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Nolan's Pop Culture Review 2010!
Assistant Editor / Co-moderator: Terence Nuzum

Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our eleventh calendar year!
Number 555  (Vol. 11, No. 46). This edition is for the week of November 8--14, 2010.

Good Times

  • Dino De Laurentiis, Dead At 91
  • "Mystery Missile" UFO Spotted Off California Coast
  • The Tampa Giant Comic Con for November


    Crazed Fanboy's Most Memorable Moments, 2000--2009
    As submitted by PCR writers, compiled by Chris Woods
    From 2008, ED Tucker pays tribute to legendary actor Charlton Heston after his passing, with a look at the films he done in the Sci-Fi genre.
    Italian movie mogul producer Dino De Laurentiis, responsible for such amazing fare as Serpico, Barbarella, Death Wish, The Bible, and Blue Velvet, as well as such bombs as King Kong '76, Amityville II, and (depending whom you talk to) Dune and Army of Darkness, died Wednesday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 91.

    An amazingly successful movie producer who lived large and became an American citizen in the '80s, I vividly remembered how he personally toured the country appearing on talk shows in 1976 hawking his remake of King Kong (originally called King Kong '77) with the 40-foot tall ape robot he was so proud of. I never forgave him for that godawful film. Long-time friends will remember I postponed seeing Star Wars due to my depression over King Kong.

    However, he will be remembered for his solid hits, as is proper. Dino De Laurentiis is likely the last of his kind, and will be missed.



    Two days ago, a hub-bub was created when an LA-based TV news reporter caught on tape something strange in the skies off California: a secret missile launch. Or a UFO. Or an airplane. Whatever it was left a loooong contrail, and had some occasional flame exhaust near the source point. Missile?

    Every US government agency has expressed no real concern and, of course, denies having anything to do with it, but reassures that whatever it was, it is not a threat to national security. Well, that's comforting, I guess. But still leaves us with a question of what it actually was.

    The top theories forwarded by various experts in the field are: (a): a private missile launch of a research nature, (b): an experimental USAF X-plane whose contrail was brilliantly lit by the setting sun, or (c): a regular airplane whose contrail was brilliantly lit by the setting sun.

    What it was not, evidently, was a ballistic missile launched by our enemies, terrorist or otherwise. Again, comforting. And, to my knowledge, alien craft do not leave vapor trails. So despite the media calling this a "UFO" and it is an Unidentifed Flying Object, this isn't a UFO in that particular sense of the word.

    That said, Ye Olde Editor has been examing UFO photos for decades. The angle of the object and position of the sun in the photos of this one confuse any objective examination. While I'm leaning toward the "regular airplane and its contrail" theory, I am reminded that this object was purportedly about 35 miles off the coast of Los Angeles. As far as I know, there are no airports out there.

    HOWEVER...one expert opined that various optical illusions of a distant object flying at an angle (and against a sunset) could mean that the UFO is heading toward the camera and not away from it. That would allow for an aircraft flying out of LAX airport. But the video I saw clearly showed a flame-like exhaust at the source point of the vapor trail which would seem to mean it is heading away from the camera, or at least at a parallel. PLUS....if it's a plane out of LAX, why weren't other airplanes showing up the same way? Did that one just happen to catch the sun at the right time?

    We'll put this one in our "gray" basket as interesting, but not particularly compelling.



    Long-time PCR readers are no doubt familiar with my regular attendance and coverage of the Tampa Comic Convention over the past ten years. The three-times-a-year show was produced by Tim Gordon until this year, when it was given over to new owners so Tim could devote his energies elsewhere. Due to conflicts with the managers of the original venue, the Cypress Avenue Doubletree Inn in Tampa, last year the Con moved to an industrial park in Largo. Not a great location, IMHO, but at least we still had the Con. Last Sunday's show (Nov 17, 2010) marked the final installment at the MinnReg building location before the show moves back next year to its original site--The Doubletree Inn in Tampa!

    Click on any image to enlarge. A new browser window will open.
    Terence Nuzum, left, confers with Tim Gordon on collectibles.
    Artist Peter Pachoumis (9/11 Artists Respond)
    Our own Chris Woods, center left, with Darth Vader.
    Our tiny but loyal group, L-to-R, Chris Woods, Nolan B. Canova, Irma Diaz, and Terence Nuzum. This was Irma's first Tampa Comic Con.
    The impressive HeroesOnline.com display.
    Directly across from HeroesOnline, another impressive display. (Sorry I didn't get their name. I suck.)
    Click on any image to enlarge. A new browser window will open.
    I initially hesitated about including this photo, but my journalistic integrity trumped my empathy. The upstairs former indie film room, now a virtually empty indie comics room, with some toy trades.
    From the indie comics room, a bird's-eye view of the Con near the entrance. Terence Nuzum is the dark figure near center. Lower right, blue T-shirt is a TPD patrolman I recognize from 7-Eleven!
    Fandom sweethearts of darkness, Terence Nuzum and Irma Diaz. If you squint, they become Gomez and Morticia Addams!
    A Storm Trooper and Darth Vader temporarily block our exit!
    Ye Olde Editor, center, with two of the three new owners of the Tampa Bay Comic Con. As soon as I recover their misplaced names, I'll print them here. Yeah, I suck, I know.

    For familiarity's sake, this review is the last I will use the show's original name; it has since been retitled "The Tampa Bay Comic Con" and I will respect that hereafter.

    I carpooled from Tampa with PCR co-editor Terence Nuzum and his significant other, Irma Diaz. After navigating the labyrinth highways near Largo to find the MinnReg (getting lost at least once is mandatory for us, you see), we arrived at almost noon to find a nearly full parking lot.

    The five-dollars-at-the-door entry ticket I've always found very reasonable and hope the new owners keep this premium in the future.

    We quickly met up with Chris Woods, the only other one of our group to attend the Con this go 'round. This is the smallest PCR group ever to attend the show, not sure what happened there (well, the weather was quite cool, and we had just set our clocks back to EST).

    Next to Chris, the first familiar face I saw was none other than Tim Gordon at his regular comics table. Even though Tim "retired" from managing the Con, he'll still attend the shows as a dealer. In fact, Terence scored a very old Dick Tracy mini-book from the '30s from Tim (last time, as you might recall, yours truly picked up a very old Amazing Stories from Mr. Gordon).

    There seemed to be fewer dealers that I remembered, but several new faces. At the indies section, I did not see Joel D. Wynkoop ("King of the B-Movies"), Andrea Dean Van Scoyoc (Author/enchantress of the Dark), or Joe Leone (indie comics artist). From what I gleaned from a third-hand account from Wynkoop, free tables for local "celebrities" have been severely curtailed, which accounts for some of it. The Creature Productions Indie Film Fest, usually on the second floor, was nowhere to be found. On this topic I was able to briefly interview two of the three new owners; they said it was simply a matter of running out of room for the expanded comics dealers section and something had to be cut. At a glance this would seem to bear out as it did look like more--and newer--comics dealers were present. The Local Indie Artists' section was moved upstairs to where the film fest used to be. I don't mean to offend, but the Indie Artists Room was virtually empty and, IMHO, could've been moved back downstairs. In all fairness, however, some may have booked tables and backed out. NOTE: this will all seem moot in a few months when the Con moves back to Tampa and things are re-CONfigured once again!

    I did see indie regulars Tony & Glenda Finklestein (fantasy novels/film production). At the "Pro" artists section I remember seeing and exchanging a few words with artists Sergio Cariello (The Lone Ranger), Peter Pachoumis (9/11 Artists Respond), Mike Perkins (Captain America), and Ron Wilson (Marvel Two-In-One, The Thing). Joe Rubenstein (Wolverine) and Tony Bedard (Green Lantern Corps) I did not have a chance to mingle with.

    Colorful costumes abound at these events and this one was no exception. A really tall Darth Vader lurked the hallways and I managed to snag a pic of him with our own Chris Woods (their outrageous height difference is my mischievous sense of humor at work).

    In a final word about purchases, now that I'm thinking about it, I seem to remember bootleg DVDs seemed to be in short suppply as well, which probably explains why Terence didn't leave with his usual handful. However, Ter and Irma did get some more goodies, including a reproduction of a Coon Restaurant menu from the '30s (die-cut piece shaped like Sambo. Pre-Politically-Correct days, folks!). Ye Olde Editor didn't quite leave empy-handed, either. I got a couple back-issues of Not Brand Ecch!, a Marvel experiment from the late '60s where the comics giant basically spoofed itself in a MAD-like manner.

    We bade farewell to a few familiar faces and headed home, with a stop at our usual Applebee's on the way. I had a delicious wine-steak dinner that was out of this world. But, I digress...

    I'm glad to see the Tampa Comic Con continuing its mission and, of course, we'll be at the next show early next year when it returns to the Doubletree Inn.

    For more information about this or any future Tampa Bay Comic Con, please visit their website!


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    "Mike's Rant" is ©2010 by Michael A. Smith     "This Week's Movie Review" is ©2010 by Michael A. Smith     "The Audio Philes" is ©2010 by Terence Nuzum     "La Floridiana" is ©2010 by William Moriaty    "FANGRRL" is ©2010 by Lisa Scherer    "Retrorama" is ©2010 by ED Tucker    "Growing Up Fanboy" is ©2010 by Chris Woods     "The Asian Aperture" is ©2010 by Jason Fetters      All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2010 by Nolan B. Canova    
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