No matter how many times I write up this experience, I always find a little something new to talk about. This time it was a couple faces, both new to this Con, and both worth mentioning, that made this foray unique for yours truly.
The first, on a personal note, was the first-time visit of Jacksonville-based PCR writer ED Tucker, who's been trying to find an opportunity to join us here for quite a while. The stars finally lined up correctly Sunday, July 12, and ED was actually the first to arrive at the convention hall.
The other new face, a comic-book legend, was Chris Claremont, one of the best writers Marvel ever had, and who practically reinvented The X-Men some thirty years ago, catapulting both he and they to legend status.
PCR co-editor Terence Nuzum and I traveled to St. Pete to meet up with Chris Woods and Simon Lynx at Chris's new apartment. Terence went right to work inspecting the DVD and album collection, haha, while I pondered how this place would become a movie set at one point. All of Chris's apartments wind up in his movies somehow. After a brief tour, Terence and I followed Chris and Simon to the Minnreg building, part of a larger industrial complex, in Largo.
Parking can be tricky because it isn't what you'd call abundant, but streetside spaces are available. Ter and I were in first as Chris continued looking for parking.
Despite the hall being slightly smaller than the former location at the DoubleTree Inn, a busy crowd can still make finding cohorts complicated which necessitated a cellphone call to ED to see where he was. We agreed to stay close to the celebrity artists area and ED would find us, which he did in short order. Happily, ED seemed very pleased with the Con so far, even havng picked up a few items already in the short time he'd been there.
Soon, Chris and Simon caught up with us, and young Mason Troupe arrived as well. As is customary, we stick fairly close together while "doing laps" around the Con to take it all in before we temporarily go our separate ways.
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Marvel comics legend Chris Clarement (X-Men) signs autographs for fans.
The always friendly Pat Broderick (Micronauts) says hello.
John Lewis (Creature Productions), left, with our own ED Tucker (Retrorama)
Our traditional group shot. L-to-R, Chris Woods, Nolan Canova, Cathy Wynkoop, Joel Wynkoop, Terence Nuzum, ED Tucker, and John Lewis. Unfortunately, Lisa hadn't arrived yet, so missed this one.
One of my favorite vintage comics dealers from one angle.
And from another angle.
The celebrity artists table.
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Lisa FANGRRL Ciurro, left, finally arrives and joins Mason Troupe, center, and yours truly.
L-to-R, the dark trio of Simon Lynx, Joel D. Wynkoop, and our own Chris Woods are gathered at Joel's table.
Video producer and fiction writer Glenda Finklestein (standing) is always very friendly and great to talk to. Husband Tony (seated) is probably keeping an eye on Creature Prouctions, haha.
This young man stopped me to talk about his new comic just as I was leaving. I admired his approach, so here he is: Tari Owei and Alpha Jaguars !
ED Tucker, left, says, "Joel Wynkoop just kills me with his approach to self-promotion!"
Comics and video entrepreneur Bill Black (left) was someone I'd never had the opportunity to meet until now. A late arrival, I'd nearly missed him before I decided to check one last time before lunch! Nick Cuti, right, looks on.
Like the Con from last March, I found a lot to like here, plenty of vintage books and magazines, much of which was out of my price range, but a lot that was reasonable as well. It's encouraging to see so many dealers return to Tim Gordon's show, because if you can't cut some deals this time, maybe you can do it next time (Tim puts on three of these shows a year). Plenty of great artists all displaying their work (see pics), bootleg DVD dealers in full swing (this is where I usually lose Terence and Chris), posters, action-figures, everything. They make a lot fit into a small space, haha.
A pleasant surprise awaited me in the Indie Film room, formerly Creature Film Fest, now a Doug Vader production. I was eagerly ushered in the room by Mr. Vader to see the first few shorts, and after viewing them I could see why: he inserted my name into the opening credits of his first short! Something along the lines of "Welcome everybody and Nolan, too. Yada Yada, if you have anything to say about these films, keep it to yourself, and this means you, too, Nolan!" HAhaha. My reputation preceeds me. Thanks, Doug. I enjoyed a short Star Trek fan film and a Joel Wynkoop commercial before I rejoined the others on the convention floor. I'm sorry I couldn't see more films, but there are only so many hours I can spend at these things with my brutal schedule.
I think by about this time, FANGRRL Lisa Scherer Ciurro arrived and we started taking some more pictures and discussing lunch plans.
The ever-weird John Lewis (Creature Productions) was hanging close to his table which was manned by the ever-glowering Nick Cuti (Captain Cosmos, Eerie comics). John and I go way back, but our communication has never been the best. We asked if his daughter Ashley (formerly of both PCR and Creature Productions) was going to join us. He said he thought so, but would have to make a call to say how soon. We never got an answer, but twenty minutes later, John was outside walking around in the rain (it had just finished pouring) near a ditch, and presumably still talking to Ashley! I guess a "yes or "no" regarding her arrival was not realistic.
We adjourned to a local Chili's to commence our post-Con fanboy/girl summit where we discussed what we just experienced and talk fandom in general. This is the first time I related to all but Terence about the robbery I experienced at 7-Eleven (as told last issue). I gratefully received lots of support about that and I appreciate it. I then ordered two big maragaritas and the rest, as they say is...well, maybe not history, but definitely a blur.
As a final note, those who wish to know our individual purchases, please keep checking Readers Comments. I encourage the PCR entourage to post what they'd like to share of their acquisitions for the world to see. I didn't make an attempt to memorize them, and I myself passed up purchases for this go 'round. But my wish list stays with me, regardless.
The 40th Anniversary of the Moon Landing, Monday, July 20th, 2009 was a day to celebrate, and celebrate I did, with a trip to Mad Dogs & Englishmen, and English-style pub near me. Several of us clinked glasses and toasted our space-age achievements. We recalled where we were when Neil Armstrong descended the ladder and uttered, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." (I was awakened by my parents to see it on TV...it was after 10:00pm on a school night.)
As One Conspiracy Dies, Another Begins....
New hi-rez satellite pictures have been released that actually show the Lunar Lander exactly where it was left forty years ago. Never ones to let a good conspiracy die, however, the naysayers have started building a new angle that the new pictures are doctored!
Nevertheless, the new space probes are re-mapping the entire Lunar surface and, among other things expected with the new technology, are pictures of ALL the original landing sites.
I'm sorry Walter Cronkite didn't live quite long enough to see this anniversary. (Cronkite died last week at the age of 92.) The veteran newscaster is inextricably linked in my memory with the Apollo program. In fact, any science broadcast of the day benefited from Cronkite's narration, not only because he was the "most trusted man in America", but because of his acknowleged deep interest in science.
To Mars and Beyond
With a new, science-saavy Administration in place, there is renewed interest in a manned spaceflight to Mars. I couldn't be happier about that, despite the practical hurdles we'll have to overcome to make it happen. We have the technology. Funding will be problematic (nothing new there), but I'm hopeful to see it happen in my lifetime.
I suppose the conspiracy buffs will be mounting their efforts to label that mission a hoax, too. After all if we never made it to somewhere fairly close like the Moon, how could we ever make it to Mars??