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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That happy summer magazine

With kickoff to the new season of football starting…today! (we’re talking college football, ya bums, which is the only football that really matters!) I thought I’d yak about it a bit.

NewMadridEarthquake1990Some years ago—long before the internet and email—I used to receive regular packages from my dad full of newspaper clippings of assorted stories of interest and sports pages. Now, he didn’t just save me all the sports pages, but only the ones that had news about the Arkansas Razorback football team. Back in the pre-internet days, it was very difficult to get news of my favorite team because I was outside the state of Arkansas. In fact, when I was living in California, during football season I’d get a vhs tape around Thursday that had the game from the previous weekend in addition to the sports pages.

I absolutely loved getting those packages. I’d read up the papers, watch the game…and often I’d call dad. This was in the day when you had to pay for your long distance call by the minute, so our football conversations were often brief.

Dad used to send me the summer preview edition of Hawgs Illustrated, which is loaded with roster/player/coaching info to get Razorback fans hyped about the upcoming season…after he was finished. Somewhere along the way—and I don’t remember exactly when—I got a copy in the mail addressed to me! And it was NEW! I called and asked Dad if he’d sent me a copy because I was confused why the publisher was sending me one…and he said he’d ordered me a copy when he ordered his copy. One year my magazine even came with a post-it note attached that said something like “From Dad.”

He’s been doing that every year since.

My happy summer magazine, courtesy of my dad!

My happy summer magazine, courtesy of my dad!

And it’s STILL a happy surprise to get the magazine in the mail…mostly because it reminds me that my dad was thinking about me when he ordered his copy.

Thanks, Dad!

Here’s to a fun football season! Go Hogs, WPS!

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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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