PCR past banners Now in our fifth calendar year
PCR #211  (Vol. 5, No. 15)  This edition is for the week of April 5--11, 2004.

"The Whole Ten Yards"
 by Mike Smith
My Afternoon With Forry Ackerman
 by Andy Lalino
Introductory Column
 by Vinnie Blesi
Tampa Toy and Comic Convention
 by Brandon Jones
Play Ball!...A Part of History?....No Lawyers Allowed....Yikes....Passing On....Looney Lucas....They Write The Songs....Ice Cube Can Play The Thing....Meet The Beatkles, Part 12
 by Mike Smith
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The Tampa Toy and Comic Convention

No it’s not MegaCon, but did you hear about Ethan Van Sciver’s exclusive contract with DC? How about a sneak peak at Micronauts #2 and part of #3? “Dawn of the Dead” comic art, Kenny Miller (“I Was a Teenage Werewolf”, “Attack of the Puppet People”), and several Indy comic artists were also on hand. Did you find out Dick Kulpa’s dog is named Rocky? Did they have a Dr. Paul Bearer charm and t-shirt at MegaCon? (more details at the end of the article)

No? Well, that’s because you missed out on the Tampa Toy and Comic Convention. Yes, Tampa.

Absent were the ailing Dick Giordano and Mart Nodell, but the comic and toy buzz was high octane. The last two Splash Pages were dedicated to collecting practices, but didn’t convey one message that was clear at the convention – it is a buyer’s market.

Back issues were aplenty for a dollar or less, while hardback collections were sold far below publisher’s prices. Regular giveaways, an auction and eager collectors filled the Doubletree, but one man made my day special: Dick Kulpa.

Let me begin by saying how gracious his “other half”, Hara, was while Mr. Kulpa was taking in a Palm Sunday ceremonial. I soon learned that Kulpa corrective eye surgery has eliminated the need for a right eye lens, so when Mr. Kulpa says it looks about “half good” – he’s not kidding.

As a kid, I learned to read from comic books, learning the sound effects from issues of “Spider-man”, “Batman” and “The Avengers.” I amassed hundreds of comic books exploring different genres, which included anything from the local grocery stores, Majik Market or garage sales. Amongst my treasures were “Mad” and “Cracked.”

Early in the conversation I discovered that Mr. Kulpa’s recent good fortune that has lead to an animation contract with Film Roman. The 3-D prototype has been submitted for the “Grand Poobah’s” approval as “Cracked” begins a new and exciting journey. Kulpa is “part of the planning” (of course) as they “develop the DVD first, which may evolve into a pilot and a show later.”

Whoa. Move over Mad TV.

But this was just the surface conversation to a more exciting side of Kulpa. Sure, MegaCon’s Award Winning Best Sketch Artist was going to be leaving south Florida for the frosty climate of Illinois, but a regular dose of “Cracked” is guaranteed now. Investors, funding, security…whoa!

We talked about another recent triumph for “Cracked” and that was “cracking” the borders of the school system. Mr. Kulpa partook in teaching a south Florida school and handed out issues to the kids. “Free Comic Day didn’t reach the kids. They should advertise in Highlights. Get these kids reading.”

Whoa. This is the “Grand Leader” of “Cracked”?

My son Jacob and I talked on and we gladly accepted Kulpa’s torch against illiteracy. He donated a stack of “Cracked” to give to Jacob’s class. “Free Comic Day didn’t reach the kids” has resonated in my head ever since.

Let’s review: he away from his table because he was in Church, he’s donating his time and creation to help kids read and is just now getting an animation contract?

Good things come to those who wait, hopefully this is your time to share. Thanks for everything.


Alright, I know I can’t leave you hanging like that. Dana Cruz de Leon was at the convention and I was able to pick up a charm of the late Dr. Paul Bearer for our honored editor and chief (And for which I'm grateful...thank you.--N). She said she had run out of T-shirts, which go for only $13.

I know there’s a ton of debate about Dr. PB II, but if you want a tee of the original, email her at:


Trust me, she had some awesome stuff. A Blue Falcon, DynoMutt playset stopped me my tracks as I had to reflect with my son. Dana and I talked about several of the classic toons, some of her jewelry and my love of the late Mr. Bennick.

"Splash Page" is ©2004 by Brandon Jones.   Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova.