Sunday, August 14, 2016

Gulf Coast fans—hit me up at Pensacola Comic Con!

Well, this is exciting! I've never been to the upper Gulf Coast before...much less the Emerald Coast.

But here I am at family-focused Pensacola Comic Con this weekend, Aug. 20-21, with all things Trekland and Portal 47—and we'll be talking about all things new and Star Trek: Discovery, of course! Thanks to Ericka Boussarhane for having me—and my stargazing buddy/blues boy Tim Russ to rep Trek as well.

This is the smaller of Pensacola's two big cons, and I have no idea about the shape or size of  Gulf Trek fandom, but we'll sure find out. I have a panel each day... It's not like there's a shortage of topics .... AND I'll even be grabbing yet one more "Con of Wrath" Survivor, too, while in town.

So who's near the famous white beaches and can make it by?

Monday, July 18, 2016

My panel, my table, my stuff —just a corner of Trekland in the HUGE Star Trek year at Comic-Con San Diego

Wow.  Maybe it's because this is Comic-Con NUMBER 47?

San Diego Comic-Con has never been about Star Trek; it's always been about, well, comic books. And manga. Superheroes. And, for the past 20 or so years, the blockbusters derived therefrom. Sci-fi, fantasy, horror and anime, you get to come too.  

"Oh well, see you in Vegas" has been the cry among Trekfolk at SDCC the past decade or so, since I started going in 2006.  I've always felt badly that Star Trek's golden age and its incredible casts and creators came too soon for the bigtime, Hall H Comic-Con treatment.

UNTIL NOW. And good on CBS Consumer Products, and CBS and Paramount in general, for finally corralling an historically huge, Dyson Sphere-sized year for Trek. Having both the new mpovie AND the new series AND the 50th anniversary to play off is about as natural an opening as you're going to get, and they have not disappointed. Starting with a Comic-Con program cover featuring Leonard Nimoy's Spock (at right)!

Of course if you don't have a way in by now, you ain't gettin' in ... but if you're among the 150,000 plus on business and/or pleasure in San Diego his week...Here's a huge list of all things official Trek and licensees here. Huge! The MAC Trek cosmetics line and the 50 on 50 art exhibit with artist signings and that cover Spock image are among the panels and products.

And I'd just add to that, the first Trek pin collectibles from my old buddy Dan Madsen's FanSets (too new to get its own booth) will be at Comikaze and StylnOnline booths—and an even bigger hit now that folks can see "augmented reality" with the PokemonGO craze.

Now for my little corner of Trekland, here's my deets—and THANKS AGAIN to Cat Roberts, our Lt. Palmer of Star Trek Continues et al, and John for hosting our "Dr. Trek" crowdfunder again on Friday night!

—WEDNESDAYMaybe I'll see you before or after the 8 p.m. IMAX World Premiere of Star Trek Beyond?


8-9 pm, 29AB: "Trekland's Between the Cracks Show: The How We Got To 50 Edition" PANEL — Our annual updated look at all things Trek in-perspective and in-jokey will also this year hopefully have a brand-new sneak-footage reel for The Con of Wrath! Plus we'll have a lightning PORTAL 47 beam-aboard bonus for this night only!

I'm up against some good folks in this slot, sadly, but you can click here in to the SDCC event site/app scheduler here as well. Please do!


2:30-5:30 pm, AA23: Autograph Alley table— Easiest place to catch me! I'll have photos, On Speaker CDs, Portal 47 info, maybe even a book or two--and get into the Portal 47 prize drawing.  Oh and opinions and news on all things hot. Click here to save on your SDCC site/app scheduler.

Just be advised I must leave sooner than the normal 7:00 ending time because of ...

First SDCC doc crowdfunder, in 2012!

6:30-8:30 pm, Dr. Trek Show crowdfunder for The Con of Wrath, adjoining Petco Field*—The annual event supporting my doc wherever I am a live con guest—now wrapping up its final year of filming: as usual $20 not only gets you a screen credit but here live it's access to prize trivia, rare Trek footage and newest sneak-peek footage for the doc—including the latest, of Nichelle Nichols and Laura Banks.
*Check out the Facebook event page for the exact address and arrival directions. Share it if you can! 


4:30-7 pm, AA23: Autograph Alley tableDitto as above! But note I will be delayed past the 2:30 start time due to covering the big Hall H panel 2-3 and media afterward. Still, it's the last, easiest place to catch me—photos, On Speaker CDs, Portal 47 info, maybe even a book or two--and last chance for the Portal 47 prize drawing. Late news punditry, too. Click here to save on your SDCC site/app scheduler.
This schedule means, sadly, I will be timed out of Ben Robinson's Star Trek Ships panel immediately afterward with Rick Sternbach and Dan Curry...but again, it's all Treklanders all long overdue for a little Comic-Con love.

Here's hoping we all survive the Comic-Con crazy.... Especially me, because Tuesday starts our incredible #LA2Vegas / #SFx2  50th anniversary expanded edition of the Trek Film Sites Tour. And then right into sold-out, five-day #STLV.

Trek well!

Friday, July 15, 2016

'Beyond' in incredible, Barco Escape three-screen panorama theaters—can you see it near you?

The pre-screening buzz is great for Star Trek Beyond, as I'd guessed, even though detailed reviews are being embargoed til the release July 21...

But here's one detail that should not be a secret: A hot new way to see Beyond and other features, soon, in only a few dozen cities around the globe: a multi-screen, panoramic theater system called Barco Escape.

I'm going to be seeing STB again in L.A. just after the Comic-Con premiere, but the wide Barco artwork below gives you the idea—over 20 minutes of the movie were specifically created for the sprawling, massively wide effect by director Justin Lin and J.J.'s Bad Robot team in full partnership with Barco. These ain't third-party add-ons!

And now there's a trailer out for the Barco Beyond:

Barco, first out in 2014 with The Maze Runner,  has also partnered with 20th-Centruy Fox and Jerry Bruckheimer, and has committed to at east three more films with the Barco touch this year—one of them big-time: The feature 6 Below will be shot entirely in Barco Escape by director Scott Waugh (Act of Valor, Need for Speed), and starring Josh Hartnett.

To me, it harks back to the old Cinerama three-camera multi-screen projection which is amazing, as we recently saw at a festival of films actually made to take advantage of it and projected that way. But THIS of course uses the latest in digital cinema on a whole new seamless level, and expands the visceral sensory experience that is hitting you from such a wide angle.  An epic space blockbuster like Star Trek on big screen is the perfect way to take advantage and showcase all that expanded cinemascope panorama!

I can't wait to try it out here at the Regal at LA LIVE downtown, but check Barco Escape's world screening link here where you can see the cities and showtimes around the world and whether you're lucky enough to have the access, too. Just check it out and get tickets at those exclusive theaters just like you normally would for a show.

Barco uses the Twitter handle @BarcoEscape and has a full website here.

And just so you can get the full Jaylah effect too:

In case you missed it, here's the full press release announcing the deal and the technology:

J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot and Barco Boldly Go Into the Future of Cinema with “Star Trek Beyond” Release in Barco Escape

Digital Cinema Powerhouse Brings Multi-Screen, Panoramic Experience To Theaters This Summer

LOS ANGELES — April 11, 2016 — Digital cinema leader Barco and Bad Robot Productions today announced “Star Trek Beyond,” one of this year’s most anticipated films, will be released in Barco’s multi-screen theatrical format Barco Escape, bringing audiences inside the action from the interstellar franchise - like never before. J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot will master a special version of the film, expanding the storytelling across three screens to unveil a thrilling new movie going experience to audiences when the film, from Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions, releases on July 22.

“Star Trek Beyond,” the third installment of the phenomenally successful reboot, is directed by Justin Lin, and stars Idris Elba, Chris Pine, Simon Pegg, Zach Quinto, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, Anton Yelchin and Karl Urban. The most recent film, “Star Trek Into Darkness,” grossed more than $467 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing entry in the Star Trek franchise.

"Justin Lin’s Star Trek Beyond is an epic adventure — truly larger than life,” said producer and Bad Robot president J.J. Abrams.  It is especially fitting, then, that we are partnering with Barco to provide an ultra wide-screen immersive experience using their unique Barco Escape format. This premium format dramatically expands the width of the viewing plane, giving filmmakers an innovative new tool with which to tell stories and audiences an enhanced new way to experience cinema."

Barco Escape will illuminate the Star Trek universe by creating key “moments” across all three screens that will exhilarate fans. Bad Robot will re-master more than 20 minutes of “Star Trek Beyond” into the new format. As part of Bad Robot’s commitment to the innovative technology, an executive from the company will also join Barco Escape’s advisory board.

“J.J. Abrams and the Star Trek franchise share in our passion for exploration and innovation, which is why we’re thrilled to lead Barco Escape’s 2016 lineup together with ‘Beyond,’” said CEO of Barco Escape, Todd Hoddick. “We are honored to have J.J. and the incredibly talented team at Bad Robot Productions as partners and look forward to sharing the power of this experience to capture the magnitude of big, bold stories like ‘Star Trek Beyond.'”

Since debuting in fall 2014 with the hit movie “The Maze Runner,” Barco has been working hand-in-hand with today’s top studios and filmmakers to create projects that offer audiences an unmatched viewing experience - only available in theaters. Director Scott Waugh (“Act of Valor,” “Need for Speed”) recently announced he is directing the first feature shot entirely for Barco Escape. The film, titled “6 Below” and starring Josh Hartnett, will be released later this year.

Barco Escape also holds a multi-year deal with 20th Century Fox and a development deal with Jerry Bruckheimer, who is also an advisory board member.  Barco is committed this year to offering at least four films in Barco Escape, which has proven to bring audiences out to the cinema with its first two theatrical releases.

The fully DCI-compliant Barco Escape technology utilizes three cinema projectors and two additional cinemascope screens, allowing filmmakers to create for a much larger canvas.  With current exhibitor partners in the United States, Europe, Mexico and China, Barco plans to expand to more than 100 Barco Escape theaters in 2016. 

About Barco
Barco, a global technology company, designs and develops networked visualization products for the Entertainment, Enterprise and Healthcare markets. Barco has its own facilities for Sales & Marketing, Customer Support, R&D and Manufacturing in Europe, North America and APAC. Barco (NYSE Euronext Brussels: BAR) is active in more than 90 countries with 3,300 employees worldwide. Barco posted sales of 1.029 billion euro in 2015.

About Bad Robot Productions
Bad Robot was formed by filmmaker J.J. Abrams in 2001. The company has produced television series such as ALIAS, LOST, FRINGE, PERSON OF INTEREST, feature films such as CLOVERFIELD, STAR TREK, SUPER 8, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – GHOST PROTOCOL, STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION, STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, and interactive content including the mobile app ACTION MOVIE FX. Bad Robot's first foray into publishing, S., a novel conceived by Abrams and written by Doug Dorst, was a New York Times Best Seller. Bad Robot is based in Los Angeles and can be followed at

Saturday, July 9, 2016

First time in 13 years: Trekland is back to Shore Leave!

I'm so excited: I'm finally getting back East to a convention, and what a granddaddy of the old-school Trek fan cons it is: Shore Leave in Baltimore, where recent years' summer con/tour timing blocked my return for the first time since 2003, when the final TNG Companion black-cover edition came out. A lifetime ago!

It's not too late at all for you to get there, either!

We're even doing a reporter-survivor interview for The Con of Wrath while there—and of course I'm going to find time to get by to see the Great Lady "E" back in her refurbished state and restored place of honor at the Smithsonian Air and Space. Can't wait to meet and thank fellow guest, Curator Margaret Weitekamp, in person for helping make that far-flung project come true.

Shore Leave is notable as the biggest summit every year of the New York Trek author mafia, and believe you me I'm much feeling my rookie status at joining this august and dangerous group as the interloper. I only hope they will be kind, since I finally deigned to stray "back East"—or "Back Mid-Atlantic," as I am constantly corrected to say.

Shore Leave is back once again at the venerable Hunt Valley Inn in Baltimore's north suburbs, and I can't wait. I have a mix of author panels and some solos, and I'll have everything from all things Trekland and another PORTAL 47 prize draw to Enterprise in Space and, of course this year—joining in that illustrious Shore Leave author and actor guest list to celebrate Trek's 50th.

I also hope to have, finally, an East Coast opportunity for the "Dr. Trek Show" to crowdfund for the Con of Wrath—stay tuned!

I'll post a schedule update soon.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Sulu is gay! The retcon of all retcons—or was it?

And the Trek headlines keep comin':

Now comes word from down-under Sydney, from the first true world premiere of Star Trek Beyond (sorry, gold-ticket Comic-Con San Diego, you're only the IMAX world premiere)...

...that Sulu is GAY. 

Gene and Rick and all the rest, trying to be progressive even at their limits of commercial TV in the 60s and even the 80s, always said the point to having a gay character would be that it should not be a major point. And that's apparently what writers Simon Pegg and Doug Jung, director Justin Lin and actor John Cho have done here, per this reporter:
Hikaru Sulu, played by John Cho, is shown in Star Trek Beyond as the loving father of a daughter with a same sex partner. And in typical trailblazing Trek fashion — it’s just not a big deal.
And you though Sulu's cool movie moment for Beyond would be that trailer-glimpsed nod to Demora—an alt-verse spanning fact that did not have to be the same in both timestreams, obviously, but cute and harmless fanservice by Pegg and Lin.

Who cares if they've stolen a little thunder from Bryan Fuller's onrushing new CBS All-Access Trek series, where I'm sure—knowing Bryan, and the annoying time-lag in getting an LGBTQ character finally to onscreen Trek—it is in the offing somehow.

It's an obvious nod and choice to beloved George Takei, who came out himself in 2005...but I'm sitting here realizing that it's far more than that. Don't even be limited by any post-Kelvin Prime/non-Prime distinction: his parents were the same in both universes, yes? And part from the offscreen implications of a daughter Demora, Sulu through all his appearances in TV and film was never even seen fakily paired up with a female other than in a cordial social sense. Certainly not like hot-blooded helm-mate Chekov...or infamous Kirk, pub-crawler Scotty, divorced Southern gentleman McCoy ....and even seven-year Spock. (Oh, and
those Deltan pheromones do it to anybody, deleted scene or not.)
It's the retcon that was there all along—whether or not George had had a behind-the-scenes understanding with Gene and Co. about not portraying Sulu as outwardly heterosexual to begin with. Any of the supporting cast getting that much screen time for any character development was a miracle—and yet even Uhura got a hetero moment with her salt-vampired crewman, much less even Rand and Chapel.

Yes, THIS is much more the kind of surprise I like to keep getting about my Trek as 2016 and #FiveOhFever roll along. Stay tuned... I have a feeling there'll be more.

Including a comment soon from seen with husband Brad at our The Con of Wrath shoot:

Sunday, July 3, 2016

From the fan-film guidelines to Rihanna, and Beyond — My take on all those Trek headlines, in one fell swoop

Wow. I picked the wrong week to go off-the-grid into bad wi-fi back home in Soonerland...!

I have so much to get done with "5-0 Fever" con summer and the Trek tour bearing down, plus a new On Speaker archival CD edition to get out ... and a nice website redesign for Trekland, finally, and Portal 47 both in the works...

But I have to say a few things about the crazy going down in Trekland the last few days—starting with the fan film guidelines came out the day I traveled to SoonerCon. (Of course. Oh, and the reaction.)

So take an extra 4.7 minutes and I'll wrap it all up for now in one subspace blast and say...

REALLY, Trekland? So much hate and trolling and boycotting...and, right NOW?

Take a breath and step back a sec. Let's put it on the main viewer, shall we?

It's July, 2016. We have a Star Trek feature film that is not only looking more like Star Trek to the hardcore than its two priors... but an exciting episodic series under an award-winning Trek vet with a mix of both Trek alumni and newer voices ...on a platform that will not be ruled by ratings numbers or even note-popping censors ... and, in Rihanna's "Sledgehammer," a Bond-like music hit and video mix from an actual fangirl superstar that will cross generations, continents and media to bring all-new eyeballs to all things movie-Trek and start the pipeline of fresh cadets and warriors and drones all over again.
Rihanna's "Sledgehammer" video w alt-Enterprise: Anyone else see a "The Doomsday Machine" homage here?

PLUS an awesome 50th anniversary that *is* living up to far more than just party hype—with major conventions around the globe, concerts and museum /science tours and the return of the 1960s original 11-footer Big E to its rightful place of inspiring honor in the Smithsonian, complete with a highly researched paint and detail restoration. I just missed seeing the 1701 in 1976, saw it in 1986, was disappointed in 1992... and can't wait to glimpse her return to glory in a couple weeks, right before Shore Leave.

And this is all grabbing mainstream media attention ...smack in the middle of the Big Bang Theory Era. That's what they used to call "synergy."

How people can be poking holes in all that positive, franchise-refreshing force for good is just beyond me. Really. But hey, don't misunderstand: I'm not saying go vanilla—I'm just saying go smart.

What I really refuse to do is get too sucked into the time and negativity sink over the Axanar lawsuit and all the tangent spinoffs from itwhile still avoiding any "deer in the headlights" blindsidingWhile you might be feeling a bit down that the Golden Age of Fan Films seems to be over, let me just suggest that it might simply be ...evolving. For I remember all the prior times "Paramount" was decried by fans— from the marketing study and boycott over Spock's death threatened for The Wrath of Khan, to the upset over the "new" upstart TNG without Kirk/Spock/McCoy... and the yell over every new iteration of series to come. And somehow, it all came out in the end just fine. I even hear Star Trek AND its fandom hung around and pressed on.

Look, my low-key friend John van Citters of CBS licensing is now an unlikely Internet star front-and-center over the "fan film guidelines" (thanks to Jordan Hoffman's new official podcast Engage)—but that's the same JVC who used to point out to me years ago, at the clamor for embracing such "rules," how "a Lucasfilms model of 5-minute festival entries would never fly with Trek fans so let's just leave it in the gray area to avoid getting those lawyers involved"--the guys who care less about promotion and brand-building, and more about fiduciary duty and legal precedent. As is their oath. 

That's how I know what a huge leap these guidelines were, for the corporate machinery to agree to as much as they did—even as, to some fans, that 15/30-minute limit may seem restrictive...which is inevitable. There will be a bit of customizing in reaction, on a case-by-case basis ... but look, guys: For nearly two years, I've been worried. I mean, I've been soooo proud to have acted in, and remain a part of the think thank, for Continues; I appeared in New Voyages early on, and have supported Starbase Studios back home in OKC plus any other project that asked for it, on principal.  And yet, sadly, the boom does seem unsustainable in some ways: Today's zooming crowdfunding and temptations mean it was increasingly likely this ever-more-overloaded plane was going to have a rough landing on the choppy sea of expectations sometime— and becoming more apparent every month to many of us.

And face it: As I've said for a couple years now, I was also expecting a lot of the fan-film fire to go out—by fan producers, if not backers and attention spans in general—once a Trek series got going again, sucking all the air out of the room with new canon content to follow and fathom. That's right around the corner, now.

Question is, when and where and how rough would that landing be, who'd take charge in the crisis (if anyone), and who would get hurt in the crash? And would the "owner" CBS/Paramount get blamed, no matter what?

The post-guidelines world will not be this way forever—just ask the website owners who freely post scene clip frames today, unlike in 1996 when C&D's by Paramount went out as frame-grabbing exploded ... or the "official" editors like me four years later who could not mention actors' non-Trek crossover projects in depth—until we could. (Professor X in a Trek mag, anyone?) Or the idea of limiting later-generation Trek cast and crew to only licensed conventions (ca 2001).

The truth is, things in any pop culture franchise "poppish" enough to be alive are always the edgiest on the cutting edge—the fun frontier where no attorneys or rights-protectors have gone before. Until everyone does go there, at least, and things settle down....and then start up again in another paradigm. That's just the world we live it. It's unsettled, but it's ever-fresh: And it's the price you pay for having an incredibly attractive, thought-provoking little space show that keeps attracting new fans, new iterations, new business ...and refuses to die after 50 years.

The other truth is this: For all the meme meltdowns online past and present, fan film fandom... con-going regulars  ....hell, all Internet Trek fandom... are just a drop in the bucket among all the armchair fans out there. You know: the folks who watch the shows, buy the books and toys, and raise their kids with Trek?

And now... a boycott? Really?
Aside from the basic math, consider the timing.

Because Vulcan's Forge was never like this: We are FINALLY emerging from wandering the Trek desert of the last 12 years, and have now a transition time from what *was* to what *is*—whether it's fan film parameters or a hit music/movie video or a for-pay streaming platform in the fast-changing media landscape. Same as 1979, 1982, 1987, 2001 ...and 2006.

Thank the Prophets it's happened again. It means we're still alive... and that a 100th anniversary Trektennial in 2066 is a pretty sure bet.

Oh—and beyond our selfish fun? Star Trek remains a good bet for a wracked world that could really use some hope and intelligent futurism in its free time right about now. 

Just like in 1966.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

'Augmented reality' for collector pins? Yes, and more out now from FanSets—aka my old buddy Dan Madsen!

Some of just the first offerings from Fan Sets
It's the 50th! Everyone is looking for a new way to show and celebrate their Trekness... and now here's a cutting-edge spin on an old favorite from none other than my buddy and colleague Dan Madsen.

His new company FanSets just launched with Dan, founder of the former longtime Official Star Trek Fan Club and my boss-publisher for the late great Communicator mag, and two partners in a great new enterprise: combining official and beloved 2-inch Star Trek character and ship pens in a bunch of new ideas for wearing and display—including a blow-your-mind way to see and enjoy pins in a whole new way!

Wait, what? you're saying by now: 
Pins are kinda retro, old-school —and yet still fun for when you can’t cosplay and just want to wear a favorite ship or character. But what's cutting-edge about a pin?

My annual catch-up with Dan at San Diego Comic-Con
"It’s the Augmented Reality pins," Dan told me in an exclusive chat. "We are working with a company out of Indonesia that is one of the top three Augmented Reality companies in the world. Essentially, what this is, is—let’s take the Enterprise pin: You'll be able to take an app that we’ll provide and, when you see that pin on anyone, hold your smartphone or your tablet up to it for a second–and suddenly the Enterprise will come alive, out of the pin: it will literally be 3-D and move—shoot off into warp drive, with music and sound effects."

Or, say, point your app'd smartphone at one or more certain characters on a transporter pad and get a 3-D holographic beam-out effect, with voices and music. Or stand your Enterprise pin next to your buddy with her Klingon ship, and point again:  "The Enterprise will come out of the pin, the Klingon will come out of the pin, and they’ll have a space battle right there on your phone! Firing back and forth at each other."

Dan says he and FanSet partners Lew Halboth (28 years in the video game industry) and John Garrison(his industrial background backed by comics fandom) expect to have the first AR pin out by Christmas, and to demo the system for fans at "STLV"Creation Vegas Khaann. But long before then, there are lots of other lines coming—and an ever-growing batch of the basic pins are up at the website right now."The fun thing is, not only can you wear them, you can display them," Dan says. "If you decide today you feel like wearing Sisko, then you put Sisko on and wear him— then you come home and you put him back in your display."

They have "tons" of these pins planned—from basic character and ship pins by the "hundreds" of styles, where minor characters like M'Ress are just the start (she's in the first 50). "She's one of the coolest pins, to me," Dan says. "That’s just an example of how we’re going into more of the minor characters that you don’t see turning up on most merchandise, if at all."

But you can also look for everything from pins with moveable parts, to autograph pins (to get and wear your favorite actor's inking), to "alphabet" pins sporting a notable of that letter (S with a Spock!) ... to the AR pins and app. The autograph pins are slightly larger, but "not so heavy they weigh down your jacket!"—and take any pen used for signing regular photos.

"By Vegas in August, we will probably have 50-70 different ships and characters, and probably have some of the first autograph pins there for the actors who are appearing," Dan says. He's especially proud of the vibrant colors and the enameling on even the basic pins: "The website does not do these colors justice! The little Chakotay pin—it's only two inches tall, but you can see in detail the little tattoo on his forehead."

And by the end of the year we're going to be launching a collector’s club, so that people can not only get exclusive pins but get access to order first on our limited- edition pins—like a run of 1701 pins, and once they’re gone, they’re gone."

Look for a special FanSets display case coming, too. "The fun thing is, not only can you wear them, you can display them," he notes. "If you decide today you feel like wearing, you know, Sisko, then you put Sisko on and wear him— then you come home and you put him back in your display." You can collect them all, he adds—or maybe just the original series. Or Next Generation or Voyager, or just the ships, or the captains...and so on.

Dan was most enthused and insistent that his partners all came together with a business plan that took over three years to design and capitalize and, in a word, is not flimsy. They fully intend to "pump out" hundreds of pins, go deep into the Star Trek bench of characters, ships, and gear—and not be dependent on early sales to make the full line come to pass, including the high-end AR pins. "No, we're not launching with just a bare-bones line—that’s the reason it’s taken so long," he says. "None of us wanted to get involved if it was gonna be hanging by a thread, at first. We wanted to make sure we had all our ducks in a row, so as to have the biggest launch and rollout we could."

"We’re gonna have a huge collection in Vegas—our very first appearance at a convention, " he adds. "We hope to have an augmented reality demonstration there to show, and we’ll have a ton of pins there to buy. And at Mission New York a month later, and at Destination Star Trek Europe." The license includes many countries globally and covers all Prime Trek, with the Kelvin Timeline movies about to be added and the new Bryan Fuller TV Trek series dealt for as soon as possible.

FanSets also has a license for the same ideas with Harry Potter and DC Comics, and will be adding more franchises soon. "But I wanted to start with Star Trek because that’s where I started, with the Official Fan Club," Dan says, "and it’s still the closest to my heart. And to get them launched in time for the 50th anniversary!"

Timing did not allow FanSets to get a booth at massive San Diego Comic-Con—but Dan says they'll have a presence with two exclusives, available from either the Stylin' Online at the Official Star Trek booth or at the Stan Lee Comikazi booths at SDCC. One of the pins is a tribute to Nimoy, Doohan and Kelley on the transporter pad, the other is an Enterprise inscribed with the SDCC 2016 line—and both to be sold for that weekend only for $12.95.

Otherwise, the regular character pins sell for $8.95, the ships are $12.95, and the Augmented-Reality pins are $12.95 as well. The line of the moveable-part and larger autograph pins are not set yet, but everything the company sells will be under $20.

And, he proudly adds, no consultants were used in the choosing of these pins.

"We’re all Star Trek fans—we sat down and thought, who should we do?" Dan recalls. "We have to do the main guys, but once past that—who are the ones we don’t see very often that we ought to do? We don’t have to sell a million of each one—we’re selling to collectors, so we can do a smaller run and do pins that appeal to a smaller number."

Sure, that's great talk, I tell him—but have you thought about a Tellarite?

Dan knows me well: “I am absolutely proud to tell you that we have a Tellarite!"

I can't wait to see it.

FanSets also has a Facebook page.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Taking Trekland back home for 'Silver' SoonerCon # 25

Thanks to my homies back in red-dirt fandom land, I'll be back BUSY with a Portal 47 drawing and all the Trekland road show once again in metro OKC for SoonerCon next weekend—which this year is a triple treat. And BUSY for me!

It's SoonerCon 25 ... on its actual 30th anniversary...and also the 25th anniversary of its onetime OKC sister media con, my own baby Thundercon.

SoonerCon is still a comfortable size at an expected 2,000, but incredibly diverse and sprawling in coverage—from anime, comics, "Oklahoma's largest sci-fi/fantasy art show", and SF/F lit and media ... to gaming, live-action role-play, "real space" science, cosplay, fan films and indie cinema.  There's also the latest inductees into the Oklahoma Speculative Fiction Hall of Fame. And it still supports a charity: this year, the
Oklahoma state chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

And they've even got SoonerCon red carpet photo-op billboard walls!

It's been growing about 15% a year since coming to the Reed Center in suburban Midwest City, five minutes east of downtown OKC just off I-40 at Sooner (yes) Road ...and has sold out the adjoining Sheraton. I'm told the next-door Hawthorn Suites/Wyndham has all mini-suite rooms and is honoring the con's $99 room rate with an SCon mention —and day/ weekend memberships* are on early-bird discount through Wednesday. You can find late news on Facebook, too.

As the comic-con mega-model has taken the country's mainstream imagination in grassroots pop culture by storm, I've seen many old-school "lit cons" across the country wither and die out altogether. Kudos to SoonerCon after its 2007 reboot, where both Leonard and the old vets join Aislinn and the new blood with savvy marketing and sponsorships... and the growth stays vibrant.

I mean, look at this sponsor row (above)—including Bernina of OKC, who sponsors the entire cosplay/costuming shebang! (Logical, Captain.)
OKC is also home to one of the three major TOS fan-film studios in the US, of course, with the education-based Starship Grissom and other productions filming at Starship Studios.  I'm also looking forward to crossing paths on the con trail with mon capitan Vic Mignogna of Star Trek Continues and joining him for the Oklahoma big-screen premiere Saturday of STC's recently-debuted sixth outing, "Come Not Between The Dragons."

I also get a chance to join SCon's rich space science/STEAM track to evangelize a whole hour with Oklahoma Space Alliance folks about non-profit Enterprise in Space. Our Con of Wrath DP Neal Hallford will be back home and doing some panels, too!

But of course my big focus this Trek anniversary year is my PORTAL 47 insider fan service, and talking about the upcoming ST Beyond with new-found enthusiasm as well as the new CBS Trek series coming in January on streaming All Access. There are three Portales in the Oklahoma City metro alone (and one ex-pat on hand), and we'll have a live meetup for sure.

So here's my way busier-than-usual days at SCon... which is also here, on-site (scroll).

And in the cookie-cutter hours between these panels, I'll be at my table 

FRIDAY (tabling noon-3, 4-5 )

3 pm: SoonerCon @midnight: Worst Book Ever (Maynard) In @Midnight style, I'll relay audience suggestions to writer panelists to create the best "worst titles" and intros ever. PART II will include the book covers drawn Sat.)

5 pm: "The State of the Trek" Forum (Ballroom D) My renowned fan forum where YOU talk and opine after my kick-off. And boy have things picked up. No rusty/dusty topics here.

6pm: Opening Ceremonies (
Ballroom D)

(tabling noon-2, 3-6 )

11 am Monster in an Hour (J Stage) I moderate audience shoutouts to several artists to fulfill the dictum of a "monster robot" artwork—which then goes to the charity auction.

2 pm: Trekland, Between the Cracks
(Ballroom B) Hey, it's my annual show of in-jokes and insights, updated for this incredible 5-0 Fever anniversary year in Trek, new movie and new series! Are you a JJverse fan—I especially want to hear from you!

4-6 pm; ST Continues screening of Ep. 6, "Come Not between the Dragons," with a panel following with Vic
(Ballroom D) Where anime fans discover Trek, and Trek fans find their childhood. :-)

6 pm: Art/Charity Auction (Ballroom A/B) I have some historic SoonerCon & ThunderCon pieces you locals don't want to miss.

10 pm-midnight: The Dr. Trek Show (Parlor: Sheraton 104)Your last chance to get in on my annual, live-touring crowdfunder event to support my documentary, "The Con of Wrath"...with prize trivia, rare unseen Trek clips AND sneak peeks of the doc with George, Walter, Nichelle...and plenty of time to still go party.
SUNDAY (Do the math—I have one hour of table time today, at 2 pm !)

Noon: Enterprise in Space: For Real! (Theatre) I get an hour to update and recruit new "virtual crew" crowdfunders, as spokesman and lead fandom/celeb outreach for this amazing, non-profit global program for student projects to orbit and be returned— inspired by the best of sci-fi and sci-fact, aboard the first real Enterprise in space. Members of the Oklahoma Space Alliance, the local chapter of EIS's sponsoring National Space Society, will join me too.

1 pm: Star Trek at 50 (Ballroom D)— A true panel, where Vic and I and everybody will share about our inspirations, dreams, and loves from Gene Roddenberry's unending little space saga's sandbox.

3 pm: SoonerCon Scoops and Stories (Ballroom D)— Yep, the veterans finally get to party and jawbone over our local con memories from the pre-cool days of fandom. Here's where it's great to have homies ... I think.

And Closing at 4 pm— for what will surely be an historic SoonerCon.
If not

*In the grand old tradition of true sci-fi conventions, your SoonerCon attendance is a
membership—in contrast to a mere show, with a ticket.