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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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Doctor Who and Networking: Who's There!

Designer Tara Reich as Idris from "The Doctor's Wife"
I, of course, had had nothing to do with Brian's accomplishment. In one of my triumphs of networking, I had hit Westfield Comics' branch on the west side of Madison (check out Manager Bob Moreau's blog) on Free Comic Book Day in May - which turned out to be where Brian had set up his TARDIS. (Many were the fans who took photos that day, often posing next to or coming out of the Doctor's time machine.) Conversation ensued, I took my own photos, and we stayed in touch. Which is what networking is all about, come to think of it. Brian kindly invited me to join in the fun of the premiere event, and it was a delightful mix of longtime fans and, yes, people who were seeing the show for the first time. (I can't quite imagine what the latter group must have made of it; from time to time throughout the party that followed, I'd find myself encountering one or another fan trying to summarize briefly the history of a series that began in 1963. Best advice I could come up with: Start with the first season of the show's restart in 2005. Thank you, BBC America and DVDs!) And the networking went on, including meeting a designer whose eye-catching re-creation of a costume in one of the season's best episodes is only one of her accomplishments. (She showed me photos of some of her other Doctor Who-based outfits, many inspired by the show but not copied from it: wonderful!)


Where's the TARDIS Brings WHO Premiere to Madison

Happy Doctor Who premiere atteendees
Who'd have thought it? Thanks to BBC America - and the incredible efforts of a Doctor Who enthusiast - Madison, Wisconsin, was the site of yesterday's world premiere of the restart of the BBC series with the eighth episode of the sixth season: "Let's Kill Hitler" by Steven Moffat. (Our showing was simultaneous with the showing in the United Kingdom itself; ordinarily, U.S. showings are delayed a few hours in order to put them in prime time.)

Months and months and months ago, Brian Bull decided he'd join the BBC's "Where's the TARDIS" competition, in which fans produced their own versions of the vehicle in which the time-and-space-traveling Doctor voyages. Brian's edition was an ice-fishing shanty, and his entry included images of the construction of the wintry project. Long story short: Brian's entry won - and part of the prize was the premiere, shown in the Madison Sundance Cinemas 608 theater at the Hilldale Mall.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

It's Bargain-Hunting Time at Wizard World Chicago

Eric Bradley, Patrick Bradley
I had a great time yesterday, especially gathering gossip and chit-chatting with folks throughout the day - culminating in a marvelous dinner with CGC-associated collectors and dealers. (I think tablemate Roy was a bit taken aback when I said I thought the most I'd spent for a back-issue comic book was around $75 - for a damaged Showcase #1 a few years ago. I, on the other hand, was a bit taken aback - though not surprised - by conversations about how many thousands of dollars were involved in an assortment of sales over the years.) Anyway, posting about all of this sort of thing will have to wait - because today is check-out day at the hotel and bargain day at the show. Wizard World Chicago is an event to which I arrive in a car, and that means that I can take back stuff without so many concerns about getting it from the convention to my home. And it's the day on which some of the dealers will lower their prices. And there were pretty good prices earlier, let me tell you. Here, for example, you'll see fellow Krause Publications Editor Eric Bradley and his son Patrick exulting in the joy of comics pursuit yesterday. What's the best convention moment for you so far this year?


Saturday, August 13, 2011

OK, It's Time to Hit the Convention Floor

Jim Engel
Gary Friedrich
So I'll haul this laptop from the hotel lobby's free Wi-Fi back to the room (where, for no reason I can fathom, there's a charge for the service) and head back to Wizard World Chicago. Hoping to see Michael Uslan and Jill Thompson, both of whom were scheduled to appear today, and who knows who else? (I just realized that I seem to have left my cell phone in the room: not good planning.) And so it goes. I've run out of time to comment on the fun of seeing again such folks as writer Gary Friedrich and cartoonist Jim Engel. Sigh ... Now where did I put that doggoned phone?


Wizard World Chicago Provides Unexpected Moments

Dean Weber, Billy Tucci
I was wandering through Artist's Alley, grabbing photos here and there (wishing again today that this website were more friendly to photo displays), and I stopped by Billy Tucci's table. In one of those great convention moments we all cherish when they happen, it was then that Dean Weber came up to Billy to hand him two special canes, inspired by his work. If you check out Weber's Rebel Canes site, you'll see that much of what he produces is upbeat: designed to convey a message while providing the support so needed by many of us. Very neat.


Celebrities Appear at Wizard World Chicago

Mike Grell
Lou Ferrigno
Well, of course they do! Depending on when you hit that portion of the exhibit hall, you'll be able to catch at least a glimpse - and perhaps even have a conversation with - a number of pop-culture icons. As I entered the room yesterday, for example, I noted the wonderful Felicia Day (of The Guild and, naturally, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog) in the midst of a line-up of fans. And such comics celebrities as Mike Grell were there along with such other icons as Lou Ferrigno in the "celebrity" set-up. (The organization makes a lot of sense: Special guests are set up so as to provide instant, easy access upon entry. Other guests appear either at their own booths or Artist's Alley or [Here's a tip!] just walking the floor.)
See Felicia Day peeking out through the throng?


Chatting with Glass House Graphics Guys at Wizard World Chicago

Will Conrad, David Campiti, Mike Deodato
It was fun to be able to grab some time to talk with David Campiti at the Glass House Graphics booth. I've known David Campiti for - what, now? - decades, I guess, and I've watched from a distance as the former head of Innovation (who, in ages past, assigned me a four-part Dark Shadows story arc) has grown his own production group. At Comics Buyer's Guide, we've worked with David as one of the go-to folks who have provided covers for our issues - but, of course, he's done much, much more. At the booth, he told me he's produced a full animated feature film: Niko: The Journey to Magika, distributed by Red Giant Media. In the midst of such other activity as moving to Orlando, he's also contributing writer to Dynamite's Stan Lee's How to Draw Comics, which he has available at the Glass House booth.


Friday, August 12, 2011

And, of Course, There's News at Wizard World Chicago

Steve Horton
Gary Colabuono
Hungry for news at Wizard World Chicago? Just saunter through the nicely set-up Artist's Alley and chat with the many, many folks with projects released and in the works. For example, I came across Steve Horton, who had worked years ago as an intern at Comics Buyer's Guide and who is becoming increasingly active as a freelance writer. He said he's scripting the first installment now of "Amala's Blade" for use in Dark Horse Presents by Editor Chris Warner. It's planned as what Horton called "steampunk with swords," with an initial outing in February.

And some news is scheduled for release later in the show. Retailer (and longtime collector) Gary Colabuono says he has a terrific story to share about some unique (and I use the term correctly) comics collectibles. (Well, he didn't actually specify what the story involves - but I've heard rumors. And isn't that what convention conversations are all about?)

But enough posting. Time to head for the exhibit floor again.


Smell the Goodness AND Support Hero Initiative

Jim McLauchlin shows off comics-oriented Grendel scent
Jim McLaughlin was at the Hero Iniative booth at Wizard World Chicago, and among the items on display at that booth were bottles produced by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab: comics- and fantasy-associated scents whose sales benefit the charity. It seems Black Phoenix works with creators to come up with a combination that everyone feels somehow "works" to convey elements of the pop-culture material in question. And sales pay off for charities. Over a three-year period, for example, the Grendel and Witchblade sales have grossed $10,000 to help the comics community. Check it out!


Who Knows WHAT You'll Find at Wizard World Chicago?

$100 of fun from a cool booth at Wizard World Chicago
Only one of the delights of Wizard World Chicago is its ongoing tradition as a great place to pick up an incredible variety of pop-culture items at bargain prices. Following preview night, I pause to evaluate a stack of miscellany at can't-pass-em-up rates and a small pile of cool paperbacks. And the point is that I didn't attend the show in order to buy these specific books and comics; I came with the attitude of "hey, let's see what I find." And, as a result, found Stuff! For example, that Essential Hulk was in a 3 for $10 box - and will be passed on to someone deserving (perhaps to a child of my acquaintance; it could end up as an incredibly cool coloring book). I think the three pulps were at that same price. I probably don't need those specific pulps, but at that price, what the heck? And I'll hit that booth several times more before the end of the show - because I'm sure I missed things. (At these prices, for example, I may invoke my role as a grandmother to provide reading choices for young 'uns.)

$40 in neat paperbacks
As to the cool paperbacks, I'd had no idea that Roy Huggins was a novelist - and the one I bought is turning out to be fun. (Huggins, of course, went on to a career in Hollywood, writing and producing some of my favorite entertainment, from Maverick to Rockford Files.) And another is a book by another pop-culture creator, Marion Hargrove; a check of my files [once I got back to the hotel room] revealed that I do have a hardcover of the paperback I bought last night - but with no dj, and the pb cover is charming. Hey, a Mark Gatiss Doctor Who novel I don't have! And the pb of a minor Thorne Smith novel looked to be in great shape, yadda, yadda. I can hardly wait to get back to the show this morning.


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