Monday, November 28, 2005

A [Kind of] Funny Con Story

Here's a [kind of ]funny con story from an AtlantaCon in the early 80's.

Bob McLeod, John Beatty and I drove up. Pat Broderick decided to fly in rather than face the madness of an 8 hour ride with Beatty and I.

The first day of the show and the artists set up. Beatty, Broderick and McLeod are all in a row. I'm hanging out with them when not visiting with Paul Gulacy. Anyway...

Up walks a fan and stops in front of Bob. [All artists have name cards on the tables.] The fan proceedes to tell Bob what a huge fan he is of Bob's work. The fan inquires about the price of a sketch. Bob tells him the amount. The fan says that he wants several figures... all of the Micronauts. Bob calculates the cost and tells him. The fan says, "No problem."

The fan asks Bob if he can ink it. Bob says, "Of course, but the cost would be more." Bob tells him how much. The fan says, "I love your work. No problem."

The fan then asks if Bob could color it. Bob says, "Of course, but the cost would be more." Bob tells him how much. The fan says, "I love your work. No problem." They agree on the final price. Bob tells the fan to check back at the end of the day and the fan goes off.

Bob is really happy to meet such a huge fan of his work. He says that he's surprised that the fan wanted the Micronauts since he could have gone to Pat and gotten him to do it. [Pat was a fan fav for the Micronauts at the time.] Of course Beatty and I start teasing Pat and even Bob joins in [a little].

Bob starts on the Micronauts piece. Other fans come around, but Bob is being careful about taking on more sketches since he has so many figures to pencil, ink and color. As everyone probably knows, Bob gives fans a lot for their money and when he colors a piece --- man, is it sweet.

So Bob's working away... we're still teasing Pat... more fans are being told that Bob's sketch list is full... the fan comes by periodically to check on the progress... it is looking soooo nice.

Late in the day the fan comes by and stands directly in front of Bob. Bob looks up and smiles. The fan doesn't...

"Sir," he says, "There has been a terrible mistake..." The fan goes on to say that he thought Bob was Pat Broderick. He's sorry, but he won't be wanting the sketch. The fan then moves down to Pat Broderick. He proceedes to tell Pat what a huge fan he is...

Of course Beatty, and I start teasing Bob... and Pat even joins in [a little].

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Tampa Con Report

Hey Zoners... ok, I'm picking up the tale of our four middle-aged playas after they've arrived at the show. If you want to read more tales of the trip then click HERE and John "The Dude Abides" Beatty will fill you in.

Tim Gordon's Tampa Comic Book and Toy Convention is the best one day show that you'll find anywhere. There are media guests, comic artists, costumers, independent filmmakers [with a continuously running screening room] , and dozens and dozens of dealers.

Yes, that's the look of fear that crossed Mark and Stephanie Heike's faces when they discovered that the Mild Bunch [John "Johnny Star-Warz" Higashi, James "The James" Howell, John "The Dude Abides" Beatty, and yours truly] had arrived.

Larry Thomas, better known as "The Soup Nazi" from Seinfeld, had a table. He was selling autographed pictures and soup ladles for $20 a pop. I'm a huge Seinfeld fan. I loved the series and thought "The Soup Nazi" episode was a riot. However, $20 bucks for an autographed picture? Five samoleons and I'm there, heck, I'd have even bought a couple, but twenty of my hard-earned smack-a-toons for one? No thanks.

So, I'm waiting for Pat Broderick to arrive and up walks Beatty. He says that every time he tried to get a photo of "The Soup Nazi," the "Nazi" turned or raised his hands to insure that the picture wasn't a good one. I laughed it off. Later Beatty came up to say that he'd tried for a photo several more times, but each time the "Nazi" thwarted his efforts. This, of course, makes me want to get a candid. I did, but as you can tell from the full shot, Mr. Thomas did not seem to happy about it. If that's the case, I'm sorry, Mr. Thomas... and I really would have bought a couple of autographs had they been cheaper!

Now the guy that I really was there to see was Pat Broderick. I've known Pat for nearly 30 years! We first met at an OrlandoCon back in the 70's. Pat's a great guy and a heck of an artist. He and Beatty even teamed up on a couple of comic series over the years! I was curious to see if Pat would be interested in doing a piece for my Stallone gallery. Lucky for me he was! I'll post it later this weekend with my SZ update. Higashi and Howell also set up sketches with Pat.

The next guy on our hit list was Karl Moline who was sharing a table with Randy [Edward Scissorhands Collection] Martin. While John Higashi and I set up sketches with Karl, The James scooted over to arrange a take-home commission with Pablo Marcos.

Then it was over to the film room where we caught some of Joel D. Wynkoop's film "Lost Faith." Joel was at the show, and as you can see HERE has made a lot of films. Joel is very approachable and obviously has a love of film. It might be cool if he and Bill Black ever hook up for a project.

Beatty got that look in his eyes that said it was time for lunch. Howell said he was ready for a bite too. Even Higashi said he'd eat [which is a rare thing for Johnny SW to do at a show]. I wasn't hungry, but said I'd join them for a Coke. We ended up in the hotel's sport's bar. As we were yacking away waiting for the food to arrive, the NY Giants were on tv playing the Philadelphia Eagles. Howell suddenly blurted out, "I've got five bucks for anyone who'll yell "Go Giants!"

I immediately yelled, "Go Giants! Go Giants!" and before I could collect my fiver, a loud chorus of "Go Philly!" "Giants Suck" "Go Philly" erupted from behind me. I turned to see probably 30 or 40 grown men [most of whom were wearing Eagles jerseys] looking our way. Of course, this just made Beatty an instant Giants fan who began to LOUDLY cheer for the Giants way and BOO the Eagles.

Two things saved us from the situation getting ugly. 1] Beatty's sandwich arrived and 2] Mrs. Pat Broderick came by the table to say, "Hi."

After lunch we headed back to the show. Pat and Karl had finished my sketches. They had [independently] decided to draw Deke from Nighthawks! And both did really, really cool sketches. I'll post them tomorrow with the SZ update.

I'd been wanting to get a sketch from Derrick Fish for a while. Luck was with me because when I checked with Derrick, he had a spot on his sketch list open. Derrick completed my sketch trifecta by doing a really nice cartoon of Rocky knocking out Dandy.

Soon it was time to say our goodbyes and load up the "Jack Carter" car for our trip home. As we snaked our way around the con to say we were heading out, we made sure to let the Heike's know that we'd see them at the next show in May!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Meeting a Legend, Sir!

Have you ever seen a better looking group of middle-aged playas? Ok, ok. Maybe you have. But that's what we looked like last Saturday night when we stopped over at Mike Zeck's on the first leg of our Tampa Con weekend. From left to right: John "Johnny Star-Warz" Higashi, Mike Zeck, James "The James" Howell, me, and John "Big" Beatty. See the full picture [if you dare] at Big Beatty's Blog-O-Rama.

We stopped at Mike's house to pick up copies of his latest sketchbook to have on display at the Tampa show. Mike is one of the coolest, most down to earth guys you'd ever want to meet. Beatty and I have known Mike for nearly 30 years [yeesh!] and Higashi has known him for a couple. It was The James' first time meeting Mike. Normally The James is very cool about meeting artists... even big name artists. In fact, The James is friends with some of the best artists in the business... yet something came over him when he met Mike.

Here are a couple of brief exchanges that they had:

The James: Uh, Mr. Zeck it is a pleasure to meet you, sir. I... uh, I am a big, no huge, uh... fan of your work, Mr. Mike Zeck, sir.

MIke: Thank you. And please, call me Mike.

The James: Ok, I'll do that Mr. Zeck.

Mike smiles as The James goes on.

The James: Uh, Mr. Mike Zeck, sir, I'd really like to purchase a copy of your sketchbook, sir, that is if you don't mind and uh, if it isn't too much trouble, sir.

Mike had just pulled out 15 copies which John Higashi had purchased for Tampa. Other copies were easily within reach.

Mike: No problem at all James. In fact, you can have one at the dealer discount.

The James: Uh, no sir, Mr. Mike Zeck, sir. I insist that I pay full retail price, sir, uh... that is if it's okay with you, sir.

Mike shrugged his shoulders as The James forced a twenty into his hand.

The second exchange took place as we were leaving.

The James: "Wowee. It has been such a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Mike Zeck. I've admired you, I mean your work... you know, your art... for a long time. Uh, but don't think I'm a stalker, sir. It's just that, it's just that, you know, sir, you're THE MAN."

Mike: Thanks, James. And please just call me Mike.

The James: Yes sir, I will Mr. Mike, sir.

The James then turned to leave, but quickly spun back around and said: "I really dig your shirt, sir!" and then he was out the door.

It was cool to see that even a middle-aged playa like The James can still break into fanboy mode.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

A Nazi, A Werewolf, Big Beatty and Much More

Looking for something to do tomorrow and you can make it to Tampa, Florida?

Well then... if you'd like to meet a Soup Nazi, a former Teenage Werewolf, several comic book professionals, some independent filmmakers and comic artists, or maybe even Big John Beatty, you should heard over to the Tampa Comic Book and Toy Convention.

I'll be driving down [in the Jack Carter car] with Big Beatty, John "Johnny Star Warz" Higashi, and James "The James" Howell. The trip looks to have some additional fun since we're planning to swing by Mike Zeck's for a quick visit.

The con runs on Sunday from 10AM to 4PM and is the best one day showing going! Click HERE and see why!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Do You Want To Be In A Movie?

Do you want to be in a movie?

Sounds like some sleezy come-on made to a teenage runaway, right? Well, it's not.

While you may not make it to the final cut, you can have the opportunity to be on the set for filming of Rocky Balboa! [That's Rocky VI to those keeping score.]

Here's the deal: crowds are needed for the climatic fight and Big Crowd Productions provides them. Click on the banner above and you'll go to their web page that tells you all of the films that they've worked on as well as the details for being on set for Rocky Balboa filming.

Just think, you could be on the set with Sly Stallone, Antonio Tarver, and other stars as they film the climatic battle... and who knows, you could even find yourself in the movie!

Some SZoners have already signed up to be there... will you be next?

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Please Encourage The Big Guy

My buddy, John "Big Beatty" has updated his blog with some thoughts and sketches.

Maybe if enough of us post comments this will become a regular feature at BB's Blog O'Rama.

I know that I'd love to see that. If you would too, then drop the big guy [or is that Bug Eye] a line.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Big Russian Ape

Quint over at Ain't It Cool News found a couple of cool Russian posters for Peter Jackson's King Kong. It's kind of amazing how Kong's popularity has spanned not only the ages, but the planet as well.

You can see the posters by clicking HERE.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Mike Zeck's Damned Graphic Novel

While we're on the subject of Mike Zeck, have you seen his Damned graphic novel? No, I'm not cursing, that's the name of it.

Written by Steven Grant and pencilled by Mike, it was originally going to be called Lawless. The hitch was that a new tv series starring Brian Bosworth [anyone remember him?] was in the works and they had dibs on the Lawless title. So Grant and Zeck decided to go with Damned.

Here's what Mike said when asked about how it all came together. "DAMNED is probably as personal as a project can get. Grant and I got together and posed the question "What would we do if we could do just what we wanted, without any outside pressure or direction?" Damned was a result of that. We both prefer the crime genre, and without costumed characters populating it. I hand-picked Denis Rodier (inker) and Kurt Goldzung (colorist) and it became something of a labor of love for all of us."

Click HERE to read an interview with Mike, or HERE, HERE, or even HERE to read the praise that others are [rightly] throwing down on Damned.

Damned is a great noir story. It's my favorite comics work by Mike.

My bet is if you give it a try, it'll be one of yours as well.

Click HERE and go directly to Mike's site to order the book straight from the man. [And get a T-Shirt while you're there- any SZoner who sends in a pic in one will have it posted on the SZ!]

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The Art of Michael J. Zeck

It used to be that when an aritst had a sketchbook come out it was an event.

I can remember the excitement I felt when I received my first Art of Neal Adams or Art of John Byrne books. In those days, you had to be a really special artist to get an "Art of..." book.

These days it seems that every artist at every show has a sketchbook. Not that that's a bad thing... but it has made it rare that the release of a sketchbook becomes an "event."

If an artist's sketchbook gets much notice these days, it's because the artist:
is really THAT talented or...
2] rarely attends conventions or...
3] has never before released a sketchbook.

Guess what? Mike Zeck fits the bill. He's just released The Art of Michael J. Zeck Volume I and it is a winner. It's 52 pages jam-packed with art spanning Mike's career. It showcases a cross section of art ranging from preliminary pencils to finished inks... from never-before-seen drawings to classic re-interpretations. You can read more about it here.

My guess is that some of you will want in on this event!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Your Anger Angers Me

The news about a new Wild Bunch movie is making its way around the net and I'm really surprised about the anger some folks have about it being made.

Sure, I expected the usual, "Hollywood has run out of ideas" and the simple "this sucks" posts from those that are inclined to negative coments. What really gets me is the genuine anger some people seem to work up about a movie that has yet to start filming.

I don't know. Maybe it's an act... a rant to get people to read his posts... maybe it's genuine. Either way, he's not alone.

Some people always get offended when "classic" movies are remade. But what's the fuss? I mean, really, what's the fuss?

Sure, maybe the remake will suck. Some, maybe even most do. But sometimes they don't and then we end up with a gem. I know it's sacrilege, but I like the Dawn of the Dead remake better than the original... and I liked the original.

How many of you love these classics: The Wizard of Oz with Judy Garland or The Maltese Falcon? Anyone here looking forward to "King Kong"? Remake, remake and yep, re-make.

I could understand the anger if doing a remake somehow erased the original movie. Heck, I'd be upset myself, if it even changed the original. But a remake doesn't. If anything, it may even bring a new audience to the original.

So if you want to get mad about something, why not get mad about terrorism, or pollution, or ineffective politicians or something that can make the world a better place.

All this anger about movies that haven't even been made yet is enough to... well... to make a guy angry.

Let's Get Wild Again

It looks like David Ayer [screenwriter for "Training Day," "Dark Blue"] will direct an update of "The Wild Bunch" based on his own script.

The original "Wild Bunch," directed by Sam Peckinpah is considered a classic. The violent tale followed "an aging group of outlaws looking for a last score in the fading American West."

Ayer's "Wild Bunch" will be set in modern day Mexico and deal with "heists, drug cartels and the CIA."

While most folks seem upset that a "classic" is again being remade, I like the idea. Look at how good the "Dawn of the Dead" remake turned out. What about Spielberg's "War of the Worlds"? And we all know that Peter Jackson's remake of "King Kong"is going to rule.

Think of the possibilities of an aging group of rouges down in modern day Mexico for one last score. Let's work up a dream cast... say Stallone, Danny Trejo, Michael Madsen, Mickey Rourke, Denzel Washington and maybe even DeNiro.

I've really liked all of Ayer's screenplays ["U-571," "The Fast and the Furious," "Training Day," "Dark Blue", "S.WA.T."]. "Harsh Times", is getting great advance reviews and "Training Day" is one of my favorite movies of the last few years. Ayers has a proven track record, so I say, let's see what he can pull together. This is one movie I'm going to keep an eye on.

Especially if he can get a dream cast.

That Little Dude Can Dance

I knew Yoda had all kinds of mysterical Jedi powers. What I didn't know was that little dude can dance.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Go There Now

The King Kong trailer is now on-line. Go THERE now.

What are you waiting for? It's awesome!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

10 of 25 Hints That You Might Be...

Here are 10 of 25 hints that you might be a redneck.

1. The Halloween pumpkin on your porch has more teeth than your spouse.

2. You let your twelve-year-old daughter smoke at the dinner table in front of her kids.

3. You've been married three times and still have the same in-laws.

4. You think a woman who is "out of your league" bowls on a different night.

5. Jack Daniel's makes your list of "most admired people."

6. You wonder how service stations keep their restrooms so clean.

7. Anyone in your family ever died right after saying, "Hey y'all watch this."

8. You think Dom Perignon is a Mafia leader.

9. Your wife's hairdo was once ruined by a ceiling fan.

10. Your junior prom had a daycare.

To see the rest click HERE.