Thursday, October 30, 2008

Art for Sale!

I just created a second blog site where I'll be selling original comic book art from throughout my career. Check it out HERE or through the top link on the right side of this page. You'll find everything from Tom Strong pages to Number of the Beast layouts for sale, including lots of unpublished finished and unfinished pencil art(jpegs provided) as well as a few surprises. If you see anything you want to buy, there are instructions in the first post at the bottom of the page. Thanks!

PlanktonPod Playlist Update
I was hanging around with con and concert-going pal Dave Aikins recently, and I mentioned we'd be going to see Dean & Britta at the Wexner Center here in Columbus next month. Dave claimed to have never heard of Dean & Britta or their previous band Luna, not to mention Dean Wareham's first band, Galaxie 500. Voila! Instant idea for a new playlist: an introduction to Luna and Dean & Britta. This one's for you (again), Dave!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

White Woses
Hello kind blog readers! This blog is being written by Xan, aka, me. I thought I'd give Chris a break from posting. I'm a bit embarrassed, since he's been so diligent and I've not done a blog in months. Have I even done one in 2008? Oh well. I'm here now.

So we've been pretty busy so far this October. First of all, I've actually been going into the office since around mid July to assist in the training classes for new hires. It's not a bad commute and the project is actually fun so I don't really mind, but there are mornings I wake up and think "Okay, if I weren't on this project, I could sleep another hour!" But by the time I get there, I'm over it. Chris has been busy with his new project which I'm not sure he's supposed to talk much about yet, so I'll let him go into greater detail later.

The Mid Ohio Con was the first weekend of October, and the following Saturday my sister in law Megan was in town getting more work done on her extremely ambitious full back tattoo piece, so Chris and I hung out with our nephew Aaron whilst his mother spent like 5 hours getting inked! My tattoo took about 40 minutes, I can barely imagine 5 hours.

That same night, I got a call from my friend Sara who was visiting her mother in Kettering, so I drove there to see her and her family. She lives in Toronto, and was in the states for her brother's 30th birthday, which was celebrated where he lives in Yosemite. He works there, so yes, he really does live in a national park. It's like superhero cool. I spent the night with them, chatting until late with her and her husband, then playing with her kids in the morning. When I left I decided to try the following experiment-will a Marion's Piazza SuperCheese pizza be any good after the drive home to Columbus? The results were favorable. First of all, I learned that there's really only about 2/3 of a pizza remaining after transport. And when consuming the remaining pizza, just throw it in the oven for about 5 minutes and it's like you're right there in the land of never-ending fake daylight that is Marion's. They do that thing where they have what looks like windows, but it's really concealed lighting. Anyway, my next trip I'll try a similar experiment but change the variables to a Milano's meatball sub. By the way, if you've never had a Marion's SuperCheese, I highly recommend making your way to Stroop and Far Hills at some point in your life. If victory had a flavor, it would taste like a SuperCheese.

But I forgot one thing when ordering the pizza. I forgot about my hit or miss relationship with mushrooms, which I usually have them hold. I have a slight mushroom allergy that comes on in degrees, sometimes terrible, sometimes mild. Unfortunately, the terrible end of the scale was what I had in store, and Monday I was in bad shape. I was pretty violently ill, and I had-get this-hives. Hives on my neck and chest. Lovely.

Hives however didn't keep us from making a drive to Cleveland on Wednesday to see Nick Lowe at the Beachland Ballroom. The Beachland is a great venue to see a show. It's intimate, the bar sells orange sodas in glass bottles, and it's down the street from a record shop called Music Saves that I just love. It's a tiny little place, but it has mainly the type of stuff we're interested in-lots of indie label stuff, vinyl, and handmade bags. It's a great shop, and since it's so close to the venue, sometimes you run into the musicians. We once found ourselves shopping next to Peter Buck.

Before the show, we stopped off on Coventry Avenue for some geek shopping at Big Fun. I wish we still had a Big Fun here! I was able to find some of the new plush Pez, and some other various Pez things that I will photograph and post soon on my MySpace page. It started to monsoon while we were shopping, but we made it to the show which was fantastic! Nick Lowe has an album called "The Jesus of Cool", and he kinda is just that. We were able to meet him after the show, and he seemed genuinely interest in my story about how Chris and I posed for wedding photos in the same poses from the "Cruel To Be Kind" video.

Two days later was the Billy Bragg show in State College, PA. I've never seen Billy Bragg, so when we found he was touring I didn't really care where he was, I was going. 6 hours was about the closest he was going to be, so out of our choices we chose the State College show because we'd never seen Penn State's campus, and we were able to get second row seats. The drive was pretty easy and gorgeous, but when we got to town, it was chaos. The concert was scheduled for the same weekend as Penn State's homecoming. Ugh!!! The show was at the State Theater which is on College Avenue, which was CLOSED for the homecoming parade! All parking garages were full, and the meters were 15 minutes per quarter and no one would sell us more that $2.oo of quarters at a time. So after 2 stops to convenience stores, we had parking money and found a spot about 10 blocks from the venue. Our initial plan had been to get there a little bit early, check out the local shops, grab a bite, our standard drill. But we wound up eating pizza by the slice as we walked and no shopping. But again, the show was fantastic. I got to meet Billy Bragg, and he signed my longbox from when I purchased "Don't Try This At Home" way back in 1991. I, like everyone my age, used longboxes as bedroom decor in high school and in college, and I was really glad I'd saved that one.

Since I had to work on Saturday, we had to drive back that same night. Chris slept on the way there so I was able to sleep on the way back, and I'm glad because Chris told me later that the deer carnage he encountered on the dark ride home was nothing short of nightmarish.

We got home around 630 AM, and I slept, worked, slept some more, then prepared for the Drexel Horror Marathon. Even though this was a really busy week, I still really wanted to go to the marathon because they were running "The Fog" which is one of my favorite movies. They also ran "Meet the Feebles" which I'd never seen in a theater, and it was quite the experience. This year's premiere was "Lat den ratte komma in", a Norwegian vampire story. English translation is "Let The Right One In", and I enjoyed it quite a bit. The rest of the lineup wasn't overly spectacular, but I did get to see the trailer for "The Thing With Two Heads". Chris didn't come with me this time, as he used his Saturday night for some much needed sleep, so I met up with friends when I got there. But before the last 2 movies I had a headache and my friend Aaron had a fever, so we left early. That's been my trend the last few years. I'm still going to marathons, but I just can't hack the whole thing anymore.
After the hour it took us to get home after Chris picked me up (the Columbus marathon was also today, runners and such, and many streets were closed because of it) I just plopped myself on the sofa, took something for my headache, and just napped and watched whatever 50s horror was on TCM. I'm still sleepy and its 1030 PM. It's been a long week.

So that's been our month. We have more concerts coming up and a toy show next weekend, so hopefully, I'll have more Pez to talk about soon!


Nick Lowe at the Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland, OH

Billy Bragg at the State Theatre in State College, PA

The poster for Lat Den Ratte Komma In, a highlight of the 2008 Horror Movie Marathon

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Mid-Ohio-Con 2008
Whew! The con was exhausting this year! Under new management and in a new venue, Mid-Ohio-Con was possibly even busier and more crowded(on Saturday at least) than in years past. Or maybe it just seemed that way because I started to get a wicked headache that wouldn't let up about half way through the day. Anyway, I started the show drawing onstage for about an hour for a charity auction(don't know how the piece did in the auction). Then it was off to the booth to sign and sketch. Fans got a sneak preview of my newest project, and the reactions were uniformly positive(more details soon)! My sister Megan and her son Aaron and his friend EJ showed up around noon and seemed to have a blast at their first comic convention. My headache was ramping up to full bore by this time, so I apologize if I was surly or brusque with anyone who met me. I did sketches for everyone I could fit in and talked with lots of really nice people. That's one thing I like about Mid-Ohio-Con in particular: the people attending seem to all be friendly and very easy to talk to. Xan arrived after she got off work and she was off filling in huge chunks of her Gold Key Twilight Zone collection in no time. No big dinners or get-togethers for us that night since I felt so bad--we just went home and crashed.

Sunday was quieter and lots more fun for me--I was well-rested for a change and had no sign of a headache! I
had several long conversations with fans and did much better sketches than on Saturday. Xan found a Star Wars rancor figure she'd been searching for high and low for years, and I even got in some shopping and lunch--two things I almost never get at cons! Highlights of the con for me: talking with fans and the copies of the really neat Mice Templar comic given to me by my booth neighbor, writer Bryan J. L. Glass.

Thanks to everybody who came out and said "hi!"
and thanks to Megan for the first two photos below!

Sketching for EJ

Aaron and EJ look like they could take this Vader...

That's my girl!