"Resurrecting the Champ" by Mike Smith
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So You Wanna Work in the Movies... by Corey Castellano
DVD Review: "Jason of Star Command -- The Complete Series" by ED Tucker
A Comic Book Saturday: Comic World & Comics & Critters Too / Sat. Terrorthon! by Andy Lalino
The Week That Was by Mike Smith
|Archives of Nolan's Pop Culture Review|
Comic World - 25th Anniversary Celebration: Major Signing Event in Largo
Barely having time to catch our collective breath after the Tampa Comic Con, comic book and horror literature fans were treated to yet another big event, this time held at Pat Potter's Comic World in Largo. Pat, Comic World's owner, skillfully organized an impressive line-up of comic and literature artists & writers. I learned about the event when Nolan and I ran into him (note: Comic World has been reported in past Oddservations editions) at the Tampa Comic Con. Pat was handing out flyers in promotion of the event to eager comic fans, and I immediately penciled the date into my Crazed Fanboy calendar.
With digital camera in hand, I drove to Comic World, excited by the fact that this was the first time I was to attend a special event at the shop. I drove into the parking lot - and it was full. Though it was tough to find a spot, I was happy for Pat that he seemed to really score with the signing.
Sure enough, when I entered the store, it was wall-to-wall with comic fans. I checked in with employees Joshua and Ashley, and I guess I rated a cherished VIP ticket. Very cool! I guess it didn't hurt that I dropped Pat's name at the checkout register! Hey, it helps to have friends in high places. Actually, I've known Pat for years and always enjoy chatting with him. He and I have a lot in common: we both are Dr. Paul Bearer/Creature Feature fanatics, Star Trek fans, etc. One thing I love about going in the shop are his wonderful, custom-made models of the Lost in Space saucer, and a gorgeous (well, maybe that's not the right adjective) model of Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell. Also keep an eye out for the Gerry Anderson's U.F.O. lunchbox!
Sorry for digressing; I'll now make like a Beatle and "Get Back" to the signing. The main table featured four noted comic book artists & writers: Batman writer Chuck Dixon (who also appeared at the previous week's Tampa Comic Con), She-Hulk artist Paul Pelletier, artist/writer Jimmy Palmiotti (Painkiller Jane, The Hills Have Eyes: The Beginning), and Amanda Conner (Vampirella). The table was swamped for a while, so I decided to make the rounds while it freed up.
My first encounter was with Adonis Charles and Kashim of AL Studios, a comic book company based in Clearwater. At their table they demonstrated live penciling and inking techniques while promoting their impressive array of titles and superheroes.
I next ran into the sole book author represented at the signing: C. Robert Cales, who was in attendance to promote his all-new novel Devil Glass, which he describes as "A love story laced with horror." He was signing copies of the book, available in both hardcover and softcover, for fans in search of fresh, new fandom material. For more information on C. Robert Cales, log on to his Official Website
Across from Cales was the Fierce Comics table, featuring artists Ben Filipiak, Pat Batton, and Scott Reed. As a sampling of their work, they distributed a very cool mini-comic (and full-color poster) of Redneck Red, an Everglades local who, after drinking a batch of moonshine contaminated by radioactive bird droppings(!) acquires incredible powers. Look for it at your local comic shop. For more on Fierce Comics (based in Tampa Bay), log on to the Official Fierce Comics Website. There you can see gorgeous, full color Adobe Acrobat files of their comic artwork, plus other goodies.
Around the corner from the Fierce guys, I got to meet a great comic artist who really helped make my childhood something special: Pablo Marcos. Not enough can be said about this Peruvian comic artist who was to become one of the greatest illustrators of all-time. Horror comic fans remember him best for his illustrations in Warren Pub.'s Creepy and Eerie magazines, and as the artist who brought Marvel's Tales of the Zombie to life in the early/mid '70s. Marcos also produced work for Skywald Publication's Psycho and Nightmare magazines, of which I have select issues. Other Marvel magazine titles of the '70s include: Vampire Tales, Dracula Lives, and Monsters Unleashed.
In the early 1980's, Marcos inked John Buscema's pencilling in The Savage Sword of Conan, one of the few comic magazines I personally continued to buy in the '80s. Looking through Marcos' portfolio, it included many incredible drawings of Conan and Red Sonja, and I was slack-jawed to be in the presence of such an iconic master of fantasy art. His work can be seen on his his Official Website.
Finally, I ventured back to the main table, and found everyone had left except Chuck Dixon, who I had the pleasure of meeting.
I then caught up with the man of the hour, Pat Potter, who was busily trying to keep up with all the activity. Pat had told me he had been up several nights in preparation for the event. And it showed. The turnout was fantastic (no doubt beyond expectations) and Pat and his staff were ready to assist customers with questions and purchases. While I was there, I picked up a neat price guide to horror magazines (published in the '90s) and the July issue of Rue Morgue. I didn't want to take up too much of his time for all that he had on his plate, so I congratulated Pat on an event well-executed, and told him I was really looking forward to the next one!
Comic World is located:
2132 East Bay Dr.
Keene Plaza Shopping Center
Largo, FL 33771
email@example.com / (727) 581-9948
Comics & Critters Too
After my excursion at Comic World, I then headed down the road to Comics & Critters Too, which is of course run by Crazed Fanboy's own John Lewis! I hadn't been to the shop since the grand opening months back, and it was great to see the store doing so well. A mash-up of comic book store and pet shop, Comics and Critters Too is a very unique experience if you're looking for somewhere new and exciting to visit or shop. I mean, where else can you buy a live snake and a Killraven comic at the same time?
John had given me a heads-up that he'd be at the shop that day, and sure enough, he was. He saved for me an incredible action figure set of Marvel Legends - Monsters: Tales from the Zombie (see Pablo Marcos above), Werewolf by Night, Tomb of Dracula, and Monster of Frankenstein. All were in a beautifully designed box. Another piece of merchandise that caught my eye was a Call of Cthulhu DVD created by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society. John showed me the the trailer for the 47-minute film (silent and B&W, and shot in "Mythosvision"!) and I was blown away by it. I always felt that Lovecraft was an author whose work was not meant to be interpreted (faithfully, at least) on film, but this trailer was unlike anything I have seen before and certainly does impress. I bought the DVD.
If you're a frequent shopper, consider purchasing a Comics & Critters Too Buyers Club Membership card. It entitles you to 20% off merchandise annually for a nominal fee of $20.
For horror fans, John promised to stock more new and vintage magazines, which should be coming in soon. In the meantime, check out C&C's fine selection of action figures, graphic novels, RPG tomes, and accessories, comics, and - of course - critters!
Comics & Critters Too
13441 S. Belcher Rd.
Comics & Critters Too Official Site
I barely got home in time from my Comic World/Comics & Critters Too excursions to host an intimate horror event - the whenever-we-can-schedule-it Saturday Terrorthon! Mike Wilbur, a good friend of mine and horror superfan notified me that he'd be arriving in Tampa to visit his family, and whenever he does we get together for a big night of screening horror/exploitation films. The goal here is to take in as many movies as we can before we simply can't stay up any longer. Believe me, it gets tougher as one ages! In the past, I think we actually did do one amazing dusk-till-dawn marathon of horror!
Mike arrived at the house at about 6pm. My wife Sandy was in charge of coordinating the dinner arrangements. This event's menu: Hooters chicken wings and pizza by R.S. Deli in Clearwater, who IMO has the best pie in town. Sandy did a superb job, as usual, arranging and delivering the grub. Unlike previous Terrorthons, this year we had a special guest: co-worker and horror uber-fan Shawn Dudley. You may recall Shawn, who accompanied me on my outing to hear Frederick Pohl lecture at USF (covered in Oddservations: "The New Futurians"). He was pretty excited at the prospect of watching all-nite horror movies, so he was really looking forward to this. A certain suspendered webmaster was rumored to make an appearance, but was unable to make it because he was meeting BranJo and Drew Ryber at the midnight screening of 'The Nanny Diaries'. Hope you guys had fun as you floated down to the box office on your unfurled umbrellas. Bippity Boppity Boo!
Shawn arrived not long after Mike, and we all sat down for dinner, which was great if not good for you. We chatted for a long while, and then finally Sandy retired to her room while the horror fans overran the living room quarters. We were in for a good night of viewing. Mike had coincidentally brought with him the Ban 1 version of 42nd Street Forever DVD, which differs significantly from the Synapse release. Ban 1's is the version with the Food of the Gods (1976) rat on the cover. This was a rare treat as we enjoyed dozens of unbelievably fantastic horror/exploitation trailers from the '60s/'70s/early '80s.
Next up, we were still in trailer mode, as I whipped out Synapse's 42nd Street Forever: The Deuce, an official "sequel", and treated to more groovie, mind-blowing coming attractions from the drive-in/grindhouse era. The time was approaching the witching hour, and Shawn unfortunately had to go. Mike and I were able to make it through one more feature film: The Hearse (1980) starring Trish Van Devere. Nole, BranJo, Drew Ryber: Please take note: we watched nothing past 1986; in fact I think the most recent movie/trailer viewed was from 1980. Mike left at about 2:30am, and we were already looking forward to the next Terrorthon outing.
"Oddservations" is ©2007 by Andy Lalino. The Oddservations banner is a creation of Andy Lalino. All other graphics, except where otherwise noted, are creations of Nolan B. Canova. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2007 by Nolan B. Canova.