PISCATAWAY, NJ – NOVEMBER 17: Head coach James Franklin of the Penn State Nittany Lions runs onto the field with his team before taking on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at HighPoint.com Stadium on November 17, 2018 in Piscataway, New Jersey. (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)Reports emerged this week that Penn State is one of several schools being considered for an HBO show produced in the same manner as Hard Knocks. Head coach James Franklin responded to those reports this week.According to the Centre Daily Times, Franklin found it “great” that his program was being considered. But he made it clear that no decisions have been made yet.“We consider all these options that we think are in the university’s best interest,” Franklin said Wednesday. “It’s great that we’re in that conversation, but no decision has been made at this time.“As you can imagine, there’s a lot that goes into it, not just with Penn State but with the Big Ten and a lot of other things that factor into it. So, at this point, we haven’t made a decision.”On Tuesday Penn State acknowledged that they were “exploring the prospects of working on this project” with HBO. Penn State is one of four programs being considered, along with Arizona State, Washington State, and Alabama.The Nittany Lions certainly have the potential to make for some compelling television.Since Franklin took over in 2014, Penn State has regained its status as one of the elite programs in college football.In the last three years, Penn State has gone 31-9, winning the Big Ten title in 2016 and finishing in the top 25 each time.On top of all of that, the Nittany Lions have developed plenty of NFL caliber talent. Over two dozen Penn State players have either been drafted or otherwise entered the NFL in the last five years.
In the artists’ alley, Saskatoon-based graphic artist Audra Balion, the creator of the Flight Ninteen comic series, and writer Mark Allard-Will, known for his work on Saskatch-A-Man and now The Burning Black: The Legend of Black Shuck, talk over Balion’s table.Balion, who is also the creator of the Little Monster Menagerie, finds it helpful to connect with fans and other creators face to face.At events like the Expo, she said she and other creators share ideas and tips. Different people see things in different ways, she added.Flight Nineteen is a silent graphic comic, which means there’s no text or speech balloons to help tell the story. The art is what propels the plot forward, so she seeks feedback from other artists on colours and gestures used in the illustrations to see if she’s getting her point across.The response from fans has been overwhelmingly positive also.“We spend a lot of time in the studio, by ourselves, critiquing our own work, going ‘Oh that’s not good enough.’ So it’s kind of a little motivational boost to keep working,” she said.Saskatoon-based Allard-Will echoed her sentiment. Connecting with the people who read his work is the most important part at events like the Expo.“But to connect to other artists is fantastic, because this is for neophytes to the industry, this is the way that you can find artists or writers who you want to collaborate with and work with, and it’s a way to feel out their personality, to see if you’re going to be able to click with them and to actually visually see their work and portfolio,” he said.The Expo runs until Sunday evening. Tucked away in an exhibition hall at Prairieland Park is a booth where Saskatoon’s own Dark Knight greets visitors with a smile.Sabastian Van Esch has donned the cape and cowl of Saskatoon Batman for nine years and is an entertainer and cosplayer who works with charities. Seven years ago, he formed the all-volunteer Justice League of Saskatoon, which has had up to 12 members.Every year, the Justice League of Saskatoon takes part in charitable events and walks, visiting children in hospitals who aren’t able to be home for the holiday and ensuring they have presents while spending time with them in costume. They also take part in Ronald McDonald House events and go where heroes are needed.Van Esch was inspired to become Saskatoon Batman because of a near encounter with a Batman at a local mall at the age of 10. The man was dressed in a full latex Batsuit to promote one of the movies.When Van Esch approached the man after he was finished taking photos, the security staff pushed Van Esch aside, he said. The man went to a back room and Van Esch never saw him again.Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.“I was very crushed and I decided that if I put a Batsuit on, it’s going to be the opposite of that. So anybody who approaches me, they get a yes, they get pictures, we visit, whatever the case may be, (whatever) the age is,” he said.The annual Saskatchewan Entertainment Expo is where fictional universes collide with cosplayers and plainclothes attendees packed the main hall of Prairieland Park, surrounding the artists’ and artisans’ booths. Owen Woytowich / Saskatoon StarPhoenix The Saskatoon Expo took is taking place this weekend at the Prairieland Park. Artist Audra Balion stands for a photo by some of her work during The Saskatoon Expo at Prairieland Park on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. Owen Woytowich / Saskatoon StarPhoenix A character in cosplay at the Saskatoon Expo held at the Prairieland Park on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. email@example.comRelated Owen Woytowich / Saskatoon StarPhoenix How to SaskExpo