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Posts tagged “autogrpahs

Comic Creator Autographs fall 2019

A while slew of updates fell into my lap just before NEO Comic Con (review will be up later this week), but I wanted to wait until after the con to make sure a couple of them were still correct. As always, we’re not really going to discuss the pros and cons of comic professionals charging for autographs. There’s plenty of other forums for that. We’re just going to acknowledge the reality of modern convention economics. This is a little something to help you know what to expect when you go to a con so you don’t get blindsided. A lot of artists don’t have autograph charges clearly displayed and frequently con websites either don’t have this information or are asked not to display it. Here’s my current list – in sort-of alphabetical order. It’s not exhaustive by any means, things may change next month or next year. We’ll update and repost from time to time.

Amanda Conner – free for 5 books, $2 after, $5 for CGC.


Me so excited to meet Gerry Conway I forgot to open my eyes!

Alex Saviuk – $5
Arvell Jones – $5
Al Milgrom – $10 per book
Adam Kubert – $5 per book
Brett Breeding -$5
Brian Azzarello – $5, except for graded items and Batman:Damned
Bob Camp – $30
Bob Wiacek – $2 (He might make you a deal for multiple issues)
Bob Hall – free for the first issue, or if you purchase a something from the table, otherwise $5
Bob Layton- $5 for CGC graded signings, otherwise free
Bob Mcloud – one for free, then $5


Bob Budiansky – first six free, $2 each after
Bill Sienkiewicz – two for free, then $3, $10 for CGC
Chris Clarmont – first free, then $20
Charles Soule – $10 CGC grading signings
David Finch – 2 free, then $5
Don McGregor – $5 per signature
Edgar Delgado – $5 CGC grading signings
Fabian Nicieza – $10 Deadpool/X-Force related
Fiona Staples – $20 CGC grading signings (otherwise free)
Graham Nolan recently started charging, but not sure how much.
Greg Capullo  – first 3 books free and $5 thereafter
Gerry Conway – $5
Gerhard $10
Greg Horn – $20 GameStop variants (otherwise free)
George Perez – Free, but he has a ticketing system so get to his table first thing after the show opens or you’ll be stuck in line for HOURS waiting for a spot to open up. Alternatively, if you can deal with not MEETING him, you can buy a print and he’ll sign that and a couple books in between sketches and stuff.


Nolan signs some bat-issues!

Humberto Ramos – $10-$20
Howard Chaykin – $5 per book
Joe Sinnott – $10 per book
Jim Starlin -$10 per book (goes to Heroes Initiative)
Joe Giella- $4 per book
J. O’Barr – $5
Jae Lee- $5
John Romita Jr – three for free, then $2. $10 for CGC grading.
Jose Delbo – $5
Joe Rubinstein – $20 ($50 for Wolverine)
Jimmy Palmiotti – free for 5 books, $2 after, $5 for CGC.
J Scott Campbell $10
John Cassandry $10
John Beatty – $3
Jim Sternako charges $20 per item last I checked – and that includes items and prints BOUGHT FROM HIS TABLE. Also, do not ask for a photo with him.
Keith Pollard – $5


Larry Hama wondering exactly what he’s gotten himself into…

Kevin Eastman – first is free, $20 after that (He also doodles on the items!)
Keith Giffen – 1st book free, $5 per book after
Klaus Janson– $10, $20 CGC grading signings
Len Wein – $5, $20 CGC grading signings, $25 for Hulk 181, Giant Size X-Men #1 or House of Secrets #92.
Larry Hama will sign two items for free and charges after that.
Matteo Scalera – $20 CGC grading signings
Mike Zeck – $5
Marv Wolfman – one free (I’ve heard elsewhere it’s two for free, but in his last interview he said one), $5.00 after that
Mark Texeria- one personalized signature free, $10 per book after or unpersonalized
Mitch Gerads – 2 free, then $5
Michael Golden- $5 per book


With the Legendary Denny O’Neil

Mike Grell – $5
Neal Adams – $30
Pat Brodrick – $3
Ron Frenz -$3
Ron Lim – 1st book free, $10 per book after
Rob Liefeld – $25-$50
Rags Morales – $5
Scott Snyder – first 3 books free and $5 thereafter
Simon Bisley – $10 per book
Tom DeFalco $5 each for three or less. After that $20 (“Dealer’s Pricing”)
Tony Isabella $3. (As of Akron Comicon he’s dropped the “first one free” schtick)
William Messner-Lobes – $10
Whilce Portacio – He was free when I met him several years ago, but from what I understand there’s a few key books he charges $10 to sign
Victor Olazaba – $10

Tip Jar – pay what you want
Some of these are for causes like the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund or Heroes Inititive. Others are just personal. I urge you, respect the tip jar. (It’s so much better than autograph fees)

Billy Tucci
Ben Templesmith
Barry Kitson
Charlie Adlard
Denny O’Neil (Heros alliace tip jar)
George Perez
Gene Ha
Jan Duursema
Jim Calafiore
Larry Stroman
Peter David
Mike Barr

14938305_1328900417154378_6902178794103765567_nAlan Davis
Ann Nocenti
Ande Parks
Angel Mediea
Art Thibert
Aaron Lopresti
Bill Anderson
Brandon Montclare
Brian Michael Bendis (Be prepared to wait a long time in line)
Bill Willingham
Brendan Fletcher
Bob Almond
Christos Gage
Chad Townsend
Carla Speed McNeil
Charles Soule
Clayton Crain
Cary Nord
Cameron Stewart14900529_1294021037284083_6486392154139767345_n
Chip Zdarsky
Chris Yambar
Casey Jones
Darryl Banks
Dave Gibbons
Dan Brereton
Dirk Manning
Emanuela Lupacchino
Erik Larsen
Evan Dorkin
Fred Van Lente (assuming you can catch him. He dosent do to many shows these days)
Frank Cho
Gail Simone
Greg Land
Heather Antos
16998140_1452872038090548_8911164774404268434_nIvan Reis
Jason Latour
Jon Bogdanove
John Ostrander
Joe Staton
Joshua Williamson
Jim Zub
Judd Winick
Jim Shooter
Jerry Duggan
Jason Aaron
Jeff Schultz
Jacob Chabot
Jonathan Hickman
Jenny Frison
Jae Lee
Joe Kelly
Karl Story
Kelley Jones
Kevin Maguire
Kevin Nowland
Keron Grant
Kyle Higgins
Lela Gwenn
Lee Weeks


It’s just a shadow. James O’Barr didn’t actually give me a black eye…

Louise Siminson
Mike McKone
Michael Cho
Matt Miner
Matt Horak
Mike Mayhew
Mark McKenna
Mike Okamoto
Marc Sumerick
Mike Gustov
Mark Waid
Mark Schultz
Mike Norton
Matt Fraction
Marguerite Bennett
Mike Hawthorne
Stephen Blickenstaff
Nick Bradshaw
Nick Dragotta
P.Craig Russell
Jorge Lucas
Jim Pasco
Phil Hester12190817_1064801410230948_2617958790839857194_n
Phil Noto
Paul Pelletier
Rick Remender
Ron Fortier
Ramon Villalobos
Ricardo Lopez Ortiz
Rafer Roberts
Sergio Argones
Scott Hanna
Steve Leialoha
Steve Mannion
Stephen Sharar
Scott Snyder
Stefano Gaudiano
Skottie Young
Stephen T. Seagle
Tim Seeley
Tom Mandrake (sometimes a tip jar for Hero Initive, but not when he was at NEO in 2019)
67602223_2625952624115811_7500589555540557824_nTim Bradstreet
Todd DeZago
Tim Truman
Walt Simonson – donations for quick sketches
Will Rosado
Yanick Paquette

This weekend’s cons


gamnesThis weekend happening in Cleveland is the Cleveland CONcoction!

If you’re a gamer, this is seriously the place to be. They’ll be celebrating sci-fi and steampunk this year, with the chance to win a lot of the same games you’ll be playing!

There’s panels, author guests, the Wonderland Ball, the masquerade, costume contest, gameplay, live performances (you really need to check shadow-websiteHeader_444x185out Too The Egress) and tons more going on. This is the only con of it’s type in Cleveland and it’s exactly the kind of con I like, packed with tons of events and programming.


Friday, March 13:  12pm – 11pm
Saturday, March 14:  9am – 11pm
Sunday, March 15:  9am – 3pm

That said, I’m already booked this weekend a little further west, and will be heading to Indiana Comicon.

I’m going mostly to meet Denny O’Neil – seriously, DENNY O’NEIL! The guiding hand of the Batman titles in the 90’s! The writer of the 70’s Shadow series! The author of countless editorial “From The Den” colums!


Stop looking at me like that. I’m excited.


MikeGrell_408Mike Zeck and Mike Grell are going to be there as well!

I could actually care less about the media guests at this one (although I and going to get princess autographs for my girls- I admit it). The guest list here is really looking impressive – John Beatty, Art Thibert, Bob McLeod, Whilce Porticelo, Jae Lee, I have a stack of stuff a mile high I’m bringing, just as soon as I break out my Shadow costume….

So wherever you’re headed, be safe, if you see me in Indiana tap me on the shoulder and say hi. If you’re heading to Cleveland, say hello to the POP! members or the Z.E.R.O.S. (Zombie Eradication & Rescue Operations Squad) and give them my best! And we’ll be back with new Violent Blue on Monday!


Lawn-Con 2014


Finally! I’ve been wanting to make it out to Lawn-Con for three years, but it always fell the Saturday of Wasteland…and I’m not missing Wasteland. This year however, Chris Yambar moved it to Sunday to avoid a scheduling conflict with another show, so I did the unthinkable and crammed two cons into a single weekend.10351002_840455722665519_8204665829786687211_n

10703562_840451975999227_1597159163234946952_nThe venue was beautiful at the old B&O Railway station. I love these kind of places and they decorated it beautifully inside. a sort of tent town popped up outside of it with vendors and wares, along with a wrestling ring.  I believe the art show going on inside was separate but I’m actually not sure. Either way, they complemented each other and made for a great symbiosis.

I took the girls with me to this one, I’ve always heard it’s very kid friendly and wasn’t disappointed. They each got a book to take home and were fascinated by the art. They loved all the people in costume and for the very first time  they got to see a wresteling show.

In addidtion to the wrestling, there were bands outside and inside. I weas really enjoying the acoustic duo as we wandered the station and only caught the tail end of one of the bands outside.


The real treat on stage however was Jason Delfosse doing side show antics. My daughters were fascinated and transfixed as he lifted a boat anchor with a chain attached to his tongue and walked up aladder made of machates, or ate fire and jumped bare foot into broken glass.


We all entered the costume contest and the girls were adorable. I think I like Maddie better in that Supergirl outfit, but Lydia puts her own spin on it. I actually heard one of the judges complement her choice in boots. Maddie’s Poison Ivy was a great unique choice as always.

I went up and stood next to Iron Man (who I met back at All Americon) along with my friends Riley, Stephanie and Josh. There were some stunning costumes up there . The dragon still wows me, and that Batman Beyond just looked sick. I looked down and noticed that part of my foot had broken off – I’d been shedding bits and pieces of Groot all day. That’s a rough costume to wear.1920577_840511529326605_7914649208502742619_n

Imagine my shock when I won first place. My jaw dropped. I never get first. I’m still feeling a bit gleeful.

We ended the day with some shopping. Maddie was in the Yambar booth and I suddenly heard her scream “JEANNIE!” I couldn’t believe it. She found I dream of Jeannie comics which Chris was gracious enough to sign.

This is a really fun show and I hope to get back to it again. If it stays on Sunday we definitely will, but I suspect that was an aberration. In any event we were stoked to get out there this time and recommend anyone who can make it check this show out!

9741_10152774352085990_3791094788273718185_n10712735_840455355998889_4662217143586003942_n 10710529_840452932665798_9079665374144519715_n 10704176_840511432659948_6620209208680932313_n 10703901_840452402665851_5942274018507923797_n 10703601_840452199332538_8043342324847948605_n 10703646_840451955999229_5041284128895173473_n 10703697_840452249332533_8336865510411630587_n 10703699_840453852665706_5873830374799921160_n 10701937_840456682665423_220811258368055527_n 10696416_840454899332268_1143508334738045813_n 10690083_840454352665656_3438327606720678268_n 10687222_840454815998943_3114474089350296924_n 10671433_840453589332399_5385306578149950414_n 10639608_10152774353015990_9196964162450546558_n 10636109_840454269332331_5443942910420289437_n 10665195_10203242856887319_5424357885875855869_n 10686949_840453965999028_448551056984748202_n 10685499_840511605993264_1196729800628588566_n 10660152_840454152665676_448707861180167931_n 10636099_840452692665822_868559971637175430_n 10628597_840455642665527_266789671439624692_n 10650043_840453155999109_6533750113746132885_n 10678651_840455979332160_2462832668608236607_n 10628026_840452059332552_8991641750840192609_n 10622825_840452545999170_4909214351354008225_n 10616595_840456882665403_2567924113404842772_n 10613034_840452865999138_5997499056825123410_n 10514573_840453275999097_150100672359549775_n 10516862_840454785998946_3354326822638120696_n 10517454_840452765999148_4006556725590979879_n 10456799_840456465998778_877631658491088882_n 10449513_840452769332481_3620416790944974000_n 10441064_840453399332418_2243406372939809475_n 10440916_840456072665484_7232042358582693296_n 10418887_840454079332350_5027450028225635530_n 10418984_840452332665858_6680658320026364367_n 10422170_840454742665617_7750042496540108758_n 10440847_840452435999181_5121815503068982716_n 10409523_840452819332476_2437048198376969780_n 10405261_840453475999077_4357628767375593571_n 10380908_840452632665828_603485344293260452_n 10374971_840456559332102_570413513256627600_n 10353029_840454715998953_7528680486116108815_n 10361267_840455055998919_5940554199339942180_n 10347489_10152774351690990_3392095669407269059_n 10291693_10152774350615990_3109617167427454377_n 10262084_10203931730325050_1967403800328394333_n 10175016_840453129332445_6890461142955053347_n 10156174_840455029332255_7079015786973865101_n 1979521_840455222665569_7762312344434506958_n 1975180_840452002665891_6995123545506532997_n 1959989_840455285998896_7930310097309824945_n 1959397_840455932665498_9029436403645637843_n 1959667_840453125999112_1801036188251560607_n 1959721_840456355998789_8668310843301069754_n 1959739_840511309326627_2911563610250619521_n 1959314_840452609332497_6862139426091476121_n 1891059_840453769332381_2676004157011890704_n 1798190_840453822665709_282453073206565158_n 1796443_840454962665595_5016423398575251681_n 1625522_10203931730125045_3142723846119183089_n 1622633_10152774352785990_4986884673757060342_n 1606834_840454905998934_1582067732529691694_n 1511789_10203931730525055_447660907521688177_n 1538867_840455432665548_1382499339297102302_n 1601008_840452115999213_5518546206783466598_n 1476521_840455659332192_8041368257938586949_n 1475920_840453892665702_8505593513749783894_n 1457460_840456549332103_7878805469654526990_n 1457460_840454435998981_4450183476702651446_n 1238273_840452179332540_2952320296829073985_n 1384263_840453539332404_5785635495447747779_n 1392062_840454615998963_7368825884203369006_n 1426485_840454565998968_6826304456425750992_n 1146442_840454002665691_6472434093504770695_n 1016738_840456739332084_5014765628234272220_n 1013249_840453009332457_6443633769644325916_n 1011783_10202062503997963_8048799833494087854_n




AllAmeriCON 5

Conman AllAmericon seems very much to be a show in transition.

I don’t know that I would have liked it in the past. From what I’ve heard, it was a much smaller show, and really just one of those “conventions” that served as a comic related bazaar. I’ve criticized this in the past with other shows stating how easy it would be to add a couple of guests, a panel or something to make it into something more.

AllAmericon 5 is attempting to do just that. This year, they shelled out some cash to get Jim Steranko as a guest – a big name if there ever was one. They also slated Daryl Banks, the co-Creator of the Kyle Rayner Green Lantern and a Cleveland mainstay, not to mention great guy.  In addition, they brought in Knightmage – a well respected member of the cosplay 1community to bring a greater cosplay element in with a panel and a costume contest. I brought my Voltron costume to debut here, but the day started before I even hit the venue. About 20 miles out, an orange blur barreled down on me and I recognized My friend Riley’s Batwag following my little red Superman Honda.  We waved at the stop light and occasionally one of my lion heads would peek out of my sunroof and make faces at them. Mage saw me as soon as I walked in and just shook his head at my costume. “You’re my hero man.” The admission table told me “We usually stamp people’s hands, but somehow I think we’ll know you’re part of the show.”

I hung out a bit but couldn’t do any shopping because of my lion hands. That was fine I was planning on changing out of the costume after the contest. At 11:00 most of the contestants hadn’t made it in yet and there weren’t a lot of people dressed up yet. I saw the line for Steranko’s table streached across the wall. We swung by several tables including Pixel Bits which I have seen before, most recently at Lake Effect Comic con where my Lydia bought a wonder woman design from them.

The Cosplay panel was fine. There was a heavy emphasis on cosplaying for charity which is a little bit of a departure from the 10516677_792021444175614_5837922122639202488_ncosplay panels I see at Anime cons. However it’s not surprising seeing as this is a big part of what Knightmage and Riley do.

I got back on the floor and saw a really nice Iron Man costume – comic accurate, lit up, really well done. I was heading over there to get a picture but he saw me coming and was really excited to see Voltron. Apparently he’d been following my progress on Ohio Cosplayers. “I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to see this in front of me!”. The photos of Iron Man and Voltron are some of my favorites from the day.

About forty five minuets before the costume contest my chestplate broke. The velcro held just fine – in fact it was stronger than the glue holding it to the foam! the strip ripped right off. Pulling it out, the crest in my chest began to come loose as well, however that was an easy matter. Push it back in  and it would hold. The chest plate however, was another matter. Fortunately, I had a hot glue gun in my car with an AC adapter in my lighter. In about fifteen minuets I was back in the con, hoping the quick and dirty fix would hold for at least another hour and get me through the contest.

The costume contest was really nice, but in the uncomfortable costume it felt a little long. During the course of the day, a lot of really great costumes had filtered into the convention hall as I knew they would and I wasn’t so confidant of my ability to place. Indeed, a young woman in a beautifully hand crafted Mad Hatter-like getup took first place, and she definately deserved the win. I was pleased to get second, narrowly beating out a Catwoman I had seen a year or two ago over at Akron Comicon.


New_100_5936Finally out of the costume contest, I hastily wiped off my makeup and shuffled out of the costume then headed for Steranko’s table. There was no line this late in the day and I was a little concerned he may have packed up, but no, he was still there and now it was no waiting!

I asked for a Shadow print and pointed to the one I wanted. Jim told me “I’ve been saving this one all day just for you!”, then signed it for me, but declined to take a photo “I’d prefer not to, but we’ll always have this moment!”

He wasn’t rude or unreasonable, but he does seem to have a “convention personality”. Very much a sell sell sell  feel. Nevertheless, I can forgive it. He really is a comic legend, and I’m going to treasure my personalized signed print of one of my favorite characters.

This convention has great potential, and they really are trying to become something bigger, something better. Not as big as say Wizard World or SDCC, but I think they are certainly trying to grow into the kind of show Akron is and I’m interested in seeing how they grow. I may not be back next year, but I think I certainly will be back in the future

A side note, it appears I made the news in my costume.

New_100_5938It’s not a comicon without picking up a stack of books fro mteh quarter bins. I was particuarly pleased to find the Ambush Bug issue!

New_100_5935Glimmer is one of the few figures from the new MOTU line I really wanted, mostly for my girls who play with the She-Ra figures all the time. I won a gift certificate in the costume contest, and sunk the entire thing into getting this figure for us.

100_5922 New_100_5924

Deadshot is one of my all time favorite characters in comics. From the first mini-series which led me into Suicide Squad, I was hooked. It was so exciting to see a Deadshot cosplay here – and a good one at that, very firmly based in the Justice League cartoon.

1937864_10203293968722961_1284252535_n 10419867_10203293982243299_501799063_n 10510112_10203293972403053_1756282173_n 10524756_10203293952122546_663305015_n 10531314_10203293947882440_1685558565_n 10529555_10203293959882740_152409505_n

Costume Contest. And just in case you were wondering what it looked like back stage lining up for the contest….

New_100_5931 New_100_5933 New_100_5932 New_100_5934

We did have a huge turn out for that contest, they managed to pack that little lecture hall.

New_100_5930New_100_5928 New_10464379_10201275928259718_251614713977521835_n New_100_5921 New_100_5925 10520100_10203297612853629_3957077099130469296_n

The convention floor10500345_792021614175597_4877249328790688390_n 10464379_10201275928259718_251614713977521835_n 10440955_767927623249868_5890731029710684102_n 10348187_10202848063256799_3088599051874179991_n





Shinboku Con 8


Last year I went to Shinboku con on a whim. Some of the clix guys had mentioned it to me, probably Sean and I figured it was time  I finally got around to checking out the con in my own back yard.  I had such a good time that  I decided to come back this year, and this time around, do it right.

I’d felt a little out of place last year because I wasn’t in costume (and a little older than most of the crowd. I’m an old school Anime aficionado) but this New_104_5546year I corrected that, designing my Mazingar Z / Transzor Z costume specificaly for this show (and then to be reused at Lake Effect next month)

I started off heading to one of the two Anime screening rooms for some Trigun and to get settled, plotting out my day. One of my big goals was to get Robert Axleod’s autograph fro my friend Johnny Em. Axlerod was one of the three spies in the original Robotech series, and john is the biggest Robotech fan I’ve ever met. Robert was nice, but professional. New_104_5493You can see he does a lot of these shows and he’s got a con persona. No complaints though. It was nice enough to meet him, he caught me on the way to his panel and I followed him in. The panal was all about his Power Rangers role, which was a little dissapointing consider his vast filmography.

I headed over to the Jedi stunt show wich was loads of fun, mostly involving lightsaber battles. A Darth Maul10173514_657373694310912_38975565317754330_n came out and invited members of the audience to try a lightsaber out. Watching him fight Fix-it Felix from Wreck-it Ralph (at first  I thought it was Handy Manny) was hiliarious. Blade against hammer….

I volunteered and  the croud roared with applause as Maul and I double teamed the Jedi, slaying him quickly.

I can’t tell you how much I hope that video shows up on youtube or facebook. I really want to see it.

vlcsnap-2014-04-12-20h18m47s55Off to Kyle Herbert’s panel. Kyle was incredibly funny and insightfull last year and I really wish I had recorded it. This year it was a talk about nutrition and food This has been on Kyle’s mind you see, since he was diagnosed with Diabetes last July. He still managed to inject the talk with plenty of wit and charm, but not quite as interesting as last year. when I walked in to the room he suddenly stopped short, lost for a second. And then said in disbelief “and then Mazinger Z walked in the room!”

New_104_5517I got a lot of that. This costume is one of the most popular ones I’ve ever worn…even more popular than Spider-Ham. I got asked to pose for a lot of pictures and to take pictures with a lot of people. It made it worth it to wear such an uncomfortable suit. It’s really hot. I hadn’t realized how dehydrated I was until I got out of it (I lasted about five hours before changing into my TARDIS T-shirt and jeans). I’ve got to fix that helmet before Lake Effect, it’s too tight around the nose, I’m still sore under my New_104_5506nose and at the roots of my teeth.

I hate that the convention moved from five minuets away to half an hour away. I suppose Huron is that far, but I do miss being able to walk to the con and come and go from home. However I understand why they needed to move. Sawmill Creek was an excellent venue, and and all of those problems getting from one part of the con to the next were solved, the layout was far more logical and easy. This was great since my boots made traveling a little difficult at times.

vlcsnap-2014-04-12-20h34m28s244I only caught the tail end of Alexis Tipton’s panel and never managed to catch her signing session.  That was a shame but I was in time to hear her sing the theme song from one of er more memorable Animes. She was a little embarrassed  so I’m not sure if I want to upload that to YouTube…

I also managed to catch a bit of Amber Lee Connors panel about breaking into voice acting. She’s bubbly and bright and a delight to listen to, and just as pleasant at her table.

New_10177225_656376771077271_1993057320883005027_nThe other event I had a lot of fun at was the Super Hero training. I loved the costumes and the variety of heros there. The costumes were REALLY well done and if I’d been in street clothes I would have gotten photos with every one of them!

One of the facebook reviews of Shinboku con that I read mentioned how the quality gets better every year. This is absolutely right. I can see it was more polished this year, and the new venue helped a whole lot. I don’t know if they actually added any vendors and I’d New_10171868_656376774410604_8812326548075078526_nstill like to see more stalls in the vendor room, but nevertheless, I was able to move around easily in my armor, the panels were well done, traffic was directed well and there’s ALWAYS something going on. This is the single convention I do that packs more programming in than Cinema Wasteland and that’s saying something! in addition to the standard dealer’s room,  Shinboku con sports two rooms constantly screening Anime. Two stages with programming in both locations at the same time. Two panel rooms that almost always had something going on.  A video game room with at least eight screens for competitive play and New_104_5509frequent tournaments, tables for people to play their Nintendo DS and 3DS, and a separate room for tabletop gaming, including Heroclix. And Twister, not to mention a well stocked Artist Alley (well placed too. You HAVE to walk through it to get to the two main stages, the video game room or the vendors room). There’s always something going on, not to mention parties and concerts that spring up around the event.

I think Shinboku Con may become one of the cons I attend every year, much like Wasteland or Lake Effect – or possibly even Monster Bash. It’s one of the good ones, and I highly recommend it. See you guys next year.

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Wasteland this weekend!

april_2014_smallJust a quick reminder, I’ll be heading out to Cinema Wasteland this weekend. I expect to only be there Friday and Saturday, possibly in costume on Sat.  There’s a great line up of films this time around with some really interesting guests. I’m going to get my Day of the dead poster started and both my Evil Dead 2 poster along with my Maniac Cop DVD finished. It’s the best convention I go to with some of the friendliest freaks around. Come join the best party in Cleveland and if you see me wandering around tap me on the shoulder and say hi!! Never fear though, there will still be new Violent Blue on Friday at the main site and Essential Violent Blue right here! Have a great weekend!


Lydia’s princess autograph!


Special Lydia autograph log today!

In the past I think we’ve had nicer successes. We send Disneyworld a card asking for a specific princess or character (I got Lilo and Stitch) and they would send us an “autographed” photo. Maddie got Cinderella back in the day. Well, I recently sent out a request for princesses but specifically Rapunzel for Lydia. A few weeks She received this!

It’s a pre-print and just a post card, but it was mail from the princesses with her name on it so she was still thrilled. The girls actually pull it out and put it in the castle or dollhouse wherever they happen to be playing with their princess dolls at the time!


A Christmas Story

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1425796_675027932541633_1816864993_nYou know, the Christmas Story is really more my wife’s thing, but that’s okay. She helps put it in perspective for me. Sometimes you need someone else to help you realize why something is cool.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the film and here in Cleveland we love it because parts of it were shot here. I’ve been to the house before, in particular to meet Ian Patrella (Randy, the little brother) but this year the people who run the house and museum decided o throw a small convention. It was scattered around town unfortunately and that made it a little hard to find at times. I hit the cast meet and greet over at the renaissance hotel in Public square and got my poster all marked up. I’d sent it to Peter Billinglsly (Ralphie, the main character) several years ago and he’d signed it through the mail. Ian had already autographed it as well. But there were still some fun cast members there including the evil elf from the Santa visit, the bullies and Ralphie’s friend Flick (who got his tongue stuck to the flagpole). I was especially excited to meet Zack Ward, the bully 1425796_675027939208299_1096394837_nFarkus because he also has a small part in “Freddy vs. Jason”. He was charming, funny and extremely friendly.

Last weekend, they were screening the film in Cleveland. There were showings at both the Capitol and at the Cedar Lee. The Capitol is always my preferred venue because it’s closer and parking is free. It’s also a nice theatre. It’s not the palace, but it tries. The Cedar Lee is a bit of a dive (that’s not a bad thing by the way. You expect theatre that show Rocky Horror, or art and foreign films to be a little grimey!)

Usually I hit these theatres alone. Amy isn’t into a lot of the kinds of movies that they show at these places…but this time I packed her up and we headed out for a morning screening of A Christmas Story! $5.00 tickets and about a half full house.  The snow was keeping some people away I think. It’s also possibly that it just wasn’t promoted enough. I’m not sure.

1463000_682566698454423_600504286_nThere’s a reason I like going to the theatre to see films…even ones I’ve already seen. It’s a wonderful collective experience and you always see things on the big screen that you miss at home. Like this for instance. Randy falls asleep amid a mass of presents….one of which IS A FRANKENSTEIN MASK! Who gets a Frankenstein mask for Christmas??? You know… besides me….

We hope it’ll show somewhere next year so we can take the kids, and perhaps make this a part of our Christmas traditions just like tomorrow when we watch it play for 24 hours on TV!

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And a quick reminder, we’ll be taking this week off for Christmas, not only here at Argo City, but also over at Violent Blue. There’ll be some “lost” strips up for the vacation week, and regular comics and blogging will resume after the new year!

Thank you Annie Potts!


I send M.s Potts a while ago. I’ll admit it was all Ghostbusters stuff. I’ve seen her in other roles, but not affect me like Ghostbusters. I had hoped to send one or two of these on to Rick Moranis, but he seems like he’s getting harder to get these days and i’m not sure I want to risk losing these pics in the mail. We’ll think about it some more. Maybe later.

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(I’ll bet the guys in Violent Blue are Ghostbusters fans….)

Thank you Peter Cullen!


By now you probably know I’m a He-Man guy. That was my series when I was kid and it still is my favorite cartoon today (Not sure what cartoon they liked in Violent Blue. Hmmmm. I should explore that some time…..). Still, I watched Transformers and G.I. Joe, and always love meeting the voices behind the characters.

Peter Cullen has been the voice of Optimus Prime for decades….and that’s really saying something. he’s the definitive voice for the character so you can imagine how pleased I was to receive this through the mail. Thanks so much!


Thank you Julie Newmar!


I do believe Julie Newmar is my favorite Catwoman. I liked Michelle Pffiefer, but her Catwoman was definitely a Tim Burton creation and not at all a reflection of anything in the comics. Anne Hathaway kind of captures that not-quite-a-villian feel, but really, she’s just to…nice.

We don’t talk about Hallie Berry.

There were of course, other Catwomen in the Batman TV series, but they were all imitations of Julie Newmar. She did it first and best and I’m thrilled to have her autograph!


Shinboku Con 7


Logo2013I attended the seventh annual Shinboku con this weekend. This is a new one to me. I was aware of it last year but decided not to go because I already had a full con schedule and I’m not as into Anime as I used to be. About a year after I got married I stopped watching regularly, and probably stopped buying shortly after that, it had gotten to mainstream; to popular.

Now before you accuse me of being a hipster, I’d like to point out that it’s not necessarily it’s popularity per se that is the probelm. It’s everything that goes with it. It’s the pretentious posuers that crop up who think thier Anime experts because they’ve seen Tenchi Muyo, but have no idea what Robotech is. It’s the IMG_20130413_161155glut of crap anime that floods the shelves of best buy (or thier subsidiary Suncoast back in the day – a real perpetrator of this) that keeps people from discovering great stuff like Bounty Dog, or Bubblegum Crisis, or X.

I hadn’t expected much from this con, but decided to try it out this year, so I put on my one and only Anime shirt (Excel Saga) and headed over. The con is in my backyard – almost litrialy. I could walk to the hotel from my house. That’s a good thing and also a bad thing. Elyria isn’t known for it’s culture. That’s not quite fair, because there is some good stuff here, but it gets no press and doesn’t always get a chance to thrive.

I looked over the schedule and saw that there was some real organization here. It’s an ambitious con. A panel room, a main stage (which also doubles as another panel room. Sometimes you have to choose which one you want to go IMG_20130413_130537 smallto), a video game room, a tabletop game room, a dealers room and an anime room. That’s a lot going on at any given time of day. I did check out the vendors room, but it was extremely small and not a lot that I was interested in. A real surprise that the vendors room was such a disappointment – it’s usually one of the coolest things about a convention. Still, there was definitely plenty of other things to see and do.

I started my day off hitting the cosplay panel. God bless the Ramada Inn by the way, for providing coffee. It was a cold rainy day and I wasn’t as bundled up as I should have been. There was a lot of basic info that I already knew here, but one interesting tidbit, I’ve never considered searching YouTube for cosplay tips and patterns like the moderator suggested. I like that. I may be looking into that for my next costume project….maybe even for some of the Hellraiser project. I headed IMG_20130413_135246downstairs for my next panel, with voice actor Kyle Hebert. The downstairs thing by the way, is a bit of a problem, it’s got to do with the way the hotel is set up. The con was divided into two places. First flooor towards the front of the hotel, and upstairs towards the back of the hotel. I was constantly running back and forth to get from one event to the next. Still, that’s the Hotel’s fault, not the cons.

Back to Kyle Hebert.  He’s done several things I know about and was really fun to listen too. This was more of a random stream of consciousness talk rather IMG_20130413_151102than a formal panel (he would be doing a voice acting workshop later in the day. I managed to catch about half of that before I had to leave for the day.) and it was interesting to hear him talk about every subject under the sun, including 3d movies, the Wizard of OZ, working in video games and his dream of being in a Disney movies (finally fulfilled when he did two likes as Ryu in Wreck-it Ralph).

Since it was across the hall, I wanted to check out the video game room. While I like video games, I generally suck at them. It’s the main reason I’m not a gamer. However, I love watching other people play…it gives me some of the experience of the game without ripping out my hair because I can’t figure out the next stupid puzzle. I stood in awe watching the new marvel vs. Capcom game, along with some of the interesting Kinect games being played. Skull girls was a fun interesting title, along with Portal. Someone had rigged up a MAME machine to the big screen, and Super Mario was  running for a good chunk of the day. Awsome.

551429_10151523748618614_1059436194_nOn the other side of the hall there was the tabletop gaming room. I didn’t spend quite as much time in there as I would have liked too. It’s one thing to watch over someones shoulder while they are playing a video game, but I just feel weird watching a war game or a role playing game. I guess I’m just not sure what the protocol is there. The gaming vendors were down in this room as well instead of the vendors room and that worked out well. I really wanted to buy one of the plushie 12 sided die, but this was a little too close to Cinema Wasteland and I’m still kind of broke.

Amongst the games, there was a Heroclix tournament scheduled, but unfortunately I had a conflict, my wife had a job that night that was going to IMG_20130413_141847start about the same time as the heroclix tourney so I missed it. However I did run in to a couple of guys I know from clix beforehand and that was fun.

My next panel was the special effect makeup one. I do makeups frequently and am always interested in learning something new. That was half the reason I did the haunted house last year.  I learned a new recipe for blood that I may be trying out at the Lakewood Zombie Walk this year and got a great idea for how to do a life cast. That’s something I’ve really been wanting lately as I try to create more and IMG_20130413_160208more intricate make up appliances.

Usually I will fill up a convention blog entry with pictures of people in costume. Of course at an Anime con, cosplay is far more pervasive. I’ve always complained about the lack of cosplay at horror cons and even at Ohio Comic cons (I admit, I do seem to see more of it outside of Ohio). I knew I’d see more at an Anime convention, but I really wasn’t prepared for exactly how much. Honestly, I actually felt a little out of place.

If I had tried to take pictures of everyone in costume I wouldn’t have had time to do anything else! There were however, a few stand out costumes.


Calvin and Hobbes. Yes, he IS carrying around a stuffed tiger. He wanted the picture to be more like we would typically  see Calvin, so he made faces while I was snapping it. Note the Black Lantern ring????


Donnie Darko. It’s a cult film for a good reason….I just wish I could figure out what that reason was. Very cool costume choices though.


This No-Face from Spirited Away was just the coolest thing I saw all day. That’s APOCALYPSEactually an average size girl in there. If you look hard you can just make out the black fabric covering the eyehole.

I managed to sneak back for the Zombie Apocalypse panel and I’m incredibly glad I did. It was one of the funniest panels of the night. A little out of control with ranting and some of the more outrageous humor from the evening (they were actually carding people for this one – I can understand that from the language alone….)

I ended the evening at the glow stick ball. Lots of good thumping music here, with a lot of video game influences. In particular I was hearing a lot of Skyrim playing. People were dancing, having fun, minding thier own business….


and that’s when the lightsaber battle broke out…..


Now that’s a party.

It was a well done con. Better than I expected, though there were still some rough edges. Still, this is exactly the kind of thing Elyria needs more of and in a lot of ways it reminds me a lot of why I used to be into Anime myself. I don’t think I can ever get back to that kind of passion for the subject, but this convention definitely has my interest and is on my radar. I suspect I’ll be back next year, if for no other reason than to support a good Elyria event. Who knows? Maybe I can dress up as a character from Violent Blue! (Do they make squirrel costumes in my size?)

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Cinema Wasteland spring 2013


april_2013_bannerNew_388758_596532770358566_1574777929_nThere’s always something special about Wasteland. As time has gone by I realize I see a lot of the same folks there every year and that makes things a little more fun. I kind of hid behind cosplay makeup this year, but still managed to say hi to Jason and Sean and Douglas. Angelique and Killer Shrew, I’m sorry I missed you guys! And a special thanks to Jeff Josyln (the gent in the zombie Uncle Sam outfit) for letting me use a bunch of his photos in this post. We seem to hit several of the same events, I’m going to have to say hello the New_479967_596532610358582_169202630_nnext time I see you.

I caught several movies this year that I’ve never seen before. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the new Gladiators – I only saw the tail end of it though (scheduling conflicts). Got to see She-Devils a-go-go with the director sitting about two seats away and the room peppered with cast members from Old School Sinema. The strangest thing I saw though, was probably Little Cigars. Little people con men…..featuring Felix Silla (Twiki, Cousin It). Just bizarre. If you’re curious, you can watch it on You Tube here– untill someone wises up and takes it down….


Ghastlee Night at the movies was fun as ever, though I didn’t manage to get in on any of the games.  Ginger Rose brought in balloons that had glow sticks or lights or something in them and they were getting batted around the room all night. People were getting hit in the face, on the head and general chaos ensued. Ken the promoter got roasted (though Sally the Zombie Cheerleader was taking that a little too seriously when she brought out a grill and barbecue sauce) and there was the best cornhole game ever – trying to get teeny bottles of booze through the mouth on a blown up poster of Ken’s face. it just fits Wasteland to a “T”.

I got to meet the cast of Slumber Party Massacre, but the most exciting was getting to meet Brinke Stevens. She’s one of the original scream Queens and someone I’d wanted to see for a while. Jeff Lieberman was New_100_3794back this time as well, and I finally got a picture with him as well .his panel with the cast of Just Before Dawn was the funniest panel I’ve seen in ages.

I came home with a stack of DVDs, finally getting horror Convention massacre from Old School Sinema’s table and grabbing Gingersquach from Baron Morbid. Lieberman signed a copy of Remote Control. I’ve got a bunch of movies to get through in the next couple of weeks.

Can’t wait to head back to Wasteland in October for The Hills Have Eyes reunion.  In the meantime, I better go catch up on my Violent Blue.

546077_596532463691930_13396306_n 529603_596532497025260_973529945_nI’ve never seen these Kiss guys before. I’ve got to look into that further. The werewolf girl though, she was just adorable. I love the pink hair and the cute outfit!



40832_596532797025230_15101592_nI can’t believe I missed this! Where WAS I when this was going on outside????New_524307_596532637025246_4936391_n I saw this young lady last year. She looked a lot more scary this time around  New_156893_10200869294763798_517025251_n New_909275_171022843053438_1325600192_n New_563752_10151414191476888_2101656720_n

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Thank you Carl Riener!


One of my favorite classic sitcoms is the Dick Van Dyke show. I’ve gone out of my way to grab autographs from Dick, Rose Marie and Mary Tyler Moore. I was unaware of Riener’s involvement until recently though. I probably knew, but just never made the connection I suppose.

I’ve enjoyed him of course in the Oceans series, and knew he was the father of Rob Reiner,  but I also recently noticed his name on another of my favorite movies. Another connection I had never made before.

He directed Summer School.

He’s go a quick cameo in the beginning of it as well, but he DIRECTED this movie! It really seems unlike him for some reason. I love the heart in this film, the humor is off the wall, and the two monster kids might as well be me at that age. In fact they inspired a lot of my behavior from that period.

Anyhow, Mr. Riener was nice enough to singe two things for me through the mail, including the Summer School poster that Mark Harmon already scribbled on! My biggest thanks to Mr. Riener for making that poster even more cool!

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Catching up on autographs

AutographsYou know, I never posted any of the autos I got at the Akron Comic Con last year, and that’s something I’ve really been meaning to do. So here we are. I want to start with the ones from Gerry Conway because they are just my absolute favorites. The fact that I not only have these comics, but have signed copies of them just makes me want to squee everytime I see them.

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Mike W Barr was a delight. I loved his run on Star Trek and especially love his Batman and the Outsiders, so it’s a great pleasure to have them both signed. Id didn’t just go with number ones though, I went with an issue of Trek that was special to me as well….the first one I ever got.

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Tony Isabella created something special in Black Lightning, and I don’t know if we ever really appreciate it enough. I especially loved the 90’s version. They made a figure of it, but other than that, it got almost no attention at all. I never even knew about the series until long after it was over.


Breyfogal. enough said.

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I’m a fan of Joe Staton’s Green Lantern and have to wonder why he isn’t a bigger personality in the field…It’s not that Dick Tracy is a bad gig, but it seems like he should be doing more.

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Kyle Rayner is another underappreciated character. Polarlizing I guess. I hated him at first too, just because he took the place of Hal Jordan. Once my friend Ben got me actually reading the book though, I really grew to love him and realized my ire was more a reaction to how poorly Jordan was treated in Emrald Twilight. I got Daryl Banks, the costume designer, to sign a couple of great covers both with a lot of characters crammed into them!banks1


A couple more to throw in here, Cameron Diaz was nice enough to sign a Green Hornet picture for me. Tara Strong signed a collage for me and a pony picture for my girls. Maddie sleeps with it….I kid you not.

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Finally there is…this. How do I properly describe this and the joy it brings me?

About a year or so ago my friend Johnny Em bought an animation cell off ebay. The seller shipped it in this envelope to protect it. As soon as he saw it he thought of me. My wife couldn’t understand why I was so excited over a dirty old envelope. Well you see that Filmation logo on the corner? As in the people who made He-Man? This carried proofs or cells at one time while they were making the series – you can see the notes “young hordak, Sorceress, and (I think) Marlana scrawled up in the corner by the logo. It’;s signed by every person who when through the production phases – each signing off on thier work.Definitely one of the coolest pieces of He-Man Memorabilia I’ve ever gotten!


Days of the Dead

What a drive. I find myself wishing this con was closer to home because that drive was pretty brutal.
The length was comparable to the drive to Indianapolis, but the trip to  Days of the Dead Chicago  is harder and spends more time on toll roads and urban environments.

What first struck me was how many people were there. I had to wait in a surprisingly long line for tickets. I say surprisingly long, because I got there at noon, and the doors had opened an hour earlier. I could have bypassed the line and saved five dollars by pre-registering, but honestly, the only con I pre-register for is Cinema Wasteland because I save about 15-20 dollars and I usually spend the whole weekend there. This was a day trip.  Oh well.

I got in and immediately searched out Keith David. He was one of the main reasons I was at this con, I wanted to get my Thing poster signed.

His handler was AWFUL. The guy interrupted with prices for different things, and answered questions for Keith and was generally intrusive, like a self-important pimp. A good handler takes money and snaps photos and is generally invisible. They are there to make sure no one takes advantage of the celebrity and more importantly to take care of the mundane business  so the celeb can focus entirely on the fan (and vice versa). A pity, because I suspect that Mr. David is a far nicer person without the yo-yo hovering around his booth.  This and hitting my pet peeve of charging for photo ops set a decidedly negative tone for this con immediately.

I sipped out of the vendor hall to hit the Collection panel. I had misunderstood about this though and thought it was a screening of the film. It wasn’t, although they did show both the first seven(?) minuets of the film, then talked at length about bot hit and the film that preceded it.

Let me just have a quick aside on this by the way. The guys making this movie did a remarkably smart thing as far as promotion goes. It should be so blindingly obvious that I can’t believe more people don’t do this, but whatever.They came to the con, the director and writer, brought a couple of the actors with them, showed bits of the film, then set up a table and signed posters for free. At a con where every one charges to autograph stuff, and some people even charge for photo ops, these guys not only gave away posters of their new movie, but all signed them and took photos with people for free.  Let me tell you something, their strategy worked.  This movie wasn’t even on my radar. Now, not only do I know about it, I can’t wait to see it. They only had their table set up for about three hours, and that was enough.

I had brought a small poster with me, because space is becoming an issue at my house. Besides, I didn’t want to be greedy, they could save those beautiful 11x17s for someone else. They were signing posters in an assembly line style and my smaller one got moved right along into the assembly line. At the end of the table, the director handed me my smaller poster and told me “Take one of the big ones too!” I was about to protest, but he kept on “Go on! If you can’t think of anything else to do with it, tape it to the roof of your car!” You know what? I love these guys. If you wanted to pinpoint a moment when my day turned around, this was it.

I dove back into the guest hall and as I passed by his table I realized I had completely forgotten that William Katt was going to be there. How did I forget this? Seeing him added to the line up after Keith David was what tipped the scales on me deciding to go! Maybe it was ll the planning or the glut of cons in the last couple of months. I don’t know.

I’ve heard things about William Katt. None of it good. I’ve heard that he charges more than other people, he tacks on fees for photo ops, I heard that he’s unfriendly or distant. I’ve probably heard more negative comments about him than I have about Tom Savini. I’m going to tell you right here and now, NONE of that was true.

He charged about average. Less than what a lot of people were. No extra fee for a photo. He was friendly and engaging. He really seemed to WANT to be there and connect with fans. He leaned across the table and grabbed my jacket, spreading it out to get a better look at my Punisher shirt then told me how much he loved it. He was shocked to discover I made it myself. We discussed the Star Wars auditions, something he seemed surprised I was aware of. I’m not sure I agree with his statement that it would have changed his life…Mark Hamil’s career didn’t fare too much better than Katts, but I would have loved to have seen him in the role. He mentioned that the Star Wars auditions were what got him his role in Carrie. He also asked what  i did for a living and when I told him I was in IT he told me how much he wished I lived out near him, he’d be calling me every day! Meeting him was absolutely the high point of my day.

Off in a small room to the side of the check in counter was a darling display called “Evil Puppets”. It was tucked away so neatly I walked right past it twice before noticing it. I tentatively creeped in and wondered if they would be mad at me talking a photo. There were no signs saying I couldn’t so I snapped a few photos. I really love getting my picture taken with celebrities and this presented a unique opportunity of getting a photo op with some famous monsters without having to put up with a rude handler like the guy that was hovering over Keith David. So I grabbed a random passerby and asked if he would mind taking a couple of shots of me. I knelt down to get into a better lever in front of the Gremlins. The guy tried to focus, then stepped back a moment. I felt something brush across my shoulder. I figured, I just had leaned back too far. Probably brushed against a puppet. Then it happened again. Then something was in my hair. I turned around to find the girl who was hosting the exhibit laughing and holding the gremlin’s hand in hers. She had been poking me with it and messng with me She continued to do so as the picture was taken> You can see me trying very hard not to burst in to laughter myself.

I grabbed one more autograph on my already crowded Dawn of the Dead poster from Paul Musser who asked me “When are you guys going to get a real football team up there in Cleveland?” I explained to him that was why I followed horror and not sports.

Had to hit up the Fright Night line as well. I love reunions like this where you can get five signatures on a poster in one shot like this. Chris Sarandon’s table never had a line the entire time I was there. I totally don’t get that. He actually IS someone. He’s done tons of stuff, The Princess Bride alone makes him a real star. I was also really stoked to see William Ragsdale. I spent every Sunday for three or four years watching him on Herman’s Head. His hair is shorter now, and that’s kind of a shame, but I understand and I forgive him for it. Amanda Berse was there as well and ALWAYS had a long line. Not quite sure I get that.  I realize there are a loot of people who remember her from Married with Children and if you pay attention to her career you’ll know she’s actually a talented director as well, but none of that justifies her having a bigger line than people like Keith David and Chris Sarandon. Go figure. She was hyper. Super nice but very energetic. She saw the camer and exclaimed in an almost excited voice “Come on! Let’s take a picture!” and then grabbed me and pulled me back. I don’t think I’ve ever been held that tightly by a lesbian before.

There were a couple of big surprises at this con. I saw the tail end of the “They Live” panel because I needed a break from standing in lines. It’s not one of my favorite Carpenter films but I figured there would be some “Thing” talk as well. Roddy Piper was hilarious. I had no idea he was so funny and clever. Not at all what I expected. The screening of “The Collective” was a lot of fun as well, 10 short films by 10 different directors. I have to give Days of the Dead props for decent programming. Not as much as Cinema Wasteland, but good for them for doing any at all, and quality stuff as well. The other big surprise was all the cosplay. Not just the quantity (although that WAS impressive.  Tons of people in costume) but the quality. Really great costumes and fun ideas. My favorite was the dead Tinkerbelle, but there were a lot of monsters there whose makeups just took my breath away, the snake girl and the creeper especially.

This was a good con. It was really a good one. Again, I wish it were closer to home, because that’s it’s one big downfall. Chicago is an awfully long drive for one day, but horror cons for me tend to be one day events. IF this were in Ohio, PA or Indiana, somewhere in a three hour radius, I’d probably go every year. Chicago, I’m not sure it’s worth the drive to go back. Certainly not for a while, but maybe in a few years. I had a great time this year, and I hope it continues to grow even better. In the meantime, it’s back to Violent Blue for me.

Days of the Dead Chicago

Well, I’m heading out tomorrow to try this con out. I’m most excited about getting to meet a couple of the guys from “The Thing” and get that poster autographed up a little more.

This is absolutely MY LAST CONVENTION OF THE YEAR. I went way overboard this year and will be cutting WAY back next year probably only going to Wasteland and Monster bash (and maybe a small comicon – Madeline has been asking to go). So come on out and if you see me in the crowd, tap me on the shoulder and say hi!

Don’t worry though, Violent Blue will update as normal on Monday!

Akron Comicon

The Akron Comicon was a pleasant surprise. I really wasn’t sure what to expect as I drove the hour long trip to Akron. I checked the website earlier in the day and was disappointed to see P.Craig Russel had canceled, but otherwise everyone seemed to be scheduled to still show up. So I took the day off from Violent Blue,   donned my Shadow costume and off I went.

I had a hard time find the parking the FB page recommended, but was just as happy to park on a side street and walk the block to the show. My cloak flowed in the wind and that always puts me in a good mood.

It was a smaller space than I expected, but it was used with extreme efficiency. Almost immediately I was approached by a fellow who asked If I’d like to do an interview about my favorite comics and why I was at the con today. It pays to wear a costume! I don’t usually cosplay at horror cons because I want to look normal for photo ops, but comic cons are different.

I got in a surprisingly short line for Gerry Conway, the man who created the Punisher and wrote the death of Gwen Stacy in the Spider-Man comic series.  After taking their pictures with me, the guys in line behind me and I started to chat a bit. They showed me some beautiful reprints they were getting signed. Then on of them pulled out his copy of Spidy 120 – the issue before Gwen dies. I smiled and pulled out 121, and they nearly plotzed. IT was a good feeling. I related the story behind how I got that and the Punisher origin story (you can find it back here : ) and they speculated on what these might be worth in the condition they are in. I was told I had at least a couple of hundred dollars in my backpack, but I wasn’t sure. These werent in great condition. They also pointed out that autographs don;t always increase value. That was something new to me, but in the end,  I really wanted Gerry to sign them.

When I got to the front of the line I flopped them down on the table and re told the story to Gerry who handled then with a remarkably gentle touch. He seemed to revere them almost as much as the fans behind me, advising me “You have some really expensive comics here.” He then mentioned with a smile, “these are worth more money than I was paid to write them!”

I popped over to a couple of other tables, and got to see Mike W. Barr who wrote my favorite series of Star Trek for DC. I’m not so much a TOS person or a TNG person as I am a DC comics-movie timeline person. That’s real Star Trek for me. He was also kind enough to sign my copy of Batman and the Outsiders #1 for me and chat a bit about Jim Aparo. Jim defines the look of Batman for me and I always remember Denny O’ Niel saying how brilliant he was.  Mike agreed with these statements and related a story to me about the one and only time he heard Jim complain; “It was a crossover with the Teen Titians and there were some supervillians on the cover too. He finished it and then looked at me and asked ‘They aren’t ALL going to be like this one are they?'”

It seemed like I was getting through all the lines really quickly….untill I hit Norm Breyfogels line. Now I understand he IS a bigger name, but honestly, Gerry Conways line wasn’t this long! Of course people weren’t asking him to sign entire runs of his work either. I know the sign says “No Limit” but seriously? Dropping a stack of fifty or a hundred comics to be autographed is just the lamest of fanboy behavior. Yes dude. I’m calling you out. You ARE the bad guy here and Norm was a saint to put up with you.

I attended a few of the panels, These could have been better, but were perfectly fine for a first year con. There was a fun moment during one panel on how comics are made. The presenter was using an slide show that he had already prepared for other seminars and it began with the question and definition of “What are Comics?”

“I think if youre here at this show, everyone probably already knows the answer to this one.” He topped for a moment. “Well, maybe not the guy dressed as the Shadow, but the rest of you I’m sure…” I had no comeback ready for this, but someone else did. From the audience I head a voice shout out “oh, the Shadow KNOWS!”

Lots of fun cosplayers, and a LOT of Doctor Who, including the cutest little Doctor costume I’ve ever seen on a baby. Not as many sales as I would have like to have seen though and very little in the way of film, bootlegs or rare. I would have expected at least something like the corman FF or the JLA pilot, or even Mockingbird lane. Oh well, perhaps next year.

And from what I heard, the con was successful enough to guarantee there WILL be a next year, and it totally deserves it. I’ll expect more next year, but for now, I had a blast at this years show!

Just finished the thanksgiving Violent Blue  comic strips, and to think, I almost didn’t use this story idea. I did condense it down from three strips to too, which fits better with the black Friday gag at the end. Those will be up on the Violent Blue site in a couple of weeks.

NaNoWrMo Novel is coming along well. Up to 14255 words and going strong. I think my favorite two bits in it so far are :


“That’s right,” Steve said, suddenly remembering. “Last night was Rocky Horror wasn’t it? I should have thought of that.” He flipped the switch on Chloe’s Xbox. Maybe he could squeeze in a quick death match while he waited.

“Yep. We stuck around Denny’s for an extra helping of slop, and said good bye to a couple of friends.”

“That’s cool,” Steve nodded. Plasma grenade, switch, suppressing fire. Two guys down. “You’re not going to start singing the Time Warp during one of the hymns again are you?”

Chloe fumbled with the buttons on her back. “Nope. It’s not really as funny after the third time….I can’t promise I won’t break out into a Meatloaf ballad during communion though.”

“You know that’s not real wine don’t you? You won’t be able to blame it on that this time….”

Chloe stepped through the door looking slightly dangerous in her dress and heels accessorized with a spikey bracelet. “I don’t know. I’m still not sure what they put in those communion wafers.”


and, a little earlier on :

Chloe pointed towards the foot of the stage where a couple of men in leather jackets were dancing badly. “Were those the guys that you were talking to?” she asked Jen.

Jen nodded. “Yeah.”

“Go punch one of them in the face would you? I want to get a mosh pit started.”


I’m probably going to have to put in a little extra work tonight though, I want to hit 20,00 words Saturday, but I’ve still got the Akron Comicon that day too. Starting to get stoked about that too. Got my Shadow costume out and ready, and I pulled the comics I want signed by the seven guests I’m going to see. If you’re in the Cleveland area, come on out to the con and see me ! (I could really use someone to hold my backpack while I sort through bargain bins of comics)

Akron Comicon

Okay, I have NO idea what to make of this.

I just heard about these guys on Facebook and I’m interested in going. The thing is, I just drove out to Akron for a comic con that featured Gerry Conway a couple of months ago and well….we all remember what happened there….. ( )

These guys made it CLEAR they weren’t associated with those guys and really, I want those spidey comics signed. The wife and kids are going away for the weekend and I’m alone at home anyhow, so it’s providential timing . Gonna load up the iPod and hit the road again. We’ll tell you all about it next week (if I can tear myself away from Violent Blue and  my NaNoWrMo project long enough to blog….)

I’m a little upset with Whoopie

As the weekend began,I finished up this months Violent Blue and came home to find a big yellow envelope waiting for me. I immediately recognized the return address….something I don’t always do.

Back in November. I sent Whoopie Goldberg two pictures. One from Star Trek, and one from Burglar – my favorite of her films.
It took ten months for her to reply, and when she did, what I received was this:

A head shot. It’s autographed, and I’m reasonably certain it’s real. The signature matches (though slightly varied also good. That means it’s not an auto-pen), and I’ve seen this picture before, but with the autograph in different places on the pic and written in different colors. I tested the lower left edge of the underline to see if the ink was separate from the paper. You can see a little that I rubbed off.

But really? Almost a year and I don’t get my pictures back? That’s kind of weak. I suspect my letter and pictures got lost somewhere and they only now rediscovered my SASE during a recent work session.

It’s a little off-putting, but on the other hand, I really don’t have much to complain about. I DID get an autograph from it. That’s better than just getting a pre-print, or nothing at all (which I was suspecting. At this point I had given up on hearing from her). Remember my autograph tutorial – she doesn’t really owe me anything. Signed on my pics or not, sending that auto is still a favor she did me, and I’m grateful.
But I’m more grateful to Malcolm McDowell for sending me a headshot AND signing my items too. Mr. McDowell, you’re a better dude than Whoopie. That’s all I’m saying.

Thank you Malcolm McDowell!

I’ve heard Malcolm McDowell was really hit or miss when it comes to getting him through the mail. I wasn’t sure I was going to get him back, and kept putting off my letter for months.

I sent the obligatory Clockwork Orange photo, but I also sent out his villain from Star Trek Generations. I’m not sure how often he sees those.

Not only did he sign and return my pics, he also sent me a nice 8X10 glossy (which got a little bent around the edges in the mail, but nevertheless) ! It’s always a pleasant surprise to open up one of those SASEs and find more in it that you sent it away with…

HorrorHound Indy 2012


Spent a good deal of Saturday at HorrorHound in Indianapolis. You know, I’m not into big cons, even though I’m going to two this year. The thing is, they can bring in the guests.  HorrorHound was doing a Terminator/Aliens reunion. I’ve been wanting to meet Michael Biehn for ages and the chance to fill up a poster with autographs from the colonial marines was just too good to pass up. 

Man this joint was crowded. It felt like cattle being headed from one point to another. I really didn’t get to see much of the programing, but then again, it’s not Cinema Wasteland. Programing is secondary. They get points for having videos and movies, but lose a couple of points for not having much I was interested in.  I’m finally getting my Elm Street poster going now, and this was a perfect chance to get Heather Langenkamp and Amanda Wyss. I’ve gotten Heather through the mail before but since she was there I wanted to take the opportunity to get a photo and start consolidating my Nightmare autographs in one place. She’s got such striking features….you see the wrinkles, but there’s not mistaking her. Amanda was EXTREMELY friendly. She wanted to talk and was absolutely effervescent. She looked over my NOES poster and was noting who had signed before then stopped short.

“Who is that?” she asked.

“Johnny Depp,” I replied.

She freaked out. Her eyes got wide and she exclaimed how excited she was, because she’d never signed something that he gotten first. She asked how I got it and I mentioned getting it through his agent (I didn’t have the heart to tell her it was likely an autopen – but better than nothing). The poster goes in the mail to Robert Englund next (I already met him a few years ago at Flashback in Chicago. I’ve got my photo with him, so I’ve got no regrets getting him again by mail) and hopefully we’ll be getting John Saxon in July at Monster Bash.

All in all, not a bad Con. I spent most of the day getting my autographs, which was really all I was there for. The staff weren’t rude per se, but detached and remote. (Come on, make me believe you having a good time! Again, I just think I’ve been spoiled by Cinema Wasteland). Was great to connect with the Aliens crew, and the Elm Street Girls, not to mention the Horror Hosts like Halloween Jack, Sammy Terry and the girls from Midnight Mausoleum Robyn and Marlena!

Pictures below. Browse through these, then head over to see whats going on over at Violent Blue this week!

Autograph requests

When people come into my library or look through my autograph scrapbooks I frequently get asked “How did you meet THEM?”. To be fair, more than half of my autographs are acquired in person at Sci-Fi or Horror conventions like Cinema Wasteland and Monster Bash. However, there’s also a great many that I have gotten through the mail. I tend to target people that I don’t think I’m going to get a chance to ever meet in real life, especially older folks who don’t like to travel any more like Angus Scrimm and John Zacherly.

A couple of years ago I helped a friend send out his first autograph request and it occurs to me that it might be nice to show you a little about how I do it.

1. I write formal letters. No first names to the recipient, ever. It’s always Mr. or Ms. It may be old fashioned, but it shows respect.

2. A little flattery. You don’t have to mean it. They can’t see your eyes to tell if your lying.

3.Talk about specifics. Don’t just repeat the list of movies they’ve been in off of IMDB.  Don’t even list all the movies they’ve done. Just talk about the ones you liked. What moved you about them and why you like them in the film. If you can’t think of anything, then perhaps you shouldn’t be asking for their autograph.

4.Include an item to be autographed. Don’t assume they have headshots laying around. Print out a picture. It’ll cost you about $4 at Target to use the automated machine. Some folks are nice and will return your autograph and  include a picture or a headshot of their own along with it. Jerry Lewis actually swapped the picture I sent with a better, glossy copy of the same image. That was especially cool since that’s not the one he normally sends out. 

While we’re on the subject, don’t be greedy. Send one picture. Maybe two. I never send more than that. I don’t resell the stuff, and the main reason I might send more than one pic is because I’m planning on getting a second autograph on that same picture and I want an extra in case it gets lost in the mail or never returned (That’s the reason I still have one Dick Van Dyke auto, even though Julie Andrews never returned the Mary Poppins pic signed by Dick that I sent her).

5. Send return postage or a SASE. Bottom line is to make this as easy as possible for the recipient. We just want them to open the envelope, sign the picture, slip it in another envelope and put it in the mailbox. Five minuets or less. If they have to put postage on it, or find an envelope, or dig out a headshot or get a headshot from thier agent, these things take time and money. Let’s not make this any more difficult than it has to be.

6.If you get a reply, send a thank-you note. I buy postcards (usually with a Cleveland theme – it helps them remember who they signed what for) and hand write thank-yous to a lot of the people  I get autographs from. I don’t bother when it’s an agent’s address or a set because it may never arrive, but when it’s a home or PO box it’s good form to say thanks and it takes less time than you spent sending the original request.  

7. Finally, don’t presume too much. Even though you’ve seen these people again and again on TV or at the movies, remember, you’re writing a letter to a stranger.  Don’t act like you know them, or assume that them sending you an autograph makes you buddies. They are doing you a favor, not starting a relationship. You won’ t be exchanging Christmas cards in December or attending their summer barbecue. Sending repeated letters is bad form and makes the rest of us look like creepy stalkers.

And again, yes, they are doing you a favor. They don’t owe you an autograph, though it shows that they do appreciate their fans. They are people  too and everyone is different. I wasn’t upset that Tom Savini was distant when I met him a few years ago. I’m not an especially friendly person myself and we were both strangers to each other. He was still polite and signed a poster and took a photo with me. I’m totally cool with that. Sometimes you will meet someone who is especially friendly, like when I wrote my friends favorite author and asked her to send him an autograph (I enclosed a picture and a stamped envelope addressed to him).  She not only sent him the autograph but also a long letter (written mostly on the back of the picture) and then also sent ME a letter. Those are great experiences and really they are the reason we do this kind of thing. But not every one will be like that. To quote Clint Eastwood “Deserve’s got nothing to do with it”.

These are by no means a definitive set of rules, but they’ve worked well for me over the years. It’s a rush when you send that envelope out and an even bigger thrill to get one back. For some reason, having an actor or director’s autograph just makes their films more fun to watch. For a moment, instead of the movie being simply a one way communication, it opens up into interactivity.  You get to talk back to the people involved in it and for that moment they know you exist too.

Good luck. I’m going to go out and check my mail before I get back to Violent Blue.