicted to mystery bags/ boxes and I picked up two board game mystery boxes and I got

Enders Game Grifters Open Sesame

Dragon's Gold Love Letter RandR

Grifters, Open Sesame and Ender’s Game Battle School in one and Dragon’s Gold, Love Letter Big Game Night Edition and Regality & Religion in the other. Of the three from the first box I am really excited to get Grifters. It is a game I wanted for some time but was never motivated enough to pick it up. Open Sesame seems like an OK game but the memory aspect scares me and I am not sure what to think about Ender’s Game board game at the moment. As for box 2, the Game Night Edition of Love Letter is a nice version with oversized cards. Regality & Religion is another micro game from the designer of Love Letter and Dragon’s Gold was a game a friend wanted for awhile now.

Now here is a big confession from me. I haven’t watch Stranger Things yet. I know, right. But one of the coolest free swag from NYCC is a Stranger Things bundle.

Free Swag from NYCC

There is a Stranger Things theme library card, library date card, print and sample of the book.

I can’t believe I have some much stuff from NYCC. I have no where to put it all.. Anyways overall I had a great time and my feet are still killing me.

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2017 Topps WWE NXT Blaster Break

I was looking for something fun to break and I settled on a 2017 Topps WWE NXT blaster. 2017 Topps WWE is sort of like their prospect set. I am hoping to get a bunch of cards of some of the newer WWE wrestlers (hopefully I get a bunch for my personal collection) and at the very least, an interesting relic card.

2017 WWE NXT Cards

First off I am kind of disappointed the cards were not wrapped in packs. I guess it is bad for environment… but part of the fun of a box break is ripping the wrappers off. Anyways I didn’t pull any parallels but I got cards of a lot of the wrestlers I was hoping for like Asuka, Shinsuke Nakamura, AoP etc.

Scott Dawson Mat Card Gold Parallel

My guaranteed relic card is a mat card of Scott Dawson. Honestly I was kind of meh about it since the Revival hasn’t really done anything of note lately but I took a closer look at it is numbered 6/10 (gold parallel) so I warmed a bit on it. Plus maybe the Revival is due for a big push.

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Obscure Stan Lee Comics: Mosaic & The Condor

Here are two obscure “Stan Lee” comics that you may never have heard of, Mosaic and The Condor.

Mosaic and The Condor Comics

These limited edition comics came as bonus items from the Stan Lee Presents line of straight to DVD animated movies. (The Mosaic comic came from The Condor DVD and The Condor comic came from the Mosaic DVD.) These movies/ comics share a universe and unfortunately these are the only two movies from this line.

Mosaic and The Condor DVDs

Of the two, Mosaic is a lot more interesting. In Mosaic, there is a race of shape shifting chameleon- human hybrids. One threatens to destroy the world but luckily Maggie (an average teenager) mysteriously gains the same powers of these shape shifters.

The Condor is a skateboarding superhero and I feel it is a lot more cliché. It was like they said what is popular with kids these days, skateboarding? OK lets make a superhero around that.

All in all, I actually wouldn’t mind if Mosaic was bought out by Marvel Comics so her storyline can be expanded. It reminds me of Ms Marvel (one of my favorite comics) and I feel like there could be a lot potential. The Condor on the other hand can remain buried in the bargain bin…

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Fate Accelerated RPG is So Much Fun!

Does anyone feel like role playing game are getting more popular lately? It could just be me paying more attention to it but I see tons of Youtube shows and Twitch streams like Critical Role, Acquisitions Incorporated, Tabletop in the forefront. I always thought it is would be a lot of fun to get my own group together.

One thing though about Dungeons and Dragons, the most popular role playing game is that it seems quite intimating to learn to play. There are so many little rules and it just seems like it would be a ton of work to run a campaign. Anyways I came across Fate Core from a Tabletop show and it seemed a lot less intimating. It emphasizes on the story telling aspect of RPGs and to me that is the most fun part. From doing a little research I learned there is an even simpler version of Fate Core, Fate Accelerated.

I love Fate Accelerated because you can teach the system is like 10 minutes so you can get right into the story (even with people who have never played a RPG before). Here is a real quick rundown of the rules. There are four types of actions: attack, defend, overcome an obstacle and create an advantage/ aspect. On your turn, you would describe your action and the player and the GM would decide which approach best applies. The six approaches are careful, clever, flashy, forceful, quick and sneaky and it can give you a bonus. Fate Core and Fate Accelerated uses Fate dice with has two -1 sides, two +1 sides and two 0 sides. You always roll four of them and compare it to a ladder of success after all the bonuses (the higher the better of course). You can also take advantage of aspects which are elements of the story which can give you further bonuses. Aspects can describe a person (like weakness to kryptonite) or describe the environment (like a dark room). That is the gist of it and if want to learn more, check out these guides. It is a very flexible system and it is a very easy to tweak for whatever campaign you had in mind.

Fate Accelerated

So when I first pitched the idea of a role playing game my group were a bit hesitant. But I have been getting more and more people interested lately and they seem very excited and invested into the story I am been crafting. In fact I have about 10 people in my storyline (not all at once though). The most people I had in a single campaign was 6.

So what is my story I have crafted you may have asked? Think a post apocalyptic John Wick world with a bit of Bioshock and Mad Max sprinkled in. So the Big Event wipe out most of humanity and made most of the world inhabitable. But through the strength of humanity, technology and science, pockets of civilization began to emerge from the rubble. The story take places mostly in New New York City. Quickly people found that there is strength in numbers so they formed factions and where there are factions there is faction warfare. There is also the Wasteland, which is beyond the city walls and it is where criminals, thieves and the insane live. The main storyline is a group selected to be the next class of mercenaries. They have to pass a series of trials and pass Merc School to earn their full status and when they do they can take contracts which can lead to all sorts of trouble…

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Dog Tags, Tokenz, Chibi Figures and Trading Cards from The Walking Dead Repack

I was at Target the other day and I picked up this Walking Dead repack. It has 4 dog tags, 2 tokenz, 4 trading cards and 1 chibi figures packs.

The Walking Dead Repack

I didn’t pull anything worth keeping from the dog tags or trading card packs. Two of the dog tags are foiled but I wonder if anyone even collects these collectible dog tags. The weirdest dog tag that got me to laugh is the one that doesn’t even look like a zombie but instead just a random crazy Asian woman… The chibi figures are kind of interesting and I may use them as tokens for a game but more than likely I probably will store them somewhere and forget about them.

The most exciting thing for me is actually the tokenz (and just it is spelled with a Z) but for a weird reason. I have WWE poker chips (probably from the same company) and I used them to fidget with usually when I play Hearthstone or watch youtube videos. I have looking for more of these poker chips.

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Hideo Nomo & BJ Upton Jersey Card from a Repack

I pulled an interesting Hideo Nomo and BJ Upton jersey card from a repack. Of course, any hit you can pull from a repack is a bonus. It is numbered 115/150.

Hideo Nomo and BJ Upton Jersey Card

As you can see, there is only a piece of game worn jersey from BJ Upton. So without a doubt there is a variant with just a piece of jersey for only Hideo Nomo and probably a variant with jersey pieces for both players. I find this just being super lazy. Why can’t you just design three separate cards? And… this also triggers my OCD. The card is so clearly missing something.

Also I find the pairing of Hideo Nomo and BJ Upton super random and to be honest I forgot Hideo Nomo ever played for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Despite all that being said it is going to my gigantic binder and into my personal collection.

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Awesomely Awesome Comic Books: Secret Avengers #20

New comic books are going for $4- $5 nowadays. I am also a very fast reader so getting new comic books weekly was getting quite expensive. So instead lately I have been buying discount comic book bundles. My local comic book shop sells 12 random issues for only $4 and I also find some old comics at discount shops from time to time. Basically I go for quantity over quality and I have read a lot of bad comics (and a ton of comics from the 90’s). But every once in a while you get a hidden gem. Secret Avengers #20 is definitely one of them.

Secret Avengers 20

Secret Avenger #20 is in fact one of the best one shot comics I have come across. It is a complex time travel starring Black Widow written by Warren Ellis. The comic starts with the Avengers dying and the Black Widow is the only one left standing. Fortunately she finds an “escape hatch” on War Machine. She finds out this is a time travel device. The catch is she has to save her team by changing time in such a way that she appears not to have changed time (because time is like a big ball of wibbly wobbly). So she has to jump throughout time and has to manipulate people and things in the background. I just love how much Black Widow has to go through to save her team and the fact no one can know she ever did anything.

It is so easy to have plot holes in time travel stories but everything ties back to each other so seamlessly. There are so many “oh” moments. I don’t want to spoil too much but it is very clever how the story ties up loose threads like how War Machine ending with an “escape hatch” in the first place. In fact, I had to read this issue twice so I can get all the little details. There is even one awesome moment where she goes back in time and the comic style and layout changes to a series of old timey 3 panel comic strips. So clever.

Secret Avengers #20 probably one of my favorite comic books and it would never have been on my radar if I didn’t get it in a random comic book bundle.

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