SDCC 2016 ‘The 100’: The Earth Strikes Back!

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

Welcome back to what is arguably the most popular and controversial CW show, all at the same time! War with the Grounders and potentially the Ice Nation, internal strife with Pike, the AI Ally trying to take over what’s left of the world and the destruction of the City of Light, plus let’s not forget burgeoning gay romances and a whole lot of death; all make for a compelling show we just can’t seem to stop watching and commenting on!

The San Diego Comic-Con panel for The 100 featured Eliza Taylor (Clarke), Henry Ian Cusick (Kane), Lindsay Morgan (Raven), Marie Avgeropolous (Octavia), Chris Larkin (Monty), Richard Harmon (Murphy), and Executive Producer Jason Rothenburg.

The panel started off with a ton of applause for the stars and then went right in to the sizzle reel for the previous season, with a surprise twist at the end – the Earth literally strikes back in season four, with what appears to be floods and other major destruction. And that is the theme for the next season, the natural disasters to try and survive, while Clarke and others wonder, with all they’ve done to survive, do they now deserve to?

Eliza Taylor sports a charming Australian accent, and is always gracious to her fans, especially the ones who come to the mike to ask fan questions dressed as Clarke, or even Lexa. She stated softly that Finn’s death was the hardest scene she had to film thus far, and of course Lexa’s death too. She also charmingly stated that it was a good thing the filming crew were so good at their jobs, because for the climactic love scene between Clarke and Lexa, she and Alycia Debnam-Carey couldn’t help but keep giggling with each-other while in bed.

Marie Avgeropolous is right proud of the strength of her character Octavia, and promises her warrior has gone even darker this upcoming season, due to the loss of Lincoln and all. She doesn’t preen when fans compliment her on such a strong female character, saying rather, “Women have always been strong, and I’m so grateful to be on a show that values that – examples of empowerment should become the norm.”

Avgeropolous went on to laughingly tell a favorite story of a difficult, though amusing, time on set. During the scene in season three where Octavia is attempting to convince Lincoln to go get Luna, Avgeropolous was supposed to be cleaning the hoof of the horse her character was riding. And well, the horse was, how can we put it, “at attention,” we’ll say, so they had to keep changing camera angles because it looked like Avgeropolous had taken a sudden interest in beastiality. The horse trainer, who was nearby, eventually told her to flick the horsey intruder with a stick, gently, because that would make the “at-attention” go away. And the Comic-Con crowd had absolute hysterics!

Richard Harmon is forever an amused prankster, and took a few moments to himself to admire the large happy audience, before plunking down to deliver glib, grinning one-liners, like how, “Murphy is everyone’s favorite cockroach.” He gleefully displayed chipped, dark nail polish to the cheering crowd after being accused of enjoying makeup on set, drawling about he had originally auditioned for the role of Bellamy and how different that would have been.

Chris Larkin was much more lively than his character Monty on the show, trading off happy one-liners with Harmon, whom he sat next to on the panel. His scariest moment on the show thus far was learning to drive stick, as he grinned, “There’s nothing scarier than driving at night, in fog, with a huge camera mounted 2 feet away from your face on the rover, being driven by someone who’s only driven stick for an hour!”

Rothenburg dropped several surprises on the happy crowd, such as the fact that Roan and Indra are both indeed alive in the new season, and that Roan (Zack McGowan) will be joining the show as a cast regular. Rothenburg also promised that the very first episode of the new season addresses the power vacuum left in the Skycrew camp. He even stated that originally in the season three finale, Jasper was going to kill himself at the end, but that that ending, even though the crew did indeed film the whole thing, was too dark even for Rothenburg himself. And don’t think we’re not all grateful for it; The 100 is plenty lovingly dark already.

The 100 will flood its way back to us adoring fans in 2017!

Cos-Losseum 2016: The Art of Cosplay and Fandom

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

Oh praise the costuming gods, herald the arrival of Prince PVC and Dame Duct Tape, pay worshipful homage to your favorite fandom in the best way possible – by dressing up as them!

Who doesn’t love Cosplay? As Geekdom takes over our entire universe in all its tatty, unselfconscious glory, we as adults get to live our dreams that many of us enjoyed as small children – dressing up as our favorite heroes, villains, and whatever other characters we loved under the moon! Cos-Losseum 2016 brings the best and brightest together for a weekend of Cosplaying your little heart out!

How can you get in on this Cosplay extravaganza? Well first, you buy tickets here. Cos-Losseum is on Saturday and Sunday, January 23 and 24, 2016, at the Crowne Plaza San Diego, located here. Navigating the hotel and surrounding area can get tricky and so can finding nearby parking, so it’s suggested you arrive early or scope the place out before the weekend.

Saturday events are as follows: The Video Game, where the audience decides the winner; Cinematic Storytelling in Star Wars Art with special guest Scott Harben; the Passion of Cosplay panel; the official Research for Lupus Fundraiser event; of course the official Cosplay Contest hosted by Loki Hates You and ThorTV; then comes breakdown and setup of the after-party, for adults only, with live performances by Lolita Dark and DJ Galactic Ray.

Sundays events include a Diversity in Pop Culture panel with guests Chris Riley and J.V. Green; Creature Creations with Face-Off guests Rashaad Santiago and Anthony Reyes; the I Have Such a Headache!!! panel with Power Ranger guests Barbara Goodson, Kerrigan Mahan, and Sandi Sellner; Galactic Steampunk with guests Star Wars Steampunk Universe; and finally The World Needs More Hashtags hosted by That Hashtag Show.

Bring your fundage because we all know Cosplaying can get expensive and yes there will be a whole bunch of vendors at Cos-Losseum. Dreadfully Punk will be doing a Live Podcast the whole time, and there will be a live performance from the awesome band The Flux Capacitors! The International Cosplay Corps will be offering free mobile Cosplay repair, as they often do at various conventions, which is forever awesome of them.

mobile cosplay repair CL

Prizes and funding come from the likes of Villanous Lair Comics and Gaming of San Diego, The Cosplay Initiative LLC, the anime powerhouse channel Funimation, Geeks of the Galaxy podcast, and Dreadfully Punk Dreadwaves. Special guests include the likes of Sandi Sellner, Rashaad Santiago, Russ Adams, Logan Long, Anthony Reyes, Michael Copon, Richard Harmon, Moses Moseley, Stephen J. Semones, Ellie Collins, and more!

Seriously, whether you’re a weekend warrior, “I only do this for fun” kind of cosplayer, or someone who shells out wads of time and money to make a realistic and lifelike lightsaber to go with your Darth Maul tribute, everyone should come to this Con. Of course, cosplay is encouraged but not required, and always adhere to the posted rules of cosplay, referring to such things as replica weapons, peace ties and wingspans. We here at the Super Villain Network hope to see you, in happy cosplay or not, at Cos-Losseum 2016!

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Xcon World: Richard Harmon on Scrooge, SpongeBob, and Portraying Antagonists

by Agent Amanda Grefski (a.k.a. Madame Helleveeg)

Richard Harmon is no stranger to complex antagonists, like John Murphy from The 100, Julian Randol from Continuum, or Richard Sylmore from Bates Motel. Balancing the time to portray all of these complex and rich characters, it seems he may have the benefit a time continuum of his own! But the young man that entered ballroom D was the antithesis of the characters he played: warm, personable, intelligent, and friendly. In that moment alone, we were acutely aware of his mastery of the craft in this dichotomy. For this and much more, we’re so fortunate to have caught up with Harmon during XCon World, where he mused on his character development, his roles, his tastes in film, and what his dream role might be. This was all amidst throwing the “Drunken SpongeBob Ball,” a plush ball in the shape of that sponge we all know and love, back and forth to guests, as he answered their questions with poise, humor, and honesty.

“‘Drunken SpongeBob Ball’ is my buddy, my roommate; he goes where I go. I left him at home once, only to find him face down after a party the night before. From then on, he came with me, so he wouldn’t cause any more trouble.” Harmon mused, as he lobbed SpongeBob over to another guest. But all was not lost, the guest, who happened to be a substance abuse counselor, suggested a course of treatment for SpongeBob.

Harmon discussed those moments that make a character, particularly an antagonist, likable to their audience. “It’s not about the interaction with other characters, it’s all about that moment you have with the audience that changes everyone’s perspective of a character. That moment when you’re not interacting with other characters and your expression changes … that’s your moment with the audience: your moment to show a different side of a character. Especially when you’re playing a bad character, it’s your chance to show a human side of them.” That he does, bringing a seemingly morally ambiguous character like John Murphy, who grows from a character who acts solely out of self interest, into one who struggles and justifies decisions, and in this process, begins to come into his own.

“I hope the audience sees the evolution of the character [Murphy], his growth and they learn to care about him.” Harmon goes on to explain how Murphy wasn’t supposed to be a recurring character, but creator and developer Jason Rothberg was blown away by his portrayal of Murphy and wanted to see the character grow.

The blue and yellow blur of SpongeBob flew through the air again, as someone asked about Julian Randol’s character development and how they aged his character to become the iconic Theseus in Continuum.

“Julian has now lost everything he has to live for, and this makes him a very interesting character to play.” Harmon explains, then goes on to discuss how the team created such a believable aged version of him onto the screen, “They filmed a double, who looked somewhat like I would look, then superimposed my face and features, acting the lines.” It was an artfully crafted aging that incorporated both live action and CGI into intricately crafted and believable effect. And in this last season, Julian’s fate is up in the air, but faithful to the project, Harmon lends no spoilers.

SpongeBob soars once again (just missing my head, this time!), and we land on a question about Harmon’s  character, Richard Sylmore, on Bates Motel. “My favorite part of playing Richard Sylmore? I got to punch Norman Bates. Who else can say that they got a chance to punch one of the world’s most iconic villains? That was definitely the highlight [of appearing on the show].”

He also spoke about entering the field of acting itself. His parents, Cynde and Allan Harmon, were also both in the profession, however they did not force him to become an actor; they actually discouraged it. Harmon confessed that he began because his sister was acting, but after his first few parts, he was hooked, too. To anyone who wanted to become an actor, he suggested they take some lessons, get a headshot, a good agent, and have a lot of patience. But, if you want it, you also have to be relentless. “My parents were in the business [of acting] and I still had to wait a long time for roles. The key is to be patient, there isn’t any magic formula to it.”

Some more insights into the dynamic mind of Richard Harmon? His favorite SpongeBob episode? “Shanghaied” (The flying Dutchman episode). He says, “It’s the perfect example of everything you expect in an episode, turned on its head. SpongeBob and Patrick start off as prisoners of the Dutchman and end up wreaking so much havoc, that they mess everything up for the Dutchman. He practically begs them to leave, it’s hysterical.”

What Batman villain would he like to play? The Riddler. “I think the Riddler always gets overshadowed by the craziness of the Joker, but he is a smart, and witty villain who deserves attention.” He’d also like to play the Devil, because, “He had it all. He was God’s right hand man, but his ambition drove him to want more … to want it all, which caused his fall. That would be an interesting character to play.”

Harmon said his dream role would be to play Ebenezer Scrooge. Although, he feels it would be hard to rival Scottish actor, Alistair Sim’s version of A Christmas Carol, which he says is the only version to see. In fact, Harmon has a tattoo of the line, “Bob, I haven’t taken leave of my senses. I’ve come to them” from that very movie. We’ve come to our senses as well, to this rare actor who, like Sim, can mold such believable and likeable characters out of what might seem to be an irredeemable villain. The ghosts of the past, present and future certainly look bright for Richard Harmon.

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