Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Shameless Begging! Original Artwork Up For Grabs!
(I originally posted this on my MySpace page and I thought it couldn't hurt to post it here as well)
Okay, Brian K. Vaughan begged for an iPhone on his blog(and got one!), so I thought I'd put the word out for something I want but probably won't be able to get my hands on--way less expensive than an iPhone, though--don't worry. Specifically, if anyone reading who's going to the San Diego Comic Con can pick up one of Michael Golden's Exclusive San Diego sketchbooks for me, I'll give you a free page of original comic art. I'll send a list of what I have to whomever gets their hands on a sketchbook, and we can work out a trade. Thanks!


Monday, July 23, 2007

Remembrance of Comic Cons Past
The San Diego ComicCon (SDCC) will begin this Wednesday. And I'm not overly excited about it, because I'm not going. And maybe this year would have been a good year to go because of The Simpsons Movie coming out the same week, but nevertheless, I'm not going.

I haven't been since the year I got married which was September of 2002, and from what I hear it has grown to epic proportions this year. They sold out. One of the biggest conventions in the world is sold out. You can't go to the door and say "Hi, I would like a ticket please" because they have none to give. Amazing, and I like what that says about the climate of acceptance for geeky endeavors.

It isn't that I haven't been because I didn't enjoy it. It is just a major time and financial committment. The hotel and airfare are pricey. And even if I got to tag along if chris was a guest, there is still the time committment and you cannot leave there without dropping some serious cash. There are too many dealers to make it a frugal affair. Having always gone with Chris my admission badge has been free, but that is a drop in the bucket.

It is also a 5-6 day show. And while you feel like you can miss some days of other shows, you never want to miss a day of San Diego. No matter what day it is, there is a panel you want to go to. Panels at San Diego are great because often they have free promotional stuff. I still have my Harvey Birdman Attorney At Law wall clock!

So many of my friends are going and everyone has been asking us if we will be at San Diego. But we're not going. Getting to San Diego also takes a lot of planning. You practically have to reserve your room for next year while checking out of the hotel this year. And we've had lots of other things we wanted to do this year.

And of course I am out of vacation time. I'm sure we'll think about it for next year, that is unless we decide to go to England again or someplace else that isn't work related for Chris.

So to Sean, Neil, Jeff, Kurt, and to everyone else who is going, I hope you have a blast. Try and grab some cool free stuff for me, willya? Stay away from the pretzels in the convention hall and if Pat and Oscar's is still there, eat a breadstick for me. And to all the pros, don't work too hard.

We'll catch it again some other year. What should those of us who remained home do to make our weekend super geeky too? I think I'll attack my way too large stack of unread comics while listening to my out of print and bootleg soundtracks.

For my part this week while not attending the country's biggest geekapalooza, I'll get some work done in the nice quiet privacy of my own studio, read the heck out of my copy of Modern Masters: Michael Golden(hopefully), and share the following
bunch of photos from past San Diego shows...

Ah! One of the things I love most about comic conventions: Stormtroopers in anachronistic situations!

Doing time in artists alley, 2001... I love seeing all my long-distance friends, meeting cool fans, selling artwork, and talking comics. It's grueling work sometimes, though--lots of missed lunches and sore backs. Just look at Karl's posture! Oh, yeah--for the record, going down the table from nearest to farthest we have me, Brian Stelfreeze, Karl Story, Georges Jeanty, and Cully Hamner

Xan attending a panel, one of the cool things she does while I'm in artists alley. I think this one is the Cartoon Network Adult Swim panel in 2002

Me and Karl at the Adult Swim panel...I have the dreaded thousand yard stare going...too much artists alley time...

One thing that makes San Diego stand out from other conventions(besides its enormity and crowdedness) is the huge number and diversity of actors and musicians in attendance. Over the years, we've met or rubbed shoulders with everyone from Kevin Smith to Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo. Stephen Root has browsed through my pile of artwork, my brother was Jason Mewes' chaperone one year(!), and in 2002 Xan even got to be in a movie being made by Mark Hamill. Above is Xan meeting Maurice LaMarche, voice of The Brain(as in "Pinky and the...") and Kif from Futurama.

In 2001 my friend Gary and I met the lovely and awfully nice Erin Gray, who starred in Buck Rogers In The 25th Century back when we were 13 or so...

Another cool thing that one sees more often at the San Diego Comic Con than anywhere else are the dealers room displays of original movie and TV props like the Batmobile (above) and one of Yoda's little puppet hands below...

...and finally, the after-show dinners with other comic creators are always a highlight. We get to put down the pens and pencils, stretch our legs, and unwind at last. In this photo below from 2001, you'll find (among others) my friends Gary and Hiroshi, Brian Stelfreeze, and Cully Hamner


Friday, July 20, 2007

Return Trip
Mom, Dad and the grandkids stopped overnight on the way back home after their marathon three week road trip out West. Dad and I tried to wear the grandkids out with a walk around the neighborhood after dinner(didn't work). Xan's parents came over later, and while the grown-ups talked downstairs, I doled out geeky toys(Star Trek communicators and a Doctor Who sonic screwdriver) and took the kids up to our "music room" so they could play and dance and jump around until they finally collapsed from exhaustion a couple of hours later. It sounds like everyone had fun, and we were happy to host them all on their final night away from home!
Shannon, Brittany & Aaron: getting crazy in the music room

Don't ask me...

Shannon plays with the off-screen Jess-Belle

The energy finally runs out!

Comic Book Update
Here are a couple of upcoming covers for Midnighter(in pencilled form, of course). Also, Wildstorm/DC Comics just announced a trade paperback collection of the first six Midnighter comics will be published in late November. I hope to have a few available at my table at Mid-Ohio Con on Thanksgiving weekend.


Sunday, July 15, 2007

Pez Part 2

Just thought I'd add some other Pez photos of my weirder, or "non traditional" dispensers. But the weirdest thing about my collection is that I don't like Pez candy. I agree that this is odd, but I saw an episode of "Unwrapped" about a guy who doesn't eat peanuts, yet has the largest private collection of Mr. Peanut items. I'm sure there are more of us.

I also open them as I'm not much of an "original packaging" collector, since if I buy it, I want to mess with it. I also find the actual item looks a lot nicer on display than the package. I sometimes save the blister pack cards, because the graphics are usually specific to that line of dispenser. They also have fun little puzzles on the back like mazes, word searches or connect the dots. Pez also comes in generic little bags, and they can turn around or get hidden by the little paper inside that has the games on it.

Also, there is candy in the packages which can turn into powder and make the packaging cloudy. And, while some people collect candy packs, I think old candy lying around for decades is a little gross. And while Pez can survive a little bit of water, cardboard and candy cannot.

Besides, the earliest dispensers came in clear cello bags, so Pez started as an out of package collectible. I also didn't start the collection as a way to retire by eventually selling them. As a collector and packrat, I don't start a collection unless I plan to will it away.

This is a Pez-a-saur. This little car will dispense candy if you push down on it. The candy pops up from a hole in the rumble seat. This is the only one of these I have seen besides a Peter Pez who is the Pez mascot. I don't have too many Peter Pez items because he is a clown.

All of my NASCAR Pez are from my dad. He's very supportive of my collection and has been instrumental in it's growth. I'm always so touched when he picks up Pez for me, and if he winds up buying me something I have, I keep the one he gave me and sell or swap the other one.

This is my favortite in the line of Pez lunchboxes, and is one of the few Pez things I have that isn't a dispenser. My other non dispenser items include that pineapple bank, a mini puzzle, a Pez-A-Saur flashlight, and some floaty pens. This was a Christmas gift from my friend Troy and yes, it has a Thermos. I also collect lunchboxes.

These are pens that dispense Pez. Again, these are gifts from Dad. He also gave me my Marvin the Martian candy hander which is battery operated. Well, it CAN be battery operated, if there are batteries in it.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Since my birthday post about the Creature From The Black Lagoon, people have asked me about the rest of my Pez Collection. Today, I bought some more shelving and now have most of it on display so I thought I would finally take some photos! This isn't the entire collection, since I have a few things that I haven't found a good way to display yet. The NASCAR cars, the Pez-A-Saur car, and my Pez Pens have proven difficult to display in a way that satisfies me, and my Pez spaceman lunchbox is with the other lunchboxes. It has a thermos and is super cool. I also don't keep the holiday dispensers in with the main collection since we use them as holiday decorations. But this is most of it! I'll post the holiday photos when the holiday is upon us. I may post some other images later, or on my MySpace page later.

For some reason Blogger isn't putting the photos in the order I would like, and I am not in the mood to deal with the HTML code to make it happen.

These are my Muppet Giant Pez, standing guard over my Henson book collection. The Doozer is plush, not Pez.

And of course, the Star Wars Giant Pez. They all play the Star Wars theme when you tilt back the heads, except for the shiny C3PO which speaks dialogue. The Death Star lights up, making it my favorite, even though it is just a ball.

These are the rest of the Giants, plus the recent "box sets"-Elvis, of course (70s Elvis is the best as it has a lot of detail on the collar), Orange County Choppers and the Crystal Hello Kitty collection. Not really all that into the Crystal Pez, but I liked this one. There are 2 Homer's because one talks, one doesn't. The Marge talks, and so does the Alligator. The Spider-Man plays the Spider-Man theme, and the Lost in Space robot is my favorite of all the Giant Pez. The Pineapple is actually a coin bank. It is a reproduction of a very rare line of dispensers from the 70s.

I keep the Yoda Pez with the Yoda collection. Chris and I of course like to tell people that we collect "Yodas n'shit" when they see this collection. Yes, that is a copy of "April Fools Day" there on the DVD shelf.

These photos are of the main collection. It is hard to get the whole thing in one image because the shelving is on the walls at the bottom of the stairway. Since it is in the corner and to back up far enough to get it all in one shot would mean moving the refrigerator, I just took separate photos.


Sunday, July 01, 2007

Sprouse Family Visit
My parents just began a road trip across a pretty big chunk of the country, with many stops in the Midwest. They're bringing their grandkids along, and this weekend they all stayed with us on their first stopover in the Midwest. I caught up with Mom & Dad, while Xan and the kids had all kinds of Nintendo fun.

Wii party!

Jess-Belle inspecting the luggage

Wii boxing wears the kids out before bedtime

Jess-Belle and Grandpa taking a snooze...
sort of a companion photo to the one from last Christmas with Xan's dad