Archive for the ‘comics’ Tag

Amazing Arizona ComiCon Hall Costumes and the unimpressive Trollgod   3 comments

On Saturday, January 25, I grabbed my little camera, and took myself to the Phoenix Convention Center to take pictures of hall costumes. Arizona fans have really been getting into cosplay the last few years, and the costumes keep getting better and better. I like cosplay, and cosplayers–they are so friendly, and some of them are really creative. They enjoy showing off their costumes and are usually very happy to be photographed.  So, since I was born to have adventure, I went off to see what I could see.

The trouble with giant conventions downtown is parking.  It is very expensive to park downtown. Event parking was $20 for the Con, and I didn’t want to spend that much money. The solution–park for free at ChrisTown and ride the light rail into the heart of the city. An allday pass is just $4. This is the first time I’ve bought a light rail pass since the line started, and I didn’t know how to do it–but a passerby helped me get through it. So, I bought my ticket, got my receipt, and didn’t know enough to pick  up the actual plastic boarding pass. The transit police explained it all to me as I was riding downtown. Luckily, they did not arrest me. At least I had my receipt. The other thing that went wrong at the beginning was that when I tried to take a picture of the train at the beginning of the trip, the camera shut iself down–battery power too low.  So, the whole photo expedition was not going to work because of lack of power. Luckily, I figured that out before I got downtown and tried to take pix with a camera that wouldn’t work. (It is truly better to be lucky than good.) I jumped back off the train, quick walked 2 blocks to the nearest Walgreen’s drug store, and bought myself a package of AA batteries–an unanticipated expense, but at least I have a supply of new batteries that that should last a couple of months.  The rest of the trip was uneventful.  I came out with some 87 usable  pictures from my trip, and they’re all available on my Facebook page, but here I’m only going to share 42 of the best (in my estimation) shots.  87 might be a bit much . . . 🙂 Oh, this is funny, the pix filled up  all the  space available to me in this blog, and so I was only able to caption 2 of them. You’ll have to figure out all the rest. Bwa  ha ha ha ha!

The first costume I saw on arrival. This  young lady is Big Barda, a new god from D.C. Comics.

The first costume I saw on arrival. This young lady is Big Barda, a new god from D.C. Comics.

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Three warrior maidens from Asgard posed with me, the totally out of place Trollgod. From left to right, the Enchantress, Thor’s Lady Sif, and a valkyrie. The goon in black is me, Ken St. Andre, Trollgod.

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The Flash squares off against Deadpool.

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Wonder Woman bounced some invisible bullets for me.

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Captain Hook went outside to get a break.

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along with his scurvy crew.

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This Predator told me he was cooking slowly inside his amazing outfit. He looked really uncomfortable, but graciously gave me the shot.

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The giant robot handed out Con literature and provided lots of photo ops.

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Robin, red Robin!

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I believe this woman is Ghost.

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This might be Harley Quinn, the colors are right, or just a vampire lady, but a beauty in either case.

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A character from the end of the Bleach manga. He told me his name, but I forgot it. Maybe one of  you viewers can explain  him.

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I don’t know who this is supposed to be, but it’s professional grade body armor if I ever saw any.

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This girl was so colorful and bright that I had to take her picture, nor could I exclude her mystical black-garbed friend.

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Green Arrow, Oliver Queen, looked like he was ready to rock and roll.

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Animated from anime!

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Batgirl has gone public. No mask for this crimefighter.

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I don’t think Ms. Marvel believed me when I told her I was in love, but she gave me a 20 megawatt smile.

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Roller Derby Harley Quinn ditched her Puddin to be with Captain America. In fact, Harley was all over the place and seemed to be hanging with everyone but Mr. J.

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She’s just another pretty face, but sweet and so close.

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I think it’s some kind of superhero lineup.

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Looks like Tinkerbelle has finally gotten Peter to notice her.

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Princess Aurora was the soul of curtsy (pun intended)

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Alien Smurfette or just a very brainy blue girl???

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Rocket Raccoon was gratiied that I recognized her.

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I talked to this guy a bit. He said he’s just an ordinary dude, but is his own character. He tricks out ordinary ties with all kinds of punk and kitsch ornamentations.

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Wyatt Earp looked a little out of place in this crowd, but I think he qualifies as a 19th century superhero.

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Most awesome shoes ever for a male character.

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Who wants a Kiss?  Not me!!!

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The Adam West Batman showed up  Great costume, but remarkably restrained by today’s standards of cool and awesome. Look! He actually has a batarang.

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Jean Grey and Bucky Barnes seem like an unlikely pair.

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Marvin the Martian promised not to deliver any earth-shattering kabooms while the Con was in session.

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Batgirl as friendly supermodel. It works for me.

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Jay Garrick, the original Flash was still prepared to run circles around his later imitators.

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I did not recognize the outfit, so I asked her about it. She said she was the girl from Sucker Punch, the movie, which I have not seen. I asked for her picture, and wound up getting one taken with her by her companion. It’s the Hat–it gets me the pretty girls all the time.

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Future Foundation Spider-Man looks absolutely terrified for some reason.

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Harley and Ivy.

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To infinity and beyond?

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This is not Lady Blackhawk gone bad, but someone from Japanese anime. You can tell by the hair color. She liked the idea, though.

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On my way out, I saw this graceful ninja flowing through a sword dance.  The whole dance will probably be available on the ComicCon Facebook page.

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Pirate Harley Quinn. This mixed-up villain has more looks than the Man with 1000 faces.

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Amazingly enough, I was there for almost 2 hours and didn’t see a single person I knew, but what a lot of extremely cool people I did see.  The Trollgod tips his beat-up old begoggled hat to all of them as well as to all the great costumes that you can see on Facebook, because I didn’t want this blog to be too long. It is too long, I know, but it could easily have been twice as long.

If you’ve ever seen cool hall costumes at a convention, why not leave a comment.  If  you recognize yourself in here, why not sign-in and tell the world what you were doing at the Amazing Arizona ComiCon.

–end

Taiyo Con   3 comments

Ken St. Andre, steampunk tai chi master, passes through the Gates of Steel to enter the World of the Weird.

Ken St. Andre, steampunk tai chi master, passes through the Gates of Steel to enter the World of the Weird.

I love hall costumes. Not enough to really get into that scene myself, although I would be totally willing to wear great costumes that others made for me, but enough to appreciate and enjoy it when the costumed folk surround me. Last week there was an anime con in Mesa, Arizona. I thought about attending but decided to only go on Sunday, and to only go to see the cosplay. I am not much of a fanboy for any particular anime, but at least the costume I wore made me part of the cosplay crowd, and made it really easy to talk to them. I took my camera along and this is what I found.

Pikachu and Ash were there.

Pikachu and Ash were there.

Far future assassin. Awesome weapons and armor. Glad I was not his target.

Far future assassin. Awesome weapons and armor. Glad I was not his target.

Avoiding the old joke about horny ladies, I will say these pretty devil girls seemed very happy not to be in Hell.

Avoiding the old joke about horny ladies, I will say these pretty devil girls seemed very happy not to be in Hell.

A cat may look at a queen, and I looked at this one. I believe Wonderland is getting more psychedelic than Carroll's Wildest Imagination.

A cat may look at a queen, and I looked at this one. I believe Wonderland is getting more psychedelic than Carroll’s Wildest Imagination.

And speaking of queens, here's Marceline, the Vampire Queen from Adventure Time.

And speaking of queens, here’s Marceline, the Vampire Queen from Adventure Time.

I really like the vampiriness of her costume, so I got this closeup to show her teeth. She doesn't have to drink blood--she just eats the color red. Getting her teeth whitened wouldn't hurt, though.

I really like the vampiriness of her costume, so I got this closeup to show her teeth. She doesn’t have to drink blood–she just eats the color red. Getting her teeth whitened wouldn’t hurt, though.

Kill La Kill--a high school frull of killer girls. Our heroine is Ryuko Matoi who wields one half of a giant pair of scissors.

Kill La Kill–a high school frull of killer girls. Our heroine is Ryuko Matoi who wields one half of a giant pair of scissors.

Although cosplayers live to be photographed and complimented, any of them have no idea how to pose. This is the Before I got them to actually do some cosplay.

Although cosplayers live to be photographed and complimented, many of them have no idea how to pose. This is the Before I got them to actually do some cosplay.

and this is after. Don't you agree that they look much better while threatening me with unspeakable evils?

and this is after. All I had to do was suggest they come back to my place with me, and they got much more animated. Don’t you agree that they look much better while threatening me with unspeakable evils?  (Just kidding. What would I do with two beautiful and dangerous young females? The world will never know. grin.)

Sometimes you just want to chill with your friends. Hanging out at Taiyo Con.

Sometimes you just want to chill with your friends. Hanging out at Taiyo Con.

Are these girls wearing the scariest pajamas ever? The humanoid figure you see on their clothing is a titan from Attack on Titan.

Are these girls wearing the scariest pajamas ever? The humanoid figure you see on their clothing is a titan from Attack on Titan.

From the huge to the tiny. When I left the Titanic twins behind, I met this radiantly beautiful fairy.

From the huge to the tiny. When I left the Titanic twins behind, I met this radiantly beautiful fairy.

I asked about the mask. She just likes to wear it. I tried the line from the Princess Bride on her where the Dread Pirate Roberts defends his mask by saying he thinks it is very fashionable, but it went right by her.

I asked about the mask. She just likes to wear it. I tried the line from the Princess Bride on her where the Dread Pirate Roberts defends his mask by saying he thinks it is very fashionable, but it went right by her.

The girl in pink was standing with the girl in black when I took her picture, and wanted to be photographed too. I mentioned (lol) how dangerous they looked, and whispered to Pinky that she was the one who really terrified me. That really made her smile and she said she liked me.

The girl in pink was standing with the girl in black when I took her picture, and wanted to be photographed too. I mentioned (lol) how dangerous they looked, and whispered to Pinky that she was the one who really terrified me. That really made her smile and she said she liked me.

Not all of the dangerous characters and great costumes were worn by women. This guy with his twin swords was posing almost nonstop, often with ladies who liked his killer looks.

Not all of the dangerous characters and great costumes were worn by women. This guy with his twin swords was posing almost nonstop, often with ladies who liked his killer looks.

Deadpool was there. He seemed to be mostly a beast of burden for the girl he was with, but he had the better outfit.  Heh, it would have been great to get him into a faceoff with that furure assassin character or maybe the ninja up above.

Deadpool was there. He seemed to be mostly a beast of burden for the girl he was with, but he had the better outfit. Heh, it would have been great to get him into a faceoff with that furure assassin character or maybe the ninja up above.

Here's another guy with a suit of armor I'd really love to own. Maybe he's supposed to be Riddick, or maybe he just likes the bald look. I kind of like it myself.

Here’s another guy with a suit of armor I’d really love to own. Maybe he’s supposed to be Riddick, or maybe he just likes the bald look. I kind of like it myself.

A lot of the costumes were amazing with great props like the swords, guns, guitars, horns, and such, but I talked to this guy in the LAPD armor from the computer game Fallout with the Pip-Boy. The Pip-Boy 3000 appears in Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas. It's an electronic Personal Information Processor (PIP) manufactured by RobCo Industries in the mid-21st century, and acts as the player's HUD in the game. (info courtesy of the Fallout wiki)

A lot of the costumes were amazing with great props like the swords, guns, guitars, horns, and such, but I talked to this guy in the LAPD armor from the computer game Fallout with the Pip-Boy. The Pip-Boy 3000 appears in Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas. It’s an electronic Personal Information Processor (PIP) manufactured by RobCo Industries in the mid-21st century, and acts as the player’s HUD in the game. (info courtesy of the Fallout wiki)

The Lady in Red was a vendor selling elf hats from the Legend of Zelda. I came within an inch of buying one, even though I can't think of any reason for ever wearing it.  Simple but cool.

The Lady in Red was a vendor selling elf hats from the Legend of Zelda. I came within an inch of buying one, even though I can’t think of any reason for ever wearing it. Simple but cool.

The newly-dead don't all lie down and molder. This one was ready to defend herself and had the cutest freckles and engaging smile when caught off-guard.

The newly-dead don’t all lie down and molder. This one was ready to defend herself and had the cutest freckles and engaging smile when caught off-guard.

Short, blonde, female Naruto, but dangerous all the same. I truly love the dangerous ones.

Short, blonde, female Naruto, but dangerous all the same. I truly love the dangerous ones. I showed her this tai chi guard and push posture to get her into action instead of just portrait mode.  Knowing some tai chi has its benefits.

Is that an owlbear I see lurking in the background?

Is that an owlbear I see lurking in the background?

Very handsome wolfman--I didn't ask him to pose, just caught him going about his business.

Very handsome wolfman–I didn’t ask him to pose, just caught him going about his business.

Rushing into the Dealers Room, she stopped to let me take a photo, but she forget to smile. This is what happens to beautiful young anime characters once they get middle-aged and world-weary.

Rushing into the Dealers Room, she stopped to let me take a photo, but she forget to smile. This is what happens to beautiful young anime characters once they get middle-aged and world-weary.

Volunteers make any convention run. These kids were in costume and doing their duty, even tho the need for volunteers was mostly gone by Sunday afternoon. I salute Con volunteers everywhere and thank you for  your time and effort.

Volunteers make any convention run. These kids were in costume and doing their duty, even tho the need for volunteers was mostly gone by Sunday afternoon. I salute Con volunteers everywhere and thank you for your time and effort.

Colorful. Great hair.

Colorful. Great hair. Has a boyfriend.

Storm of the X-Men was blowing in as I was blowing out.

Storm of the X-Men was blowing in as I was blowing out.

Maybe she's hear to apprehend Deadpool. She certainly looks ready for action.

Maybe she’s here.  to apprehend Deadpool. She certainly looks ready for action.

And that’s all, folks.  I am sure I missed some great costumes, and didn’t go to any panels or see any of the anime stars on hand, but I had a fun hour taking pix and talking to the people in the lobby.  I don’t know if Con promoters and producers would want me to say this or not, but people, hotel lobbies are free. If you can’t afford to pay the high prices of attending today’s many sci-fi, fantasy, media, anime, comics cons, you can still go and hang out in the lobby where you may get a chance to talk to the participants, see great costumes, take some photos, and otherwise enjoy yourself. It is a lot better than staying home and playing computer games all afternoon–though there is nothing wrong with playing computer games, and I play a lot.

Next weekend I will be a gaming guest at DarkCon 2014, and I think I’ll wear my steampunk tai-chi master costume again–at least for one day. I will be doing a panel on Saturday morning with three other more notable game designers than myself (Tom Dowd, John Wick, Todd VanHooser), and I should be running some Tunnels and Trolls for anyone who would really like to play. Bring your characters and your dice and come game with me!  You can learn all about DarkCon here: https://www.facebook.com/events/162229360629080/.  I will be taking pix, and should have another Con report here in a week or ten days.

If you ever indulge in cosplay, or take pix of those who do, why not leave a comment? If you were at Taiyo Con,  you should certainly leave a comment and tell what was best about the Con for you.

–end

The Golden Age of Creativity   2 comments

I spent this morning having breakfast with my artist friend Steven S. Crompton. As part of our conversation, Steve presented me with this:

Grimtooth the Troll is having stern words with Alice Liddel while Demin the Domness flies by.

Grimtooth the Troll is having stern words with Alice Liddel while Demin the Domness flies by.

Among other things Steve is the prolific artist/writer of Demi the Demoness and the creator of Grimtooth the troll, who is a sort of mascot for Flying Buffalo and my Tunnels and Trolls game.  Recently he found some art of his that had never been published, or wasn’t seen much, and decided to bring it out as a book using drivethrurpg.com as his publisher.  He finished the unfinished parts. edited, and published it.  In the past there was not sufficient justification for releasing this material, but now that print-on-demand is here, and anyone can self publish through sites like drivethru, Steve can offer his material to the world at last.  If only ten people see it and buy it, that’s  still 10 more than would have seen it before.

I have to say I was so pleased and honored to be given a copy that I bought him breakfast, so in a way, I bought his comic after all.  Looking inside, I see that this is number 3 of 100 that he had printed, and that I have his autograph.

I usually get a slightly fancier autograph than this.

I usually get a slightly fancier autograph than this.

Once upon a time we would try for an author’s autograph as a way of proving that we met the person, or of adding value to our purchase.  It’s a form of Magick.  The Law of Contagion states that things that were once connected are always connected, so if you have something that is signed by the creator, then you have a personal connection to that creator.

However, I have come to believe that autographs serve a different purpose now.  In this age of personal publishing, when most of us creators are very small fish in a big ocean of creativity, asking for and obtaining an autograph is a way for we consumers to acknowledge and thank the signer for the work they did in creating this work of art.  It’s a way for us to personally recognize and tell the creator that we are glad to have met him/her and we really appreciate the effort they made to create the book/art/object, and that it will be one of our treasures.

Having a Ken St. Andre, or a Steven S . Crompton, or a Roger Zelazny, or a Michael A. Stackpole autograph isn’t going to make this book/object particularly valuable.  The whole idea that putting someone’s name on something increases the value is kind of stupid, really.  We’re all of us human beings, and we all have equal value in the eyes of God and the Law.  But, the autograph is another kind of memorial–it is a record of personal contact between signer and receiver–a moment of good feeling between the two people–one that should make both of them feel better.

So, I have made efforts for years to get things signed when i buy them.  I would keep the autographed stuff to the very end, because those books, pictures, comics, games, and so forth mark some of the high points in my life–a time when I was able to connect with a creator and tell her/him that I think they’re special.

This blog is dedicated to my very good friend, Steven S . Crompton.  I appreciate what he has given me and the world, and I want to testify that he’s a special guy.

_________________________________

If you’ve ever collected autographs, or have any kind of special feeling about them, why not leave a comment?

–Ken

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Free Comic Book Day 2013: Phoenix, Arizona   3 comments

Inside All About Books and Comics was a busy place.

Inside All About Books and Comics was a busy place.

Free Comic Book Day is the first Saturday in May.  It has become a major Geek/Nerd holiday in America.  We put on our super suits, or our make-up if that’s the way you play, and get out to our favorite comic store, and get something for free, or we entertain, say hi to our friends, party, or . . .

The idea is to share the joy of comics with the mundane world, but that’s just a rationalization.  True mundanes are never going to be comic fans or anime fans or any kind of pop culture fans at all.  True mundanes are hung up on politics, sports, business and money–the ordinary American dream.

The good news is that there are more of us geeks and nerds all the time, and less of those true mundanes I’m talking about.  So, it won’t be much of a surprise to you that what I saw on FCBD was crowds, Crowds, and more CROWDS.  Well, actually, there were less crowds at the third place I went to, and that was good, because I was actually able to get a couple of free comic books there without standing in a helluva line.  And I hate standing in lines.

Alan Giroux, co-owner and founder of All About Books and Comics, started the first pure comic book shop in Phoenix back in the 70s,  I was there at the beginning, though I didn't take any pictures back then.  I'm proud to say Alan is a friend of mine.

Alan Giroux, co-owner and founder of All About Books and Comics, started the first pure comic book shop in Phoenix back in the 70s, I was there at the beginning, though I didn’t take any pictures back then. I’m proud to say Alan is a friend of mine.

I told Alan I wanted a shirt like his, but he just laughed it off.  Well, that will be a minor quest for me.  To get that shirt . . .

Dimly visible beyond all the shoulders is the rack where AABC put out the free comics this year.  I couldn't spend any time up close to it this year--the crowd was too thick.

Dimly visible beyond all the shoulders is the rack where AABC put out the free comics this year. I couldn’t spend any time up close to it this year–the crowd was too thick.

One thing you will see in these pictures.  Comics aren’t for kids any more–not really.  All of us kids grew up, kept our love for comics, but wanted more adult stories, and that’s what the comics world has become.  Picture books for grown-ups, who haven’t really grown all the way up and out of such things.  And why should we?

Smile, Eddie!  There is a cash register at both ends of the store. This one is run by Eddie Armendariz, who as assistant manager has the job I always wanted, but never got.

Smile, Eddie! There is a cash register at both ends of the store. This one is run by Eddie Armendariz, who as assistant manager has the job I always wanted, but never got.

That wall of stuff in the background is all graphic novels and comics-related STUFF.  There is so much comics-related STUFF to be had these days, and it’s all damn cool.  So much good stuff, so little money, and worse, no place to put it all in a house that has a lifetime accumulation of great STUFF.

This is the front of the store.  It should have been the first picture I put up, but I do everything bass-ackwards, it seems, so I came in the back and went out the front, and went around the store to get back to my car and on to my next stop.

This is the front of the store. It should have been the first picture I put up, but I do everything bass-ackwards, it seems, so I came in the back and went out the front, and went around the store to get back to my car and on to my next stop.

After half an hour at All About I left and went a mile east to Alan’s main competition in town.  Samurai Comics is run by Mike and Moriya Banks.

Is this a great sign, or what?  If you look carefully, you might see some super-types lurking on the sidewalkl.

Is this a great sign, or what? If you look carefully, you might see some super-types lurking on the sidewalkl.

It’s a truck full of food–there was one at All About also.  It’s an all day party, and people get hungry.  Great idea, actually.

Samurai has more room on the inside than All About.  Not more comics--just more open space.  That makes it a good place for gaming, with collectible cards being a large part of the business, and also a great place for artists to come and show their work.  For people just getting into the comics scene this is a great place to come and meet creators--some who have already made names for themselves, and others who are still on the rise.

Samurai has more room on the inside than All About. Not more comics–just more open space. That makes it a good place for gaming, with collectible cards being a large part of the business, and also a great place for artists to come and show their work. For people just getting into the comics scene this is a great place to come and meet creators–some who have already made names for themselves, and others who are still on the rise.

The free comics here were piled on tables inside a side room usually reserved for gaming.  The line to get at them was so long and so thick that I had a hard time getting this picture.  Not being willing to stand in line for an hour, I didn't even get to see what they were offering.

The free comics here were piled on tables inside a side room usually reserved for gaming. The line to get at them was so long and so thick that I had a hard time getting this picture. Not being willing to stand in line for an hour, I didn’t even get to see what they were offering.

Remember what I was saying about crowds, crowds and more crowds.  The people inside the Samurai store were so thickly packed that it reminded me of the San Diego ComiCon–a vast sea of people milling about in teeny little shuffle steps, because that’s the only way you can move at all.  Phoenix ComiCon may be like that at the end of this month, but it won’t be so bad for me.  I’ll hang mostly in the gaming area in a different hotel where it will merely be busy–not sardine-like.

The middle of the line waiting to get at the free books. It continues to the left, around the corner, and out the front door.  Considering that everybody is likely to buy stuff as well as get a few free comics, this is, I would guess, the biggest sale day of the year for the local comics shops.

The middle of the line waiting to get at the free books. It continues to the left, around the corner, and out the front door. Considering that everybody is likely to buy stuff as well as get a few free comics, this is, I would guess, the biggest sale day of the year for the local comics shops.

Spider-Man is just a mannequin.

Behind the cash register view of life in a comic book store.

Behind the cash register view of life in a comic book store.

They had all the staff there, and some I don’t even know, and I know everybody at this store.  The girl in black is Yvette–she’s an artist when she’s not selling comics, and  (I wish) she’s my sweetie.  I saw Chris and Ray and Shannon and Moriya, and I don’t even know the girl in the super suit.  It’s kind of cool that there are kids here, but you see what they’re looking at?  Cards, not comics. Heh!  Diversify if you want to survive.

Goodbye for now, Samurai.  I’ll return when I can take two steps without having to beg pardon to get around someone.

The sign says Collector's Marketplace, but it's really a branch office of Pop Culture Classics, whose main store is in Tempe and too far out of my way to visit.

The sign says Collector’s Marketplace, but it’s really a branch office of Pop Culture Classics, whose main store is in Tempe and too far out of my way to visit.

Pop Culture Classics is like the Warehouse 13 of KEWL.  Comics is only a sideline here, and you have to be willing to pay collector prices to get them, but there sure is a lot of primo collectibles to be had.  Still, they were participating in FCBD, and they were in range, so this became my last stop for the day.

Great gobs of goodies in all directions.

Great gobs of goodies in all directions.

I didn’t know this store was here until today.  I must return when I have more time.  They buy things.  I wonder if I could unload some of the cool stuff I have that I don’t really have room for, or interest in anymore. After all, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.  Problem is, selling your stuff to stores like this, is like giving it away.  You never get as much as you paid for it, unless you’re unloading a gift, and then somebody else lost money.  Heh!

By comparison, PCC didn't have much to offer in the way of free comics.  Judging by the empty places on the table, much of the good stuff was gone before I got there.  But, at least, I was finally able to get something here.  My choice was the Tick--the quintessential Super Heroes are Dumb, but in a good way funny book.  A comic that is actually comical.

By comparison, PCC didn’t have much to offer in the way of free comics. Judging by the empty places on the table, much of the good stuff was gone before I got there. But, at least, I was finally able to get something here. My choice was the Tick–the quintessential Super Heroes are Dumb, but in a good way funny book. A comic that is actually comical.

I spent more time here than in either of my other two favorite places, and that’s because I could walk and breathe at the same time here.

Get-em, Spidey!

Get-em, Spidey!

I love wall paintings, and there are a lot of them in Phoenix, but most of them are outside the buildings, not inside. I’m impressed that they gave up all this potential display space to show Spidey flashing his buns at us.  You can’t see the Spider-Man wildly swinging from one precarious perch to the next without smiling–at least I can’t.

And on that note, I swung for home.  Wasn’t feeling all that good yesterday, but coughing my lungs out wasn’t going to make me miss FCBD.  In retrospect, I would say it wasn’t the greatest ever, but it must have been a good day for the shopkeepers, and a fine day for Gerds and Neeks everywhere.  Long may FCBD continue.  Hey, howza bout a Free Graphic Novels Day? Muwahahahaha!

If you got out for Free Comic Books Day and came home with loot, how about leaving a comment?  If you missed it, are you gonna try harder to be there for next year’s celebration?

The next big nerd holiday will be Free RPG Day on June 15, 2013.  I’ll be more of a participant in that as there will be a great giveaway for Tunnels and Trolls with new material from me inside it.  That’s also right in the middle of the Origins National Gaming Convention in Columbus, Ohio.  Guess where I’ll be?  Grin!  If you can make it, come game with me!

–end

Phoenix ComiCon Picnic   Leave a comment

In the middle of April, the volunteers who will staff and put on the Phoenix ComiCon convention coming at the end of May got together at South Mountain for a picnic.  It was a potluck affair.  About half the attendees each brought enough food to feed 10 people.  Talk about diversity and plenty!  What a feast!  I was there.  Here are some shots and brief comments that I took with my little camera.

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I don’t know who this guy is.  I took his pic because he was wearing the Phoenix ComiCon t-shirt from last year, and I figure it makes a cover shot.  In fact, I did not know about 95% of the people who showed up for this.  I was at the center of Phoenx fandom when it started back in the seventies.  I am so on the fringes now.

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The Convention organizers provided the basic food–hamburgers, hot dogs, and soft drinks.  They prepared enough for at least 200 people.  I don’t think that many came.  This guy is a great volunteer.  It was 90 degrees in the shade that afternoon, and this guy spent more than an hour cooking meat on this very hot grill.  I walked close to it, and it was 20 degrees hotter in its vicinity.  The hamburgers were a little overdone, but good tho.  I had one.

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They took a picture of all the volunteers standing in one huge group.  I took this picture of them taking their picture.  I’ll be in the second row of that picture holding my camera up above the throng if they ever publish it.

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The goofy looking guy in the Tunnels & Trolls t-shirt and the battered hat is me, Ken St. Andre, Atroll.  The beautiful woman next to me is my niece, Kerina St. Andre Fitzgerald.  She and her friend, Gary, crashed the party at my invitation.  It was a great party.  About half the people brought extra food–salads, desserts, drinks.  I ate way too much.  My stomach hurt, and there was tons of stuff I didn’t try.  I was good, though, and avoided desserts and sugary things.

Coming up for the last weekend of May 2013 will be Phoenix ComiCon.  I’ll be there running games on all four days, some Tunnels & Trolls, some Shadowfist, some Settlers of Catan St. Andre style.  Come game with me!

If you were at the picnic, or will be attending Phoenix ComiCon, why not leave a comment?

–end

Lord of the Jungle   4 comments

I’ve been a Tarzan fan since I saw my first Johnny Weismuller movie as a kid, and that was more than 55 years ago.  I’m not the greatest Tarzan fan.  I’m not a member of the Burroughs Bibliophiles or anything like that, but I have seen every movie I could, read all the books, collected the comics to some extent.  So I was pleased when Dynamite Entertainment–a comic book publishing company decided to redo the original Tarzan stories in comic book form.  They could do this because those books are in the public domain–Burroughs has been dead since 1950, and his copyright goes back to 1912.

And now the tale is being told once more, superbly illustrated by Roberto Castro, and scripted by Arvid Nelson.  Nelson must be quite a Burroughs fan, or else he has decided to hitch his star to the Burroughs legacy, because for a little more than a year now he has also been doing an adaptation of Burroughs John Carter of Mars series.

Dynamite does an interesting and good thing, in my humble opinion.  They bring out the first issue of new titles at a very affordable $1 price, and they do multiple covers, with the rarer ones commanding collectible prices like 7.99 and 9.99.  I kind of think the collectible covers are a bit of a rip, and I won’t pay $9.99 to have a negative version of a cover, but I guess some people will.

The four covers for Lord of the Jungle #1 in January 2012.

Here’s a bit of an oddity.  The comic could not be called Tarzan, so they used Lord of the Jungle instead.  Burroughs used that title for one of his novels, but I don’t think ERB Inc. trademarked that phrase the way they trademarked Tarzan of the Apes.  We might have a Tarzan comic in which the word Tarzan never appears.  I’ll be interested to see how that works out.

The four covers are by Alex Ross, Ryan Sook, Paul Renaud, and Lucio Parrillo.  Ross is the only one I’ve ever heard of before, but all four artists are masters of their art.  Arvid Nelson has done an excellent adaptation of Tarzan of the Apes, and I will be buying this book as long as it comes out.  I can only hope that it wanders off and breaks new ground with original stories the same way his Barsoomian books have.  They deserve a blog, too.

Dynamite Comics has somehow stumbled into a slightly different way of doing comics.  Instead of maintaining one consistent superhero universe in the style of D.C. and Marvel, they are simply doing popular characters of the past–legendary characters including the Lone Ranger, Zorro, the Green Hornet, Flash Gordon, Vampirella, Red Sonja, Sherlock Holmes and many, many more.  Their art is always clean and realistic–their women are indescribably beautiful–their male heroes are classically heroic.  Dynamite pushes the envelope of sexiness and great storytelling with almost every issue.  I didn’t realize how many titles they publish until I started to do a little research for this blog.  As a comics fan I’ve always loved the stuff from D.C. and Marvel and Dark Horse, but the company producing, imho, the very best adventures in comics today is Dynamite.  If you’re a comics reader, they have something for you also.

Comics fans and Tarzan fans are invited to make comments here.  Do you like the Dynamite books?  If so, which ones are your favorites?  And why?