Posts tagged: Gordon Smuder

CONvergence 2015 Guest of Honor Badges

Since co-founding the first CONvergence in 1999, I’ve drawn unique, custom badge art for every CONvergence Guest of Honor, every year. It’s time consuming, but I believe—both as a convention runner and as a frequent guest at conventions myself—that it creates a powerful first impression towards CONvergence being a unique convention experience.

I usually try to reference something from a given guest’s body of work in a clever way, as well as try to incorporate our mascot, Connie, on badges for Guests who have been to CONvergence before and are already familiar with the character. Here are the custom Guest of Honor badges I created this year for our CONvergence 2015 Guests.

CVG 2015 GoH Badge prev - Wesley Chu

Wesley Chu

It’s always a challenge designing a badge for author guests if I don’t know of a recognizable visual “hook” associated with their work. But when I saw multiple references by Wesley in various bios and interviews to trying to perfect his “Blue Steel” look (he’s a big Zoolander fan), I knew what I had to do. Upon meeting him, Wesley said to me about his badge “How did you KNOW?”

Follow Wesley Chu’s blog at

CVG 2015 GoH Badge prev - Nicole Dubuc

Nicole Dubuc

When I read that Nicole Dubuc had not only written a Flash comic but had voiced Iris-West Allen on Young Justice in addition to writing episodes of the series, I was tempted to do something with that theme for her badge art. I was worried that it was just my Young Justice bias showing, though, so I instead decided to work with the bigger milestones of her career. Kim Possible was one of Nicole’s first writing gigs and she developed the recent Transformers: Rescue Bots. She told me at the con that Chase happens to be her favorite Rescue Bot! Now if only we’d had more time to talk Young Justice

You can follow Nicole Dubuc on Twitter as @NicoleDubuc.

CVG 2015 GoH Badge prev - Chad Frey

Chad Frey

Chad Frey has been a set designer and art director on more films that I could even begin to work with, and I didn’t really know which were favorites or his level of contribution to each beyond the job title. I ended up focusing on his design work for Oz the Great and Powerful and had elements from his other films swept up by the cyclone, including references to Transformers, Cloverfield, The Green Hornet and even Mad Men.

Learn more about Chad Frey on his website,

CVG 2015 GoH Badge prev - Charlotte Fullerton

Charlotte Fullerton

While I try not to over-use Connie on our Guest Badges, I knew it was safe with Charlotte. She’d been to CONvergence before when her late husband (the great) Dwayne McDuffie was a Guest of Honor, so she knew who Connie was. It was kind of a no-brainer to dress Connie up as Ben 10, as that franchise has dominated much of Charlotte’s career for several years, including her role as story-editor on Ben 10: Omniverse.

You can follow Charlotte on Twitter at @TheCFullerton and on Facebook at The Charlotte Fullerton Page.

CVG 2015 GoH Badge prev - Lee Harris

Lee Harris

Lee Harris is an author and editor, currently Senior Editor for the new Novella imprint at, which presents the usual issue I have with finding a visual hook for someone known for work in a non-visual field. I ended up going for a fun graphic treatment of a picture of Lee himself, which seems to have worked. Lee commented “You must be a great artist. You managed to make me look cool.”

I have to note that Lee was fantastically funny our annual, very silly SMACKDOWN! panel. It was great getting to spend some time chatting with Lee over the con weekend!

Learn more about Lee Harris at his blog,, and follow him on Twitter as @LeeAHarris.

CVG 2015 GoH Badge prev - Jennifer Ouellette

Jennifer Ouellette

Sadly Jennifer is the one Guest of Honor I never managed to meet face-to-face over the convention weekend. All you really need to know about Jennifer’s badge art is that one of her books is titled “The Calculus Diaries: How Math Can Help You Lose Weight, Win in Vegas, and Survive a Zombie Apocalypse.” I feel like I nailed 3 out of 4 elements of that title. All four if you consider bits of a zombie being missing as weight loss.

Jennifer writes the blog, Cocktail Party Physics for Scientific American.

You can learn more about Jennifer Ouellette on her website,, or follow her on Twitter at @JenLucPiquant.

CVG 2015 GoH Badge prev - Gordon Smuder

Gordon Smuder

I’ve been friends with Gordon for many years and have been lucky enough to collaborate with him on a few projects. I flat out asked him if he had a preference for what he wanted on his Guest of Honor badge. I swear I thought he said “No puppets,” which baffled me because Gordon is best known for his puppet building and for puppet-based projects like Transylvania Television and his upcoming Vermin (Featuring MST3K Alumni Trace Beaulieu). So I went with something I knew was one of Gordon’s great fandoms: The Herculoids. Gordon said he LOVED the badge, but that he’d told me “No MUPPETS.” Why the heck would I ever have considered putting Jim Henson Studios characters on Gordon’s badge? Ah, well…

You can see many more of Gordon’s puppet creations at
Learn more about the Vermin web show and its Kickstarter at

CVG 2015 GoH Badge prev - Toni Weisskopf

Toni Weisskopf

Another stumper: Toni Weisskopf, publisher of Baen Books. I didn’t want go to the “portrait” option for a third time, so instead I did a fun graphic treatment of the Baen logo. I lucked out again as Toni loved it. I don’t think I ever saw her face-to-face again after the Guest Reception on the night before the convention properly began, so I hope she had a great con weekend!

CVG 2015 GoH Badge prev - Bryan Thao Worra

Bryan Thao Worra

And finally, Bryan Thao Worra was another 2015 guest I’ve been lucky enough to have been friends with for a few years. When I asked him about badge art preferences he mentioned a couple of options, including adding something to his collection of Naga artwork. So for a multi-year attendee CONvergence panelist, one more Connie. This one being Connie as a Naga, with each of the Medusa-like crown of snakes sporting their own Connie-style antenna.

You can learn more about Bryan Thao Worra at his blog,, and follow him on Twitter as @thaoworra.

So that wraps up all of the CONvergence 2015 badge art. You can check out my 2014 blog posts featuring the CONvergence 2014 Guest of Honor Badges and the CONvergence 2014 membership badge art as well! And if you’re interested in checking out more badge art from previous years, I’ve got most of it posted on my blog under the “Badge Art” tag – click here to check it out!

CONvergence 2013 wrap up

There are too many friends connected with and people to thank to list them all here, but I wanted to share some highlights I thought might be of interest.

CONvergence Opening Ceremony began with a live musical sketch called “Avenue Who,” which is basically what would happen if Avenue Q and Doctor Who made sweet, sweet love and had a baby.  It was written by Tim Wick, Chad Dutton and Gordon Smuder, with puppets built by Gordon Smuder.

The cast included:

Tim Wick as Purple Monster
Molly Glover as Pink Monster
Nick Glover as Leonard Nimoy
Windy Bowlsby as Mary Poppins
Courtney McLean as The TARDIS
Jeff Neppl as The Doctor
Christopher Jones as A Dalek
Laszlo Nemesi as Sherlock Holmes
Gordon Smuder as Dr. Watson
and last but not least…

Connie as herself! (With special thanks to Connie’s personal assistant Dawn Krosnowski)

I’ll be sharing video as soon as it becomes available, but until then you’ll have to settle for some photos! (My thanks to Peter Verrant from the CONvergence Photography Department for these!)


Purple Monster (Tim Wick) and
Pink Monster (Molly Glover)


Leonard Nimoy (Nick Glover)


The Doctor (Jeff Neppl) offers Mary Poppins (Windy Bowlsby) a jellybaby


Sherlock Holmes (Laszlo Nemesi) and Dr. Watson (Gordon Smuder)


Did I mention that The Dalek (me) had a song?


The TARDIS (Courtney McClean) spoke like a Minnesota mom.


Connie with handler/personal assistant Dawn Krosnowski

One of the year’s Guests of Honor was Caitlin Blackwood who played young Amelia Pond on Doctor Who, and now at the age of 13 our first guest to be younger than the convention! Filmmaker Emily Hagins was 14 when she was first a CONvergence guest. Now 20, Emily was in attendance and in a completely unnecessary display of pop and circumstance, helped us crown Caitlin as our new Youngest CONvergence Guest of Honor.
Crowning Caitlin

Emily Hagins crowns Caitlin Blackwood as the new Youngest CONvergence Guest of Honor. Photo by Peter Verrant.

Opening Ceremony concluded with a special appearance by Inspector Spacetime as played by Travis Richey, who Hal Bichel and I had arranged to bring to CONvergence after having met him at the Gallifrey One convention. Hal and I are big fans of both Community and his Inspector Spacetime character’s unofficial spin-off Untitled Web Series about a Space Traveller who Also Travels Through Time, but after meeting Travis at Gally, we knew that he was really great with fans, good on a panel, and trying to build awareness of his Kickstarter campaign for Untitled Web Series season 2. It just seemed like Inspector Spacetime at CONvergence 2013: British Invasion HAD to happen.

It was a special treat for me to get to write a little scene for The Inspector in which he interacted with Connie and expressed his intention to visit the previous years of CONvergence he had missed (one of the advantages of being a time traveller) and that we was looking for an associate to join him in his adventure, preferably someone with experience as companion to a traveller in space and time. Of course he chose Caitlin Blackwood, and the two of them left the stage hand in hand, with the Inspector telling her that they were leaving immediately, “no waiting!”


Travis Richey as Inspector Spacetime in the CONvergence 2013 Opening Ceremony,
Optic Pocketknife at the ready!
Photo by Peter Verrant

Susan Lundberg - Human Being & Inspector

Travis Richey with Community’s Greendale Human Being (in reality Hal Bichel, who helped bring Travis to CONvergence!)
Photo courtesy Susan Lundberg.

Photo Courtesy Dawn - Connie Dawn Inspector

Travis Richey backstage in the MainStage Green Room with Connie and Dawn Krosnowski.
Photo by Peter Verrant

Later in the weekend, Travis debuted the Untitled Web Series Season 2 Teaser Trailer as part of his Inspector Spacetime panel, which revealed that plans for Season 2 include Guest Star Robert Picardo from Star Trek: Voyager. You can see the trailer here and contribute to the Kickstarter. One of the contribution incentives is an Inspector Spacetime print by me, which will be revealed in the coming days!

I’d like to thank Travis for coming to CONvergence and being such a good sport about joining in our shenanigans, Hal Bichel for organizing the IndieGoGo campaign that helped us cover the cost of bringing Travis to the con, and of course everyone who contributed to the campaign!

Immediately after the Opening Ceremony was this year’s SMACKDOWN panel, which this year was S.U.P.E.R.S.P.Y. Smackdown. The competitors ranged from Jason Bourne and The Black Widow to Inspector Gadget and Danger Mouse, but eventually Emma Peel won the day! And yes, we had a James Bond lightning round that pitted Daniel Craig’s abs against Sean Connery’s accent. You know, this isn’t the most serious competition… Big thanks as always to co-conspirators Tim Wick who acted as Emcee, and Melissa Kaercher to handled created and operated our Video Scoreboard. Thanks also go to Romeo Azar who created our intro video!


From Left to Right: Kelvin Hatle, Dawn Krosnowski, Joseph Scrimshaw, Jeremy Stomberg, Christopher Jones, Tim Uren, and Caroline Symcox.

Saturday at 2:00pm I had a signing at the Autograph Table alongside Travis Richey, and happily we both enjoyed a fairly steady stream of fans. Hopefully I’ll get a couple of signings scheduled for CONvergence 2014.

It’s never a convention without cosplayers. Given that I spend so much of CONvergence running around, you’d think I’d get tons of cosplay photos, but I’m actually not too quick on the draw with my camera phone and get far more photos when I’m at an Artists Alley table for the weekend (especially when I have help!). That said, I did manage to snag a photo with some Young Justice cosplayers as I was on my way in to Sunday’s Art: Impossible panel.


Me with Red Arrow, Stealth Mode Kid Flash and Artemis cosplayers at CONvergence 2013. Photo by Tony Karna.

Art: Impossible is our new improv art panel, Emceed again by Tim Wick along with Dawn Krosnowski. (I just can’t seem to get away from those two!) I think the panel was pretty entertaining, with an assortment of artists creating art based on a multiple “challenges” of various lengths. Winners bidders from the previous evening’s art auction got first pick of original art produced during the 90-minute panel.

Finally on Sunday was Closing Ceremony which found Connie having a hard time with the idea that she had to wait an entire year for CONvergence to return. Inspector Spacetime appeared again and offered to take Connie directly to CONvergence 2014 so she wouldn’t have to wait. I’d like to think I added two entries on The Inspector’s roster of Time-and-Space-travelling associates: Caitlin Blackwood and Connie!

Closing Ceremony ended by previewing plans for CONvergence 2014, which features an Urban Fantasy theme and will spotlight the 20th Anniversary of Gargoyles with a roster of guests that includes Gargoyles show-runner Greg Weisman.

CVG 2014 Ad - prev

Promotional art for CONvergence 2014

I’m really looking forward to next year’s convention, and part of me wishes I could skip directly to July of 2014 with Connie. Then I remember how much I want to get done between now and then, and I’ll happily take all the weeks I can get!

Here are some quick links to my other CONvergence 2013 posts:
CONvergence 2013 – Guest of Honor Badge Art.
CONvergence 2013 – Registration Badge and Souvenir Book Cover Art
Posters I created for CONvergence’s Costumes are not Consent campaign.


Christopher Jones, Dawn Krosnowski, and Connie