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Now in our eighth calendar year!
PCR #387  (Vol. 8, No. 34) This edition is for the week of August 20--26, 2007.

The Tampa Giant Comic Con for August  by Nolan B. Canova
"Superbad"  by Mike Smith
Whadda You Wanna Do With Your Life?  by Corey Castellano
DVD Review: "Space Academy: The Complete Series"  by ED Tucker
Tampa Comic Con Chronicles .... Comic World 25th Anniversary  by Andy Lalino
American Band: The Byrds, from folk rock to country rock.  by Terence Nuzum
Great Issue .... Who Said This?... How 'Bout Dem O's .... Barry Bonds .... Everything's Up To Date in Kansas City .... I'm a Traveling Man .... Whatever Happened To? -- Chapter 28: Next Week .... The Answer  by Mike Smith
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Oddservations by Andy Lalino

Tampa Comic Con Chronicles
It's getting to be a thrice-a-year tradition venturing out to the always-fun Tampa Comic Con. Unlike the monolithic MegaCons and DragonCons, Tampa Comic Con prides itself on having established an intimate but passionate gathering of comic book, horror/sci-fi, fantasy, gaming, and indie film fans. Though, for the first time, it's showing signs of outgrowing its location.

Tampa Comic Con is an efficient drive from most anywhere in the Tampa Bay area, and is wisely located near the major bridges. I'd be going a bit off the beaten track, however, as it was my duty to deliver the suspendered one to the entrance doors. I ran a bit late that morning, but my tardiness seemed to be in sync with Nolan's, and ultimately worked out rather well. The day was gorgeous, and for being July, the temperature wasn't as stifling as it could of been, and was even accented by a welcomed breeze.

I picked Nole up at about 10:30am-ish. This marked the second time I'd seen him in one week (perhaps a personal best); the first time being his 52nd birthday party at Hooters the previous Sunday. Had we gotten together with Ed Tucker on Thursday, that perhaps would have been time three! But, alas, that encounter just wasn't in the cards.

Nole and I had a nice drive down lovely Westshore Blvd. as we made our way to the con. When we arrived, we realized that parking was an immediate problem. Geekmobiles stuffed all available slots, so we were forced to do a rollercoaster ride up and down a (full) parking garage. As a result, we ended parking down by Chief Charley's steakhouse - not exactly front-row parking.

One nice perk about hangin' with the suspendered one is that we were able to secure press passes, which basically means we could enter for free. At the welcome table Nole introduced me to Tampa Comic Con mastermind Tim Gordon, originator and keeper of the show. Tim was very nice and invited us to have a great time, which we did.

The first thing we noted was the expansion of the creative talent tables to the immediate outer lobby. This idea was adopted in previous incarnations, but never has it been so overflowing. Beyond the talents that frequent the event, such as authors Glenda Finkelstein and Andrea Dean Van Scoyoc, the area now showcased comic artists, tattoo maestros, and jewelry/gift makers as well. I noticed, too, that the welcome table had been moved out to the DoubleTree Hotel's main lobby.

What's great about the Tampa Comic Con gateway are 1) The 501st Legion (Tampa Bay Squad) - a group that are costumed as very authentic stormtroopers - and a Darth Vader to boot (complete with evil breathing apparatus) (2) A cool life-size Silver Surfer sculpture, seemingly designed to promote the "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" movie.

We made the rounds among the creative talent special guests, where Nolan dropped by to say hi to the aforementioned Glenda and Andrea. Both were doing well and filled us in on their latest genre excursions, and I assisted Nole in snapping a few pictures with the ladies. Glenda was premiering her new film "Perfect Copy", based on her short story of the same name, at the Creature Productions Film Festival, which she was obviously very excited about.

After catching up with the talent, we migrated to the dealers room. Being primarily a comic book convention, it was, of course, the comics that dominated the landscape. The selection was typically impressive, and I always enjoy rummaging through the '70s-era Marvel titles I grew up with. I'm also fascinated with the comic titles from the '40s/'50s, such as Human Torch, EC's Tales from the Crypt (Squa Tront!), Captain America, and Miss Marvel.

Special guests this year were mostly from the world of comic books: the legendary Herb Trimpe (The Incredible Hulk artist), who Nolan was eager to meet, Ghost Rider creator Gary Friedrich, and artists Alex Saviuk and Pablo Marcos. Non-comic guests included familiar Crazed Fanboy icon Joel D. Wynkoop and his wife Cathy and horror host Lon Midnight.

Nole and I perused the tables, where we kept a lookout for any Crazed Fanboys milling about. None yet, though it was presumed that Terence Nuzum, Chris Woods, Corey Castellano, Lisa Cuirro, and BranJo may make appearances. We then encountered the Wynkoop booth where we spent some time talking to Joel and Cathy among Joel's amazingly prolific DVD titles (if you don't believe me, just go to Tampa's Unique Video Wynkoop collection...). Pete Mongelli, organizer of the popular Screamfest convention, was also there incognito, chatting it up with Joel and making con goers aware of the big horror event coming up in October.

Being that we were so close to the special guests table, Nolan took the opportunity to meet Herb Trimpe. After he got Trimpe's autograph, Nole and I were out and about again, wandering and salivating down the aisles. We soon encountered Pat Potter, of Comic World fame. He was passing out flyers promoting his upcoming signing session (see below) with an impressive line-up of comic book writers and artists. Always good seeing Pat, and I liked his new "mod" look! Never thought I'd see Pat Potter in a black T-shirt and goatee!

As I had mentioned, the dealers room was bursting with comics, but that's not to say there were no treats for horror fans. A few of the larger comic dealers offered (pricey) back issues of FM, Fangoria, Creepy & Eerie,Vampirella, and other classic '70s/'80s titles. Among the anime (*sigh*) action figures were cool cult classic interpretations of Angus Scrimm as The Tall Man (from "Phantasm"), the Marvel Monsters collection: Zombie, Werewolf by Night, Monster of Frankenstein, Tomb of Dracula (I'm purchasing my set at Largo's Comics & Critters Too this weekend); Godzilla, Gamera , Karloff's "The Mummy", and other 7" wonders. Of course, there were the omnipresent DVD bootleggers, who wound up ripping off Terence Nuzum (more on that later). The cult titles were indeed excellent, but if they don't work in the player, what good are they?

Before long, fellow Crazed Fanboys started appearing. First, I believe, was Terence Nuzum, followed by filmmaker Chris Woods. There were still a few things to explore before the end of the day, namely the film festival and lunch at Player's Sports Bar, but Chris and Terence rightfully wanted to make tracks around the dealers room.

When I approached the Creature Productions Film Festival table, I was pleased to see Nolan chatting it up with friend and fellow Blade alumni John "The Creature" Lewis. I know seas have been a little rough between these two fandom titans, but it was good to see them sit down and catch up on recent lost time. Why, I think they even exchanged some late-breaking announcements which I'll let Nolan and John share with you at the appropriate times.

The film festival had a good line-up this year, featuring the aforementioned "Perfect Copy" starring Glenda Finkelstein, and Creature Productions' "The Tracker" (a premiere). Unfortunately, the gang didn't get to spend as much time as we would have liked taking in the films, being that we had other activities throughout the day.

Before lunch, Chris and Terence had stopped back at a DVD table to purchase some titles. On a personal note, I can't tell you, as a lifelong cult movie fan, how impressed I was at their new acquisitions. Now, understand that the majority of the films are hard to find or out-of-print.

Terence bought:
1. "Slithis"
- a cherished '50s-sytle monster movie from the mid '70s. Note it's one of the few films above in the heralded Oddservations banner.
2. "Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers" - The Director's Cut - I've heard a lot about this much-bootlegged and ballyhooed title. It's my fifth favorite in the series (if you count "Halloween III: Season of the Witch"), and perhaps Terence knows why it's gained such a legendary status as a director's cut. I recall seeing this in the lean horror year of 1995.
3. "3 On a Meathook" - Ah, one of the great horror titles of all time. Not as gory as the title suggests, but a great '70s cult classick.
4. "Alice Sweet Alice" - A very good and very sick horror thriller from 1976 starring Brooke Shields. Don't miss Mr. Alphonso!! This would make a great double-bill with the similarly twisted "The Baby" (1973).
5. "Humongous" - At the time, a much maligned Canadian slasher about a revenge-seeking deformed son - but now worth another look.
6. "Mausoleum" - Perhaps the ultimate horror film. Nudity, gore, monsters, crypts, art direction by Robert Burns ("Texas Chainsaw Massacre", "Tourist Trap"), andMarjoe! I was there in '83 all the way, baby.

Chris Woods':
1. "Snuff"
- Like Chris, this was always a title I wanted to see, but did not have the good fortune to until about six months ago when I finally watched my (very nice, I might add) VHS edition (with the classic blue meat cleaver cover). I mentioned to him that "Snuff" is not quite the notorious cinesleaze that the notorious stories make it out to be, but be patient till the ending and you'll be amply rewarded.
2. "Mad Ron's Previews from Hell": A juicy collection of B-movie trailers.
3. "Terror on Tape" - Actual scenes from obscure B-movies, such as "Alien Prey" (which I have on VHS).
4. "Alice Sweet Alice"

Sadly, Terence reports both "3 On a Meathook" and "Mausoleum" didn't play in his DVD player.

I actually own "Mausoleum" on laserdisc(!) and "3 On a Meathook" on classic VHS.

Toward the end of the day, Corey Castellano arrived. It was a while since I last saw him (perhaps it was the last Tampa Comic Con?) and it was good to see him. He too was a Blade alumni. Hell, we had three of the members there, where the hell was the reunion show?!? You guys got nuthin' on the new Van Halen reunion.

At 2pm we all retired to Players Sports Bar, where I owed Nolan lunch for his birthday. 3 Margaritas were served to the suspendered one before he could even order his grouper sandwich. Though exhausted, I'm sure the salty liquor put Nole in a jolly (and LOUD) mood. I got a "double stack" hamburger. As Terence noted on the Crazed Fanboy message boards, the conversation was wholly fanboy-related, ranging from old Star Trek episodes to Robert Heinlein's bad attitude, to the 1993 Famous Monsters convention with Ray Harryhausen, to the DVD-Rs that Terence and Chris bought, to "Revenge of the Jedi". Incidentally, I didn't have the chance to dredge up "Blue Harvest".

My two favorite stories were: Nolan and Corey's recollections about seeing the zombie classic "Dawn of the Dead" at a theater in Tampa when it premiered in 1979. Corey mentioned the showing was sold out. God, that must have been a thrill. My personal experience of being De-Virginized by "Dawn of the Dead" came in '83/'84 when I first saw it at a midnight movie at the Tyrone Square Mall theaters in St. Petersburg. I have a few stories I could tell you myself about that night. It was a life-changing experience. I apologize for digressing; my second favorite story was hearing about Nolan's attendance at a 1973 screening of "Andy Warhol's Frankenstein" - in 3-D!!! Amazing. I bow to you, O' great one. These stories rank up there with John Lewis's early '70s recollections of watching later era Hammer; "The Vampire Lovers" for example.

After a hearty lunch, we each had to go. Nolan was drifting off quickly, so I figured I'd better get him home for some much-needed rest. So, we said our goodbyes (until the next Tampa Comic Con in November) and headed back to Nole's abode. We didn't quite go right home, however. Nole took me for a quick tour around his childhood stomping grounds, which included Robinson High School and a neighborhood hall where Blade once played (and melted electrical circuits with their amps). Cool, cool stuff.

Thanks, Nole and the guys for a great experience. Next up, I believe, is Necronomicon and Screamfest. See you there!

Comic World 25th Anniversary Celebration Event: Celebrity Artist/Writer Signings
Comic World owner Pat Potter has organized a major Tampa Bay area event at his Largo store, in celebration of 25th years as Pinellas County's oldest comic shop! On Saturday, August 25th, Comic World will host a signing of the following comic artists and writers: Chuck Dixon (who recently attended Tampa Comic Con), JimmyPalmiotti & Amanda Conner, Paul Pelletier, and Pablo Marcos. Florida "Rising Star" talent will also be there: Rob Rhine, J.S. Earls, Ausin Janowsky, Javier Lugo, Ben Filipiak, Pat Batton, Scott Reed, Ken Anthony II, Adonis Charles, C. Robert Cales (horror-romance author), and graphic artist Greg Plantamura.

There will also be a costume contest for kids and teen/adults (with prizes) and discounted comics and subscriptions for the event day only.

I have visited Comic World many times, and interviewed Pat Potter for Crazed Fanboy. On a personal note, Pat's a HUGE fan of Dr. Paul Bearer and Creature Feature, and plans to hold similar events for horror/cult movie fans. I look forward to attending the signing this Saturday, so you all come out now,y'hear?

Event info:
Comic World 25th Anniversary Celebration
Where: Comic World
When: Saturday, August 25th, 2007 (this Saturday, pilgrims!); signings begin at 12 noon and end at 5pm.

Address: 2132 Keene Plaza Shopping Center
Largo, FL 33771
Phone: (727) 581-9948
e-mail: comicworld_news@yahoo.com

"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.