Catch-up con report

Brittany, Chris Ulm, and me at SDCC2017

I haven’t done a con report since MegaCon, and that was back in June. So this will be a catch-up Con report!

In July I did the Orlando Collect-A-Con in Altemonte Springs. It was a fun show and I’m already planning a return there for next year! Also in July, I went out to San Diego Comic Con for the second year in a row (thanks to my buddies at Ka-Blam!). I got to see many old pals, including my former boss and Malibu Editor-in-Chief, Chris Ulm!

Steven Butler, Barry Gregory, me, John Crowther

I was no sooner back from SDCC when my other old pal, Steven Butler was in town for a convention in Tampa. I rode out there with old pal Barry Gregory and we were joined by new pal John Crowther for a fun dinner and lively chat!

In early August, Jeff Whiting and I made the long trip up to Pikeville, KY for the inaugural Pikeville ComicCon. We had a blast. What an awesome first show it was. Got the chance to meet a lot of new people there. Got my fingers crossed for an invite back to the second one—yes, it was that cool of a show!

Stephen Rosys, Jeff Whiting, Cody Barker, Todd Goodman, Mike W. Belcher, Me, Aiden Belcher

In late August, I went to the Orlando Infinity Con. This was my second time to be there and this is one of the closest ones to my home, so it’s very easy to do.

I had planned to do the Lake Collect-A-Con in October, a show I’ve done before and look forward to doing again, but my band chaperone mishap the day before (you can read about it here if you missed it) kept me from attending. Yes, I basically laid around the house and moaned all day. If you don’t believe me, ask BJ. I’ve been to LCAC twice, and I’m looking forward to making the third one next year.

I had help a few weeks later, though, as Brett supplied the muscle to get me in the door at Emerald City Comic Fest, another inaugural show. This one, too, was very good. One thing I really liked about it was that admission was free! Not sure how the show managed to pull that off, but the free admission got a whole host of folks in, some comic fans and some just curious to see what all the noise was about. Met some new folks, but had the chance to catch up with Dave again, who always brings me something to sign when he comes to a show I’m at. I think I’ve signed more books for Dave than any other single person. He brings me books I’ve forgotten I worked on!

Barry Gregory, John Crowther, me!

Another fun thing about ECCF is that The Geeky Mom set up right beside me! (that’s BJ, for those of you with raised eyebrows right now!)

Central Florida is a great place to be if you like comics, comic conventions, and meeting comic creators!

Coming up, I’ll be at Smashcon on November 18th and unless I can work out a show for early December (trying to, but it may not happen), that’ll be my last show for the year.




Filed under Projects, Speaking/Presenting/Appearances, writing

Trials of a band chaperone

This post is not for the weak at heart. It will contain gruesome images of my skint (yep, and that’s how we SAY it down South!) knee and me moaning in pain on the floor! Don’t say you haven’t been warned.

My skint knee. It actually looked worse than it was!

One of the joys of having a high school student in the band is acting as band chaperone. For those who might not know (I didn’t), it’s exactly what you might expect—and so much more. It’s a combination chaperone and heavy metal band roadie!

The chaperone part is yeah—just watching them and making sure they don’t do things they’re not supposed to do; like slip off under the bleachers and start necking (oh come on—you’re not THAT far removed from high school that you don’t remember that!). The roadie part is moving stuff from here to there. Most of the heavy stuff is handled by the “equipment crew,” a bunch of dads who really just assist the students who do most of the grunt work themselves. Sometimes, though, chaperones have to kick in, particularly with our really large pit. No, not the race car pit, but the music kind (no, I didn’t know either): it consists mostly of xylophones, but there’s a full trap drum set, a gong, keyboards, and other such stuff. It’s not as easy to push that stuff through the grass/sand as you might think—I’ve done it.

This is what I’m talking about–how the coolers are loaded on a dolly…full of water!

Anyway, the whole point this blog is that at a recent competition I was lugging water around (it was terribly hot that day) on a dolly (heard some folks refer to it as a “hand cart,” but there’s not much “cart-y” about it!); two round containers FULL of water (meaning, heavy), lugged around on the dolly.

So I’d dragged this dolly to one place—it was the wrong place. I had to take it all the way back to where I had started. I hadn’t been there very long and it was time to go again. By this time, I’m beginning to get a bit tuckered out. As we head down a slight incline, I go to change the hand that’s pulling the cart (changing from right to left, but not sure that matters) and the cart begins to set up on me. Not a big deal, except it catches the back of my heel and I begin to fall forward…and bring the dolly with me, full water containers and all!

Immediately I felt more embarrassed than hurt, but it didn’t take long for me to realize blood was running down my leg and my arm hurt like crazy. They took me to first aid there at the competition where it was mostly band kids having issues with the heat (including Brett a little later). They looked at me, cleaned the knee a bit, and then suggested I get the arm x-rayed. I laid down in the floor while waiting to figure out how I’d get there (see the pic)…I’d ridden the bus with the band and didn’t have a vehicle.

Here I am, ice on my arm, trying my best not to moan!

A fellow chaperone had driven her vehicle and she took me and BJ to the local Urgent Care where they x-rayed my elbow to tell me it wasn’t broken and it was probably just a deep muscle bruise. But I’m telling you, it hurt like crazy.

In fact, I went to follow up with another x-ray on Wednesday (four days later) because I still had a lot of pain. Nope, still wasn’t broken; the doctor said it was probably just a deep bruise and—here it comes—I was old and didn’t heal as fast.

Three weeks later and my arm still experiences some pain if I move it the wrong way. I’m frequently being told by some of my more smart-mouthed friends “don’t move it that way, then.” Sometimes the pain is still sharp.

I still think I broke it…the x-rays just aren’t picked it up.




Filed under family

Raising a girl-child and a boy-child

I’m the proud owner of both a girl child and a boy child—and they couldn’t be more different from each other if we had tried. (okay, okay, neither of them are actually a “child” anymore…just roll with it) Thing is, we didn’t do anything different with the two when they were babies.

I can remember before my girl child, my firstborn, arrived. We were in California at the time and were offered untold suggestions, hints, advice—all un-solicited—but all welcomed from veteran parents. Most of the advice was good as it was practical: avoid these foods, watch out for this diaper, be sure this happens before you leave the hospital. It came from the voice(s) of experience, and they were passing that “been there, done that” experience on to us.

One common thing we read, though—and we read a LOT—wasn’t about practical stuff, it was about how not to brainwash your kid. Okay, that’s not what they said, but it was essentially the meat of it. In a nutshell, the argument was that kids turn out the way they do because of the way we raise them. If we provide all gender neutral colors, etc., they won’t grow up like the “stereotype.” Whatever that means.

So, when my first—the girl child—came along, we did much of that: we avoided pink, and girly, froufrou stuff. Yeah—like that mattered. As soon as girl child was old enough to pick what she liked, she went pink. ALL pink! EVERYTHING was pink because that is what she wanted. We didn’t push it on her, she chose it!

She’s since moved on from pink, preferring the more subtle purple, but still…the whole point of this was that all those magazines and books we read about what to do when raising the girl-child were so much hooey. She was born with her unique personality and she wanted to do the things she wanted to do…and that was to be a pretty in pink princess. (she’s still my princess, but that’s another blog for another day)

My boy-child is a completely different story. Like his sister, he chose his own unique style, and gravitated towards blues. (today it is blacks and greys) When BJ re-decorated his room—without talking to him about it first (it was supposed to be a surprise from him, moving from his “little boy” bed to his “big boy” bed)—he was very blunt. She asked, “what do you think?” His response? “I don’t like it.” And yes, we’ve got it all on video.

Moral of the story? All the so-called child-rearing experts (the social ones, not the medical doctors—them, we love!) are full of so much hot air. Dress your kids the way you want to when they’re babies. Put them in dresses, or spots outfits—they’ll make their own choices when they’re old enough to figure it all out. God’s already got a plan for them, so when they DO make those choices…roll with it. It’s all good.


Filed under family, Kids

MegaCon 2017

The lines looked like this for hours!

Starting today! MegaCon 2017 should be underway not long after you read this (assuming you read it when I post it, on Thursday, May 25). I’m anticipating a fun year again this year (if you’ve forgotten how last year went—you can click here). Last year we sold out of Tiny #1…this year we’re hoping to do just as well with Tiny #2. So, to answer your un-asked question, yes, Deonna will also be there. If you’re nice to her, she might draw for you!

You can find the both of us in Artist Alley at A378. Deonna is actually splitting a table with BJ, who will be there pushing Dr. Mom Knows Best with some comic-book geekiness added for fun. So, be sure to come by and check us out!

Barry Gregory: FCBD at ACME Superstore (sorry I caught you in mid-eye-squint)

Thomas Florimonte: FCBD at ACME Superstore

The convention gods were smiling at us, too, because directly across from me will be my comic creating buddies Barry Gregory, Jenni Gregory, and Jeff Whiting (who has a book with a short story of mine in it—so pick it up and I’ll sign it, too!). There will be a bunch of others, too, but you can find us in our little block!

I’m also happy to report that FCBD was a hit! Enzo and crew over at ACME Superstore put on a fantastic event. I kid you not, the line to get into the free comics went from opening at 11am until at least 2:30—without a single gap. Then, from about 2:30-4:30, it was still pretty busy, but there were short moments of no-line.

The following week, I drove down to Clark’s Comics for their Spring Fling. I don’t have any pictures, but Gary posted a video just before the festivities started—you can check it out here: (click here!)

Alex Saviuk signed autographs like a trooper!

Okay…though you’re probably reading this during MegaCon, I’m off to actually get ready! Come see me!

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Filed under Speaking/Presenting/Appearances

FCBD 2017

Tomorrow is FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2017. What is FCBD, you ask? Well, I’m glad you asked.

FCBD was started by comic retailer superstar Joe Field of Flying Colors in Concord, California. The first year was 2002, so this year marks the 16th year for FCBD. It’s traditionally held on the first Saturday in May, which also usually coincides with the opening weekend of the summer’s superhero movie. 2002 was Spider-Man, this year is Guardians of the Galaxy 2.

While I was aware of what the day was, the first time I actually did FCBD was in 2011, the ten year anniversary. The fine folks at Heroes and Dreams, a store which regrettably no longer exists, invited me to be a guest in their store for the day. So I drove down to Flowood, MS. for a long full day.

It wasn’t until 2015 that Aaron and his crew over at Coliseum of Comics in the Fashion Square Mall invited me to be a part of the day there. That day was particularly exciting for me as it was the opening weekend to Avengers: Age of Ultron…which included one of my all-time favorite superheroes: The Vision!

Last year I went out to Gods and Monsters in the Artegon Mall. G&M are still around, but unfortunately, they’re not at the Artegon Mall.

This year I’m excited to tell you that I’ll be at one of the top stores around, and one that I’m always sending my students to visit: ACME Superstore! Former Spider-Man artist Alex Saviuk is the headliner, but he’ll be joined by me and my comic creating pals Barry Gregory, Jenni Gregory, and Thomas Florimonte. Come out, grab some free comics (you can find a list of the free offerings here), then spend a buck or two on “local” creators and support our books. Autographs are FREE!

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Filed under General

Catching up

No telling what volume of “catching up” this is, but hi! Did ya miss me? Since my last posting, Brett and I were able to pop up to Arkansas for a visit to Mom and Dad. Dad’s doing much better, but he’s still got a long way to go to get his strength back. He seems pretty determined to do it—so that’s a good sign. Thank you all very much for all the prayers and good thoughts sent our way.

If you missed my tweet earlier, Tiny #2 is available digitally on Comixology and on IndyPlanet. If you’re a digital comic reader, how ‘bout checking out the second issue by me and the talented Deonna Herrold!

John Crowther, Barry Gregory, Me at the Infinity Toy and Comic Con.

I’ve done two comic shows since my last posting, both of which were heaps of fun. On March 4, I was a guest at the Infinity Toy and Comic Con in Orlando. On March 19th, I was a guest at the Melbourne Comic Con. You should check out both of these shows the next time they come around: lots of geeky fun!

I’ve also got a fun slate of show coming up, too! On April 23rd, I’ll be returning to the Daytona Beach Comic Con, the local show that features MORE comic books than the bigger shows locally. I’m not kidding. If you’re COMIC fan, this is the place to go!

On April 29, I’ll be a comic guest at FusionCon, in Safety Harbor, FL. It’ll be my first time there, so I’m very excited to be going.

On May 6, for FCBD (Free Comic Book Day) I’ll be appearing with my comic making pals, Barry and Jenni Gregory, and Thomas Florimonte and legendary comic artist Alex Saviuk at ACME SUPERSTORE in Longwood, one of the best local shops around!

On May 25-28, I’m a comic guest at MegaCon in Orlando. I’ll be in Artist Alley once again and Deonna will be joining me as we work to put Tiny #2 in your hands. Remember, we sold out of #1 at MegaCon last year! Hint hint

On July 19th, I’ll be a comic guest at the Orlando Collect-A-Con in Altemonte Springs, FL. Barry and Jenni will also be there, so you know it’s a fun show!

On July 20-23, I’m headed to San Diego. Would like to get on a panel or something, but nothing on that yet.

On Aug 5, Barry and I will be traveling up to Pikeville, KY to be comic guests at the first ever Pikeville Comic Con. It will be my first even comic guest appearance in the bluegrass state and I’m very much looking forward to it!

On Aug 11-13, WizardWorld will be in Orlando. I’ve been slated to be a comic guest there for over a year, but some of the leadership has changed and I haven’t heard from them in a bit. I’m keeping it on my calendar until I know otherwise.

Whew! That’s it so far. There’s one or two others that I’d like to get to, and of course, I’m always open to talking, so if you run a show or knows someone who does and you need a friendly comic writer type guest to compliment your A-list artist, holler at me!

Next time, an update on my comic projects!


Filed under General

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!


Filed under family