Review of a couple of freebies from SDCC

As many of you know, San Diego Comic Con is now a hot spot for freebies and exclusives. I’m a comic purest enough that I have no idea what special toy items were there…and I don’t really care. But man, the lines were long for some of them. Thousands of attendees lined up for the freebies in many of the major booths. I walked by the DC booth once to see a well-oiled freebie machine as con attendees were walking through at a steady pace receiving free DC swag from several staffers. Actually, a pretty impressive site.

Even though I wasn’t after any of that, I managed to grab a couple of free comics simply by walking by and having a copy offered to me. I gladly took them, of course. Free comics!

AfterworldTwo such free comics were Colonel Corps by DC Comics and Afterworld by Panini. I read both of them and though they may “look” similar in quality, they are far from it.

I read Afterworld first because it looked a bit cooler than a comic with multiple KFC Colonels. The cover featured a shirtless barbarian wielding a nasty axe preparing to take on a few soldiers. Even flipping through the book, the art is actually pretty good. I have no idea who any of the creators are: Stefano Vietti=script; Gianluca Gugliotta=art; Stefano Simeone=colors. All of the names other names (editors, etc) are Italian, so this may very well be a comic made in Italy and translated for the American market. That’s purely a guess, though.

Wait. Did I say “translated?” Silly me. In the 12 pages of art, there are only 254 words…and that includes the sound effects and “to be continued.” That averages to about 22 words per page.

And there’s the problem. I have no idea where the story takes place. I have no idea who the barbarian is. I have no idea why the soldiers are after him. I have no idea how he goes from defeating the soldiers to suddenly finding himself in a cage.

And then, when I learn the “story” is continued…I just don’t care.

At the end of page 7, we suddenly get some first person narrative of the main barbarian character who wonders how one of the enemy soldiers can be quick…or disappear. We, of course, never learn which it was. Like I said, I just don’t care.

KFC02Colonel Corps claims to be the 2nd issue…and it may very well be, but I’d never heard of it before. That said, even though this story was silly-goofy, I always knew who the characters were and where they were doing what they were doing: Evil Colonel Sunder stole the secret recipe and split it unto parts with alternate world good Colonels getting a single part. Good Colonel has to put together a team of Colonels (the Colonel Corps) and stop evil Colonel Sunder and get the missing parts of the recipe back). And this story had a multitude of characters, so of the two, I SHOULD be confused in this one.

But I wasn’t. Of course, it shouldn’t surprise me because it was written by Tony Bedard with art supplied by Tom Derenick (pencils) and Trevor Scott (inks). Derenick is a solid visual story-teller and Bedard knows what’s necessary in the text for the reader. It’s not over-written by any stretch of the imagination, it’s just nicely done!

As a side note, Colonel Corps also has a nice homage cover to the JLA #1 cover by Kevin Maguire.

Of the two freebies, Afterworld was a waste of dead trees while Colonel Corps was a fun read. And no, you can’t have my copy!

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A health victory

If you’ve seen any of my posts on Facebook in the last year or so, you know there have been a lot of changes in health and such in the Mann household. I’ll never get it all right because I don’t pay near as much attention to it as I should. So I want to be sure that I give all the credit where credit is due, and that is to my lovely wife, BJ. She’s the one who grabbed the bull by the horns and said we were getting it done!

So some time back, my cholesterol was as high as 378. Yep. Scary. (For those who might not know, anything above 200 is considered “high”) I started taking one of the statins…and it came down, but only to about 330ish. Once we moved to Orlando, I just let my prescription lapse. Oh. Each time, the docs told me to lose some weight.

Nearly two years ago, BJ got introduced to Essential Oils. She wanted to give it a shot and help us stop taking so many over the counter drugs (advil, suda—stuff[sinus issues run amok!] Tylenol, etc). So we did…and they have played a big part of our entire get healthy journey. We’ve spent less than $50 this last year on prescription drugs (if that). And yeah, we bought Essential Oils, but the thing about them is that they are all natural.

Last year, after…ahem…an important birthday, I did the checkup…you know, rotate the tires and get the oil changed. My cholesterol was high—again. And the doc pulled out a calculator and gave me some pretty scary numbers…percentages or heart issues if I did nothing…and then numbers for if I changed things. The old role-playing gamer in me hated the percentages she was giving me, so we got busy. We changed how we ate, we drank more water, took some essential oil supplements and walked some (though we haven’t walked hardly at all since May—it’s HOT here!)

In January of this year, I had my cholesterol checked and it was 136. It was lower than 200 for the first time since around 2003! I’m now down about 12 pounds, but would still like to lose another 20-25ish.

One of the most difficult things I’ve done is “quit” drinking coke. Every other time I’ve tried, I’ve failed. So my approach this time was a little different. I decided I wasn’t going to “quit,” but was going to drastically cut back. As part of our eating change, BJ got us drinking water…a LOT of water. I’m trying to drink about a gallon of water a day. And yes, that means I make a lot of trips to the john…but I still like what it’s doing for me health-wise. I gotta tell you, it was extremely difficult at first—but water is just boring to me. After about two weeks, though, it got easier. I still drink cokes, but I consider them more of a treat, now. So I don’t feel like I’ve “failed” or “cheated” when I have them…I just try not to drink too much of them.

BJ talks more about the nitty-gritty details over on her site: drmomknowsbest.com. I’m not as concerned about all the details, but she’s up on all of it. Me, I pretty much just eat what she tells me—and I’ve seen the results so I know what we’re doing this time is working.

In all of this…our family has been healthier than we’ve ever been. Yeah, we still have the occasional thing (I still have sinus based headaches, but not like I used to get them—and certainly not the migraines which I truly believe were primarily caused by nutrasweet found in diet cokes!), but on the whole, we’re healthier than ever.

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San Diego Comic Con 2016 report

Me with Hank Kanalz

Me with Hank Kanalz

Me with Kurtis Fujita, Larry Welch, and Diana Fujita.

Me with Kurtis Fujita, Larry Welch, and Diana Fujita.

I went to San Diego Comic Con last week for the first time since 1999. There’s far too much excitement to be contained in a single blog post (and too many pictures!)…but I’m going to do it anyway!

First, I had the opportunity to go thanks to Barry Gregory and Thomas Florimonte, my pals who also happen to be co-owners of the premier comic POD (Print on demand) company in the US, Ka-Blam! And I wouldn’t have been able to accompany them without the support of my fantastic boss, Noelani Cornell. I gotta admit, it’s pretty cool to actually be appreciated for my comic industry ties (instead of having to hide it at my previous university teaching positions).

Me with Alan Payne

Me with Alan Payne

Me and Ross Richie

Me and Ross Richie

Thomas and I left Wednesday morning of the convention and arrived at SD not long after lunch (I thought I was arriving much later, but that’s another story). Barry was there waiting on us and already all set up in the Indy Comic section. Wednesday was basically “attendees trying to get free and exclusive crap.” And some of the booths had it down to a science—the DC Comics booth moved people through like a ride a Universal!

Me with Jim Chadwick

Me with Jim Chadwick

Me with Dave Dorman

Me with Dave Dorman

Most people told me that I would be surprised at how “different” the show was. Maybe it was because of that, but it didn’t really strike me as that much different than 1999, only far bigger. Yeah, there were a lot of booths of things about which I had no clue (mostly tv shows) and all the madness that is Hall H was away from the convention floor—which is where I pretty much always spent my time anyway…so, to me, it was the same, but bigger…but it was MUCH bigger!

Me with Nat Gertler

Me with Nat Gertler

Me with UV Superfan Michael Novotny, Dave Olbrich, and Tom Mason.

Me with UV Superfan Michael Novotny, Dave Olbrich, and Tom Mason.

There were far too many people I caught up with to compile a complete list here, but some of those I got to see and catch up with included Ross Richie, Hank Kanalz, Bobbie Chase, Kurtis Fujita (and his lovely bride, Diana), Alan Payne, Scott Rosenberg, Dan Nakrosis, Larry Welch, and Bob Schreck. I saw a bunch of people I just got to say a quick “hello” to without catching up—and that was still cool: Joe Phillips, Julie Anne Wight, Dave Dorman, Tom Mason, Mickie Villa, Dave Olbrich, Nat Gertler, Marv Wolfman, Howard Chaykin, Aaron Lopresti, Darick Robertson, Terry Dodson, Robert Roach and I’m sure I’m leaving some out.

Me with Julie Anne Wight

Me with Julie Anne Wight

Mostly, I spent the show catching up with friends and hanging out at the Gallant table (where Barry debuted a cool new action figure!) and Mike Hefforn of Archblue’s table.

I also got to meet some cool indy comic creators I didn’t know before the show. In fact, we hung out a bit and had a fun time: Mike Heffron, James Heffron, Steve Bryant, and Chris Murrin. They even invited us to participate in their traditional end of con debriefing!

Steve Bryant, Chris Murrin, James Heffron, Me, Barry Gregory, Thomas Florimonte

Steve Bryant, Chris Murrin, James Heffron, Me, Barry Gregory, Thomas Florimonte

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Paragould Arkansas: Friendly Neighborhood Comic Expo

Hey all my NE Arkansas friends, family, and fans! I’ll be appearing as a COMIC GUEST at the Friendly Neighborhood Comic Expo this Saturday and Sunday in Paragould, Arkansas. It has the longest show hours of any show I’ve ever been to: Saturday is listed as 9am to 9pm and then Sunday from 9am until 7pm.

ParagouldFNCEOn Sunday, I’ll have my very own Q&A, which starts at 12pm—that’s noon for those of you who (like me), have a hard time remembering exactly if 12pm is noon or midnight. It’s noon, so show up and ask me some fun questions about working in comics as a writer or an editor…or about my cool day job teaching comic writing these days at Full Sail University!

This will be about my fourth time to appear as a guest at a show in the state of Arkansas, but only the second time as a “comic” guest and certainly the first in this part of the state. The first time I was a comic guest in the great state of Arkansas was in either 1999 or 2000 and was in Little Rock. I think the name of the show was “RockCon,” but I can’t find my notes from then, so I’m not sure. I DO remember that whoever it was putting on the show, treated me well.

The next time I was a guest was in 2010, and I was the Keynote Speaker at the Arkansas Writers Conference in Little Rock. My invite there, of course, was thanks to the writing retreats I’d done at the Hemingway Writers Retreats at the Hemingway-Pfieffer Museum and Education Center in Piggott, Arkansas. You can read about my fun experience as Keynote Speaker here: https://rolandmann.wordpress.com/2010/06/08/at-the-arkansas-writers’-conference/

I returned to Arkansas as an author guest in February of 2011 at Ozarks University in Clarksdale. Regrettably, it snowed that weekend and very few people attended the actual show. However, I still had a great time because I got to meet new people and make new writerly/artist friends.

So I’m very much looking forward to being a comic guest in Paragould. I’ve got a lot of family and friends in the surrounding area—my cousin (first cousin, for those of you keeping score), Dr. Kevin Mann is even a dentist in the area—so I’m hoping to see many of them during the two days.

As a diehard Razorback fan, I’d really like to be invited to do more comic shows in this state–hint hint to all you comic show coordinators!

See you Saturday and/or Sunday! Bring some stuff for me to sign, or pick something up from me there!

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One day left on the Tiny kickstarter

Frustrated Tiny from #2

Frustrated Tiny from #2

Okay everyone, this will be the last time you hear me tell you that you still have time to pledge for the Tiny Kickstarter. It ends tomorrow (Saturday) at 5pm! So, if you’re planning to get in on it, you’d better act fast. As of this writing, only the Jim Hall original piece of art is left for the big rewards. While we haven’t set any sort of stretch goal for it, we’d like to see 120 pledgers…not specifying a dollar or level amount.

And I mean real pledges. I have to add that because I’m surprised at the number of offers I’ve had from others running comic kickstarters to essentially game the system. Here’s a sample from one of the messages: “If we each pledge $1 or more towards each other’s campaign, it would give an increase to both our total backed amounts as well as number of backers.” Someone else added this: “This is completely within the rules of Kickstarter and very beneficial to us both.” I got about eight of these messages all total.

Tiny caught in Winter from #2

Tiny caught in Winter from #2

I ended up thanking them for the offer, but let them know I wanted “real” pledges.

I’m happy to say that Deonna is rocking right along with the second issue and everything is still on track! I’ve tossed some random art from her on this page for you to get a peek at!

We were also guests on Wayne’s Comics Podcast over on Major Spoilers. You can give it a listen here: Wayne’s Comics Podcast #234: Frank Martin, Roland Mann and Deonna Herrold.

For those of you in the NE Arkansas area, don’t forget to mark on your calendars that I will be a comic guest at the Friendly Neighborhood Comic Expo in Paragould on July 9-10. Great family fun for all—come out and see me and all the other guests they’ve assembled! Find info on it here…and here.

Until next time!

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Week three of Tiny Kickstarter

Last week got away from me and I let it slip by without a blog. Argh. We’re on week 3 of the Tiny Kickstarter is nearly gone leaving us with one week left. A whole bunch of you have pledged your support—and I am incredibly grateful for that. For those of you who haven’t pledged and intend to—stop waiting and get it done now.

JenniGregoryArtforTiny

JenniGregoryArtforTiny

Once it is all said and done, Tiny will be 52 pages of story and art printed in two installments. We’re over halfway done with it all, the first installment is finished! Check out this cool “snow” panel from the second issue! Wow!

For you fans of original art, there are still two pieces available from two fantastic artists (attached to this blog!): both Jim Hall and Jenni Gregory have contributed original art to help us get funds. They are fantastic pieces! Grab one now before they are all gone!

So, we’ve been honored to be featured on some pretty cool podcasts. You should go give them a listen because they were nice enough to have us on.

The Riley and Kimmy show:
http://rileyandkimmyshow.blogspot.com/2016/05/podcast-881-roland-mann-megacon.html

WeBeGeeks:
http://webegeekspc.com/wbg-ep-171-tiny-deonna-herrold-roland-mann/

The Derek Diamond Experience:

http://hwcdn.libsyn.com/p/0/e/5/0e5e5d731d118afc/DDE_105_RolandDeonna.mp3?c_id=11856588&expiration=1466068318&hwt=05b51415d196dab9bc8da5fc7a02c290

JimHallArtforTiny

JimHallArtforTiny

The Worst Comic Podcast Ever (this is the name of the podcast, not anything judgmental from me!)

https://worstcomicpodcastever.com/2016/06/03/wcpe-episode-101-for-june-1-2016-pcc-recap-dcs-rebirth-caps-retcon-and-a-tiny-review/

We’ve got an upcoming session on Wayne’s Comics Podcast, and a live—yes, LIVE—session on Her Dork World/His Dork world. That will be June 23 at midnight! It’ll be just a few days before the Tiny Kickstarter campaign ends, so I’m sure we’ll be giving it a push. You can point your web browsers to vocnation.com on Thursday night to give it a listen. There will be a number you can call in and chat with us, too, ask us some hard questions.

I’ll be attending two comic shows in July. I’ll be in Paragould Arkansas July 9 and 10 for the Friendly Neighborhood Comic Expo (here: https://www.friendlyneighborhoodcomicexpo.com/ and here: https://www.facebook.com/Friendlyneighborhoodcomicexpo/). I’m hoping that many of my friends and family in the Clay County area will come out to see what I do that’s NOT newspaper writing/editing.

Then, from July 21-24, I’ll be attending San Diego Comic Con for the first time since 1999! I hear it’s changed a lot, but I’m hoping to see many old friends and make new ones…maybe even pitch a comic or two!

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Tiny Kickstarter Update and Megacon Report

Like last week, I’ve got two things to cover in this blog. Yes, I considered two separate blog entries, but figured you don’t want your notifications dinging with Ramblin’ updates so I’m combining them!

Roland and Deonna at Megacon with Tiny#1

Roland and Deonna at Megacon with Tiny#1

First up, a Megacon report. This year, the convention moved to Memorial Day weekend and extended the show to four days. I’m not convinced a fourth day was necessary, but Saturday didn’t see quite as overwhelming as it has in the past. Oh, it was still busy, just not claustrophobically so.

Booth/table numbering on the convention floor needs addressing, as there was no easy way for fans/attendees to find artist spots. The vendor area was clearly marked with aisle numbers, but those numbers did not correlate at all into artist alley.

I was fortunate to be beside my good pals Barry and Jenni Gregory who do some pretty awesome comic books! Additionally, it was fantastic to have sensational artist Deonna Herrold at the table helping me promote Tiny.

And that’s where I have the first of the two bits of good news I have to report. We sold completely out of all the copies of Tiny #1 we had! We were winding down to literally the last few minutes and had ONE copy left. So, I jumped in front of the table and started telling folks that and asking them to consider buying it so I could say we sold out! Mollie Tee sprang into action and made it happen for us! We captured the moment with a picture! (also, the link goes to her instagram photo, so show her some love since she showed US love!) THANK YOU Mollie Tee! Because of you, we can honestly say we sold out of Tiny #1 at MegaCon. I’ve never sold out of a new issue of anything like that before—not in 25+ years of conning! I’ve sold “bunches,” but never “out!”

The second bit of good news is that the Tiny Kickstarter is off to a great start! We were completely funded in a little less than four days—quite exciting for us. That doesn’t take you off the hook from supporting us. Yes, I EXPECT you to go over and support us. At this point in time there’s not a question of “making is,” your pledge is essentially pre-ordering the comics! Basically, you’ve just got to decide if you’re going to get the comics for yourself…or for someone else! So, what are you waiting for? Help us keep the momentum going—go do it!

 

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