Steve Martin's Wild and Crazy Career Ride from Orange County to Stardom is PBS Show's Focus

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Steve Martin's Orange County roots run deep. He was a cheerleader at Garden Grove High School, attended Santa Ana College and Cal State Long Beach, got one of his first jobs at Disneyland, developed a magic act in the park's Magic Shop and went on to join a Knott's Berry Farm comedy troupe. I don't recall ever hearing the 68-year-old talk in depth about his early days here so perhaps Paula Zahn pulls that out of the actor/comic/author/musician/screenwriter in a PBS interview airing Friday night.

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Emily the Strange: From Quirky T-Shirt Character to Pop Culture Icon

Categories: comics

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By Liz Ohanesian

Twenty years ago, Emily the Strange first appeared on t-shirts and other odds and ends. Now, the 13-year-old girl with the long black hair, black dress and penchant for cats is the star of novels, comic books, iPhone apps and so much more.

Most recently, she's been fronting a band, Emily and the Strangers. Their adventures are documented in the comic book series of the same name, published by Dark Horse Comics. But it's more than that. Emily and the Strangers are the band credited with a new single, "Calling All Guitars," and a video. They're an animated band in the vein of Dethklok and Gorillaz, but with a spunky sound and lyrics that promote the idea of living your life the way you see fit. The music and accompanying video were funded by a Kickstarter campaign held this past April. On Saturday evening, the video premiered at Tiger, Tiger in San Diego at a special party held for Kickstarter backers. Since I pledged to the campaign, I was able to attend.

I pledged to the campaign because I've been a fan of Emily since my own teenage years. Sometime around 1994, I stumbled across a few stickers and felt some sort of kinship with the pale, sullen character whose image was accompanied by quotes that encapsulated the isolated, but not necessarily lonely, existence of misfit high school kids. The slogans were poignant, but still funny. Emily was a weird kid and she liked being a weird kid. That was absolutely relatable.


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Why Regular Show Is So Huge at Comic-Con This Year

Categories: comics

Liz Ohanesian
J.G. Quintel, creator of Regular Show, left, meets Muscle Man come to life.

By Liz Ohanesian

J.G. Quintel has been going to San Diego Comic-Con for a decade now. He started out his journey here as a fan, a CalArts student who caught wind of the event from his brother. Quintel would register to attend the convention after he arrived at the venue. He would walk into panels at Hall H, now the home of blockbuster convention talks and long lines. He did this anonymously. Ten years ago, people didn't recognize Quintel.

Just as San Diego Comic-Con has grown in popularity over the past few years, so has Quintel. He created an animated series for Cartoon Network called Regular Show. It's about a bluejay named Mordecai, a raccoon named Rigby and their eclectic group of friends.

Over the course of four seasons, it's become a commercial and critical success Regular Show already has an Emmy to its name and was just nominated for two more. People cosplay characters from the show at conventions and swap all sorts of Regular Show references online.

Here at Comic-Con, the fans are plentiful. They packed a large hotel ballroom for a Regular Show panel on Friday morning. That afternoon, they were waiting in line for entrance to the Regular Show Regular Zone exhibition at the New Children's Museum, located across the street from the convention, next to a small park where inflatable versions of Mordecai and Rigby are hosted high in there. This is Regular Show's year at Comic-Con, and no one is feeling it more than Quintel.

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Thrilling Adventure Hour Heads to Comic-Con With Kickstarter-Funded Comic Book

Categories: comics

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Courtesy of Archaia

By Liz Ohanesian

Ben Blacker had just arrived at San Diego Comic-Con when we met. The writer was preparing for a whirlwind of events surrounding Thrilling Adventure Hour, the live show he created with Ben Acker eight years ago. There's a signing, an official Comic-Con panel and four sold-out evening performances of the stage show that's captivated live audiences in Los Angeles and Nerdist podcast listeners worldwide.

Inspired by radio drama, Thrilling Adventure Hour has everything a genre entertainment–loving, pop culture fanatic could want. Tales of science fiction, mystery and, of course, adventure unfold with help from a cast -- known as the Workjuice Players -- that includes cult TV stars like John DiMaggio (Futurama, Adventure Time) and James Urbaniak (The Venture Bros.). Their roster of past guest stars -- including Patton Oswalt, Neil Patrick Harris and Nathan Fillion -- reads like a who's who of geek-world icons. Despite the cred, Thrilling Adventure Hour hasn't had a presence at SDCC until this year.

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Anaheim is Keeping WonderCon For 2013...Suck It, San Francisco

Categories: comics
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Christopher Victorio
Yo want WonderCon, S.F.? You'll need to pry it from our cold, dead hands!

OC comic book nerds can breathe a little easier this week with the announcement that WonderCon has decided to stay in Anaheim for 2013. The event is scheduled for March 29-31.Despite over a year of vacillating over the issue, convention organizers announced on Monday that they would not be returning to its native San Francisco. The show ran a statement about the switch. Apparently, the convention was waiting on dates from S.F.'s Moscone Center for ages and were finally granted some dates through the fall.


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WonderCon Pick: The Simpsons in the Classroom and Buffy: The Comic

Categories: comics
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Karma Waltonen is a lecturer at the UC Davis and is co-author of The Simpsons in the Classroom: Embiggening the Learning Experience with the Wisdom of Springfield. As you can (maybe?) tell, Waltonen is a Simpsons, sci-fi, Weird Al, and comedy geek and also quite a nerd: she can explain postmodernism, understands science writing, and has written on Margaret Atwood, British drama, and a multitude of other topics. 

In Friday's panel, she'll be discussing one of her geeky loves, The Simpsons, in the contexts of one of her intellectual passions, pedagogy. Waltonen will be in a panel entitled "Everything I Really Need to Know, I Learned from Batman and Bart, Man: Embiggening Brains without Crayon Implants." On Sunday, she will present a paper entitled "The Whedonverse Graphic Novels: The Newest Television Genre" in a panel on Adaptation and Media.

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Lonnie Millsap: 'My being a black cartoonist seemed to make people want to typecast me'

Categories: books, comics
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Monica Page
Millsap at Meltdown Comics, March 10
Cartoonist Lonnie Millsap (yes, he's aware that his name rhymes with a country singer's, so if you chat with him you can skip the "Any Day Now" reference) can frequently be found in Los Angeles comic book shops at book signing events.

He is the author of two cartoon collections, My Washcloth Stinks!and I Hate My Job!

Last year, Millsap's art was featured at the American Visionary Art Museum's special exhibit "What Makes Us Smile?" co-curated by Matt Groening, Gary Panter, and AVAM founder/director Rebecca Hoffberger. He is working on his third book, tentatively scheduled for a July release, with the working title I Stepped on a Duck! More »

Dave Attell Talks Filthy and Dirty Porn (Bush Optional)

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Dave Attell has been spreading his funny for years and has become somewhat of a cult classic comic to his loyal fans. From roles in Pootie Tang, Crank Yankers, and Tough Crowd to starring in his own show Insomniac, Dave Attell's career has gone from taking off to taking the EFF off. With his new show, Dave's Old Porn on Showtime, heating up cable, we feel lucky that this incredibly twisted and entertaining comedian is coming to Irvine tonight.More »

Kids in the Hall's Kevin McDonald Needs a Twitter Account

Categories: comedy, comics
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Kevin McDonald has done it all--from TV, movies, voiceovers, and of course Kids in the Hall. He is now joining his cast mate Scott Thompson at the Irvine Improv tomorrow (August 4th) through Sunday (August 7th) for "Two Kids One Hall" and what we are in store for is some straight up funny. Kevin is legendary in Canada, but will Irvine give these to "kids" a good ol' OC welcome? All signs point to yes, as the one thing that translates across the borders is comedy. And Kevin? Yeah, he'll be bringing the funny. More »

Kids in the Hall's Scott Thompson Talks Hockey, His Sexy Legs, and His Love for Irvine

Categories: comedy, comics
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Scott Thompson's comedy style is damn sexy--and edgy, funny, witty, and Canadian as well. This Kids in the Hall member is breaking away from three out of the five-person tribe to hit up the Irvine Improv this Thursday (August 4) through Sunday (August 7) along with Kevin McDonald in "Two Kids One Hall." If his past hilarity is anything like his stand-up, this show promises to bring the funny. And judging from what Scott's plans are for Irvine, you might want to bring your friends and leave your folks at home.

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