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!

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