Results tagged “Tour de Comic-Con” from kwc blog

Tour de Comic-Con: Friday's Stage

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comicconsplash_ccilogo.gifkwc arrived in San Diego just in time to walk over with the rest of Team Uni (bleusky, ota, parakkum, and littlestar -- m had already gone on a solo breakaway) to the Convention Center.

The big panel on the day was Joss Whedon, plus the writers and actors of Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog. The line for Ballroom 20 was once again a nightmare, but kwc was able to guide littlestar and bleusky through the special door he found last year, past the cast of Stargate: Atlantis, through the security guard check, and into the ballroom. A harrowing course, but easier with experience.

The first goal on the day was to obtain the Lego pieces for the Joker figure, which like all good schwag, is upgraded to even better schwag when completed: you get a display box that also contains a Lego Batman figure. It was time consuming, though easy to complete, and Team Uni now has six Lego Jokers, seven Lego Batmans, and an extra Lego Joker head.

Nathan Fillion and Neil Patrick Harris dueled on stage in real life as on screen and Whedon answered the many questions with the normal entertaining, sarcastic responses. There didn't seem to be much difference between Captain Hammer and Nathan Fillion, and much of Dr. Horrible's character was formed out of Neil Patrick Harris' amusements for boredom. Felicia Day was forced to keep her hands on the table after the audience misunderstood what it meant to be "twittering".

The sketches today were few but quality: a couple Attaboy sketches, a Pirate Scratch by Kurtz, the yearly Stan Sakai sketch, and some monsters by Rodolphe Guenoden. parakkum collected some signed Queen and Country definitive editions from Greg Rucka, who entreated parakkum to "Please, don't blow me up." Yes, Rucka can peer into men's souls. There was also a bit of 3D to this year's sketch haul: a Gary Baseman-drawn Vimobot.

Team Uni regrouped at the end of the day for the Avatar finale. The audience was tested with long lines into Room 6CDEF and the verbal challenge: "If you get out of line to go to the bathroom, the line is closed, we will not let you back in. If you have to go to the bathroom, you will have to chose." The crowds where huge, the silhouette of a Fire Lord logo was visible -- MST3K style -- at the bottom of the video screens, the fan art and costumes were entertaining, and the finale was epic.

Tour de Comic-Con: Sunday's Stage

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Sunday is a day to explore the floor, break out the wallet, and fill up the bag. Yes, today is the day that Team Uni goes out in search of a high ranking in the Credit Ruining Accountrements Classification (CRAC).

Before getting started in the CRAC, there was some loose ends with schwag and sketch points to get out of the way. Team Uni started off with a quick stop by the Wizards of the Coast booth to see if they had restocked any Attack on Endor sets. They hadn't, but there were new prizes and Team Uni managed to pick up some Magic starter and booster packs. Then it was off to Scott Morse's booth, where I got a Triplets of Belleville-style sketch of Tom Danielson drawn with sharpie and honeyfield's water brush. The sketch combines a bit of the alien-ness of time-trial cycling gear with impossible Spiderman-like body positioning and the elongated Triplets form. It'll be posted soon with the other sketches I got. I didn't commission a painting this time around as I got one at APE and I wanted to wait until I've had a chance to hang up the ones I have in my new place before I decided what I want next. Morse should have a new book out with Lou Romano and others at APE, which I'm looking forward to.

The wandering gets a bit more difficult-to-remember from there. We won some hats from Viz Media, I got a sketch from Adrian Tomine and Yoshihiro Tatsumi (Push Man), and we got some sketches at the Flight book from the always super-nice and talented Johane Matte as well as Dreamworks storyboardist Phil Craven.

The big purchasing came when honeyfields picked up nearly every book in First Second Books catalog -- and I do mean nearly every (five out of the six spring catalog books and two out of the six fall catalog books, the latter were only available as gifts for buying the spring books). I also picked up a bunch of New X-Men issues for daveextreme, which was fairly easy to do for cheap once the Sunday fire sale began in earnest. It's always fun to see what you can buy on Sunday because some dealer doesn't want to ship stuff back.

Sunday ended earlier than normal as I wanted to get back home at a more reasonable time given the dearth of public transit options on a Sunday from San Jose Airport. m and I took off at 3, tired and happy.

Tour de Comic-Con: Back Gearage

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In parakkum's photo above you can see a shot of honeyfields and I walking the convention floor, which is deceptively clear of traffic. You can see honeyfields with Timbuk2 bag and me with backpack, poster tube, and camera strap. Next year I may switch to a setup more similar to honeyfields. The camera strap will stay but the poster tube and backpack will probably go. A backpack is hard to get access to, especially with poster tube and camera strap wrapped around your neck. You end up having to memorize an intricate order of strap removal in order to avoid strangling tangling. I've previously carried a Chrome messenger bag, which is a better than a backpack for breaking out the sketchbook, though mine is too big to easily swing around from my back to my front. I've wanted to get a medium-sized messenger bag for cycling, so now I will shop with Comic-Con also in mind.

Tour de Comic-Con: Saturday's Stage

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I spent most of the morning killing time until Quick Draw, which is really the highlight of every Saturday for me. More will come on the Quick Draw panel later, but for now I'll say that it was as fun as expected. A bit more repetitive than usual with the types of prompts, but this panel always delivers year after year.

Next up was the Brisco County panel. Due to poorly managed long lines I got into this panel late, but I got to see a lot of the Q&A with Bruce Campbell, Carlton Cuse, John McNamara, and Julius Carrey. There weren't as many entertaining verbal ripostes as the Bruce Campbell one-man Q&A show, but it was full of plenty of fun moments in the semi-reunion. I may actually try to get the DVDs, though $65 ($100 list) is a bit steep to try it out.

After failing to get into the Spiderman 3 session, the day ended with watching the Masquerade on the projection screen in the Sails Pavilion. I don't know who won, but I think our favorite was the Nintendon'ts, which featured humorous interactions between various Nintendo characters, punctuated by the decapitation of Pikachu in a Highlander showdown.

Inbetween this was the usual schwag and sketches, as well as my first big points in the Credit Ruining Accoutremonts Classification (CRAC). I got a doodle from Dave McKean and sketches from Chris Mitten and Ben Templesmith -- the Oni booth is always fun to stop by and dangerous on the pocketbook, as I picked up three more comics: Julius (Antony Johnston), Past Lies (Weir and DeFilippis), and Wasteland (Johnston and Mitten).

Team Uni picked up some of the last available Attack on Endor sets. After winning two in the morning, we went back to the booth in the afternoon to discover that the prize heap had been reduced to worthless figurines. We considered it a job well done, walking away with seven sets by my account, for a total retail value of $140.

The big CRAC points came from buying an Usagi Yojimbo original drawing that has Usagi jumping up into the air. Next year I might commission a drawing from Sakai as it's the same cost, though it's not very important as I'm really happy with what I have. I'll scan and post it in a later entry.

Tour de Comic-Con: Friday's stage

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I haven't really posted about yesterday's stage, but today's stage was so awesome that let's just leave it at my "Tired" entry for now and move onto this morning and afternoon.

Entertainment along the route picked up throughout the stage. After Snoop Dogg and Lando failed to show up for their session, things picked up dramatically with a rollicking Battlestar Galactica session. They probably gave away too many Season 3 spoilers, but Edward James Olmos and Lucy Lawless added a lot more entertainment to this year's panel. The day ended with the New Line Cinema event. Kenan Thompson was a hilarious host and things got great once the Final Destination 3 promo was done. They showed a clip from the upcoming Tenacious D movie (hilarious rock opera clip with a Meat Loaf and Dio) and then, what we were waiting for, Snakes on a Plane, featuring Samuel L. Jackson, live snakes (anaconda!), a 10-minute clip, and a hilarious mashup of some of the fan parodies. Samuel L. Jackson played his bad-ass part well, kinda like a Bruce Campbell session but with a lot more muthafuckas thrown in.

The schwag points in this year's Tour have been much more difficult to come by: the movie studios aren't giving away schwag at their presentations, there's a lot less t-shirts, a lot less posters, a lot less of everything, which doesn't make much sense as this is the biggest Tour de Comic-Con ever. Or perhaps it's so big that companies don't want to give out that much anymore. m and I are probably going to save some crucial weight tomorrow and leave our poster tubes behind as they are fairly empty.

Nevertheless, this year's Tour has some of the best schwag booths ever -- so good that I hestitate to call it schwag. After trying yesterday and only coming up with a Magic Booster pack, Team Uni got five Star Wars Attack on Endor sets that retail for $20 each. Team Uni also picked up three Boba Fett limited edition Bust-Ups, which non-limited versions retail for $4-5.

The sketches also went very well for kwc, who has been working since Thursday to get a Mignola sketch but has failed repeatedly. Today, success, as I now have a Hellboy sketch to add to my collection as well as a Stephen Silver sketch. honeyfields and my sketch books are much less full this year, but the focus has been much more on getting sketches from specific people and it has paid off. kwc has gotten sketches from Mignola, Kazu, Silver, Sakai, Guenoden, Kurtz, Aragones, and Gabe, which is a happy haul.

For both the schwag and sketch point competitions, this year's strategy has been much more in the style of Michael Rasmussen and Richard Virenque: ignore the piddling Cat 4 and Cat 3 climbs, go hard on one of the stages and take all the big climbs. Today's stage was that stage for us. With over $100 in retail with about an hour's effort each, Team Uni can coast to the finish, though we may pick up an extra Endor set or two just in case.

Tired

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I'm a bit too tired to do a full Tour de Comic-Con update today. I woke up at 4:30am today to watch the greatest ride I have ever seen. It was worth it, but it also drained me a bit for the huge crowds today. Every year is the most crowded year yet, but this is the first year where Thursday really lost the "laid-back" distinctness. Nevertheless, I summoned all the energy I could, walked the floors, and had fun. More later after I sleep, as two Tours await me tomorrow morning, one at 5:30am, the other at 10:00am.

Tour de Comic-Con: Prologue

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Team Uni bonked like Floyd Landis on the opening day of Comic-Con. m and I got off our Southwest flight and went straight to the convention center with parakkum and honeyfields. I thought of picking up a pizza in the airport feed zone, but I figured that we were taking an early dinner after and I could power through a light and easy preview night. Preview night is only open to pre-registered attendees, and as there is no actual programming and it only lasts three hours, the convention floor is fairly open and an easy course to manuever. We weren't prepared.

Every year attendance Comic-Con gets larger and larger, but for the past couple years the size of the venue has not. The number of people on the convention floor at this year's preview night was as bad as a Friday or possibly even Saturday of last year. Instead of a nice easy prologue stage to get the legs warmed up, it was hectic right out the gate, or rather, right through the double doors that thousands of people were squeezing through. I was dodging strollers, stormtroopers, and camera crews as I tried to swim like a salmon upstream to the Kinokuniya booth to buy a large sketchbook and then over to Mike Mignola's booth to grab a small Hellboy print and book of sketches. Mignola politely refused my request for a sketch, so my new sketchbook remains blank front to back.

We kept our run of the floor to a short one hour, but by the end I was exhausted, wishing I had carbo-loaded like I would on a regular stage. parakkum's parents treated us to Mexican dinner afterwards, which I gobbled like I had just ridden a stage through the Alps.

Take note Tour de Comic-Con riders: preview night is now just like any other day in the Tour. It may be shorter, but that just sends people flying around the floor faster. Watch your nutrition, stretch, and remember to draft to save energy. Luckily, this was just a prologue stage. My sketchbook may still be empty and I may have no schwag points, but I'm hoping for a nice easy start to Thursday's stage as a lot of people will be at work or in sessions instead of on the convention floor.

FYI: Samuel Jackson, Robert Rodriguez, Sam Raimi, Quentin Tarantino, Snoop Dogg, RZA, Edward James Olmos, Deepak Chopra, Bruce Campbell, Neil Gaiman, Nicholas Cage, and many others are guests this year. It's going to be crazy. Even Marvel put its name on a booth this year (shared with Activision), which is an odd move for them. It's a different event this year, but I'm looking forward to it.

Tour de Comic-Con tech

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With the shocking news that Team Uni rider h.o.b. now has a cellphone, now seems a good time to do a brief review of some technology that can help you along with the Comic-Con. In the past, I've recommended animal ID transponders for keeping track of the artists and your friends, but in case you have moral qualms:

  • Sketch book: the perfect sketch book depends on you. I prefer small, with pages you can rip out easily for framing, but the best sketches are usually in the biggest sketch books. It's more difficult to find a hardcover sketch book with ripout pages, so you may have to choose between durability and rip-ability. A hardcover version can also be used to protect flat items or as a weapon (see poster tubes).
  • Poster tubes: it'll cost you some $$$ to get one at the Con, but they're darn useful for many things you might pick at Comic-Con, i.e. drawings and posters you don't want crinkled. They're also quite useful for plowing a course through the convention floor.
  • Backpacks, rolly thingies: a backpack is essential, but they get heavy. You may want to consider something with wheels if you're planning a haul, though not as recommended for Saturday, when the convention floor looks like the mosh pit at Lollapalooza/Bonnaroo.
  • Twttr: a relatively new service, very much like Dodgeball, but seems more oriented towards broadcasting text messages to a group of friends -- Dodgeball is more about broadcasting location. Twttr can be a fast way of telling the rest of your team, "OMG Joss Whedon 6A."
  • Camera: Find yourself in a stall next to Jim Lee? Make sure the whole world knows! Okay, maybe not. I usually carry two: an SLR and a point-and-shoot. A 70-200mm f/4 zoom lens for my SLR allowed me to take these Bruce Campbell and BSG photos without being the least bit close to the stage. I also carry the point-and-shoot because it's easier to hand to someone else to take a photo and a 70-200mm lens can be too much sometimes when you're not trying to document nose hair.
  • Depends: when the lines are really long... nevermind.

Not as useful at the Con, but comic-related:

  • Bubble Snaps: what's a sequential art conference without the ability to create your own quickly? Answer: probably the same. But, just in case you want to quickly mockup some photos with thought and speech balloons, snaps might be your tool.

Comic-Con 2005 Recommendations

Tour de Comic-Con: Saturday

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Every year Saturday's stage has a special classification: the Quick Draw competition (2004 Quick Draw). Although jamesq has entered this classification before in Pittsburgh, Team Uni decided to sit this one out and watch Sergio Aragones, Kyle Baker, Jeff Smith, and Scott Shaw duke it out. Like Armstrong, everyone knows that Sergio is The Boss, but all are there to compete and put up a good show.

kwc's points in the schwag competition from Friday's stage were recalculated after he successfully sold his V for Vendetta mask for $5. The judges put kwc back into the green t-shirt, and Team Uni solidified that position by picking up Bone toys, a Bone t-shirt, Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! t-shirts, Avatar posters/t-shirt, and plenty of other goodies.

Team Uni cleaned house in the sketches classification, capitalizing on great sketches from the anthology booths, Flight and Sketchbook Sessions/Zowie, which both have many talented artists present. honeyfields was able to show off her own sketchbook, using her own sketches to keep her hold on the lead.

Another Saturday-only competition took place at the end of the stage: The Masquerade Ball. The long line of riders working their way towards this event stretched five riders wide and well over half the length of the convention center. Team Uni secured a good position in the climb to the Sails Pavilion and was rewarded with a good table near the projection screen. Sixty riders, none of them from Team Uni, competed in the actual classification. The notables were an amazing General Grevious costume, a fight/love scene between Nightcrawler and Lara Croft, and a Disney dance number It's a Disney World (to the tune of Aqua's Barbie Girl) with an Aladdin/MC Hammer interlude.

Tour de Comic-Con: Friday's Stage

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Friday's stage was a ride through Hollywood: Goblet of Fire, V for Vendetta, The Fountain, Corpse Bridge, Battlestar Galactica, and Jim Henson's 50th Anniversary (thumbs up, down, up, up, up, up). The biggest challenge for Team Uni was conquering Hall H, a Hors Category hall holding over 6000 people. The line of people entering the hall stretched over half the length of the entire convention hall. The most painful Hall H challenge was listening to Natalie Portman during the V for Vendetta preview. Her only honest answer of the entire session was:

Q: How has your liberal arts education influenced your acting?
A: It made me good at not offending anyone and being very PC about my answers to 6000 people.

Portman could use some lessons on how to answer questions the Bruce Campbell way.

jamesq went on some breaks through the several portfolio reviews and stayed close to the top, but not as well as hoped. parakkum joined him for a final attack on Disney that netted the most positive results on the day, getting a business card from the editor and specific interest in Inhabit. Only one portflio review remains, a final sprint for Marvel on Saturday.

h.o.b. rode in support of neverthere, who has picked up an impressive collection of sketches that have to be seen to believe. neverthere commissioned a Grendel sketch on black paper that's darkly beautiful, and kwc commissioned a Yojimbo sketch from Scott Morse that will be framed as soon as he gets a chance.

kwc was disappointed with his performance in the schwag classification. The Lego Star Wars booth professed to be out of Lego Mini schwag and the Battlestar Galactica panel gave out no schwag, instead raffling off a chance for one person out of the one thousand plus people there to meet the cast. kwc did pick up a V for Vendetta mask that appears to have monetary value to some and will be sold at first opportunity, as well as some lightsaber letter openers, a Goblet of Fire mini poster, and some pins that are curious.

Team Uni is very tired after yesterday's ride, but they will have to dip into their energy reserves to survive today's hectic stage. Saturday is the day in which the convention floor is most packed with fans. Team Uni riders will have cut through crowds and lines all day in route to the final climb up to the Masquerade. The Masquerade is always good for a surprise or two, so let's hope that Team Uni is up to the task on this penultimate stage. They're heading off now for their daily Irish breakfast to build up as much energy as possible, with coffee and Guinness for kwc for that extra punch.

Tour de Comic-Con: Thursday's Stage

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threadlessGood news for Team Uni today. honeyfields started in the yellow t-shirt jersey after her superb efforts in the CRAC. She continued her efforts today, picking up a variety of comics, Gagne's Odd Numbers, and a limited-edition painted version of Scott Morse's Little Book of Horrors.

  • sketches: honeyfields, ln m, "Mega-Calves" neverthere, and kwc all picked up sketches today, including ones from Ted Naifeh, Mike Norton, Michel Gagne, 'Gabe', Ryan Claytor, and Ken Steacy. kwc also got four mini sketches in his copy of Flight #2 by some of the many contributors, including Kazu.

  • schwag: kwc, honeyfields and ln m scored the coveted Lego mini schwag, taking three sets in an early morning attack. kwc attempted to score more points with later attacks, but was turned away. Team Uni scored five Adult Swim blank journals late in the day, so kwc will be wearing the green t-shirt for tomorrow's stage as he tries again to collect more Lego mini schwag.

parakkum went on an early breakaway to protect jamesq's spot in the DC and Disney artist portfolio reviews. Today was mostly jockeying for position in those classification: tomorrow will be the big day where jamesq will have to put the portfolio hammer down.

Team Uni morale continues to be high. A panel by Bruce Campbell kept everyone in stitches for an entire hour (a partial transcript of his remarks will be posted at a later date -- update: here are the notes). The full team of dlf, ylf, h.o.b., jamesqq, parakkum, ln m, honeyfields, kwc, "kitchen" neverthere, MC neverthere, and jay had dinner in the opulent backroom of Rama, ordering far more Thai food than could be called reasonable. Fun was had, though anytime h.o.b. mocked a Robert Jordan panel he attended, items on the table seemed to mysteriously fall over. The day ended with a meeting in the hotel to strategize for tomorrow's stage.

The Hollywood star power for Friday's stage has greatly increased from previous years. Warner Bros will be previewing Harry Potter: Goblet of Fire, V for Vendetta, The Fountain, and Corpse Bride, Disney will be previewing Cars and Chicken Little. The presence of Natalie Portman in the convention center will likely drive things into a frenzy that hitherto has not been seen on a Friday stage. Perhaps it will equal the madness seen for Sarah Michelle Gellar's appearance at last year's Saturday Stage. Team Uni will to ride carefully, perhaps going for some of the coveted Hollywood schwag, but they will have to avoid spending too much time in the long lines associated with these events.

Tour de Comic-Con: Prologue

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Team Uni made it through the first climb up the escalator to the registration booth in record time. The entire field was moving at a much faster pace than last year, which bodes well for this year's Tour.

The prologue stage was a quick circuit around the convention floor. There were no talks, movies, or other entertainment to worry about, so Team Uni focused on schwag and sketch points, as well as the extremely dangerous CRAC (Credit Ruining Accoutremounts Classification).

  • schwag: There weren't too many schwag points to be had on this stage. kwc attempted to go for bonus Lego Mini schwag that was hidden in a bag at the Star Wars booth, but they were too closely guarded. Now that they have been spotted, though, they should be easy takings in tomorrow's stage. The easiest schwag takings were dwarf mercenary DnD miniatures: parakkum and kwc both took two and ln m picked up another. No one on Team Uni plays DnD miniatures, but they have five dwarfs.

  • sketch: kwc got two sketches from Michel Gagne, but it was a bad day for honeyfields and ln m, who both forgot their sketchbooks. honeyfields plans an early assault tomorrow on Sakai and Gagne to get back into contention.

  • CRAC: The best showing for Team Uni today was in the CRAC. ln m and honeyfields tore through the Kinokuniya booth, purchasing two copies of the Art of Cowboy Bebop, as well as a Final Fantasy digital concepts book and a FLCL animation sketchbook. kwc added a set of Copic cool grey markers and Michel Gagne's Odd Numbers to the collection. Other teams spent a huge amount of time in line for mini Megatron statues and Han Solo busts, but Team Uni feels its nimble strategy focusing on more useful purchases will yield better results.

The nevertheres will be competing in all the stages contrary to earlier reports, which is a big boost to Team Uni morale. h.o.b. was spotted in the Viz booth but returned to his hotel room before this reporter could get comments.

Tour de Comic-Con: Team Roster

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Team Uni's roster for Tour de Comic-Con:

  • parakkum: Tour veteran. He's been doing this his whole life. If there were a comparable cyclist, it would be Viatcheslav Ekimov, who has finished all 13 of the Tour de Frances he has entered. There isn't a curve or a bend in the convention floor he doesn't know, and his knowledge of Tour history will keep the Team Uni in the right position for the right opportunities. He'll be looking to ride well for himself in the writer's competition, but he'll also using his veteran skills to help his teammates ride high in their classifications.
  • kwc: This is his third year riding with Team Uni and he'll again be looking to collect the schwag points jersey. The need to avoid all knowledge of the Other Tour will put a burden on his fellow teammates to keep him protected. Last year's effort was ruined by an inopportune radio snippet, "..Armstrong in yellow..." This year's strategy will be to place a teammate between kwc and all newstands, TVs, and anyone wearing yellow. It's a 946 mile course, but hopefully he'll be able to finish this year's Tour without any mishaps.
  • honeyfields: honeyfields possesses multiple skills that will be crucial in keeping the pace high in this year's Tour. Her uncanny knack of befriending fellow artists, even the geeky antisocial ones, should make it easy to get good sketches and her ability to find parking spaces quickly should shave off minutes from their overall time. She's a proven ally of kwc in the schwag points classification, so look for good performances there as well.
  • jamesq: Tour rookie and designated penciler, he is Team Uni's Popovych. parakkum will be trying to help jn to ride into a good place overall in the artist portfolio review competition. His inking style is bold, the form is clean, he should do well in his debut.
  • ln m: Tour gearhead and new member of Team Uni. His nose for sushi and complete collection of Apple-emblazoned gadgets should keep Team Uni in good spirits. His impressive collection of Asian cinema will also be important at the Kung-Fu Extravaganza.
  • h.o.b.: He's a last-minute entry, a Tour veteran that's been away from the sport for several years. He and parakkum used to ride together and hopefully he can quickly come into form. With him and parakkum riding together again Team Uni should be unstoppable. He's a hometown boy, so he'll be looking to impress.
  • dlf: Recently back from several years in Japan, he's another hometown boy who should return from foreign competition with an edge in the Tokyo Pop and other anime-related courses. As a veteran of the San Diego Comic-Con, he should be able to pull off an impressive run.
  • nevertheres and tooches: They'll only be competing in a couple stages, which should make their efforts even more frenzied and impressive. The tooches will be arriving with the Tour bus which will hopefully provide Team Uni with some much needed rest.