Saturday, May 30, 2009

In the Thick of It All

Outside there is medieval jousting. In the next room there is a Magic tournament. In the hall, folks are selling everything from rainbow t-shirts to plain hot dogs.

In the convention room, it is wall-to-wall people. Our friend Randy is sketching (see picture). Jason is on Jim's left sketching as well. There are costumes and there are t-shirts. Either way, it is quite the scene.

Fans in Spokane are out in full force. It is a small convention at it's finest. My biggest complaint is that there isn't any room behind the table for me to sit. I am an outcast, which is an odd feeling.

Oh well... I'll get over it.

What a fascinating mix of activities!

-- Post From My iPhone


Why at a comic book show are used DVD's the hot ticket item??

The horror!

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Spokane Comicon Today

If you are in the Spokane area today, head over to the Spokane Falls Community College Student Union. Spokane Comicon is today and Jim is there with a booth. We would love to see you!

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

What Comics Taught Me

Ever been hanging out, talking with folks about random subjects and have the subject of comic book geekery come up? Since I have been so blatantly a fan for so long, it is usually inevitable. Much like a creature nearing extinction, I am an object of fascination and horror for the uninitiated.

That being said, in a recent conversation, I was pointing out how reading comic books influenced my life, and my friends just couldn't believe it. I figured that maybe if I shared it here, you could share your thoughts as well.

Without further ado, here is how comic book shaped my life.

1. I learned to read with comic books. At the age of 4, my uncle brought a couple of comic books over while baby sitting. In a short period of time, I was avidly reading them. In his disbelief, he had me read out loud some of the balloons on the page. I didn't get all the words, but he marveled at how it seemed to help me. Using the words and pictures in sync with each other, I was able to piece together what was occurring and use the basic "sounding out" principles. Needless to say, when I was in kindergarten, I brought books to school and read them in front of the class.

2. My vocabulary went from 50 cent words to $10 ones. I learned new words, and usually was fascinated enough to go look the ones I didn't understand up in the dictionary. My grasp of the English language was so always superior to those of my classmates, and it was due to the fact that I read comic books that used descriptive, multi-syllable words for exposition.

3. I enjoyed creative writing. Reading comic books opened up my imagination to possibilities that were previously unimagined. After reading a Wonder Woman comic book, creative writing seemed fun instead of scary. I have always been a strangely pragmatic daydreamer and comics served me well in this aspect.

4. I always believe in fairplay. Reading comic books made me realize that we need to treat our fellow man fairly. Even though we may not have super powers, we can use the gifts we have to help others and treat them with a basic kindness. When Superman showed mercy, and stopped to do a bit extra to make sure that everyone was treated equally, I was touched. As I have gone through horrible adversity in my life, I have always been able to rise above the pettiness that is so rampant these days. I put part of that on having great parents and part of it on my comic book adventures.

5. It is better to be the good guy. Let's face it- the villains just didn't get it and they always lost. The heroes in the comic books were able to use positivity and tenacity to win the day. They may have had incredible abilities, but they used them for good.

6. Heroes get the better clothes.. mostly. How many of you dressed as super heroes while growing up? I dressed up in a more modest version of Wonder Woman when I was young. After seeing some of the heinous villain outfits, it was a no-brainer to want to be a good guy. Punch and Judy, Clockwork King, Harlequin (old school), Wizard, and the list goes on..

7. Having moral fiber may be tougher, but it is worth it. Sometimes making the hard choice to be good seems hopeless, but the super heroes did it time after time. It always seemed worth it when Black Canary had to suffer for her values, but ended up punching the bad guy with her canary cry.

8. Teamwork wins the day. I LOVED reading Justice League of America and I think it taught me a thing or too about teamwork. When the heroes went off on their own, they would lose, but together, they could defeat the scariest villains ever. Using each person's strengths and checking their egos at the door made the difference.

I know that I have learned much more then this, but these are the things that I try and describe to friends. What about you?

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Missing Wieringo: Fantastic Four Run is a Masterpiece

Last week at FCBD, I was lucky enough to pick up the three hardcover trades of the Mark Waid-Mike Wieringo-Karl Kesel+guests run on Fanastic Four. It took me a week, since my schedule is so hectic, but I re-read those three trades and felt something I hadn't felt in awhile reading a book- joy.

Mike Wieringo was born to draw the Fantastic Four. His early death a couple of years ago is one of the industry's greatest losses. I would go so far as to boldly say that his version of the Thing is the best since Kirby. Many artists have aped Wieringo's take on Ben Grimm, and that is a tribute in itself.

Waid's collaboration with Wieringo was one of the best in recent memory. There was an easy flow to the tales being told, and it all looked so flawless. Waid and Wieringo made it look effortless. From the first issue #60 that was sold for 9 cents to comic fans everywhere, to the last issue #524 (damn Marvel and their wacky renumbering), it felt like the Fantastic Four were relevant again.

I can't say enough about the addition of Karl Kesel to this magic machine. His inks compliment Wieringo's work beautifully, and his love of the FF is felt everywhere in the pages. Look far and wide, and it is difficult to find a bigger fan of Sue, Ben, Johnny, and Reed than Kesel. His spiritual and literal touch to the pages was the icing on the cake here. One of my favorite issues of the FF is in fact the annual that Kesel wrote and Stuart Immonen penciled. In it, Franklin and Ben explore what makes a family. It is delightful tale that adds to the beauty of the run.

Waid explored the ugly side of human nature along with the beauty of being a family. I remember him being reticent to tell FF stories until he was gifted with Wieringo and Kesel. With their presence, the book could work. That was a wise decision on Waid's part, as the stories had that extra something special.

Even if you aren't a Fantastic Four fan, this is a run worth reading. There is so much more than a tale being told. The books explore hardship, triumph, loyalty, spirit, magic, love, and family. It just doesn't get better than this.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Free Comic Book Day- Report

It is FCBD 2009 and we decided to make a day of it. After going to see X-Men Origins: Wolverine last night and receiving a free comic on the way out, my curiosity was piqued.

We started the day in Yakima, heading to Ron's Coin and Collectibles. The owner Joe was there as was our good friend Corey. The great news is that there were a lot of kids there and the parents seemed supportive. It warmed my heart.

Next stop was Ellensburg, which is about a half hour drive. We wandered into Central City Comics and it was packed! Our friend Jason Metcalf was there sketching and signing as you can see in the picture. He brought all his prints, which are just gorgeous!

So here I am. It is time to shop and catch up. I hope you are having a nice FCBD!

-- Post From My iPhone

Free Comic Book Day in Ellensburg

Evidently we are world travelers.

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Free Comic Book Day 2009

It's here!

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