Tampa Was a Blast!

Last weekend, Big Beatty, John Higashi and I made our way to the Tampa Comic Book and Toy Show.

As many of you know, it’s my favorite little convention. But if Tim Gordon continues to put on such great shows, it won’t be little much longer. It’s held three times a year and has added the Tampa Indie Film Fest to a program which already includes celebrites signing autographs, artists sketching, a costume contest, prize drawaingsthere’s ALWAYS something going on to interest everyone.

Beatty, Higashi and I drove down the night before. It’s become a tradition that we go down a day ahead of the show, hang out with other collectors and eat dinner at a place called Sweet Tomatoes.

This time Randy Martin joined us for dinner. Afterwards we went over to his place to hang out. Randy has the coolest Edward Scissorhands art collection that you can see if you click HERE.

The next morning, Beatty, Higashi and I headed over to the show. Higashi was on a mission. His goal was to get to Ethan Van Sciver to add to a sketch that he’d started a few shows ago, and to set up a commission with Pablo Marcos. My plan was to meet Pablo Marcos and possibly get a Stallone sketch from him. Beatty was there just to stir up some fun.

Higashi started getting that predator look in his eyes and I knew that soon he would be in full con mode. The doors opened and the crowd headed in. As we were walking to the artist area, I saw Randy Martin had set up and so I stopped to chat with him. Higashi continued to make his way to Ethan’s spot center stage.

A few minutes later, I headed over to the stage area. Higashi was waiting for Ethan to arrive. I said, “Hi” to Marty Nodell and his son. I was just hanging out waiting for Big Beatty to mosey over when Cindy Morgan walked up to me and introduced herself. Cindy was a guest of the show and is best known for her role as Lacey Underall in Caddyshack. She asked if I was with the show. I told her I wasn’t. As luck would have it, Tim
[who runs the show] was passing by. He stopped and was able to answer Ms. Morgan‘s question. There was a bit of small talk and then she excused herself to set up. Tim and I spoke a bit before he went on stage to introduce the guests and welcome the crowd.

I decided to head over to the film room when suddenly Captain Battle and his Battle Team appeared.

His Battle Team was filming fan reaction as he walked through the crowd meeting and greeting young and old alike. I shook hands with the good
Captain and was awarded his first dvd movie. I’ll write more about that soon.

In the film room, Beatty and I watched a retrospective on Irwin Allen. Allen was first known for his tv shows, Lost in Space, Voyage to the
Bottom of the Sea
, The Time Tunnel, and Land of the Giants. He then went on to become the King of Disaster Movies with The Posideon Adventure, and The Towering Inferno. Higashi came in. He’d been successful in getting Ethan to add more to his Star Wars piece. The three of us watched a short film called Contact from Beyond. The people who made the film were in the audience and the crowd enjoyed the experience.

That’s the look that Wild Bill Black had on his face when he saw Beatty and I re-enter the convention hall. Bill was talking to Marty Nodell and had made the trip to Tampa just to hang with Marty for the afternoon. It’s always great to see Wild Bill, who is busier than ever with his comic and dvd businesses.

I spent some time talking with Jesse “Cadre” Hansen and Mitch “Bubba the Redneck Werewolf” Hyman. It’s always a blast speaking to these guys as they love what they’re doing and their fan base continues to grow. Beatty came over to see some new stuff that Cadre had created. When Beatty gives praise, you know it’s earned. He and Mitch talked about Beatty doing a cover for a future issue of Bubba — so that looks like it’s going to happen.

Then is was time for the costume contest. It’s surprising to me, because of the size of the show, how many really good costumers are always there. You have to admit that it adds something to a show, when you see characters walking around and they look like who they’re supposed to be. The winner was a guy dressed as The Shadow — at the last show he came as Marv. In the picture above, that’s me with The Scarecrow from Batman Begins and Kevin from Sin City.

The only thing left to do was for Higashi to set up his Star Wars commission. That’s Pablo and his lovely wife pictured above. Higashi and I were in line as Pablo sketched for fans. Higashi asked me if I was going to try for a Stallone sketch. Because of the time factor, I said that I didn’t think so. We watched as Pablo completed a beautiful Vamperella sketch… then a Zombie pencil sketch… and then a Conan. Man, each sketch was a beaut. Higashi set up his commission which
Pablo was doing as a take-home piece. I then arranged to have a Stallone sketch done and mailed with Higashi‘s. I don’t know which character Pablo is going to do… but you can be sure, it’ll be sweet.

Sadly it was time for us to get on the road. Higashi had been able to get Ethan to add to his piece and Pablo to commit to a commission. I had been able to arrange for a Pablo sketch as well. We’d been able to visit with old and new friends, see some fun films, check out some wild costumes, and just have a great day. Tim’s next show is in November. If you’re able to make it, I can promise that you’ll have a fun time. Heck, you may even get to be in a picture with Steve, Big Beatty and Wild Bill!