Sunday, July 31, 2005

Snake Plissken Lives!

It was a running joke in Escape from New

York that almost everyone Snake Plissken ran into thought he was dead. Escape from New York was released in 1981 and although it was a fan favorite, it wasn't a block buster.

Everyone pretty much thought that was it for Snake... that he was dead.

Then 15 years later, Escape from LA was released. It also developed a cult following, but wasn't a block buster.

Everyone pretty much thought that was it for Snake... that he was dead.

In 2002 CrossGen published the first two issues of John Carpenter's Snake Plissken Chronicles. CrossGen then folded... but Snake wasn't dead. Hurricane Entertainment published the last two issues.

Everyone pretty much thought that was it for Snake... that he was dead.

Alias Comics and Hurricane Entertainment are teaming to bring back John Carpenter's Snake Plissken Chronicles this November when a collection of the original four-issue miniseries
will be published.

Movie and comic fans will love this news since the original mini-series sold "strong from start to finish." For most comic art fans, the cover alone will be worth the price of admission since
it'll be by Drew Struzan [and as an added treat don't forget that Tone Rodriguez provided the pencils for the series].

Snake Plissken is my favorite John Carpenter character and translates easily to comics. Who knows, maybe if this collection sells well, we'll see more of Snake's adventures.

Anyone here think that Snake Plissken is dead?

Friday, July 29, 2005

Charlotte Over Atlanta

Last Saturday I started hyping Shelton Drum's Heroes Con for 2006. I did this partly because Wizard had announced that their Atlanta Convention would be held the same weekend, but mainly because I love Heroes Con.

This isn't news to anyone who's been reading the ZONE for any length of time. What may be news though, is the fact that Wizard has announced that they will not have the Atlanta Show in 2006, and when they do schedule it, it won't be the same weekend as Heroes.

And if you think that's great news [and it is -- I want to be able to support both shows, but if I have to choose, there is no choice for I will be at Heroes!] then wait till you see the guests who've already signed up for Heroes 2006!

Man, I can't wait!

If you're still not sold on the idea of attending, then check out these pictures and con report from 2005 [some provided by yours truly].

Hopefully, I'll see you there!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

300: Sin City Style

Most of you probably remember that I was pretty stoked when it was reported that Zack [Dawn of the Dead] Snyder looked to be taking the director's spot for the movie adaptaion of Frank Miller's epic 300.

Harry at Ain't It Cool News reported today that Snyder plans to film it like Robert Rodriguez did with Sin City - a near shot for shot panel recreation of the comic. The film has been budgeted at $60 million with shooting to begin this fall.

And I, for one, am still stoked!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Bruce Lee Lives!

On November 27th of this year, Bruce Lee would have been 65 years old. Amazing isn't it?

It's hard to imagine Bruce as ever being older than 32, since that's how old he was when he died on July 20, 1973. Think about that for a second. Bruce Lee died 32 years ago. Bruce has been dead now for a longer period of time than he lived. And yet, you can say his name to almost anyone of any age and they know who Bruce Lee was.

My guess is that he's more popular now than he was while alive. I say that because each year a new generation discovers Bruce Lee and his movies [and he only made a handful of kung fu movies before he died].

I'm old enough that my first memory of Bruce was as Kato on The Green Hornet. Man, Kato was cool! Of course, that was because of Bruce's charisma.

After The Green Hornet, Bruce's next onscreen performance was with James Garner in Marlowe. Bruce had a small role as a martial artist thug.

I also fondly remember my anticipation to see Bruce in the tv movie "Longstreet." Lee played the part of a martial artist who trains a blind insurance investigator the art of self defense. When the movie spun off into a short lived tv series, Lee was brought back for four of the 23 episodes.

It wasn't long after that Bruce Lee's Fist of Fury aka The Big Boss hit the US. It was quickly followed by The Chinese Connection and Return of the Dragon [with Chuck Norris fighting Bruce to the death]. Bruce Lee fever was growing, but it wasn't until the release of Enter the Dragon that Bruce Lee mania really soared. Sadly, Bruce Lee died three weeks prior to it's premiere in the USA.

As you probably know, Enter the Dragon is the classic Bruce Lee movie... it's still the best kung fu movie ever made... and arguments can be made the best action movie as well.

After Bruce's death, producers sought every way possible to continue to make money from Bruce Lee. Green Hornet episodes were combined and released as features with Kato getting top billing! The Game of Death, the movie that Bruce was working on when he died was completed with a look-alike and bad effects and it was released. Several movies were released "based" on the life of Bruce Lee [but made to look like new Bruce Lee movies], equally as bad were the movies starring guys like Bruce Li or Bruce Le trying to pass as the original. The one excellent documentary that should be in every Bruce Lee fan's collection is
Bruce Lee: A Warrior's Journey.

Earlier this year Bruce Lee was named "Chinese Film's Bright Star of the Century." This November, in honor of Bruce's 65th birthday and bigger than life bronze statue of Bruce will be errected in Hong Kong's Avenue of Stars. You can read the details HERE.

Yeah it's true that Bruce Lee died 32 years ago... but it's equally true that Bruce Lee will live forever!

"Marlowe" rates a C+
"Fists of Fury" rates a C
"Chinese Connection" rates a C
"Return of the Dragon" rates a B
"Enter the Dragon" rates an A+
"Game of Death" rates a C
"Bruce Lee: A Warrior's Journey" rates an A+

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Heroes Over Wizards

As regular ZONErs know, it's become a Zablo family tradition to attend the annual Heroes Convention in Charlotte. I start talking up the show each year as the date for the convention gets closer and new guests are announced. Usually my hype begins about six months before the show.

This year I'm starting a bit early.

Like NOW.

WizardWorld [a big company that puts on conventions all over the US] has purposely scheduled their convention in Atlanta the
same weekend as Heroes.

Coincidence you say? Nope.

You see, Shelton has made it an annual tradition to announce his next convention date a year in advance [and his show has always been held in mid to late June].

This year, because there were rumors that Wizard was looking at Atlanta, Shelton wrote them to find out the date that they were looking at. Shelton even offered to support their show as long as their schedules didn't fall on the same weekend.

You can imagine everyone's surprise when Wizard announced that their Atlanta convention would fall on the same weekend as Heroes. You can read the details here and here.

Well, I'm happy to say that pros and fans have rallied around Shelton's show. Casey Jones, Tony Harris, Bryan Hitch, Greg Rucka, Joe Pruett, J. Michael Straczynski, Cliff Chiang, Mark Bagley and Ethan Van Sciver all quickly announced that they'd be at HEROES and NOT the Atlanta convention next year. Additionally, Cully Hamner, Brian Stelfreeze and Karl Story who live in Atlanta have announced that they will be at Heroes as well!

Heroes 2006 may end up being the best Heroes ever. My hope is that the folks running the Wizard show will reconsider and reschedule. They've already started a bit of backtracking...

At any rate, if Wizard changes their date or not, I'll be at Heroes in '06.

Hopefully you will too!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

A Really Creepy Moment

Last night I watched "Hide and Seek," a psychological thriller starring Robert DeNiro and Dakota Fannning. The movie was pretty good, but that's not the point of this post...

In the movie DeNiro keeps waking up at 2:06 AM. The first time that this happens, he discovers his wife has committed suicide. As the movie progresses 2:06 AM becomes a significant plot point and the audience is left wondering [until the resolution] why DeNiro wakes up at 2:06 AM.

It was pretty creepy. Especially late in the movie, as Deniro searches for a killer in the house and suddenly Dakota holds up a child's clock set to 2:06 AM. Now THAT was very creepy, but it's still not the creepy moment I'm leading up to.

Overall the movie was a fun way to spend a couple of hours and I really enjoyed how the dvd set up the alternate endings [there were several]. Ah, but I digresss... so on to the REAL creepy moment...

Later that night I woke up feeling the need to go to the restroom. Now most nights, I sleep through until the morning. Occasionally I'm compelled to get up in the middle of the night for a trip to the john, so it's not totally unusual that this would happen. Last night when I woke to go, I looked to see what time it was... and you guessed it... the digital clock read 2:06 AM.

Now THAT was creepy!

"Hide and Seek" rates a B

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Mariahs's Fake Abs - You Make the Call

Remember when I told you that I thought that Mariah Carey looked like she had painted on her abs for her 4th of July Macey's performance?

I thought it was just a funny little item and was surprised when it was picked up here, here, here, and a bunch of other places.

The July 25, 2005 issue of US Weekly even has the story in it's This Minute You Want to Know About section.

The piece, Did Mariah Fake Her Six-Pack? brings everyone up to speed: "Sure, Mariah Carey's back on top of the charts, but who knew her stomach muscles were also making a comeback?" The author then asks a make-up expert and a rep for Mariah Carey to weigh in on the subject.

The make-up artist [Sally Blenkey-Tchasova, owner of one of the places that started the whole "spray-on" craze] was quoted as saying, "It looks like she was helped by make-up or air-brush tanning. Even if a woman is really ripped, abs are generally not that symmetrical."

You're probably as surprised as I am [meaning not very], that Mariah's rep denies that the abs are fake without every really saying their not. "This is ridiculous. She has been eating right and working out for three hours a day. Mariah has never looked or felt better.

The picture to the right was taken about three weeks before the one at the top of this post. So, ZONErs... what do you think?

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Niles and Jones Create a Giant Monster

Steve Niles, Rob Zombie and Nat Jones teamed last year to produce The Nail, which was one wild ride.

Niles and Jones had such a fun time working together that they're reteaming to bring us Giant Monster, a 2 issue [@ 48 pages each] mini-series from Boom Studios.

Giant Monster is the story of an astronaut who, while in space, is infected with a parasite and upon his return to Earth, uh... runs into a few problems. ; )

Want to know more? Click HERE to read a short interview with Niles.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

More Body Bags Coming Our Way

Way back in April, I posted an
item about the return of Jason Pearson's "Body Bags."

At that time Jason said if the response to the reprints was good enough, we'd see the return of Mack and Panda.

Today it was announced that two new Body Bags projects are in the works.

In November we'll get Body Bags: 3 The Hard Way, which will include a new 20 page story called “Hit ‘Da Switches,” along with two older short stories that will be re-printed in color for the first time ever. Then in January, Jason will follow up with an all new 48 page Body Bags one-shot.

Ah, life continues to be good!

Monday, July 11, 2005

Michael Golden Art Day

Michael Golden art day. No more words are needed.

Transporter 2 Gearing Up

A few days ago I made the statement, "Sequels are rarely as good as the original." And yet I, like many of you, love to see sequels.

On the weekend of September 2, I'll probably be in a theater watching Transporter 2. The original was an unexpected toddy. The Transporter not only did better at theaters than was expected; it also was a hit with the dvd crowd. So much so, that a Transporter Special Edition dvd is in the works.

I thought The Transporter would be an enjoyable way to spend an hour and a half, but was surprised at just how much fun it turned out to be.

Much of that enjoyment was the result of Jason Statham in the lead role and the over the top action.

Well, I'm happy to say that both will be back in full force. Check out the trailer and then let me know your thoughts!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Heroes Con Sketches Posted

My recent trip to Heroes Con 2005 was recounted here, but now that I've posted my art pick-ups in my Stallone Gallery, I thought that I should also provide links not only on the SZ [for Stallone fans], but also here in the ZONE for my blog and comic friends.

My first piece posted, by Steve McNiven, was actually one that I got at MegaCon
when Steve was sketching for the ACTOR charity.

Rick Leonardi
was the first artist I approached at Heroes 2005. I'm a long-time Leonardi fan and was very pleased that he agreed to draw Rambo for me.

Brian Walker surprised me with this fun sketch of Sly as Lincoln Hawk from Over the Top. As a bonus, Brian even through in [or is that drew in] Bull Hurley!

What a great gift!

Mike Ploog
was an artist that drew some of my favorite childhood comics.
I couldn't pass up a chance at a freebie head sketch from Mr. Ploog and love
his take on Jack Carter.

I loved Nat Jones's work with Steve Niles on The Nail. Nat was one of the artists that I really wanted to try and get something from at Heroes. You can imagine how happy I was when he agreed to draw Cobra.

Gary McKee
and I have been talking about him doing a piece for my Stallone gallery for a while. I was extremely happy when he agreed to do me a water color piece. I was even happier when I saw the end result.

Let's cut to the chase. Casey Jones did one of the finest Stallone sketches I have yet to receive. He hit a homerun, raised the bar, use whatever metaphor you'd like... or just click HERE and... see for yourself!

I knew that my sketch from Cliff Chiang was going to be very good. How could it not be, it's Cliff Chiang! What I didn't know was that Cliff was going to follow Casey Jones' lead and create one of my all-time favorite pieces. Not only did Cliff add Adrian to the mix, but he also captured the essence of their characters. Wow!

If you've read this far, you're a true fan of Stallone, comic art or both. Either way, let me give you a heads-up... yesterday I received a piece of art for my Stallone gallery from an artist whose work I've admired for years. I never dreamed that I get something from him, since he rarely goes to conventions or sketches for fans. I'm still in shock. The piece was a gift and is so nice. I'll add it to my gallery in a day or two after I quit staring at it.

Anyone want to comment on my latest sketches or take a guess as to who the mystery artist might be?

Friday, July 08, 2005

Diamond Dave an Obvious Choic

Some things just seem so obvious, once you think about them. It looks like David Lee Roth will replace Howard Stern next year when Stern switches over to Pay-Radio.

Diamond Dave has already done a couple of weeks on the radio and according to reports has "kind of turned the town on its ear."

I don't think that Roth doing well with Stern's audience should surprise anyone. Diamond Dave does enjoy the... ah, same types of things as Stern and truth be told is probably more entertaining to listen to.

Still my bet is that Howard scores big when he moves to Pay-Radio and he'll probably find a cable channel to air his program without the restrictions he had on E. Yeah, Howard Stern will continue to rule the airwaves for those willing to pay.

That's obvious... if you just think about it.

Frank Miller Staying Busy

Frank Miller has an interview up at

Frank Miller is THE MAN.

He can write [comics, and screenplays -- I'd love to see
him take on a novel], draw, and direct. In this interview he talks a bit about efforts involving all three of this talents.

His latest project is Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder.

When I was real young, I liked the idea of Robin. He was cool... and not much older than me. When I got older, I saw the problems inherent with having a youngster fighting crime. Sure, it works if Robin is in his late-teens, or if you're doing "Adam West"-type Batman stories, other than that you just have to suspend a little more disbelief.

So it'll be interesting to see Miller's take on it. Another plus is that Jim Lee will be doing the art. Lee's work is sweet. Much of the interview is about Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder, but Miller also talks about:

1] A Batman terrorist story that he's writing, penciling and inking... and
2] He's gearing up for Sin City 2... and
3] He's going to write, pencil and ink another Sin City mini-series.

Yeah, the last two have left me smiling from ear to ear! Put Me on Tilt

Well, what do you know? I'm a winner!

That's right. I am a winner!

When I came home from work today, I found a package from the fine folks at waiting for me. In it was Tilt - Season One., in addition to having the latest movie news, interviews, and more also regularly runs contests for free dvds, posters, hats, and other coolness. And I was lucky enough to win, the Tilt dvd set. This is especially cool since, I like poker and only was able to see the first episode of Tilt [which I enjoyed].

At any rate, check out Who knows, you may end up with some swag too!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Mariah and the Painted-On Abs

Last night as I was flipping the channels, I happended across Mariah Carey performing at the Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular. Now normally, that wouldn't be worthy of commenting here but...

As I was watching the performance I said to my wife, "Hey, doesn't it look like someone painted on Mariah's abs?"

She didn't think so and attributed it to Mariah working out and dancing. Still it looked kind of funky to me.

Before flipping on to new channels, I said, "I still think it looks like she had those abs painted on."

Well guess what...

Back from the Land of the Dead

Sequels are rarely as good as the original. There are far more Jaws 2's than there are Godfather 2's. And the farther you go down the sequel path, the more likely you are to see a mess.

That's why I'm happy to say that George A. Romero's Land of the Dead is a welcome addition to his zombie series.

My favorite is still "Night of the Living Dead." I doubt that any zombie movie will ever top NOTLD, not only because everything came together on it [the low budget, shooting in black and white, a cast of unknowns, etc.], but also because it was the first zombie movie to really get to me. These weren't island zombies or some mummy come back to life. These were our neighbors, our friends and even our family members who were crawling out of the grave to eat us!

Land of the Dead is my second favorite of Romero's quartet [followed by Dawn of the Dead and then Day of the Dead]. While I generally don't like the idea of "smart" zombies, I was intrigued by the idea that these zombies were starting to learn. I thought all of of the actors were well cast. The use of fireworks as a plot device was a cool idea. Heck, I can even go with the idea that money still has value [although that plot element to me was the weakest].

Land of the Dead is supposed to be Romero's final zombie movie, but I wouldn't mind see him come back for another.

"Night of the Living Dead" rates an A+
"Dawn of the Dead" [original] rates a C+
"Dawn of the Dead" [remake] rates an A
"Day of the Dead" rates a C
"Land of the Dead" rates a B

Sunday, July 03, 2005

War of the Worlds and War of the Words

Tom Cruise has been in two battles lately. One, The War of the Worlds with Steven Spielberg; the other, The War of the Words with Brooke Shields.

Let's start with the one that most people can get behind, The War of the Worlds. This update is a worthy successor to the classic 1953 film. And although I've never read the book by HG Wells, what I have read indicates that the film doesn't veer too far from Wells' basic ideas.

War of the Worlds is a movie that should be seen in a crowded theater. It's a big, explosive, exciting summer picture worthy of the Independance Day Weekend slot. Cruise does a fine job of being a jerk of a father who finds himself forced to be responsible for the lives of not only himself but also his two children.

Dakota Fanning is, as always, excellent. She is one of the finest actors working today. Tim Robbins shows up in a supporting role and pulls it off better than I would have expected since he's playing against the type of role we usually see him play. And of course, Stephen Spielberg rules. Any quibbles I would have with this film would truly be nitpiks and War of the Worlds was too much scary fun to do that. If you haven't seen War of the Worlds, you should. And before it comes out on dvd.

Now for Cruise's recent War of the Words with Brooke Shields and Matt Lauer. Tom's been acting strange lately. In fact, it's been the talk all over the internet and entertainment news shows. I've avoided discussing it here, since I figured that Tom was just in love and attributed his jumping on couches and screaming, to his infatuation to Katie Holmes and her apparent conversion to Scientology.

Yet, Tom's recent behavior has gone beyond what can be excused by the excitement of a new romance. When Cruise spoke out against psychiatry and the use of medicine, well, that's his opinion and he's entitled to it [as wrong as he may be].

But when he personally criticized Brooke Shields for her use of medication while dealing with depression and then argued with Matt Lauer while claiming that he [Cruise] knew the "history of psychiatry" when he so clearly doesn't have a clue... to me crosses the line.

I wonder what's up with Mr. Cruise. He used to be such a respectful, polite guy. Something has gotten a burr under his sadle.. .

Or maybe he just needs to take a "chill pill."

"War" of the Worlds rates a B+

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Twilight Zone Marathon

Long time ZONE readers know that one of my biggest pleasures as a kid was staying up late and watching scary movies and tv shows.

I still get a kick out 'em.

You can imagine how much I enjoy it when the Scifi channel runs it's Twilight Zone marathon.

Starting at 11PM tomorrow night and running until 4AM on the 5th, you can tune in and watch the classic Twilight Zone episodes from the 60's. While I doubt that many of us will last for all 29 hours, there are many episodes worth checking out, including two of my favorites.

The first, "Terror at 20,000 Feet" involves a man [played by William Shatner] who has just been released from a mental institution.

On a plane ride home he sees a creature on the wing of the plane trying to destroy the engine... but no one else sees it. He knows it's out there, but everyone believes that he's having another breakdown...

The second is called "To Serve Man."

Aliens arrive on Earth and all indications are they came in peace... but do they really?

Even if you can't watch them all [and who can?], maybe you can plan to tune in to see an old favorite or one you've never seen before.
I know that I will...

And for just a little while I'll be a kid again, up on the couch hoping that someone else besides me and Bill Shatner sees the creature on the wing!

Friday, July 01, 2005

Heroes Con 2005 Report

Mike and I arrive in Charlotte at a little after 7PM on Thursday. While checking in to the Weston we see Hal, Matt and Kwan from the Comic Art List. Brian Stelfreeze

and Cully Hamner are also in the lobby.

I call James "The James" Howell and he tells me he'll arrive at the hotel in a few minutes. Mike and I put our things in our room. We freshen up a bit and head back down to the lobby. It's been about 10 minutes and still no "The James." Matt, Hal, Mike and I head back up to my room to wait for "The James" arrival.

Matt remembered to bring me a Stallone piece that Steve McNiven did for me at MegaCon after I left. Heroes hasn't even started and I already have a new addition to
my gallery! ; ) "The James" arrives and so we head down to the lobby.

As we're all getting ready to go out for dinner, "The James" says, "Have you all seen Batman Begins? Wasn't it great?" Everyone has seen it and agrees... except for me.

I say that I liked it, but had some problems with it. "The James" gives me a look like I just threw up in his cereal [he's the king of giving people looks]. "What problems did you have?" he asks. So I begin to lay out a few of them. With each one "The James" looks pained and then gives me a rationalization.

As we're walking, Brian Stelfreeze, Cully and their crew appear. We all say, "hi" and stop to talk for a minute. Brian then says, "Have you all seen Batman Begins? Wasn't it great?" ["The James" gives me a smug smile.] Everyone nods and says, "yeah"... everyone except for me. I say, "I liked it, but had some problems with it." Since we're all going out in different directions, I say that I'll talk to him about it later.

We head over to dinner, and all through the course of the meal the discussion is Batman Begins. Everyone but "The James" agrees that I've brought up some valid concerns. "The James" just doesn't see it. He's like Tom Cruise talking about Katie Holmes when it comes to Batman Returns. We all head back to the hotel and end up talking art, comics, movies and playing a movie trivia game. "The James" is nearly unbeatable.

The next morning, I'm up early. Mike is sleeping in and coming over after the show starts, but since I've scored a special guest pass via John Higashi [who is arriving on Saturday], I can get in early. "The James" and I meet in the lobby and decide to pass on the $16 breakfast buffet and go for the $2.75 bagel. We hang out in the lobby and talk to different folks as they pass through. Rico comes by looking for some dish soap to wash his baby's bottle. Casey Jones passes through and says that he's going to have a Stallone piece for me by the end of this show! Matt and Hal come down.

Brian Stelfreeze and Cully come through. Someone brings up Batman Begins [it wasn't me, I promise]. I tell Brian some of my concerns.

He listens and says, "You know, you're right. I hadn't thought of that!"
[I give "The James" a smug smile.] I say, "Overall I liked it though and expect the sequel to be even better."

We all head over to the show. I get in James Jean's line for Paul Singh who can't make the show. Man, it seems that everyone wants something from James Jean. I give him Paul's reference and money for Paul and say that John Higashi will take the art back with him.

I stop by and say, "Hi" to Adam and Alison. I get on Rick Leonardi's list. He says he's going to draw Rambo. I look for Nat Jones who hasn't arrived yet. I talk with Mike Ploog and lay the groundwork for John Higashi to get a take home commission. I get on Cliff Chiang's list.

I spend a lot of the day hanging out with the guys from Tsunami Studios: Gary McKee, Jason Walker, Mike Torrence and Brian Walker. I set up a water color Stallone piece from Gary and Jason and I agree to a future Stallone piece. I check back on Nat Jones throughout the day, but he looks to be a no show... as does Craig Hamilton.

Dinner that night is at Uno's. There are 14 of us so we get two tables. The place is packed, but we get seated pretty quickly. I'm at the quiet table [yeah, Gary McKee is at the other one and no Beatty this year].

After dinner we head up to the Tsunami Studios room. Brian Walker gifts me a Stallone piece that he did! We're all laughing and talking junk when some of us discover that two of the people sitting at Gary's table for dinner, work in the porn industry! Gary is also shocked and we're all laughing because he didn't know that when he shared his beef tips with the woman. Gary gets all flustered which makes everyone laugh harder.

The next morning I am awakened by a phone call at 6AM from John Higashi. He's driven through the night [on 2 hours of sleep after a full day of work] and is ready for some breakfast. I get cleaned up and head down. John arrives and we find a Burger King for some "nourishment." As we're eating John maps out his strategy. He's a day late [but NOT a dollar behind] and he writes down names and locations of artists on his "hit list." Military invasions have been planned with less strategy and I know that Higashi is on a mission.

The show opens and I discover that Higashi hit the ground running. Literally. And carrying several bags of art. Higashi is already on several artists' lists and he's also picking up commissions and pages that he worked deals on before the show even started!

I see Rick Leonardi who has completed my Rambo piece! Cool! Very cool!

I meet Howard Chaykin. He is one of my comic idols. If Howard writes or draws it, I'll buy it. Meeting Chaykin is so cool. He tells me about a new comic that he has coming out. It's in the tradition of Peckinpaugh. It's called Generations and sounds awesome. Chaykin also tells me about a noir comic that he'd like to do, but so far he hasn't found a publisher. It's a very and dark realistic story. I hope that it finds a home. Chaykin says that he's doing head sketches for ACTOR, but we'd be better off with a home commission. I decide to wait and see if I can work out something later. Meeting Howard Chaykin has been a highlight of ANY convention I've ever been to.

Nat Jones arrives! I head over and talk to him. Nat says that he usually doesn't sketch at shows, but because he knows I am a fan of his work [and maybe because it's obvious that the piece won't end up on ebay], and because my theme is different, he agrees to a sketch! Yeah, baby. I pick up the sketch later in the afternoon and love it. Cobra by Nat Jones.

I get word that Craig Hamilton has arrived. "The James" and I head over to his table. Craig has a piece that he completed for "The James." It's Snow and Big Bad Wolf and it is sooo sweet. I set up a commission with Craig, who decides to do it as a take home piece since he couldn't get to me last year at Heroes. Craig promises it will be really nice. How could it not be, since Craig is doing it?

Gary McKee has been working all day on my Stallone watercolor piece. He opted to do Sly as The Punisher. It was cool seeing Gary work on it from concept sketch to finished piece. And I agree with Gary, Sly would have made an excellent Punisher.

I see a lot of friends including Tim Gordon [from The Tampa Comic and Toy Convention], Robert Jewell, and others. Richard "Jaws" Kiel is there. I guess it goes without saying, that he's HUGE. As the show winds down for day two, we head back to the hotel for the Art Auction. The room is packed. Higashi bids on a few items and wins one. After the auction, Mike and I decide on pizza in the room. Normally we'd hang out with the guys again, but tonight we opt to play some poker [for fun] and watch "Tombstone." Man, Val Kilmer owns that movie. He should have won an Oscar!!

The next morning, we check out of the room and head over to the last day of the show. The group immediately gets in Mike Ploog's line. Mike's old school. I grew up on his "Werewolf by Night," "Frankenstien" and work for Warren. Mr. Ploog is [and has been since the con opened] drawing FREE headshots for fans. Up to this point, I've never asked an artist to draw Stallone when they're sketching for free. It's one thing to whip out Batman or Spider-Man or a character that they've probably drawn dozens of times. It's a whole different can of worms to ask them to draw a real person. But this is Mike Ploog!! I decide to ask him to draw Jack Carter and I use Brian Stelfreeze's piece as reference. When it's my turn, I hand over my sketchbook and reference and Mike draws me a nice little Stallone headshot! Whoo-hooo! I have Mike Ploog in my Stallone Gallery!

I check in with Casey Jones and he's done me a great, great piece.

It's Sly from Oscar and the design on the sketch is awesome.

Casey, you are the MAN!!!

Cliff Chiang has completed his Stallone piece. It's a really sweet piece of Rocky and Adrian. Cliff has really captured the essence of both of these characters. I absolutely love it!

Heroes has once again been a great show. I was able to hang out with my son and friends, meet artists who've I've admired and even get new artwork for my Stallone Gallery. I should have better pictures of the artists and scans of my new pieces posted within the next week.

I'm already looking forward to next year to do it all again!