Con Report: Paragould Friendly Neighborhood Comic Expo

So, this post was written and somehow got filed away in my “saved” files without me ever posting. So, as is the mantra of many comic artists, better late than never! (oh stop it, you artists! I’m just kidding!)

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Me and mah boy!

Me and mah boy!

Imagine my surprise when I learned that Paragould, Arkansas was having a full-fledged comic/geek convention! And it happened to be near a time when I would be in town (Piggott, but that’s close enough) to try to attend. Of course, my second thought was “why didn’t they do that when I actually lived nearby!”

Regardless, I was extremely happy to be a part of the comic guestlist for the inaugural Friendly Neighborhood Comic Expo in Paragould, Arkansas. And if you didn’t make it out, shame on you! It would have been well worth your time! The good news is, the con-organizer is already planning a second one!

New readers of Tiny!

New readers of Tiny!

There are three main things I enjoy when I go to comic conventions: the first is meeting fans old and new and talking with them about my projects. Yep, this is certainly an ego thing as all creative types like to hear that there is something about a work they’ve done that stood out with a fan. The second is getting to hang with the creators that I know. A third is getting to meet creators I’ve never had the opportunity to meet before. The cool thing about Paragould is all three of these things happened.

Me, Jason Boyster and son Greydon.

Me, Jason Boyster and son Greydon.

Jason Boyster approached me with his son, Greydon, and picked up a copy of (actually, I forget—but maybe it was Krey). Jason remembered talking to me in the late 90s when I’d actually been at a booth at the Piggott Fourth of July Picnic. He enjoyed our conversation and the books he picked up. He wanted to share a similar moment with his son. Yeah. Pretty cool, huh? Makes a writer all misty-eyed!

Friend Mitch Foust was an artist guest at the show and our mutual good buddy, mega-talented Dean Zachary made the drive up with his sweetheart (brave Dean, introducing her to the comic scene!) to say hi and to deliver a very cool item to me (sorry, that’s all you get for now. You’ll get more later—promise!). John Lucas was there, but didn’t get to talk much to him as he stayed pretty busy!

Timothy Lim (waving) and Mark Pellegrini (oblivious!).

Timothy Lim (waving) and Mark Pellegrini (oblivious!).

I also got to meet artists Timothy Lim, Kelly Williams, Larry Cathey as well as Timothy’s writer pal Mark Pellegrini. Many of us piled up and went to eat on Saturday night where we had a blast! (and my fifteen year old son got hit on by our 20-something waitress!) We talked comics, art, geeky stuff, a little politics (friendly, though, not that facebook hatred stuff) and more comic geeky stuff. Made me really wish I was back in that area because of the coolness!

My cousin, Dr. Kevin Mann stopped by to say hi. He’s made his home and dentist practice there in Paragould. Always nice to see family. And, of course, speaking of family, I love it when my kids get to go with me…and Brett got to attend the show with me! It’s always a fun papa time to show off mah kiddos!

So, not sure if I’ll get to make it back next year—I hope so. But if you’re in the area, you should plan to go!

View from the running track above

View from the running track above

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Appearing at… for the next two weeks—come see me!

The next two weekends will see me staying busy at some local comic shows, so make your plans now to come out, have some fun, do some geeky stuff, see me and talk about comics!

This weekend, Sunday, Nov 13, I’ll be one of several guests at the Daytona Beach Comic Con. Also there you’ll find my pals Jeff Whiting (who’s running a kickstarter: go support him here: Shanghai-Breathing Fire) and John Crowther (who will be joined by artist Dell Barras and promoting their kickstarter. Go pledge to it here: Nikolai). The Riley and Kimmy show will be there talking about all things geek (maybe I can twist his arm to talk to me again?). If you’re not listening to the show, what’s your excuse? Listen here! There will be others there, too, so plan to go!

You can “join” the event at this link: https://www.facebook.com/events/244038252638629/

Or you can simply “like” the event at this one: https://www.facebook.com/Daytona-Beach-Comic-Book-Convention-109085789161874/

Do both and I’ll see you Sunday!

Me talking with Patrick of the Riley and Kimmy show at the last Daytona Beach Comic Con:

Then, next week, I’ve got two separate events; so if you can’t make it to one you can make it to the other. On Saturday, Nov 19, I’ll be at SmashCon in Sanford, Florida. It will be my first time there, but this will be the 8th year for the show. I’m excited to be a part of the show as the proceeds (some? All? Not really sure about the specifics) go to benefit Toys for Tots. Also there will be comic legend and superstar (as well as one of my all-time personal favs!) George Perez!

You can “join” the event at this link: https://www.facebook.com/events/1564137850555216/

And then the very next day, Sunday, Nov 20, I’ll be a guest at Clermont Comic Con. The Clermont show has also been around for a while, but this will be my first time there, too. The exciting thing about this show is there is a whole bunch of comic book makers there: George Perez, Chuck Dixon, John Crowther, Karl Moline, Pat Broderick and a host of others. You can find the link here: Clermont Comic Con!

I’ll have my books with me that you can pick up—they make GREAT Christmas gifts, and now is the time to start doing your Christmas shopping. Autographs are free from me at all of these events! If you’ve already got something I wrote, you can bring that for an autograph, too! Either way, get your geek on and come see me!

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Election Fatigue

Man…do I have election fatigue like crazy. This has to be a most tiresome election process. Of course I won’t make the claims you can hear on television about (fill in the blank) thing is “the worst in the history of the U.S.” because…the people making those comments obviously don’t know that much about U.S. history.

I’ve personally had to back off of social media quite a bit and I’m anxious for the election to be over, because I miss my friends. FRIENDS!

I’m fairly certain that I’m not in the exclusive position of having friends on both sides of the political spectrum. The problem I have is that there are elements (on both sides) that are just downright hateful. I don’t mind so much when folks talk about the candidates. No, I don’t really like the really hateful comments about either of them (though admittedly, some of the memes can be funny), but I’d much rather read the comments about the candidates than about the supporters of the candidates. Because really, when that happens, it’s like one friend calling my other friend all those things. And it just makes me bristle.

On top of that, comments like “if you support this candidate, unfriend me now” make me think far less of the person writing that comment than the supporter they’re supposed talking about. It’s shocking to me because I find it hard to believe that I have friends who are that shallow minded. I mean, really. So this person “supports” this candidate. Does that really mean you don’t want anything to do with them? Really?

The worst part of it is—and I really wish people would give this strong consideration before getting diarrhea of the mouth—is that unless you have unfriended everyone who doesn’t think exactly as you do, then when you call supporters of the candidate “racist, baby-killing, homophobic, criminals,” you’re actually calling your friends that. And…I dunno. That just doesn’t strike me as very friendly.

I don’t really like either candidate; my vote is a vote against one rather than for one. But my vote is going to go to one of them, so when you make the nasty comments about anyone who votes for that candidate, you’re really saying that about me. And when you say those nasty things…I just gotta wonder if that’s really what you personally think about me after all.

I’m just ready for the election to be over so that my social media feeds can once again be about comic books, movies (Dr. Strange, anyone?), music, and family.

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Comparing worship services

Recently, thanks to the invitation of a good friend, I had the opportunity to attend a Catholic Church service for the first time in my life. I’ve been to weddings before that were held in a Catholic Church building, but that’s not the same. It both was and wasn’t what I expected. Lemme ‘splain…

First, it was very ritualistic. All jokes aside about how ritualistic Catholics are, the service was very much so. But I don’t mean that in a negative way; it’s just they do things just so. In fact, when I think about the Southern Baptist services I attend and have attended over the years, they’re almost ritualistic, too. We’re more informal about it, but we do the SAME thing week in and week out. If that isn’t “ritual,” I don’t know what is.

I expected to see the congregation at the Catholic Church a bit more dressed up than my church…but I guess down this way everyone attends church in “Florida casual.” Even at my church, it still feels awkward to me as I was raised to put on my “Sunday best” for church. The Catholic priests dressed far better than my own Baptist preacher, who often wears blue jeans with his shirt untucked.

The message by the priest was shorter than any Baptist preacher I’ve ever heard. It was short, but just as hard hitting and he pulled no punches (he talked about abortion!). While I much prefer our preaching; the Catholic message was poignant, just short. Our preacher comes across more as a teacher/lecturer. I quite like our pastor because he also doesn’t shy away from the tough subjects.

The biggest difference—and it was a stark difference, one I wouldn’t have even thought about had I not attended the service—is the reverential atmosphere at the Catholic Church. It felt like worship. Heck, in my church, the music often come across as a performance; our “worship band” actually uses dry ice to fog up the stage and 1980s style light rigs. I often feel like I’m at a rock concert (and I went to plenty of those in my younger days) and want to hold a lighter up over my head. They tell us to sing along with them and then blind me with lights in my eyes. Half of the time I have to sing “watermelon, watermelon” because I don’t know the words and then I can’t even see the screen to read them! (Okay, “half” may be an exaggeration, but you get what I’m saying) And when I can see the lead singer—I mean, the worship leader—he’s dressed for a concert, even wearing a hat in the sanctuary. I don’t know about you, but my mama taught me that you were to never wear a hat inside a building, and you sure as shooting don’t wear one in the house of God. Our lead singer should have been informed by the pastor (or at least one of the crew of them) that he can wear his stage vests, but he needs to take off the hat while performing in the sanctuary. More times that not, this video springs to mind when our worship band plays.

(in a note of fairness, and because probably one or two of my church pals may read this, the worship leader mentioned above is no longer at our church and the new one does not wear a hat)

All in all, my experience in the Catholic worship was a very positive and I’m thankful that my good pal, Doug Texter, invited me and my family to attend with him. I should have said “no,” though…because after I visited with him, he up and moved to a different state!🙂

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Lake Collect-A-Con this Saturday!

Space Ghost endorses Demon's Tails!

Space Ghost endorses Demon’s Tails!

Tomorrow, Saturday, October 1, for one day only, you can find me and a host of other creative folks at Lake Collect-A-Con in Mt. Dora, Florida (for those unsure, it’s just north of Orlando, but still in driving distance).

This will be my second time to be a comic writer guest at the show and I’m looking forward to a fun show like I had the last time! [see the pic of Space Ghost endorsing my Demon’s Tails graphic novel!]

Good lineup of guests this year, too. The headliner, of course, is superstar and super nice guy, George Perez (hint to all you collectors: I’ll have copies of Genesis #0, that has a cover by George!).

Genesis #0 cover by George Perez

Genesis #0 cover by George Perez

Also there will be Rob Guillory, an artist I’ve never met but whose work I’m familiar with on Chew! I’m hoping to get the opportunity to say hi to him.

At a table beside me will be my good pal and comic creator Barry Gregory (Amazing Man) and his comic creating wife Jenni Gregory (Dreamwalker). We’ll all have books you can pick up and we’ll even sign them for you!

Parking is free, so get on up to Mt. Dory and pay us a visit!

Other shows in my immediate future include November 13 at the Daytona Beach Comic Con and November 20 at the Clermont Comic Con! Make your plans to come see me!

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Con Report: Wizard World Richmond 2016

wizardworldrichmond9wizardworldrichmond10I meant to do this last week, but didn’t get around to finishing it—started it, just didn’t finish it. Had a great time, though, at the Richmond Wizard World.

I traveled to Richmond with daughter, Brittany…via motor vehicle. Yes, all ten and a half hours! wizardworldrichmond7Quite the drive. We arrived just in time to not be able to unload at the loading dock! So we had to hoof it all the way from the parking deck pulling my convention set-up. Friday was an incredibly dead day. Not sure exactly why, could have been “the races.” I have no idea what those were, but when we checked in to the hotel they asked if we were here for “the races.” I assured them I had no idea what that was and was there for the comic show.

wizardworldrichmond5Saturday was better, but only after Gene Simmons stopped talking. The doors opened at 9am, but nobody—and I mean NOBODY hit the floor until shortly after 9:30, which is when Gene stopped answering questions. After that, though, Saturday turned into a fun day with a lot of traffic. This time, I was able to snap some photos of some proud new owners of assorted works of mine (see all the photos attached!). wizardworldrichmond8I’m hopeful—as I asked them all to do so—they’ll drop me a line to let me know what they think.

I was next to Jose Delbo, too, and it was nice to chat with him and his family. I’d never met him before and aside from being talented, he was incredibly nice!

Me and Danny Fingeroth!

Me and Danny Fingeroth!

I sat in on a fun panel moderated by Danny Fingeroth about comic writing. Also on the panel were Gary Cohn, Victor Dandridge and Michael Lent. (wish I had a picture of that, but I don’t…sorry) Danny always puts on fun panels and so I’m glad he continues to ask me to participate.

I got to meet Sam Jones, who most of you will know as Flash Gordon from the 1980s sci-fi piece Flash Gordon, complete with soundtrack by Queen. Now, normally I’m not really into the media personalities.wizardworldrichmond4 I mean, it’s cool they’re there and all, but there’s pretty much no one I want to meet so desperately that I’d pay $30 for a photo with them. I saw a “break” in the line with Sam Jones, so I really just went up to tell him I appreciate his work on Flash…and the dude ended up being one of the nicest folks ever!

wizardworldrichmond6A highlight of the weekend was having dinner with Todd Fisher and the super-talented Larry Elmore. Elmore is from Kentucky and we talked about all sorts of fun southern stuff. I’d met him before, sometime back in the late 80s or early 90s, but never had the opportunity to “hang out.” Brittany and I hadn’t planned to even hang out because of being tired from the drive, but when the night was over, we were very glad we did!

Brittany, Me, Ashley, Larry Elmore, Todd Fischer

Brittany, Me, Ashley, Larry Elmore, Todd Fischer

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Wizard World Richmond

Gonna be a short blog this time around—I’m still looking for ways to find more hours in my week, but none of you are offering any suggestions!

This weekend I’m back on the convention circuit as a comic book guest at Wizard World in Richmond, Virginia. I’m very excited to be attending as it will be my very first ever comic show in Virginia—heck, in that entire neck of the woods!

Hopefully those in the region will stop by and say hello. You can find me in Artists Alley at Booth B33. I’ll be there aided by my lovely daughter.

The show starts today (that’s Friday, Sep 9, for those of you reading it later) at 3pm and runs until 8pm. 9am until 7pm on Saturday; and then 10am until 4pm on Sunday.

On Sunday, I’ll be participating in a panel with a host of exceptionally cool and talented folks! From 2:00 until 2:45, former Marvel Spider-Man editor Danny Fingeroth with host the panel Words Into Pictures: How to Write Comics. As I said, I’ll be joining him, but also on the panel will be Blue Devil’s Gary Cohn, Prey’s Michael Lent, and Wizard World rock start U Cre-8’s own Victor Dandridge! The panel will take place in room E11.

So, come on out and see me. Pick up some books. Get an autograph or two! It’s always fun! I’ll see you there!

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