Monthly Archives: September 2014

Artist Ignition—Tomorrow! Plus a Geek Gathering report

Ignition   For all of you in the Central Florida area, get on over to Longwood between 12noon and 8pm tomorrow. Come during halftime of your favorite college game if you have to, but come. It’s going to be geeky rockin! There’ll be artists, cosplay and writers…and a Mario Kart tournament. The event is hosted by the really cool comic shop, Acme Superstore, who will be running sales on merchandise all during the event. That alone is reason enough to come, right?

Last weekend’s Geek GathGeekGatheringMEering was a big hit. I was both amazed and a little surprised to see so many geeks come out to support the two day show (which I didn’t realize was a two day show until just a few weeks beforehand, d’oh!). I kid you not, there moments when it was all a person could do to get through the aisles.

Barry, Leia, and me

I had the opportunity to make some new writer pals in Barry Reese, Amanda Porter, Leia Barrett Durham (who was named after Princess Leia AND I discovered is the main squeeze of writer Martin Powell, with whom I used to work!) and a cool artist who calls himself Float—but I can’t find the cards he gave me so I can’t remember his real name nor can I point you anywhere. Barry, Leia and I did a panel together (see the pic in which Leia is mentally charging those in attendance to go buy our books!) which was a lot of fun.

Zombie Mike Koske and me

On Friday I got to enjoy a very nice meal in downtown Florence with con organizers John and Cori Alsbrooks along with Zombie Mike Koske, who was also an incredibly nice guy. I don’t know a whole lot of actors, but he’s definitely one of the coolest (those of you up on things will remember I edited one a long time ago…and that was quite the challenge!). I haven’t watched a lot of The Walking Dead, but hanging out with Koske a little means I’ve got to go watch some and look for him now!

John and Cori Alsbrooks and their crew did an outstanding job. You wouldn’t have known this to have only been their second show! I know, right? This show featured everything geek shows in the south need: comics, actors, games, cosplay and a nice dealers room!

Me and Chris Roberts

I also got to see and hang out for a fraction of time my old pal Chris Roberts (see the pic!). It hardly seems believable that it had been ten years since I’d seen him. He hadn’t changed a bit…still as geeky and cool as ever. And still stuck on all that vinyl stuff (for those wondering, Chris is the lucky man who bought my old vinyl collection—every bit of it!).

I also ran into local filmmakers Corey Hannah and Jim Torres. We touched on an old project that I’m going to dusk off ASAP. More to come on that later.

So, come on out tomorrow to IGNITION at Acme Comics in Longwood…we’ll take our own pictures! Bring some books…better yet, bring a wad of cash and buy some art and some comics! Autographs are free…well, from me they are!

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Get Your Geek On!

This weekend (and next weekend—but that’s below) all of you who consider yourselves in the “geek” family (and that includes close cousins, the nerds) and live in the Shoals area in Northwest Alabama (which includes Northeast Mississippi and South Central Tennessee) should be at The Geek Gathering held in Sheffield, Alabama. While I’m pleased and honored to report that yours truly is an Author Guest at geekgatheringthe show, there are also an entire slate of guests you can see after you say hi to me (and buy a book—or get your copy signed!). If you’re a fan of The Walking Dead, this is the place for you to be as several actors from the show will be in attendance. Additionally, there will be other authors there with their work and a handful of artists with lots of cool art-type stuff. You can find out more about it at the website here: http://www.thegeekgathering.net/

Or if you’re a Facebook kind of person, you can go to their page and “like” the event!

https://www.facebook.com/TheGeekGathering

So, come out, say hi, buy a book, get an autograph, meet a famous actor (the first for me, the last for the actor), see some cool cosplay costumes. If you don’t know what that is, then you’ll want to show up to see it. It’ll be like a mini-San Diego Comic Con…only in the Shoals!

Next Saturday, then, all those in the Orlando area head over to Longwood to Ignition, an artist alley event at the IgnitionAcme Superstore (you know, the COMIC store!). Once again, I’ll be set up behind a table telling folks about the cool comics and graphic novels they can get from me…which come with free autographs, of course. There will also be a bunch of spectacular artists and even some cosplay there, too! It’s a one day only event, so set your calendars and clocks now. Doors open at 12 noon on Saturday (Sept 27) and will be open until 8pm. Ignition has a Facebook event—go join it now! https://www.facebook.com/events/633419250107106/

Invite your friends and make a fun day out of it.

And say hi to me when you’re there!

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The First Time

I can’t recall if I’ve ever told my “learning to read” story here. I’ll have to do some searching and if not, tell that story at another time. It’s probably clear to those who visit here that comic books played a vital role in my learning to read experience.

When I first started reading comics, I had to buy them off the spinner racks at the local Stop N Robs. When I was in 7th grade, however, a friend introduced me to something that would forever change my life: the comic back issue. For those unsure, a comic “back issue” is simply an old comic. It could be months or it could be years, but it simply isn’t “new” anymore.

One day while at my friend’s house (we didn’t live near—I’d stay at his house after school sometimes until my dad got off work and would come pick me up. Or I’d spend the night with him and go to school the next day and just ride my own bus back home), we walked several blocks to a sidewalk mall. There was a used bookstore there, and within the bookstore; there were a few boxes of comics. My first trip there, I spent all the money I had on me—which wasn’t very much, of course—but it caused me to want to earn more money so I could buy more back issues (this is what drove me to cut so much grass as a kid—but that’s another story!).

Within a few short months, I learned of the flea market that featured a few vendors there who carried more than just the 4 or 5 boxes at the used bookstore. Shortly after that—before I could drive—I learned of the comic shop and my mom would take me sometimes. Never as much as I wanted, but I did get to go. Once I was able to drive, the comic shop was a weekly destination.

You have to understand that in this pre-internet age, the newsstand dominated distribution and if you were unlucky enough to miss the issue (even of regular magazines!) while it was out, tough luck. I was a big Marvel fan in those days and they always had the editorial notes that pointed me to issues in the past, issues that I wanted because I wanted to know what had happened to the characters that I loved to read about. Discovering there was an outlet to actually find and purchase those back issues was a real revelation for me and changed my “reading” habit into a collecting one. It was at this used bookstore that I saw the first bagged comic (I don’t remember when I first saw backing boards, but I’m sure it was sometime considerably later) and realized that the better condition a book was in, the more value it had. Often I couldn’t afford those in the best condition, but I didn’t want those in poor condition either—I was going to READ it after all.

Of course, we know what my comic reading/collecting turned in to.

That friend who took me to the used bookstore that first time? Barry Gregory. My second oldest friend that I still keep in touch with (the oldest, Duane Holland, only has him beat by about two years) is now a comic creator in his own right and the co-owner of Ka-Blam, the premier POD service for comics! I’ll have to write up an entry about Barry and our budding comic career sometime in the future…but that was not today’s story.

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