Tag Archives: BJ

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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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!

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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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Happy Thanksgiving 2015

I haven’t seen as many of those countdown to Thanksgiving posts on FB this year as I’ve seen in years past, but I decided to do my own list of thankfuls this year. So, I’m thankful for…

*the USA. Despite all my “serious issues” with our government, it’s still the best nation on the planet (why else would thousands give their lives trying to get here?) and I’m glad I’m here and not somewhere else.

*my job. In this day and age there are a lot of people still out of work.

*my boss. A boss can make all the difference in your job; a good boss can make a bad job tolerable and a bad boss can make a good job miserable. I’m fortunate to currently have a good one!

*a roof over my head. With all the hubbub surrounding the refugees, regardless of your stance, I’m thankful that I have a home with a roof over my head, unlike many of them.

*my nuclear family. As of this writing, BJ and I have been married for 25 years and we’ve produced two wonderful kids, both of whom I’m very proud!

*my extended family. So blessed to have the dad, mom and sister that I do. And all the aunts, uncles and cousins to go with them. I’m proud to call them all “family!”

*YOU. You come here and read my blog…and I can’t tell you how grateful I am that you take the time to read this when you could be doing something else—even if it’s just Candy Crush!

*my faith. Yeah, many with my faith are under constant scrutiny (and even attack—though many who do would deny they do so!), I’m still thankful for a loving God who can accept a screw-up like me.

So…what are YOU thankful for?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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25

Twenty-five years ago today, I married the love of my life. Fortunately for me, she’s been able to put up with me for 25 years. Well, plus a little more.

Roland and BJ posing after the wedding

Roland and BJ posing after the wedding

BJ is fond of telling folks that we should really add seven years to the number of years we’ve been married, because that’s how long we dated. Usually, when she tells folks—especially the ladies—she gets all sorts of sympathy in the form of “wow, you really waited on him a long time.” It works for her. But you can read more about that in this post seven years ago (the one I wrote for my 18th anniversary).

Had you told me twenty-five years ago that I’d be living in Florida, I’d have told you that you were nuts. Florida was never on my radar as a place to live…never. Alas here we are…

Way back when BJ and I were still just talking about getting married, she once told me she didn’t care where we lived as long as she was with me, all was good. She even said she’d live in a tent! Well, we’ve not had to live in a tent thus far, but there’s been a time or two I had to ask her if she was serious about the tent thing.

But what’s more important impressive is that she’s put up with me these years. Even through all the moves: Mississippi-California-Mississippi-Alabama-Tennessee-Arkansas… She’s let me keep my 10k comics (which have actually dwindled down to about 7.5k these days because I’ve gotten very tired of moving them!), puts up with me going to silly comic conventions (and have pretty successfully gotten my kids hooked on them), actually encourages me to play war games with my son (how cool is that? “Yes, I guess I should spend some quality father/son time and play some war game.”), and will stand in line to watch a superhero movie when it’s released, even if she’s not that excited about it.

Roland and BJ wedding reception 1990

Roland and BJ wedding reception 1990

So while I’m taking the time to say it aloud (and to the world, so y’all listen up!), I say it privately (mostly to myself) pretty much every day: I’m doggone lucky that she’s put up with me for so long.

BJ, you are the love of my life. Don’t ever forget that.

Happy 25th anniversary!

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How long?

Hi blog. Did you miss me? I missed me.

Seriously, though. Things have been a mess time wise, but I hope think they’re cooling down. I know, don’t get my hopes up because the holidays are right around the corner, right? Sigh.

My classes have been full, but I’ve made some cuts to the graded work and have actually gotten some help—so that is good. I still enjoy the heck out of the campus classes—I mean, what’s not to love about teaching comic writing, right?

Brittany receiving her diploma

Brittany receiving her diploma

In other big news, Brittany graduated from Full Sail–and she was the Valedictorian of her class! That’s right. Tis true. And she is anxious as everything to get to work! I’m pretty anxious for that to happen, too! Ha! The cool news is that in just the last few months she was cast in major roles for two independent films. She was the lead in Love Waits and is the co-lead in The Colors of Emily (she plays Emily). She’s slated for another big role in March, and The Colors of Emily is actually a trilogy and so she’s booked for both of those in the future. All in all, fantastic success out of the gate!

As you can see from the picture, Mom, Dad and Ang were able to come down for not only Brittany’s graduation, but for Thanksgiving. We had a great time, but man did it go by in a hurry. Brittany wanted to go to Hard Rock Café to celebrate…so we lost our hearing while we were there. I think we sat in the loudest spot in the place.

Brett marched for the last time, as well, and was pretty bummed about it. They put on a pretty cool end of semester show that wasn’t just the

Dad, Brett, Mom, Angie, Brittany, BJ, and Me at Hard Rock.

Dad, Brett, Mom, Angie, Brittany, BJ, and Me at Hard Rock.

band, but kind of an all-around “talent show.” We snagged the family picture one of those nights goofing around. The show was really very cool.

Cat & Mouse is in the hands of a couple of publishers now so it’s just playing the waiting game. I think it has a better shot with one more than the other…but my contacts are better at the other one.

An independent publisher is looking hard at trying to make The Gifted happen as a series of graphic novels. As an indy publisher, but biggest obstacle to getting a graphic novel done is the art. Even if it doesn’t happen, I’m thankful they are making the effort. I’ll talk about that more when I can, of course.

Nothing new on Beah, Citizens or Rejects, but you’ll be the first to know.

I’m also hopeful that I’ll get Buying Time on Amazon and Kindle within the week—hopefully before Christmas.

Okay…hopefully I don’t crash and burn before next week! See you then!

Us being us

Us being us

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Northridge Earthquake 20 years later

Some events in a person’s life stay with them forever, most of them firsts: first kiss, first touchdown, first car, etc. Other events as so big to us that they just embed themselves in our memory and stay there. There are two times in my life when I really thought I was about to die.

Twenty years ago, the Northridge earthquake struck at 4:30 in the morning. I was in bed, sound asleep, having been up late and out on the town the night before. BJ and I went with some of the people she worked with at CSUN to a comedy show in downtown LA. We had a great time, but came in late.

People asked me if I knew what it was when it hit, after all, I’m a Mississippi boy and I’m more accustomed to tornadoes than earthquakes. But the answer to that is absolutely yes—I knew exactly what it was. And it scared the crap out of me.

The quake, 6.6 or 6.8, depending on the source reporting, lasted for about 40 seconds. We lived on the bottom floor of a two storey apartment complex on campus and I thought it was about to fall in on BJ and I and kill us. We didn’t know what else to do, so we just held on to each other.

For 40 seconds we told each other over and over that we loved the other…and hung on tight to one another.

It’s fortunate it was dark and we couldn’t see anything because I think that would have scared us even more. We’d have seen items flying across the room. The dresser at the end of our bed was on the opposite wall, upside down.

For 40 seconds, I thought I was about to die.

When it stopped, our first thought was to get out. As we exited our bedroom into the long hallway, we discovered we had about a foot and a half which we could walk: the closet doors which lined the hallway had buckled out leaving us that small room to walk. Because we couldn’t see, I felt my way along the wall. When we turned the corner, the hallway door was open so I reached in and grabbed a coat.

Our feet crunched through the living room a small ways to the door. What I couldn’t see then, was that my two bookshelves had emptied all the contents into the living room. Items from the small kitchen that was attached, had found their way to the living room and most of it shattered. We lost all but a couple of pieces of the good china we’d received at our wedding.

I could probably go on for a long time about that night and the following months, but you probably wouldn’t want to read that much. BJ was the highest ranking school official on campus for several hours—we lived there, duh. She dove in to the task of caring for all the students on campus—she wrangled her crew together and put volunteers to work. It was pretty impressive.

A lot of people took really good care of us after that—after all, we’d lost our place to live! My colleagues at Malibu proved that they weren’t “just” colleagues and in fact were extended family by helping us sneak in to our apartment—which had been condemned—and get all of our belongings out and moved to a storage unit. Tom Mason and his wife let us live with them for a while—something I’ll never forget because we were essentially homeless at that time. We lived in a residence hall at the Jewish University on Mulholland after that until CSUN had a new place for us to move in to and return to campus.

I had problems sleeping for about year after that.

Even today, if I feel the house shake, a little chill runs down my spine.

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