Sunday, October 30, 2011
Happy All Hallows Eve, all!
Here in the Northeast, folks will be celebrating one of the scariest Halloweens ever: In addition to the usual ghouls and goblins, this year, Halloween has served up a huge wallop of snow! Thankfully, we were spared (just the threat of snow at this time of year was scary enough for us!), but a bunch of our neighbors to the West weren't so lucky. I hope that the addition of snow boots won't ruin the look of the cool costumes folks have put together.
Snow accumulation wouldn't have spoiled our plans anyway. Once again, Perfect Wife and I will not be donning costumes and going out and celebrating. We could say it's because we were too busy to put something together, but the fact of the matter is, this marks another year we were not invited to any parties. Don't feel bad for us though; if we really want to experience some thrills and chills, we can always look through our collection of bills...
Anyway, whether you go out and celebrate or not have a great Halloween. Remember, be safe, and if you can't be safe, don't get caught.
Also: If you distribute Mary Jane candy bars to the neighborhood children, what happens to your house is your own darn fault!
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Although I have been to a couple of small comic book conventions recently, it's been years since I went to a really big one. That situation was remedied a few weeks ago when I attended the 2011 New York Comic Con. Along for the ride were Perfect Wifey (of course), and my good pal, the multi-talented John Forcucci.
I went primarily to attempt to network with some editors and hopefully scare up a few gigs. Unfortunately, the whole event was such a congested geek-a-thon that I was not really able to do much "networking". I don't feel too badly about that, as it didn't seem like there was a lot of that going on. Mostly, it was the same kind of convention as the smaller cons I've been to: Just a big flea market full of desperate vendors with a few discussion panels and presentations thrown in. Oh, and there were also the obligatory collection of fans who had dressed up as their favorite characters, with widely varying results. Here's a hint to all the fans out there who want to play dress-up at a con: Please try to be within fifty pounds of the weight of the character you are depicting. Nobody wants to see a pudgy Iron Man. Grooming is important too. Ladies, although I'm not a fan of the character, I'm pretty sure Sailor Moon shaves her arm pits. You should too.
Although, as I said, I didn't do the "business" I had hoped I would, I did have a good time and see some fun stuff. The highlights:
• There were a bunch of toy companies showing off their upcoming releases. The action figures I'm most looking forward to are a 3.75" line of figures based on the TV cartoon, "The Venture Bros." A small company named "Bif Bang Pow!" is behind this line, and the figures look fantastic. I can't wait to get them.
Unfortunately, I may not be able to get them. BBP! has stated that they need to get a certain number of pre-orders of the figures, or they will be unable to produce them. If you like the show, you'll love the toys, so go here, and pre-order them now. Hurry! You only have till October 31st!
• I met a bunch of Doctor Who fans at the con and, as much as I hate to generalize, they are the most self-centered bunch of nerds I've ever encountered. The worst example of this was a woman on the shuttle bus back to the hotel, who droned on and on in a VERY LOUD VOICE about Doctor Who to some strangers she had duped into conversing with her. Actually, she spoke less about Doctor Who, and more about what she thought of Doctor Who. She never even asked the people she was talking to their names or where they were from. When we got off the bus, I was surprised we had only been on it for twenty minutes. She had made it seem like hours.
• I saw a guy dressed as Blankman, from the movie of the same name. That was a delightful surprise, as I thought PW and I were the only people who had seen that film. Oh, his costume was great, too! If I was in charge of passing out prizes for costumes, he would have won one.
• There were a lot of small publishers trying to drum up interest in their titles. The most curious one that I saw was some guy launching a series of books based on the old comic strip character "Joe Palooka". Really? "Joe Palooka"? Is there anyone out there who even remembers who that character is, let alone anyone hungry for new stories that re-imagine the character (formally a boxer) as an "Extreme Fighting" guy? There were lots of examples of this sort of brittle dream at the show.
• We only went to a couple of panels. They were pretty poor. Uninterested guests speaking to an ignorant audience. The panels were a far cry from the panels at the cons of my youth. I remember one con that had a "Quick Draw" session between artists like Harvey Kurtzman, Joe Kubert, John Stanley and more. Nothing like that at the NYCC. Probably because the "pros" who were in attendance wouldn't do a sketch for a fan unless they got paid for it.
I understand why pros charge money for their sketches; I'm sure they've been burned by seeing work they did for free up for sale on Ebay. However, I did see one "Funny" artist refuse to do a drawing for a little kid. Come on, Man! I really doubt that nine-year-old is an Ebay Bandit.
• Speaking of pros, I did meet some cartoonists whose work I have admired over the years. One was Ramona Fradon, whose work on "Metamorpho" I always liked. She was very nice, but since I wasn't going to buy anything from her, our conversation was rather brief.
The one pro I was THRILLED to meet was the legendary Harvey artist, Ernie Colon! Ernie and I have exchanged quite a few emails and telephone calls, and we even almost worked together once. I had never had a face-to-face with him though (The picture here is a document of this historic moment). He was there to promote his latest book, which, unlike "Joe Palooka", is something everyone should get. Go here, and buy right now!
BTW, Ernie was as charming in person as he is via electronic device. Seeing him made the whole trip worthwhile.
So, will we go again? Probably. We did have a good time, although I am not sure how much of that was the con, and how much was the company I was with.
Next time, a review of a book I have been anticipating for quite awhile now. Or maybe another of my annual Halloween Diatribes. Or something else!
Friday, October 7, 2011
Norman, Is That You?
In my last post, I mentioned that Perfect Wife and I recently visited The Norman Rockwell Museum. As I said, we had a wonderful visit. Seeing the work of perhaps the greatest commercial artist that ever lived in person was really inspiring, even to a hack like me. If you are ever out in the boonies of Western Massachusetts, you should really drop in.
Unless you have teenagers with you, that is.
While we were at the museum, we noticed a couple of teenagers touring the museum. They were easy to spot- Everyone else at the museum was middle-aged or older, and everybody except the teens seemed to be enjoying themselves. The teens were miserable. I overheard one say to the other, "This is sooooo boooooooorrrring! How much longer do we have to be here?"
The other replied that since their Mother was having fun, they were probably going to be "stuck" there for a while.
I found the kids' dilemma both sad and funny. Sad because today's teens seem to be unable to enjoy or appreciate anything that isn't targeted explicitly to them, and that someday things like the work of people like Norman Rockwell will be completely forgotten by unappreciative future generations. I found it funny because the kids' attitude cheesed me off, and it was fun watching them suffer.
Forget what I said earlier. Go to the museum, even if you have teens in tow. It will do them good- or serve them right, depending on how you feel about your teens.
I would now like to remind you that next week, October 13th through the 16th, I will be attending the New York City Comic Con! I haven't been to a "big" comic con in awhile, so I'm really looking forward to it. As I have previously mentioned, if you are also attending and see a geeky guy with a hot babe wearing an Infinite Hollywood tee shirt, that's me (the geek not the babe, that's Perfect Wifey). Please come up and say "hello".
And if you spot any teens having a miserable time, please point them out to me. I could use a laugh.
Saturday, October 1, 2011
Since I haven't updated the blog in a while, I thought I might take the time to address some of the things that have been kicking about in my mind.
First up, after a very arduous Summer, Perfect Wifey and I needed a vacation. Since cash was low and we didn't feel like traveling a great distance, we decided to spend a week in the Berkshires. For those of you out of the loop, the Berkshires is a place way out in Western Massachusetts.
A boring place. A place where nothing much ever happens. A place where, if you were sitting about remembering your days on a whaling ship, you might write a novel like, "Moby Dick".
And so we visited "Arrowhead", the place where Herman Melville supposedly wrote the classic "Man-VS-Whale" novel, "Moby Dick". In theory, this is a fascinating peek into the life of the author of a classic novel. In reality, the tour is a 45 minute walk-through of an old-time house, narrated by a "guide" who knows less about Melville's life than you do.
It would have been nice to tour the house at our leisure, unfortunately, we had to go on the "guided tour", hosted by a Historical Society volunteer. I knew we were in trouble when our lovely, ancient, guide couldn't remember Herman Melville's name. Adding to the discomfort were the mosquitoes! They were as big as beavers, and very aggressive. How Herman managed to crank out the Great American Novel in that atmosphere is a mystery our tour guide couldn't answer.
One positive highlight of visiting the Berkshires was visiting the Norman Rockwell Museum. This place is probably the best-organized art museum I have ever visited. Rockwell's works are presented beautifully, and with the inclusion of a visit to his studio, you really "get" a feeling for the artist, and what he went through to produce his work. Seriously, this place is worth a visit to the boonies of Massachusetts.
In other news, I DID finally find a Star Wars Gamorrean Guard action figure. If you scroll back into past posts, you'll recall I despaired of ever finding this figure for sale in a retail store- But I did. He is everything I had hoped he would be. If you are a fan of Star Wars action figures, find this guy! You won't be sorry.
For you cartoonists out there, the drawing on this post was drawn with a Crayola™ Broad Tip Marker (with some Prismacolor shading). For general doodling, there is no better tool. Try it and see!
Lastly, next week I will be attending the New York City Comic Con. If you are attending, please let me know, I'd enjoy meeting up with people who actually read this blog!
By the way, if you are at the NYCCC and see an attractive babe in an "Infinite Hollywood" tee shirt, hands off! She's mine!
Labels: New York City Comic Con