Archive for Con Report

Scott Quick Draw Jack Carter

One of the things I love about going to comic book conventions is meeting new artists… or at least artists that are new to me.  When I was at MegaCon this year, I met Scott Quick.

Scott does the web strip Camden Bottoms.  I took a look at Scott’s sketchbook and decided to see if he’d be interested in doing a Stallone sketch.  He was.  I ended up getting two.  This is the second.  I’ll post the first next week.  In the mean time check out Scott’s Camden Bottoms!


Celebrity Encounters at MegaCon 2014

This Friday and Saturday I spent time at MegaCon with my buddy John Beatty.  While I was at the show hanging with Big John, my wife, Doralya was relaxing at the hotel.

On Friday afternoon Doralya sent me a text that Steven Yeun (who plays Glen on The Walking Dead) was staying in our hotel and she saw him getting into a limo.  I could tell from her text and the number of exclamation points that she was excited to see a celebrity up-close.

At dinner that night Doralya told me of an encounter that she had with Bryan Johnson, one of the stars of Comic Book Men.  Doralya was sitting outside reading when Bryan Johnson walked by.

They made eye-contact and Doralya said, “I know you! I watch you on tv every week!”  Bryan smiled and replied, “You do?”  He was probably surprised since my wife doesn’t look like someone who would watch Comic Book Men.

A few minutes later Bryan walked back through the area and made a point to say, “Good-bye” to Doralya.

I teased Doralya a bit that the only thing she could think to say was, “I know you” to a complete stranger.  We laughed and headed back to the hotel.

Doralya was standing in front of me as the elevator doors opened and I heard her say in a surprised voice, “Well, hello!”  I heard a voice say, “Hello.”  It was Ming Chen of Comic Book Men.  As he left the elevator we made eye contact…

… and the only thing I could think to say was, “Well, hello.”  Ming replied, “Hello” as he continued to wherever he was going.

As we got on the elevator I expected Doralya to return the teasing I gave her.  At least her comment to a celebrity was original.  All I could think to say was to repeat what Doralya had said.  She didn’t tease me though.  I guess she understood that I wasn’t as used to celebrity encounters as she was.

MegaCon or Bust!

This Friday and Saturday I’ll be in Orlando.  My buddy, John Beatty will be there Friday through Sunday. We’ll be hanging out with several thousand other like-minded folks.  Yep, it’s time for MegaCon

John is going as a guest  of the show.  That means while John is sketching for fans, I’ll either be hanging at his table keeping the fun at it’s maximum level or I’ll be visiting with other artists/friends looking to get a sketch or two for my Stallone Sketch theme collection.

If you’ve never been to MegaCon, you’re missing out.  There’s something for everyone.  There are celebrity guests, comic book creators, dozens of artists sketching for fans, panels, gaming, and more.

If you’re in driving distance of the show, come on down.  If not, there’s always next year.  Hope to see you there!

10 Years of The Walking Dead

The New York Comic Con had a panel to celebrate 10 Years of the Walking Dead.  Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard were there to answer questions and has the report!

Z’s Review: HeroesCon 2013

That’s the self-titled Corduroy Mafia at Heroes Con 2013.  From left to right we have Brian Jones, me, Gene GonzalesJohn Nacinovich and Royce Thrower. How we gave ourselves the name Corduroy Mafia is a tale for another time.  Instead I present my HeroesCon 2013 summary.

The Drive Up:

Doralya and I left Friday morning.  We planned to leave earlier, but a late start got us on the road at about 5am.  Traffic was terrible, two different wrecks slowed us down and it rained almost the entire way.  From now on, we plan to drive up the night before the con starts.

The hotel:

We usually stay at the Weston, but this year it was the Hampton Inn Charlotte – Uptown.  What a great hotel!  It’s super-clean with the friendliest staff I’ve ever seen.  Free shuttle service and free breakfast made the stay even better. I’d definitely stay here again!

Main Goal of the Show:

My main goal was to meet (for the first time) and get a sketch from Rick Burchett.  I’m happy to report that Rick is as nice as he is talented — yeah, he’s really that friendly!  I hoped to get Rick to draw Jack Carter (Stallone) with Chris Mills/Rick Burchett’s character, Grave Digger (Lee Marvin).  Rick said he could make that happen!

I then got Greg Rucka to autograph two of my Atticus Kodiac novels.  I’ve been a Rucka fan since before he started working in comics — and was pleased when he teamed with Rick Burchett on Lady Sabre.  Eric Newsome was at the table as well.  Eric assists with the Lady Sabre website and more.  Since I am a backer of their Lady Sabre kickstarter, I knew the password to get an advance look at a Lady Sabre script!  Eric also reminded me that he had done a Stallone sketch for the SZ!  It was great talking to Rick, Greg and Eric.

Books signed:

  • My original hardcover Berni Wrightson’s A Look Back
  • My first edition Chandler by Steranko
  • Two of my Greg Rucka Atticus Kodiac novels
  • Road Trip by Sean Murphy.  

All books autographed — mission accomplished.



  • Dave Wachter (mini-head sketches): Lords of Flatbush and Bullet to the Head
  • Drew Moss (busts): Get Carter and Rocky
  • Jerry Gaylord: Get Carter and Demolition Man
  • Mitch Gerads (head sketch): Expendables 2
  • Mike Torrance: several sketch cards
  • Gene Gonzales (head sketch): Get Carter
  • Manny Aguilera: Over the Top and Demolition Man (surprise gifts from LittleJohn312 & Patricia), Get Carter.
  • Rick Burchett is going to do my piece from home.


  • The Inkwell Awards (and keeping with tradition, LittleJohn312 and Patricia joined me).
  • Jim Steranko (again with LJ & P) – Steranko is a charmer and captivated the crowd with his great stories!
  • Crime PanelGreg Rucka (Whiteout), Jason Latour (Loose Ends), and Jason Aaron (Scalped) interrogated by Vito Delsante.  

It’s only been in the last several years that I’ve made a real effort to attend panels.  Without a doubt, they have made the con experience even more fun.

Drink and Draw:

Because of weather it was held in the lobby of the Hilton.  Jack the Radio provided live music — they’re good!  The place was packed, but the Hilton staff was very accommodating and brought out more seats. Patricia, Doralya and I enjoyed watching and messing with LittleJohn312 as he attempted to win some art — and he did!

HeroesCon Auction:

As always the auction was a fun night.  LittleJohn312 won a Wizard of Oz piece (as well as the companion piece that was in next day’s auction).  The move to have professional auctioneers is helpful, but Alison’s presence as the Mistress of Ceremonies was missed.


Some HeroesCon guests had Kickstarter projects that I had backed.  I made sure to swing by and congratulate each on their Kickstarter success:

  • Greg Rucka / Rick Burchett with Lady Sabre
  • Jeremy Haun with Bad Karma  (I missed seeing Alex Grecian, B. Clayton Moore & Seth Peck)
  • Eric Powell with The Goon movie


The biggest surprise is that we only ate at Fuel once.  It was good to keep that tradition alive, but not over do it.  The best meal we had was at Fujo Bistro — we will definitely hit that place again next year!  Bojangles and Einstein’s Bagels also got our business.  Sadly we did not make it to Mert’s.

The Drive Home:

We left about 5:30 and arrived home at about 12:30am.  Traffic and rain were both light and we were exhausted, but in a good way.

In closing:

HeroesCon this year was huge with twice the floor space as previous years.  The wider aisles made movement easier.  There were also additional sections this year with chairs and tables for con guests to sit, eat and visit.  The bigger painting area was also a plus.

I’ve had to rewrite this sentence several times, because I come off like a real fanboy trying to say how “cool” it was to meet Rick Burchett and Steranko.  Let’s just say it was great and leave it at that.

Seeing old friends and meeting new ones is always a fun part of the show.  I won’t try to list them all because invariably I would leave some out.

Thanks to Shelton and his crew for another great HeroesCon — see everyone next year!

HeroesCon, Here We Come!

In just a few hours, Doralya and I will be heading up to Charlotte for our annual pilgrimage to HeroesCon.  I can’t wait.  It’ll be nice to get away for a “long” weekend… especially since I’ll be spending it at Heroes.   There’s always plenty to do.  Look at the guest list and schedule of events and you can see I’m not kidding.

Hope to see you there, but if you can’t make the show, don’t worry, I’ll post a full report later in the week.

[And Chris, if you're reading this, remember: No parties!  Be sure to feed Bruiser!]


MegaCon or Bust!

This Friday, Saturday and Sunday, my buddy, John Beatty and I are going to be in Orlando hanging out with several thousand other like-minded folks.  Yep, it’s time for MegaCon

John is going as a guest  of the show.  That means while John is sketching for fans, I’ll either be hanging at his table keeping the fun at it’s maximum level or I’ll be visiting with other artists/friends looking to get a sketch or two for my Stallone Sketch theme collection.

If you’ve never been to MegaCon, you’re missing out.  There’s something for everyone.  There are celebrity guests, comic book creators, dozens of artists sketching for fans, panels, gaming, and more.

If you’re in driving distance of the show, come on down.  If not, there’s always next year.  Hope to see you there!

Daytona Beach Comic & Toy Show

Later this morning I’m heading over to the Comic and Toy Show.  It’ll run from 10am to 5pm at the Holiday Inn on A1A in Daytona Beach, Florida.  

The theme of the con is to celebrate the 30th anniversary of AC Comics.  Bill Black the founder of AC Comics will be there.  So will a ton of other folks who have worked for AC Comics over the years. If you live within driving distance, you should come too. 

Celebrate 30 Years with AC Comics

On Sunday, November 18, 2012, my buddy Steve is putting on a Comic and Toy Show [his 11th].  It’ll run from 10am to 5pm at the Holiday Inn on A1A in Daytona Beach, Florida.  

The theme of the con is to celebrate the 30th anniversary of AC Comics.  Bill Black the founder of AC Comics will be there.  So will a ton of other folks who have worked for AC Comics over the years. Myself included.  Hopefully John Beatty will make it.  He should since he got his start in professional comics with Bill Black!

I have no doubt that this is going to be a fun show.  How could it not be with the AC gang coming in for a reunion?  If you’re able to make it, you should plan on being there too. 

Heroes Con or Bust!

If all went well, Doralya, Mike, Erin and I should arrive at Heroes Con in Charlotte, just before it opens this morning.  I’m really looking forward to the show.  It’s always a blast, with something for everyone.  Look at the guest list and schedule of events and you can see I’m not kidding. 

It’s been a few years since Mike has attended the show, so he and I will hang out at the con while our ladies play tourists around Charlotte.  Then we’ll all come together for the Drink & Draw Session at Fuel on Friday and the annual Heroes Con Art Auction on Saturday.   The rest of the time will be spent roaming the convention floor looking for fun. 

Hope to see you there, but if you can’t make the show, don’t worry, I’ll post a full report later in the week.

[And Chris, if you're reading this, remember: No parties!  Be sure to feed Bruiser and Jack!]

Tales of MegaCon 2012: Morning Funnies

The photos today are of folks who came in costume to MegaCon 2012.  They have nothing to do with the following post other than the fact that the nonsense I’m about to tell you took place at  MegaCon 2012.

If you’ve been following my previous posts about MegaCon 2012 [Paul Gulacy and Mitch vs BIG RUSSIAN GUY] then you know I spent most of the weekend hanging out with my buddy, John BeattyJohn was a guest of the show, and had a table where he sketched and signed autographs for fans.

On the way to the convention Saturday, John and I decided to swing by McDonald’s for a breakfast to go.  The McDonald’s was packed and the drive-through closed for construction.  So, I ran in and got our breakfast while Beatty circled the lot for a parking spot.  Soon enough I had our orders and we were on our way to the show.

We ended up parking in a lot next to the convention center even farther out than on Friday.  The difference this morning was that there were bicycle-rickshaws that would ride you over to the convention center for five bucks a head.  Since I had my convention bag full of reference, sketchbooks, a camera plus a small cooler with drinks and snacks for Beatty and I, I thought the bike-shaw was a good idea.  Beatty had his drawing board and bag of art supplies, and so he agreed.

A bike-shaw rider pulled up and asked us if we wanted a ride.  We said we did.  He said he could take us both at the same time.  Cool.  I climbed in with my two bags and McDonald’s Sugar-Free Vanillia Iced Coffee with non-fat milk.  I had taken a sip and it was perfectly made.  I couldn’t wait to get to the convention table to drink it with my McSkillet steak burrito. Once I was settled in the bike-shaw, John came on with his art board, art bag and McDonald’s Mocca Frappe.

As the bike-shaw driver started to get us moving, the bike and then ric-shaw started to shake back and forth.  My iced coffee went flying and landed spilled across the parking lot.  The driver apologized.  Beatty and I repositioned our gear and the guy started off again.

It was slow going… at first.  Then the driver got his momentum and we’re were going at a fast clip.  Which was fantastic until it came time to make a fairly tight curve.

Have you ever tried to stop a loaded locomotive?

Apparently neither had our driver.  The bike went up the curb and the ric-shaw lurched as Beatty and I came out of it.  Surprisingly, Beatty never lost hold of his frappe.  The driver again apologized.  We straightened out the bike-shaw, pushed it around the curve and re-loaded.  Soon we were on our way and arrived at the convention center without further incident.

A short walk and we were at our table – ready for our breakfast burritos John still had his frappe and I could drink a Diet Coke from the cooler.  I asked John for my burrito.

He said, “Didn’t you get the bag out of the back seat?”

“Uh, no.  You put it there.  I thought you got it.”

Beatty wasn’t sure if I was messing with him.  I wasn’t.  Our breakfast was sitting in the back of his Charger… and neither of us were going back for it.

The next day Beatty and I hit the McDonald’s again for breakfast.  This time we got a MUCH closer parking spot and walked in to the convention.  We ate our breakfast at the table and all was great…or so I thought.

After I ate, I decided to walk around and talk to some artists.  When I got back, Beatty wasn’t at the table.  I asked Bob McLeod, who had the table next to us, where John was.  Bob started laughing and said, “You don’t know?”

“No, I really don’t.  What’s so funny?”

John finished his breakfast and decided to get started on a sketch.  When John opened his art bag, he realized he had his clothes bag and his art supplies were in the bag in his car.”

At least we were parked close by.

Tales of MegaCon 2012: Paul Gulacy

Last Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I was at MegaCon 2012 with my buddy, John Beatty.  [That's not John Beatty with me in the photo above.  No, that's John "Hex" CarterHex was seated a couple of tables down from Beatty and I.  You'll hear more about Hex tomorrow.]

MegaCon was a lot of fun.  Of course how could it not be?  Beatty’s table was seated next to Bob “The Hardest Working Con Sketch Artist in the Business” McLeod.  I was able to pick up sketches from several artists [which will be posted in the coming weeks] for my Stallone sketch collectionBeatty and I had a fun time hanging out with John Higashi.  I met several new artists and got to see several old friends/artists.  All in all it was a cool weekend that produced a couple of funny stories that I’ll share in posts this week.  Although this story isn’t funny, it is pretty neat.

Paul Gulacy was a guest at MegaCon 2012.  I first discovered Gulacy’s art when I was in junior high and he was working with Doug Moench on their classic run on Master of Kung FuPaul Gulacy quickly became my favorite artist.  A few years later I began collecting original art and Paul was still my favorite artist.  I had acquired a few sketches by him and somehow got his phone number.

I called Paul and the conversation went well and I commissioned him to do a Bruce Lee piece for me.  We began to talk fairly regularly.  Paul was always entertaining.  In addition to being a talented artist, he is a great impressionist able to sound exactly like Brando, Eastwood, Stallone and so many others.  Paul did a Stallone piece for me… followed by a Sabre commission.

I finally got to meet Paul in person in 1980 at a comic convention in AtlantaPaul invited me to sit behind the table with him as he autographed and sketched for fans.  So there I was with Paul Gulacy, Mike Grell, Bill Sienkiewicz, Pat Broderick, Bob McLeod and other artists.  A fan about my age was making his way down the row getting autographs from all of the artists.

When he got to me, he looked at the program and then asked, “Who are you?”  I said, “Oh, I’m nobody -” Paul spoke up saying, “This is Craig Zablo.  He’s a friend of mine.”  As you can imagine, I couldn’t stop smiling all weekend.

 As I moved through college and got ready to enter the “real world” I decided to sell off my comic art collection so I wouldn’t have to work during my senior internship.  I found myself reading fewer comics and had lost touch with Paul.  The one piece of art that I did keep was the Stallone commission that Paul did for me.

Fast forward 28 years to MegaCon 2012.  I hadn’t spoken to Paul since the early 80′s, but I wanted to go up and re-introduce myself and thank Paul for being so cool to a young fan.  I wanted Paul to know that I still had my Stallone piece and that allowing me to sit with him while he sketched was a convention memory that still brings a smile.

I found Paul’s table.  The show hadn’t started yet, but already a fan was speaking with him.  When their conversation finished, I stepped up.  I said, “Good morning.  My name is Craig Zablo – ”  Paul immediately said, “Wow!  We’re going back in time.”  I could see the wheels spinning as Paul tried to place me.  I was surprised and said, “You remember me?”

Paul said, “Youngstown, right?”

“I used to call you when you lived in Youngstown – “

Paul said, “I did the Stallone piece for you.”  I was amazed that he’d remember.  We had a nice conversation and Paul introduced me to his wife. I thanked Paul for the great memories and art.

So now I had two great con memories of interactions with the talented Paul Gulacy… and MegaCon 2012 hadn’t even officially started.

MegaCon 2012 is Next Month!

What!  MegaCon 2012 is February 17-19th!! 

I don’t know how I had the dates screwed up, but I did.  I thought that this year’s MegaCon was at the end of MarchObviously it’s not.  That means instead of having nearly 3 months to plan for it, I’ve got 5 weeks

Still plenty of time, right?

Heroes Con Report – Saturday


Saturday is usually the busiest day at most shows and this was going to be no exception.  My goal was to get all of my sketches by the end of the day so that Doralya and I could head back home [a 7 - 8 hour drive] at a decent time on Sunday.  So I spent the morning setting up sketches with Billy Fowler, Rob Holstein, Chris Schweizer, and Evan Bryce.  That freed me up to circulate the con floor and con art auction area.  So here are some con photos and comments…

One of the great things about Heroes Con is that on Saturday night there is always an art auction.  During the day it’s not uncommon to see artists in a special area working on the pieces that they’ll donate to the show.  Above is Adam Hughes just starting on his painting which went for an all-time Heroes Con record of 12 grand!

That’s Billy Fowler and his lady. Last year I met Billy and got his really cool take on Sly as Jack Carter.  I wanted to get another piece from Billy and he agreed and gave me his on-point take of Sly as Rocky.

Although I’d never met Chris Schweizer, I’d discovered his art through a link for Heroes Con.  I really liked his style and was delighted to discover that Chris was a very approachable and enthusiastic artist.  He really took his time interacting with folks who stopped by his table.  I picked up his art book and he threw in his take on Sly as Freddy from “Cop Land.”

Robin Holstein was another artist that I discovered from a link for Heroes Con.  I really liked Robin’s pen and ink work.  He agreed to do a sketch of Sly as Rambo.  When I saw the results, I immediately asked if he had room on his sketchlist to do another Stallone.  He did and did an equally cool riff on Sly as Jack CarterLittleJohn saw what Robin had done for me and immediately signed up to get Robin’s take on Little John from Robin Hood.

LittleJohn, Patricia and I ended up at the Inkwell Awards PanelDan Panosian kicked off the panel and then Tim Townsend [pictured above] served as the host.  It was cool seeing Kevin Nolan there and getting some well-deserved recognition.  It was also a kick to see that my best friend, John Beatty, was nominated for an award.

That’s a shot of David Williams aka Brohawk working on his Spider-Man painting which ended up being won by Adam Hughes at the auction.   Andrew Robinson is working on his barbarian painting which turned out to be my favorite piece in the auction.  Brian Stelfreeze did a really sweet painting of Scooby-Doo and Daphne to support the show.  Eric Canate worked up this really cool Avengers piecePhil Noto checked in with his take on SupergirlTommy Lee Edwards turned his brush towards the Rocketeer.  Not all pieces that make it into the auction are paintings.  Some very cool pen and ink art also made the cut.

Doralya and I joined LittleJohn312 and Patricia at the auction.  I brought Rico his bigger-than-life-size Mr. T and Rocky Balboa standees. Rico seemed truly happy to get them.  This year the auction moved at a much quicker pace, but after a few hours, Doralya and I were beat and knew we had a long drive waiting for us in the morning.  We said our good-byes and headed to the Westin.

This was one of the best Heroes Cons ever.  I know I say that every year, but it’s true.  Doralya had a blast enjoying the city while I was at the con and then meeting up with LittleJohn, his wife and others for meals and special events.  Doralya is already making plans to go next year.  Truth be told, so am I.

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