I know we all wrote in to last week's Readers Comments about this, but I want to make an official homepage acknowledgement of the recent passings of two show-biz giants, comedian/actor Bernie Mac (50) and musician/actor Isaac Hayes (65). They were both heavily influential in their respective fields and will be sorely missed. Look for a proper summation of these men's careers later in this week in Mike's Rant.
Still Not Quite on Creative Loafing's Radar...
I raced a few lines into "print" on Tuesday of this week instead of Wednesday because I was expecting a wee bit of exposure in this week's issue of Creative Loafing (came out Wednesday) and I wanted something to be on the homepage for early subscribers instead of "under construction"! I was interviewed by reporter Alex Pickett on the topic of webzines, e-zines, paper 'zines and webzines that used to be paper , anything I knew or thought about them, and what I'm doing with PCR.
Well, the article was published, but I didn't make the "final cut" at all. Either there was a shift in editorial direction before press-time or else I completely misunderstood the question to begin with, but the gist of the column was overwhelmingly where-did-the-underground-paper-fanzines-of-the-past-go. The answer was pretty obvious: went to the web. Which was my answer, as well, and is likely why it seemed redundant to the editors. PCR never had a hard-copy newsstand equivalent, so anything about fanzines on the internet in the here and now (which is what I thought I was being interviewed about) will have to wait until another time, I guess.
In an interesting side-note, St. Petersburg artist Josh Sullivan, the young man who recommended Creative Loafing interview me (thank you, Josh), got quite a nice and well-deserved write-up (he continues to publish multitudes of paper 'zines). Long-time readers may remember I interviewed Josh for one of the first Nolan Radio programs, and he and his band were invited to play the event-that-would've-been-NolanCon in 2005.
Oh well. My first appearance in Creative Loafing would've been a nice birthday present. Which brings me to....
Another Year Older...
...and deeper in debt. Don't I know it. But I'm glad to still be here with y'all doing the crazed fan thing. Another reason I'm going to press a day early is I'm expecting to be unavailable much of Wednesday the 13th due to, you know, celebrating and stuff. Yay me. Any out-of-towners moved enough to want to send me lots of money as a present, please use the "PayPal" donate link near page-bottom----and THANKS!
Writers Writers Everywhere!
If it seems like there are a lot more "Please check back" link boxes than normal at page right, well, there are. Due to advance notice of several writers' availability, I'm expecting a higher-than-normal turn-out this week. I'm crossing my fingers they ALL turn out!
LATE WEEK UPDATE....
Just heard than Lisa FANGRRL Ciurro is under the weather and will be unable to join us on PCR this week. Lisa, get well soon! Also, after a brief email exchange, Bobby & Jake have again vanished off the face of the earth, so I do not expect a Music Emporium by close-out today (Fri). Terence informs me that Dragoon hit a production snarl and will be delayed until next week.
As long-time readers know, this event is a staple among the Crazed FanCrowd here at PCR and for Tampans in general.
The 10,000 sq. ft. DoubleTree Inn ballroom has long hosted Tim Gordon's comics blow-out show for many years, and attending these three-times-a-year events are a mandatory part of my home-grown crazed fandom. Whether the guest and dealer list is stellar, or less than stellar, the Tampa-based PCR group always manages to have a splendid time.
Goth authoress Andrea Dean Van Scoyoc and ye olde editor in our traditional dark embrace!
Terence Nuzum and I arrived around 11:20am to find a packed parking lot, so much so we were directed to park across the street at Jefferson High School, the first time this was ever necessary. I wondered what guest list surprise I'd missed on the Convention's website to inspire this kind of traffic. I'd formulated a pet theory that this being a comics-oriented summer at the movies (Iron Man, The Dark Knight) might be what prompted this outpouring of love. Talking later with promoter Tim Gordon bore this theory out, together with increased radio coverage.
We were soon joined by PCR contributors Chris Woods, John Miller, and teen titan Bobby Tyler (Music Emporium) and his friend Zach (teen columnist Jake Tipton was unable to attend). In what would turn out to be my biggest personal disappointment of the Con, after our briefest of greetings, I was unable to find the boys again---I had planned on including them in a group shot, but alas it was not to be. Like I said, it was a tremendous turn-out.
Actor/wildman Joel D. Wynkoop greets us in his usual, aggressive fashion!
Terence Nuzum, left, converses with author Glenda Finklestein, right, as husband Tony (background) looks on.
The first guests we make it a point to visit in the "artists" area (where the dealers' room spills over into the lobby) is the adorable horror author, goth princess Andrea Dean Van Scoyoc, sci-fi/fantasy author and filmmaker Glenda Finklestein, and the irrepressible actor/wildman Joel D. Wynkoop. If I couldn't I get in my early meetings with them, I wouldn't feel like I'd quite "arrived" yet! Haha.
Who, but who, did I run into about this point but former PCR columnist and original sci-fi gang member from the '70s, Ben Gregory, aka, The Great Benzini, and his son, Benjamin, Jr. That kid is growing like a weed I tell ya! Except for a little grey around the temples, big Ben hasn't changed much at all, still a big kid.
The biggest comics star at this particular event was legendary Batman artist Dick Giordano, whose travels across Florida seldom seemed to take him close to Tampa until now. It was an honor to be in the same room with him and I hope his stay was pleasant enough so that he will return next time.
Batman comics artist, the legendary Dick Giordano.
Bubba the Redneck Werewolf creator, writer Mitch Hyman.
Returning to Tampa were two previously-hard-to-track-down artists, Pat Broderick (Micronauts), and Mitch Hyman (Bubba The Redneck Werewolf). I knew Pat for a while in the early '80s, and Mitch I haven't seen in at least two years as he's been working on a movie adaptation of Bubba.
Voice artist George Lowe (Space Ghost) is a funny guy I always found very likable and I knew Bobby & Zach wanted to meet him (I found out later they did and were able to get his autograph). In another of a series of minor personal disappointments, I delayed getting a picture of George until later in the day so I could correct a camera malfunction, but by the time that was worked out, George had left for an extended lunch. (Fortunately, there's a picture of Mr. Lowe elsewhere on this website from an earlier Con.)
Terence and I ran over to briefly check out the Creature Productions Film Fest (hallway across from the dealers' room) where we met up with Ashley Lewis and her newborn baby son, Gavyn, only a few weeks old! I was surprised to find them there, actually, as I'd figured this noisy event might be too intense for such a young'n, but mom reassured me his genetic fanboy roots had him feeling quite at home.
Comics artists Fran Matera, left, and Pat Broderick, right, drawing for fans and autographing art.
Back in the dealer's room I ran into message board posters Sam Catalino, my old classmate from high school, and Brandon Jones and family! The fireworks that might be expected from these two were thankfully over-anticipated and things went very smoothly. I was very pleased to see Sam back posting on the board later that same night.
In my third and final chapter of minor disappointments, I regretted to note that Dick Kulpa (Cracked, Captain Cartoon) was evidently unable to attend. Also, favorite dealers Greenshift Comics, Hoo-Hah (I don't remember seeing them), and our regular "bootleg DVD guy" (no company name) all MIA.
Robinson High class of '73 will please recognize Nolan B. Canova (left) and Samuel Catalino.
Creature Productions' Ashley Lewis and son, Gavyn. A new fanboy is born!
I slowed down from searching and socializing just long enough to notice that another comics dealer had some choice early Adventure Comics going for between $65 and $165! And these were not even what I'd call "mint". Yikes. I'm afraid ye olde editor's days of picking up Golden/Silver Age titles are endangered at these prices!
One last visit to the artists area was necessary so we could say "Hi" to local comics producers and friends of this website, Greg Vondruska (Robots are People Too) and Joe Leone, Jr. (Unlikely Heroes).
St. Pete underground comics wonders Greg Vondruska (left) and Dan Boyd.
The Jones family en masse! L-to-R, Sierra, Taylor, Jacob, daddy Brandon, and Zachery.
Finally, we all settled down for a late lunch at The Player's Lounge located across the lobby from the dealers' area to get in our micro fanboy summit.
For more information about this and any future Tampa Giant Comic Con & Toy Sows, be sure to visit their website.
The group at the DoubleTree: Bottom row, l-to-r, Sierra, Zachery, and Jacob Jones. Middle row, l-to-r, Nolan Canova, Terence Nuzum, Chris Woods, and Taylor Jones. Rear row, l-to-r, John Miller, Brandon Jones. Photo by Sam Catalino. Thanks, Sam.