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!

3 Comments

Filed under family

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?

2 Comments

Filed under Speaking/Presenting/Appearances

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!

1 Comment

Filed under family, General, Kids, Projects, Speaking/Presenting/Appearances

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!

3 Comments

Filed under family

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!)

———–

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

1 Comment

Filed under Speaking/Presenting/Appearances

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!

Leave a comment

Filed under Speaking/Presenting/Appearances

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.

1 Comment

Filed under General