Welcome! This is my personal blog, where I chat about whatever takes my fancy, reminisce about comics, Old Time Radio, and science-fiction fandoms, review what I feel like reviewing, and so on. It also archives scans of some of the fanzines with which I've been involved.
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Saturday, July 23, 2011

You'd Know Who Won Eisner Awards if You'd Followed ThompsonMaggie on Twitter

23rd Annual Will Eisner Comics Industry Awards winners
A long day of fun at Comic-Con International: San Diego wrapped up with the Eisner Awards ceremony - and, hey! I won an Eisner Award! Well, not exactly, but sort of. We'll get to that in a minute. In the meantime, here's the list of winners (in more detail than I Tweeted): Best Publication for Kids: Tiny Titans by Art Baltazar and Franco (DC). Best Publication for Teens: Smile by Raina Telgemeier (Scholastic Graphix). Best Humor Publication: I Thought You Would Be Funnier by Shannon Wheeler (Boom!). Best Lettering: Todd Klein Fables, The Unwritten, Joe the Barbarian, iZombie (Vertigo/DC); Tom Strong and the Robots of Doom (WildStorm/DC); SHIELD (Marvel); Driver for the Dead (Radical). Best Coloring: Dave Stewart Hellboy, BPRD, Baltimore, Let Me In (Dark Horse); Detective Comics (DC); Neil Young's Greendale, Daytripper, Joe the Barbarian (Vertigo/DC). Best Digital Comic: Abominable Charles Christopher by Karl Kerschl. Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team: Skottie Young, The Marvelous Land of Oz (Marvel). Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art): Juanjo Guarnido Blacksad (Dark Horse). Best Cover Artist: Mike Mignola Hellboy, Baltimore: The Plague Ships (Dark Horse). Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism: ComicBookResources produced by Jonah Weiland. Best Comics-Related Book: 75 Years of DC Comics: The Art of Modern Mythmaking by Paul Levitz (Taschen). Best Publication Design: Dave Stevens' The Rocketeer Artist's Edition designed by Randall Dahlk (IDW). Best Anthology: Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard edited by Paul Morrissey and David Petersen (Archaia). Best Archival Collection/Project - Strips: Archie: The Complete Daily Newspaper Strips, 1946-1948 by Bob Montana edited by Greg Goldstein (IDW). Best Archival Collection/Project - Comic Books: Dave Stevens' The Rocketeer Artist's Edition edited by Scott Dunbier (IDW). Best U.S. Edition of International Material: It Was the War of the Trenches by Jacques Tardi (Fantagraphics). Best U.S. Edition of International Material - Asia: Naoki Urasawa's 20th Century Boys by Naoki Urasawa (Viz Media). Hall of Fame Judges' Choices: Ernie Bushmiller, Jack Jackson, Martin Nodell, Lynd Ward. Hall of Fame Vote Winners: Mort Drucker, Harvey Pekar, Roy Thomas, Marv Wolfman. Spirit of Retailing Award: Comics & Vegetables, Tel Aviv, Israel. Best Writer: Joe Hill Lock & Key (IDW). Best Writer/Artist: Darwyn Cooke Richard Stark's Parker: The Outfit (IDW). Best Short Story: "Post Mortem" by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark in I Am an Avenger #2 (Marvel). Best Single Issue (or One-Shot): Hellboy: Double Feature of Evil by Mike Mignola and Richard Corben (Dark Horse). Best Reality-Based Work: It Was the War of the Trenches by Jacques Tardi (Fantagraphics). Best New Series: American Vampire by Scott Snyder, Stephen King, and Rafael Albuquerque (Vertigo/DC). Best Limited Series or Story Arc: Daytripper by Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba (Vertigo/DC). Best Continuing Series: Chew by John Layman and Rob Guillory (Image). Best Adaptation from Another Work: The Marvelous Land of Oz by L. Frank Baum, adapted by Eric Shanower and Skottie Young (Marvel). Best Graphic Album - Reprint: Wednesday Comics edited by Mark Chiarello (DC). Best Graphic Album - New: TIE of Return of the Dapper Men by Jim McCann and Janet Lee (Archaia) and Wilson by Daniel Clowes (Drawn & Quarterly).

And Maggie Thompson winning an Eisner? Well, if you check information for the Archie book, you'll discover she wrote the introduction. Woo (as we say) hoo!


Friday, July 22, 2011

More SDCC Thursday

Steve Borock
OK, time to hit the road, with so many memories still not set down online. Which, of course, means they'll merge into a mass of amorphous thoughts, some of which will remain buried until they emerge days later - but forever unposted. And, of course, there are plans for Things To Do later in the show. For example, tomorrow breakfast will be with Heritage's Steve Borock, whose vast files of facts regarding tips on buying and selling collectibles Valerie and I plan to explore. Steve is one of the experts on the field whose knowledge I depend on - and whose honesty has contined to make him a trusted source. And he loves, loves, loves the field above and beyond any monetary aspects. Oh, and did I mention he's just fun to have breakfast with? (One of the traumas of the show this year: The Marriott no longer serves its banana blueberry oatmeal creme brulee during the days of the convention. Another tradition gone - though it will live on in fond memory.)


More SDCC Thursday

Jeff Mariotte
Michael Uslan
Every year, it's the same situation: Sit in the room and post or speed to the con and take more photos and chat with more folks. I'm sure the Internet is packed with reports with crowd-sourcing aplenty, so my views ... Well, I just have more pictures, right? Jeff Mariotte, for example, was on hand to talk with folks who are eager to read his latest. And Michael Uslan was carrying with him a copy of his project due for release this autumn. And, in fact, that's what so much of Comic-Con is about: what's coming - or out there - that I'm going to want to enjoy between now and next Comic-Con.


Looking Back at Comic-Con's Thursday

Valerie at the blood drive
Prying open my eyes following the first full day of Comic-Con, I realize that Valerie and I basically lolled about, taking things as they came, checking out Angry Birds items for Valerie's son, desperately pursuing a giveaway Tintin bag (unsuccessfully; on the agenda for this afternoon again), and hugging old friends as we came across them. If my goals had been to get as many photos as possible and troll for the latest news, well ... Didn't happen. But Comic-Con is what you make it - and we made it fun. We started the day with a Blood Drive appointment, and Valerie overcame her concerns about whether her iron level would let her be accepted. Woo hoo! We actually ended up facing each other in a donation race. (She won.) True Blood T-shirts in hand, we returned to the con.

Sergio Aragones and Stan Sakai
(with Gordon Kent hidden but laughing)
And it was really a "whatever happens, happens" day, complete with attending our own "Spotlight" panel (with a surprising attendance, considering just how many events were counter-programmed). As Valerie and I chatted about being raised as second- and third-generation fans, the room slowly began to fill even more - and we asked what the next panel was scheduled to be. Why would the room be so packed? Oh, of course! It was to be Mark Evanier with a Groo team. So, of course, we stayed for the fun. In the course of much hilarity were hidden a number of to-be-noted factual treats, such as that Tom Yeates will draw Conan and Tarzan for upcoming Dark Horse crossovers for Groo. Yes, Conan will have to deal with Groo - as will Tarzan - with, of course, the basic Groo material provided by Evanier and Aragones. Also noted: Sergio Aragones Funnies (available at the show). And a Bongo Maggie (no relation) comic book done by Sergio. Stan Sakai said that Dark Horse's Usagi Yojimbo #141 will actually be his series #200, and there will be treats.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

And They're Off! Comic-Con 2011 Preview Night

Jeff Smith
It was a long day packed with chance meetings and, of course, countless delights. I'm a bit dismayed to discover that I took only a few photos during Preview Night - but there are days and days to come. (Note to self: Take more photos!) The goodie bag attendees received had a Comic-Con image on one side and a variety of Warner Bros. images on the other. Attendees took what they were given, but many followed up the action by trading for the most desired images. Daughter Valerie and I began with a bag featuring "Geoff Johns * Jim Lee Justice League Fall 2011" and a bag featuring a Warner Bros. vampire series. Another fan asked to trade the vampire bag for another "Justice League" bag, and I agreed. Eventually, still another fan asked if I'd be willing to trade one for a "Big Bang Theory" bag - and so it went for many collectors devoted to one pop-culture treat over another.

The Cartoon Books booth quickly developed a lengthy line as Jeff Smith chatted with fans whose purchases (anniversary hefty Bone collections, Bone T-shirts, other Bone items, and the three trade paperbacks of Rasl) he was signing. And, of course, that was only one of an overwhelming assembly of displays. There were toys, comics, movies, TV shows, and other collectibles (Valerie bought a delicious Little King figure, for example - and there was more, more, more.) We checked out the Lego booth for possible treats for her son, Devon, and that booth was a delight to younger attendees.

Valerie Thompson, William Stout, Maggie Thompson
It's something of a blur, but the exhibit-room evening wrapped up with a delightful conversation with William Stout and Samantha Holmes (of Leapin' Lizard Entertainment) - and she was nice enough to provide photography services for a shot. (Thanks, Samantha!) It should be noted that she had just produced a film in which Stout had served as a serial killer (and she had played one of his victims). Looking forward to seeing it someday, I must confess. And, for that matter, to tomorrow - when I hope to post much, much more.


Monday, July 18, 2011

"It is a proud and lonely thing" To Help the Internet

In the course of editing a bunch of stuff, a question arose regarding the origin of a saying that has typified the lives of some devoted to a variety of obsessions: "It is a proud and lonely thing to be a fan." The writer had hunted here and there on the Internet and found only what amounted to shoulder-shrugging, with attempts at the origin even winding up with a guess at a reference to A.E. van Vogt's novel Slan. "But, hey," I said, "I know the references involved. They were common knowledge in the world of science-fiction fandom in the 1950s!" Weird thing: Apparently, common knowledge to a generation of people devoted to the wonders of the future has not been universally transferred from survivors of that generation to the future that is our present. Or, at least, not transferred so that it pops up handily in a Google search. So here's the thing:

First was a story by Walter Macfarlane, "To Watch the Watchers." It appeared in the June 1949 issue of Astounding Science Fiction, the most influential of the science-fiction magazines of that time. The story is told with a breezy confidence that leads me to suspect that Macfarlane may have been a penname; it only appeared in one other issue of Astounding and no other SF magazine of the day. But maybe I'm being unfair to a writer whose story I so enjoyed. At any rate, its presentation was a bit dodgy: Its punchline is published on the second page of the eight-page story of spaceman Tully Kloote, in the illustration by Orban. Or, as it appears at the end of the tale, "On the base, in exquisite, mathematically exact letters are these words: Tully Kloote It is a proud and lonely thing to be a man."

If you were a science-fiction reader in those days, you were almost certain to read Astounding, and the story was effective and affecting. So most readers would get the closing gag in a Robert Bloch short story in the October 1956 Fantastic Universe, even seven years later. While Bloch's most famous work today is probably the novel Psycho, he wrote terrific stories over many years - and is noted for such remarks as "I have the heart of a small boy. I keep it on my desk." So it was no surprise that his 16-page "A Way of Life" involved a post-Apocalyptic future in which all of society evolved out of the world of science-fiction fandom - and the 1956 reader was expected to moan over such concepts as "religious Kyrie Ellison" music and "peering up at the planets from the Mount Richard Wilson observatory, creating new developments like the Bradbury Ray." And the story's capper was its last line: "It is a proud and lonely thing to be a fan."


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