Howdy, folks. It's been a while, but I hope you haven't missed me too much. 2015 is crawling to a close and, all things, considered, it's been a good one for me and comics. I've been very lucky to work on some really fun books and I feel like I've made a little more headway this year than in years past. I apologize for not updating this blog as much as I probably should, but I guess that when my choices are to write a blog about how much I hate the Fantastic Four movie and work on a comic script, I'm best served by doing the latter (usually). Now the real key is to figure out a way to quit my day job so that I can write both a lot more often. Who knows? Maybe one day it'll happen.
Here's some exciting news to close out the year: I'm working on a new book with FUBAR's Jeff McComsey and Paul Little and Pietro titled "Honcho". The book is currently campaigning on Kickstarter, and I hope that you'll take a few minutes to check it out and, if you'd like, pre-order the first volume!
Honcho is a story that takes place in the far-flung future of the 1980s, 15 years after World War III ruined much of the civilized world. Our protagonist, Captain Stanley, arrives on the shores of North Carolina claiming to represent the United States government in exile. He finds a country split into factions, many of which have taken to baseball to divide territory and settle disputes. Can Stanley unite the separate factions on his way to Charlotte? Is Stanley even in his right mind to begin with?
Honcho takes a lot of its influence from Miguel De Cervantes's Don Quixote, a book I've come to love in the past year, so I'm excited to try and channel some of that madness into this new graphic novel. The first eight pages of the story are available to read on Jeff McComsey's blog, here: https://mccomseycomix.wordpress.com/2015/11/29/honchovolume-one-preview/
The campaign has a few days left to go, and I'm happy to say that we've met our initial goal. There are plenty of stretch goals to be had, though (including some retro baseball cards, which I'm nuts about), and up next on the list are some Honcho mini comics, which I really hope we are able to do.
If you have a second, do me a favor and check out the campaign. It is set to end just after midnight on Monday, January 4th! Keep your fingers crossed for us. Here's to a productive 2016.
I just got back from the New York Comic Con, so...I guess it's time to share pictures...from a different Comic-Con! Why not. Here's Friday at Comic-Con in lovely San Diego!
This banner always seems to tucked away. Unless you enter from one side, you won't see it. But here it is.
It's always fun to make new friends at the show.
This picture doesn't really do the thing justice. It's the Devastator combiner from the Transformers line.
This was a pretty popular display for obvious reasons. LEGO always seems to show up big for these events. I wonder if these get pulled apart after conventions are end, or if they're stored whole in a big LEGO warehouse.
While walking the floor, I ran into and probably embarrassed comic creators Mark Waid and Christy Blanch!
I'm not much of a panel goer at these shows, with a few exceptions, but I did take in a few.
This one was particularly interesting because a guy with stuffed dogs strapped to him came up and asked a question. I saw him a few other times over the weekend, and each time he had more dogs on him, including one time where the dogs surrounded his head. It was interesting.
It's the obligatory "going down the escalator at Comic-Con" shot! Yeah!!
I had took a few minutes on Friday afternoon to pick up my pre-orders from Mattel. I'm always a little stunned at the volume that big companies sell at this show. This is just one room full of items that were also on sale elsewhere at the show. There's even plastic wrap covering the floors to protect the carpet. Here's to consumerism, I guess!
While walking back to the convention, though the hotel, I found this gentleman with the Super Mario Bros. backdrop. This is the voice actor who plays Mario in the video games. Yes, he was doing the voice for those who dropped by, too.
Back to the convention hall - what a great Hawkgirl!
Here's Thanos and Loki.
I tried to make it to a Rick and Morty panel, but apparently I didn't get there in time. I was no where near making it in. It's a shame, but I got lucky later in the evening and it made up for this disappointment. On the way over, though, I saw some good costumes, including this one of two-ton 21!
X-23 and Wolverine.
Adult Swim had a big presence at the show, as in years past. This time they were set up behind the convention hall.
Rick and Morty seemed to be the biggest focus of all the [AS] displays and events. It's my favorite new show on the network (is Adult Swim a network?), so it was nice to see that other people apparently enjoy it as well.
There are always impressive costumes at this show, but this one might have been my favorite because of how dang accurate it was and how much this lady looked the part. I half expected to see her start stretching. Fantastic job.
CHECK OUT THIS AMALGAM COSTUME! That's the Storm/Wonder Woman hybrid from DC and Marvel's joint venture in the '90s. The Storm costume is really impressive as well, but I can't get over the great mashup.
Entertainment Earth had a number of celebrity signings at their booth over the weekend, and they were surprisingly easy to get into. I won the opportunity to meet late night host and SNL alumni Seth Meyers, who, by the way, is a big fan of Pittsburgh sports. We talked about the Pirates and Steelers briefly, and I got a few signed items from him. It was an incredibly smooth process, so hats off to Entertainment Earth for setting this up.
It's weird to say that I met Jamie Hyneman from "Mythbusters" in the bathroom at Comic-Con, but that's what happened. He was washing his hands and I didn't know how to approach him. The correct answer was to wait until we were both out of the bathroom, so I'm glad that I remembered some common human etiquette before getting this picture.
Matthew and John Yuan played on season four of Arrested Development. I saw them walking around in 2013 but managed to get a picture this year in which we semi-recreate one of my favorite scenes from the show. Both of the guys were very friendly and let me ask them the questions that they probably always get.
I was excited to once again make it to the Rotten Tomatoes "Your Opinion Sucks!" panel in the evening. This is one of the only panels that I feel I have to make it to every year, and it did not disappoint once again. It's lively and fun and everyone should try to see one at some point. This one was pretty crowded, so I guess people are getting the memo.
Emcee Grae Drake was in a Muppet costume.
And I got a picture with Rotten Tomatoes EIC Matt Atchity after the panel as well.
The show closed for the night after the panel, at which time I rushed out of the building in an attempt to make it to the Rick and Morty screening that was happening immediately after. We barely made it in, but it was a successful attempt.
There was a Star Wars event happening nearby...and soon after we sat down, fireworks started to go off. This drowned out everything else that was happening nearby, so we all just sat and watched the fireworks for ten minutes or so.
The screening consisted of Rick and Morty creators Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland acting out a scenario while animators drew the character. It quickly devolved into madness. Seth Green was in the audience, and he was invited up to perform as well. Most if not all had a few drinks beforehand, so it went how you might expect.
At the end of the night, we all got to see an early screening of a season two episode! This ended up being the second episode from the new season.
As we were leaving, I got to see my good Comic-Con friend, Russian Guyovich! There was apparently a Venture Bros. screening the night before, and an upcoming episode of that show was played for the unsuspecting audience. I guess I'll have to catch that when the new season (finally, mercifully) starts next year.
Two more days to go! We'll get there. And then maybe some NYCC pictures, too.
Fan films based on comic book properties are nothing new, but I had quite a shock a few weeks ago when I found the above 8mm film featuring none other than the Hulk and the Thing. At this point, it's almost 35 years old, so I'm surprised that a copy survived to be digitized, but I'm glad that one made it to YouTube.
Despite the technological limitations of the period, the film quality is decent, all things considering. It's amusing to see all of the different costumed characters in this film, from Superman to Darth Vader (Star Wars was pretty new at this point) to the Thing himself. The costume belongs to Gerry Giovinco, who relays the story behind this film here. Joe Sinnott even drew what amounts to the flyer for the film, as can be seen above.
The film itself is fairly crude and, interestingly enough, it doesn't feature the Hulk and Thing fighting - they just hang out and drink for a bit. Maybe the people behind the film were worried about messing up that great Thing costume. As Giovinco explains, he created the costume to wear at a convention - and 35 years later, I still have yet to see a better Thing getup at any con I've been to.
The entire film has its audio dubbed, which is, of course, a sign of when it was filmed. One of the directors listed in the credits is none other than Bob Schreck, who went on to be a top editor at DC for a time and is part of the Legendary line of comics (publisher of Holy Terror) today.
The film even has an IMDB page. I can't figure out if the Thing only has one eye, as you can only see the right eye throughout the film, of if the other is just perpetually shadowed.
The date for this film is either 1982 or '83 (I found both dates listed), and the Hulk obviously takes its cues from the Ferrigno version. What a strange find. The film seems pretty random and madcap throughout - someone compared it to the Rocky Horror Picture Show - but it's fun to see. I wonder what these guys are up to today. I'd sure love to chat it up with Giovinco about his Thing costume.
Here's a bunch of pictures from Comic-Con, these ones from the Thursday of the show. Was it awesome? Yes, it was.
I had mentioned this in a previous post, but the New England Comics booth seemed more crowded at this show than it had in previous years. At least part of this was due to the sketch covers that were available at the booth, which proved to be pretty popular. Here's a shot from the booth early on Thursday. Note the loving faces of people who were paying no attention to me. I'll take it.
This kid was, I think, 16 years old and he made his own Galactus costume. He's going places.
While waiting in line, this gentleman approached me and asked if I was in Franks and Beans. I mean it. It actually happened. Apparently he had bought the DVDs that Larry and I took to Comic-Con a few years ago...and he watched them...and recognized me. Phillip (who I found out works on the show "Bob's Burgers") here is in the Franks and Beans Hall of Fame from here on out.
Mary Marvel with...that rabbit Marvel character.
The Taco Truck was back for another year, thanks be to all that is good. Best place to eat at the convention is outside the convention.
I probably scare this guy by asking him to take pictures with me every year. But I'm just so dang excited about the Taco Truck. So excited, it seems, that I capitalize the first letters in "Taco Truck".
I was lucky enough to get a ticket to the William Shatner panel being held early on Thursday at the new Nerd HQ location. After leaving the Taco Truck (with a tear in my eye), I walked to the offsite location.
This year's Nerd HQ moved from Petco Park to the brand new Children's Museum a few blocks away. I picked up my wristband and took a quick look around before heading down to the panel area, which was separate from the rest of the building.
I had pretty good seats for the panel, which was probably as crazy as you might expect. I came hoping for a Shatner-esque time and was not disappointed. The aggrandizing, the aloofness, the fun of it all...Shatner even hit on a few women during the hour-long show. It was a great time and I left happy. The new panel room was a bit stuffy and cramped compared to years past. It's the only thing that I thought Nerd HQ had done better in previous incarnations. But there were bound to be some growing pains the first year at a site. I expect that they'll work out some bugs for 2016.
Here's a video of the entire panel, which is worth watching from beginning to end.
Scott Pilgrim's Ramona continues to be a popular costume choice. This one was pretty good.
After the panel ended, I decided to try my luck with Skeletor's Lair once again, as there was a huge line late into Wednesday night. On the way there, I spotted this car, which had been advertised leading up to the event. Adult Swim was sponsoring free rides for anyone who could flag down this (or a similarly-outfitted) car.
I didn't have very far to go, but I wanted to get a chance to take a ride, so I hopped in the front, sharing the ride with the two folks in the back. I got out after a block.
It was a good choice trying to get to Skeletor's Lair, the Mattel and Super7 pop-up store, on Thursday. There were probably five people in line ahead of me when I got there, as opposed to maybe 150 the night before. Still, it took me about 20 minutes to get in, as they were keeping the crowd inside to a safe number.
The store was tiny inside, but it was fun to see. There were a few paintings of Skeletor adorning the walls. The people putting it together had a lot of fun.
This is what the inside of the store looked like. A lot of things had been bought by the time I got inside, but I still managed to get some M.O.T.U.S.C.L.E. figures (He-Man-style M.U.S.T.L.E. toys) before leaving.
Someone had his collection on display, and why not?
The nicest addition to Skeletor's Lair was this Battle Cat trophy behind the register.
On the way back to the convention center, I saw more of the mysterious "Bart Club" art that I had seen the night before. Was it a part of the convention? Was it advertising anything? What's the story with these things?
Here's more from the same block. I checked, and "@bartclub" is not a Twitter handle. Instagram, maybe?
Ketchup is also a theme on these things, apparently.
Bart Club. I hope it's not some horrible sex club advertisement that I'm posting here on the blog. But I guess that's the chance I'm taking.
The new Sharknado was advertised fairly heavily during the show, including with a parade that had people dressed in shark costumes and stilt-walking Uncle Sams.
This Lego mashup was outside of the Hard Rock Cafe' in the Gaslamp district.
Back to the convention floor. Disney remains a popular costume choice at Comic-Con.
Oni Press recently started publishing the comic tie-in to the Adult Swim cartoon "Rick and Morty". The show is fantastic - easily the best new show on [AS]. Creators Dan Harmon (Community) and Justin Roiland (Adventure Time) showed up for a signing toward the end of the day. It was a ticketed event, but the ticket was easy to grab (I just had to ask for it). The line was long by the time I arrived and it moved slowly, but eventually I got to get a few autographs.
Also, Dan Harmon and I took a lovely, intimate photo together. It looks like we're about to kiss.
This was as close to Conan O'Brien that I got all weekend. I got tickets to the "Conan Bingo" event on Thursday evening, but I was part of the "B" team, I guess, and there wasn't any room for me once all of the A-listers showed up. This is a shame as I would have loved to at least seen what this was all about.
After being rejected at bingo (a phrase I never anticipated typing), I went over to the MTV part at Petco Park. I did this once before in 2013, but last year's event was so packed that I never made it in. MTV required badges again this year and I was able to get in with little waiting.
Some of the carnival rides from '13 made it back this time around. There was free food again, which I gobbled up.
...oh, and a unicorn.
...and a plant person.
I rode some of the rides before the show (an awards program) stared.
I was on the Ferris wheel when the program started, and I got outta there pretty soon afterwards. Not that this should be a big surprise to anyone, but I'm certainly not in the key MTV demographic so I snuck out after disembarking.
In contrast to previous years, Nerd HQ had two nighttime parties as opposed to one, the first being Thursday night. I checked it out with my brother-in-law and some friends. The photo booth is always a popular attraction, which is pretty funny to think about, because pictures have been around for 150 years.
Here's a shot of the main floor from the upstairs video game-themed section.
We didn't stay at Nerd HQ for very long as part of our party had to leave for parts unknown (or Los Angeles). But it was a full day with more excitement to come. I'll probably post pictures of that stuff. Oh, heck, I'll absolutely post pictures of that stuff. It's inevitable.