Once again, it’s that time of year when the pop culture obsessed join forces with cosplayers and celebrities alike to attend the Melbourne leg of the Supanova Pop Culture Expo.
Having packed up and moved from last weekends Gold Coast location, Supernova begins this Friday April 15th with the annual preview night before kicking off Saturday morning at the Melbourne Showgrounds.
Guests this year include Game of Thrones Jack Gleeson (Joffrey), Adrienne Palicki (G.I Joe Retaliation), Dawn Wells (Gilligan’s Island) and Bonnie Wright (Harry Potter) among a myriad of other sci-fi, fantasy and pop culture stars, artists and authors.
There also seems to be a change to the way attendees can purchase autograph and photo op tokens this year with the option to pre-purchase these tokens online via the official Supanova website all but eliminating the excruciatingly long line that had become a standard of Supanova to buy those tokens.
We’re in an era where Pop! Vinyls are literally everywhere and anything and everything pop culture related is virtually mass produced and heavily coveted, so trying to find that one unique collectible item or gift can be a tough and arduous task.
Having put myself to task to find something that was unusual and quirky, I stumbled across an etsy store that was offering something that was not only pop culture related but also rather uncommon in the collecting world.
Etsy store StuffedStars.com will turn an image of your choice into a very cute and collectible 9.5″ stuffed figure! Upon finding the store, I was immediately drawn to the bright iconic images of pop stars, rap stars and actors in fabric form, backed by eye catching backing cards and wrapped in plastic. I needed to know more!
From Stuffed Stars Etsy page: “Stuffed Stars is the perfect gift for the person that already has everything: Inspired by Music, Pop Culture, Artists and all Cultures , our Stuffed Star dolls are handmade individually in Campbell, CA.
Have an idea in mind and want to make it alive? I’m also happy to help! Please send me a conversation via Etsy and we can get started!”
So what exactly is a Stuffed Star?! Simply put, a Stuffed Star is an 9.5″ stuffed figure featuring a printed onto fabric image of your favorite star! It seems rather simple but the finished result is something quite spectacular and very quirky. With their current inventory featuring David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Kanye, Frida Kahlo and Billy Idol among a myriad of other pop culture icons, rap stars and TV stars you’re most likely to find something that fits your collection and if not, StuffedStars.com are more than happy to arrange a custom order.
Which is exactly what I set StuffedStars out to do. While their available stock is wide and varied, I wanted something just for me – of my favorite star – Laura Leighton of course, so I tasked Akim from StuffedStars to wow me with a design. Custom requests work best when high quality images are available so I sent the following image off to Akim:
For those looking at custom orders, you’ll be updated as progress continues from communication to image choice to digital drafts where changes can be made right up until the final work takes place.
All in all, through the duration of the work, you’ll be kept well informed just as to how your product is coming along and turn around time (depending on current orders) can be as quick as 4 days!
So how does the final result stack up? Check out the two photos below of my order sitting happily among my Melrose Place/Laura Leighton display!
I can’t really fault the work done by StuffedStars and an unexpected feature that I found when my item arrived is the ability for these figures to stand on their own via magnets in their feet that stand on a mini custom base!
Just read some of the happy customer reviews:
“The doll was fantastic! They also gift wrapped my doll as it was being sent directly to the recipient! Fabulous! They loved the doll! 🙂 Thank you again for such great service!”
“These turned out better than I imagined! Great idea and was nice that you are able to change the outfit. Also it’s fun that you can custom the name that they come individually packed in. Service was great! Fast and I got the product in the turnaround that was committed!”
“This item was bought for my wife on her birthday and she absolutely loved it!! I can say she totally was not expecting to receive this!! Thank you once again, brilliant service, fast shipping and even got a sweet little note to say thank you for the purchase!!”
It’s only been recently that I’ve started seeing more and more news stories about how ‘adults’ are rediscovering the wonderful hobby of coloring books and how this task is being called ‘the new meditation’ as it relaxes the mind, encourages the turning off of mobile devices and creates creativity. I realized it’d been years (many many years) since I last even picked up a colored pencil and put it to paper so I delved a little more into what was being pushed towards the adult coloring book market.
I began reminiscing of the days of my GI Joe, Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, Batman and even Dune coloring books getting a good work-out, so where were these types of books for people like me who wanted something to connect with to color in? eBay has these ‘vintage’ coloring books but due to their age, they cost a pretty penny. A search in local department stores proved mostly fruitless with most of the coloring books featuring Barbie fairytopia and pepper pig (I did find a pretty cool Avengers: Age of Ultron deluxe coloring book for $7) and local supermarkets have begun selling basic Marvel related coloring books featuring Thor, Iron Man and the Avengers for $2 a pop.
Extending the search even further, artists on Etsy and around the net are starting to cash in on the craze with some very cool and very unique subjects.
ILoveMel.com have released a bunch of coloring books based on pop culture and celebrities all featuring hand drawn illustrations by artist Mel Elliott. Books featuring James Franco, Taylor Swift, Kate Moss and Jamie Dornan are all available for purchase and receive the color treatment. The Thrill Murray coloring book has been around for a few years now and features Bill Murray in an array of well known characters from Lost in Translation and Ghostbusters.
TeamArt, over at Etsy, are selling some personal favorites that I’ve been stalking to buy with amazing ‘mini-books’ featuring Tina Fey, Lena Dunham, Paul Rudd, Game of Thrones and Ty Burrell all waiting to be colored in.
Getting back to that $7 Avengers book I picked up…it is true that once I picked up that red pencil to start coloring in Black Widows flowing hair, it was easy enough to disconnect, relax and loose time as I fleshed out her skin and gave her some really dark eye makeup.
The coloring-books-for-adults-craze has seen books priced upwards of $20 per book, while as I mentioned, the marvel ones I purchased ranged from $2 for basic Avengers/Guardians of the Galaxy books at the supermarket to $7 for a deluxe book at a department store. One that I am keeping my eye out for releases August 1st and is called “Creative colouring for grown ups: the classic comic colouring book” which features fantastic images from vintage comic books of the 1950s ready to color in.
The flipside to buying coloring books is to google search your interest and go from there! This is my next task!
Check out some of my work-in-progress below!
Vintage 80’s Barbie coloring page
The X-Men get the color treatment
Black Widow wears hooker eye makeup
Have you found some awesome coloring books? Share below in the comments.
There’ll be at least three people dressed as Superman, a couple of Storm Troopers and some people dressed up in outfits referencing such obscure characters you’ll be wondering how comfortable they could be under all the layers and body paint. Yes, Supanova Expo is almost here again!
As per usual, Gold Coast and Melbourne are the first stops with an impressive line-up of movie and TV stars available for autographs, photo sessions and even better, Q&A seminars, throughout the weekend.
Gold Coast (April 4-6) and Melbourne (April 11-13) will see names like Lucy Lawless (Xena Warrior Princess), Michael Rooker (The Walking Dead), Finn Jones (Game of Thrones), Lindsay Wagner (The Bionic Woman), Voice talent from Adventure Time plus Verne Troyer (Austin Powers Movies) and Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca Star Wars Trilogy) all appearing.
Sydney and Perth venues are also expecting a decent lineup of stars with Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite), John Barrowman (Torchwood), Katie Cassidy (Melrose Place 2.0/Arrow) and Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville) all slated to appear.
Like every year, the event organizers at SupaNova have put together some amazing ticketing deals allowing the biggest fans get the best experiences!
There’s a Middle Earth Magic Pass for $250 which includes a group photo with cast members of The Hobbit, priority queuing for photo ops and autographs plus entry to the Middle Earth Q&A panel on the Sunday.
Also, there’s a Fan of the Arena pass for $250 for fans of Lucy Lawless and Spartacus which along with priority queuing also includes a group photo with Lawless and Manu Bennett (Crixus in Spartacus).
I’ve attended the last 5 events, meeting and getting photos with the likes of Barbara Eden (I Dream of Jeanie) and Eliza Dushku (Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Dollhouse), Peter Facinelli (Nurse Jackie), Charisma Carpenter (Angel) and Claire Kramer (Buffy the Vampire Slayer). While the photo and autograph ops are great fun, it’s the Q&A seminars that are the most fun! Great way to find out some unknown or rare facts about some of your favorite shows!
Update: James Callis (Merlin, Battlestar Galactica) and Freema Agyeman (Dr. Who, The Carrie Diaries) have been added to the Melbourne/Gold Coast line-up! Manu Bennett has had to cancel due to Arrow filming running overtime while Lucy Lawless has had to pull out of all commitments from Sundays schedule, though she’ll still appear Friday night and Saturday.
To keep updated with all the news, hit the Supanova Expo Facebook Page!