MegaCon 2017

The lines looked like this for hours!

Starting today! MegaCon 2017 should be underway not long after you read this (assuming you read it when I post it, on Thursday, May 25). I’m anticipating a fun year again this year (if you’ve forgotten how last year went—you can click here). Last year we sold out of Tiny #1…this year we’re hoping to do just as well with Tiny #2. So, to answer your un-asked question, yes, Deonna will also be there. If you’re nice to her, she might draw for you!

You can find the both of us in Artist Alley at A378. Deonna is actually splitting a table with BJ, who will be there pushing Dr. Mom Knows Best with some comic-book geekiness added for fun. So, be sure to come by and check us out!

Barry Gregory: FCBD at ACME Superstore (sorry I caught you in mid-eye-squint)

Thomas Florimonte: FCBD at ACME Superstore

The convention gods were smiling at us, too, because directly across from me will be my comic creating buddies Barry Gregory, Jenni Gregory, and Jeff Whiting (who has a book with a short story of mine in it—so pick it up and I’ll sign it, too!). There will be a bunch of others, too, but you can find us in our little block!

I’m also happy to report that FCBD was a hit! Enzo and crew over at ACME Superstore put on a fantastic event. I kid you not, the line to get into the free comics went from opening at 11am until at least 2:30—without a single gap. Then, from about 2:30-4:30, it was still pretty busy, but there were short moments of no-line.

The following week, I drove down to Clark’s Comics for their Spring Fling. I don’t have any pictures, but Gary posted a video just before the festivities started—you can check it out here: (click here!)

Alex Saviuk signed autographs like a trooper!

Okay…though you’re probably reading this during MegaCon, I’m off to actually get ready! Come see me!

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FCBD 2017

Tomorrow is FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2017. What is FCBD, you ask? Well, I’m glad you asked.

FCBD was started by comic retailer superstar Joe Field of Flying Colors in Concord, California. The first year was 2002, so this year marks the 16th year for FCBD. It’s traditionally held on the first Saturday in May, which also usually coincides with the opening weekend of the summer’s superhero movie. 2002 was Spider-Man, this year is Guardians of the Galaxy 2.

While I was aware of what the day was, the first time I actually did FCBD was in 2011, the ten year anniversary. The fine folks at Heroes and Dreams, a store which regrettably no longer exists, invited me to be a guest in their store for the day. So I drove down to Flowood, MS. for a long full day.

It wasn’t until 2015 that Aaron and his crew over at Coliseum of Comics in the Fashion Square Mall invited me to be a part of the day there. That day was particularly exciting for me as it was the opening weekend to Avengers: Age of Ultron…which included one of my all-time favorite superheroes: The Vision!

Last year I went out to Gods and Monsters in the Artegon Mall. G&M are still around, but unfortunately, they’re not at the Artegon Mall.

This year I’m excited to tell you that I’ll be at one of the top stores around, and one that I’m always sending my students to visit: ACME Superstore! Former Spider-Man artist Alex Saviuk is the headliner, but he’ll be joined by me and my comic creating pals Barry Gregory, Jenni Gregory, and Thomas Florimonte. Come out, grab some free comics (you can find a list of the free offerings here), then spend a buck or two on “local” creators and support our books. Autographs are FREE!

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Catching up

No telling what volume of “catching up” this is, but hi! Did ya miss me? Since my last posting, Brett and I were able to pop up to Arkansas for a visit to Mom and Dad. Dad’s doing much better, but he’s still got a long way to go to get his strength back. He seems pretty determined to do it—so that’s a good sign. Thank you all very much for all the prayers and good thoughts sent our way.

If you missed my tweet earlier, Tiny #2 is available digitally on Comixology and on IndyPlanet. If you’re a digital comic reader, how ‘bout checking out the second issue by me and the talented Deonna Herrold!

John Crowther, Barry Gregory, Me at the Infinity Toy and Comic Con.

I’ve done two comic shows since my last posting, both of which were heaps of fun. On March 4, I was a guest at the Infinity Toy and Comic Con in Orlando. On March 19th, I was a guest at the Melbourne Comic Con. You should check out both of these shows the next time they come around: lots of geeky fun!

I’ve also got a fun slate of show coming up, too! On April 23rd, I’ll be returning to the Daytona Beach Comic Con, the local show that features MORE comic books than the bigger shows locally. I’m not kidding. If you’re COMIC fan, this is the place to go!

On April 29, I’ll be a comic guest at FusionCon, in Safety Harbor, FL. It’ll be my first time there, so I’m very excited to be going.

On May 6, for FCBD (Free Comic Book Day) I’ll be appearing with my comic making pals, Barry and Jenni Gregory, and Thomas Florimonte and legendary comic artist Alex Saviuk at ACME SUPERSTORE in Longwood, one of the best local shops around!

On May 25-28, I’m a comic guest at MegaCon in Orlando. I’ll be in Artist Alley once again and Deonna will be joining me as we work to put Tiny #2 in your hands. Remember, we sold out of #1 at MegaCon last year! Hint hint

On July 19th, I’ll be a comic guest at the Orlando Collect-A-Con in Altemonte Springs, FL. Barry and Jenni will also be there, so you know it’s a fun show!

On July 20-23, I’m headed to San Diego. Would like to get on a panel or something, but nothing on that yet.

On Aug 5, Barry and I will be traveling up to Pikeville, KY to be comic guests at the first ever Pikeville Comic Con. It will be my first even comic guest appearance in the bluegrass state and I’m very much looking forward to it!

On Aug 11-13, WizardWorld will be in Orlando. I’ve been slated to be a comic guest there for over a year, but some of the leadership has changed and I haven’t heard from them in a bit. I’m keeping it on my calendar until I know otherwise.

Whew! That’s it so far. There’s one or two others that I’d like to get to, and of course, I’m always open to talking, so if you run a show or knows someone who does and you need a friendly comic writer type guest to compliment your A-list artist, holler at me!

Next time, an update on my comic projects!

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Update on my dad

So many of you already know that Dad has been in the hospital since Jan. 23rd. As of this writing, he’s out of ICU but still in an ICU-step-down unit. Mom has been with him the entire time and Angie, my sister, has been with him most of that time. I drove up with my family on the 25th, arriving on the 26th—it’s a 14 hour drive from Orlando—and we stayed for nearly two weeks.

While he’s doing much better, he’s still in the ICU step-down unit and still has a long road of recovery in front of him. We’ve been very happy to get reports that Dad is highly motivated in tackling his physical therapy to get full movement back.

What happened?

Well, Dad has this rare disease called sarcoidosis. If you google it, you’ll find there are fewer than 200,000 cases in the U.S. In the U.S. the most common demographic is overweight, black, women. Yeah, Dad is none of those.

But Dad’s case was even more rare as it often affects the respiratory system. Dad’s case struck his pituitary gland, destroying it. For those of you more keen on biology than others—yeah, you can’t live without the pituitary gland. It’s basically a CPU for the endocrine system. It hit Dad in 1984 and we nearly lost him then.

What it’s done to him, though, is effectively destroy his natural immune system so that he’s more susceptible to sickness.

Taken in November 2016. All of us!

Taken in November 2016. All of us!

And that’s what got him this time; he got both the flu AND pneumonia at the same time—and it just really whacked his body. Because of the shock to his system, he got sepsis shock…and then that’s when he got what the doctor called “a systemic shutdown,” meaning, he was so sick his body just began to shut down. That’s when they had to insert a ventilator.

While he struggled with the pneumonia in his lungs, his blood pressure dropped, his heart rate was all over the board, his kidneys failed…and while that haven’t confirmed it for sure (they said it was something they could worry about after he gets out of the hospital), it even looks like he may have had a minor heart attack and a possible mini-stroke.

Yeah…it was pretty bad. So much so that for a brief couple of days, the doctors weren’t really offering us a lot of hope.

Once his flu fever broke, though, the doctors had to play a balancing game between getting liquid to and through his kidney and drying out his lungs. That wasn’t easy for them. They ultimately decided that his kidneys could take the most punishment and that they needed him off the ventilator and his lungs in better shape. Fortunately for Dad, that’s what happened…and then he began to fight some of these other things.

So 18 days later Dad is working to regain much of his physical ability that simply atrophied quickly as he laid in bed unable to do anything for so long. Thank you all so very much for the prayers. We believe they were heard! As I said earlier, he’s still in the hospital for a reason—so any and all continued prayers are highly welcomed!

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Auburndale CityCon: First convention of the year

ccposter2017b-666x1030This weekend, Friday and Saturday (January 20 and 21), will mark my first show for the year 2017. To say that I’m excited about it wouldn’t be telling the entire truth as I’m incredibly excited! It is my understanding that this is about the third CityCon.

One very cool thing about this show is that the entire city of Auburndale gets behind the convention. There’s even a picture of the City Council members wielding light sabers. I don’t know of very many places that would do that.

Joining me representing comics will be stellar comic writer (he’s an artist, too!) Larry Hama! There’s also a big focus on GI Joe at the show. So come out and say hi—maybe pick up a few comics.

You can find info to the show here (https://auburndalefl.com/citycon/) and you can like their facebook page here. So go do it now!

Other exciting news…

Cover to Tiny #1

Cover to Tiny #1

Tiny #1 available digitally

If you prefer to read your comics digitally, you can find it at Comixology here and you can find it at Indyplanet here. The Indyplanet link will also give you the option to purchase it in print. Essentially, they’ll print the copy and send it to you after you’ve placed the order. Very cool, huh?

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Happy New Year and looking ahead to 2017

cmcoloredHappy New Year everyone! I know some of you are ready to put 2016 behind you, but I’m ever the optimist so I’m anticipating 2017 to be a great year. I’ll add the obligatory “I can’t believe it’s 2017 already! Where has the time gone?”

I don’t have a lot of convention appearances lined up just yet, but one is fairly immediate. On Jan 19-20, I’ll be a guest at Auburndale City Con (near Lakeland, FL). The other shows I have lined up are: Daytona Beach Comic Convention on April 23, MegaCon in Orlando in May, Wizard Orlando in August. I’ll do something for FCBD (Free Comic Book Day) in May, but don’t have that hammered down yet. Wherever I end up, it’ll likely be with my pal Barry Gregory—three years running. Last year his lovely and talented wife, Jenni joined us, as did Thomas and Rene Florimonte. So, I’ll be somewhere, just not sure where yet. I hope to add a few more shows to the list, and I’ll be sure to let y’all know.

silverblade-cover-posterOn the family front, Brittany is starting 2017 off in LA as she seeks work there. I’m anxious to learn all that she’ll be getting to do this year and anticipate seeing her on the screen before the year is up! Brett will become a senior this year—OH MY!—and he’s becoming quite the young man. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but one of my weekly (mostly) pleasures is my Friday night game session with Brett. Now that Brittany is in LA, she’s talked about joining us…if she can figure out the time difference. BJ’s still working hard on her Young Living business venture and we’re both pretty excited to see what’s in store for her there. If you haven’t “liked” her FB page yet, I’ll ask that you please go do it now: CLICK HERE!

I’m pretty excited about several things on the creative front. I’m working on two projects with long time friend and artist Dean Zachary. I’ll give you more as they develop, but a peek at them looks like: the first we’re calling SilverBlade and the high concept is Indiana Jones meets John Constantine. Joining me and Dean on SilverBlade is Barbara Kaalberg on inks and Thomas O’Connor on colors. You should see an image on this page somewhere. The second project Dean and I are working on is a revamp of Cat & Mouse, a series I did with the talented Mitch Byrd (and Steven Butler on some of the early issues) back in the late 80s/early 90s. Dean and I have made changes and updates, obviously, but the spirit will remain. The first story is about human trafficking, something I’m pretty passionate about. While Barb inked the image you see on this page, we’ve got another super-talented inker in mind to join us here, and the coloring is done by Kevin Gallegly.

Demon's Tails Ad

Demon’s Tails Ad

I can’t mention C&M without folks thinking about Demon. I’m excited to say that Paul Pelletier has agreed to reunite with me and produce a second Demon’s Tails mini-series. As I write, we’re still working on the story details, and—of course—the story will have to move at Paul’s pace, but I’m excited that we’re getting started on it. Thomas Florimonte has agreed to round out the reunited team as inker. So, yeah, I’m pretty excited about it. Long time pal Barry Gregory colored the image you see here, and we’re currently planning for it to be part of the Gallant Universe where Barry and Steven have just wrapped up their incredible John Aman, Amazing Man series. If you haven’t seen it, you need to check it out!

There’s nothing really specific that I can mention, but I’ve been talking to Barry about some pretty cool comic-related projects. I’m looking forward to more on that end. Sorry about being so mysterious about it. You know that you’ll be the first to know when I can talk about it…but the possibilities are pretty exciting.

Hope your year looks to be as exciting as mine. Happy New Year one and all!

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Merry Christmas and 2016 in review

Where oh where has the blo-ger gone? (to the tune of “where oh where has my little dog gone”). Yep, it’s been a full month since I’ve posted here. As I frequently tell my students, there’s no excuse for submitting work late. I’m just glad that my blog isn’t for a grade or for a paid assignment!

It has been a hectic month…and I’ll talk about some of that in a minute, but since I’m at it, I figure I’ll just do my annual year in review!

Though many have decried 2016 as a terrible year (the deaths of many celebrities seems to be the main cause of this), 2016 was a pretty decent year. I was fortunate to be able to do a big handful of comic conventions this year, including ACME Comic Con, Daytona Comic Con (in both April and December!), Lebanon MegaCon, FCBD, MegaCon (Orlando), Friendly Neighborhood ComicCon (Paragould, AR), SanDiego ComicCon, Wizard Richmond, SmashCon, and Clermont Comic Con. While they were all good fun, the highlight was probably the SDCC where I got to go thanks to my pal Barry Gregory of Ka-Blam. It was my first visit there in over 15 years and I got to see a lot of pals and colleagues I have seen in about that same time. Of course, while I love comics and enjoy talking with readers of my work (old and new readers alike), one of my enjoyments of comic conventions is to see and hang out with friends, particularly those other oddballs who also make comics.

Another highlight was the Kickstarter I ran with super-talented artist Deonna Herrold and the following release of our comic TINY. The responses, while few, have been overwhelmingly positive. The most common question I’m asked—which is good for a writer’s ego—is will we do more. The answer is that I don’t know. Deonna is still in school and the work on Tiny was time-consuming and she wants to give it her all in finishing. Once she graduates, she has assured me she’d let me know if she’s up for more. You can grab a copy of Tiny #1 here at IndyPlanet in either print or digital. It will also be available on Comixology in just a matter of days. #2 will follow.

I got involved in a critique group that has really helped me on the writing front. We may have actually started in ’15, but this year we were active and it helped me a lot! I really appreciate the other three writers!

Taken in November 2016. All of us!

Taken in November 2016. All of us!

The stats of my blog aren’t available to me yet as wordpress hasn’t sent me the annual report just yet—still 5 days left in the year. 2009 likely remains my “best” year in terms of numbers. I blogged a lot that year about writing (sometimes twice a week) and I spoke at multiple writer’s conventions, generating a lot of traffic. As noted above, I sometimes go an entire month without blogging. >sigh<

It continued to be mostly good in the classroom. The animation portion of my class has been removed and I now focus 100% on comic writing. I’ve been doing that for just a couple of months and I really enjoy the content a lot more. My students are still about 85-90% uninterested in comics; most of them want to be screenplay writers. Though I have seen an uptick in fledgling novel writers (why they’re at Full Sail, I don’t know). It’s greatly illuminating about comics today and I wish there was a way to get the larger comic-creating community to take note: the most common “negative” comments I get from these students is that after reading a work, they have no idea who the characters are/were, where the story took place, or any of the basics of story-telling. I find it’s because many “modern” comic writers are so afraid of words they don’t give readers the information they need to understand the story.

Ah well.

The biggest change in the Mann household this year is that my daughter has made the big move out to Los Angeles to find work in the entertainment industry (good news! She’s already been approached for work in January! Woo-hoo!). Momma is going to hang with her a bit to help her get settled before coming home. It will not be easy for her to get on that plane, so prayers and good wishes are greatly coveted from you about that.

Okay—Merry Christmas all. Thank you for reading my blog. Next week I’ll talk about my expectations for 2017!

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