Author: Craig Zablo

Don’t Walk, Start Ronin

It’s time for our hourly “300” update…

Newsarama is reporting that “300” producer Gianni Nunnari, was asked about other comic projects is working on and he responded by saying Frank Miller’s Ronin!

Ronin was a six issue miniseries published by DC after Frank’s initial run on Daredevil. It’s the story of a young Ronin in feudal Japan who seeks to avenge his master who was killed by a demon.

If the story pans out and the producer can get a director with the same passion that Zack Snyder has shown in translating “300” to the big screen, we could be in for another great ride. To check out “Ronin” click HERE.

A MAGICal Night

This evening I attended the Orlando Magic / San Antonio Spurs game. If you’re a hoops fan, my guess is that you already heard about “THE DUNK.”

Before I tell you about the amazing ending to one of the best comebacks ever, let me tell you that it was a perfect evening. My son is a Magic fan and for Christmas I got him tickets to see them play against San Antonio. Our drive to Orlando was smooth and we arrived exactly at the planned time. I had pre-purchased a parking ticket for the lot directly across from the arena. We drove right in [despite the game and all parking lots being sold out]. Before the game we were able to go down almost courtside and watch the players warm up. It’s easy to forget just how BIG these guys are in real life. At half time, they brought out Chris Leak, the Heisman-winning quarterback for the National Champion Florida Gators [which just happens to be my son’s favorite college team].

Now back to the exciting climax… Despite being down as much as 20, and behind most of the game, the Magic tied it up with less than a minute left in regulation. Then when Tim Duncan’s attempt at a winning shot was rejected by Dwight Howard, the Magic grabbed ball and called a time out. They had 8/10’s of a second left on the clock to win the game. They didn’t even need that much time. Hedo Turkoglu lobed the ball towards the goal and Dwight Howard soared over Tim Duncan and slammed home a one-handed dunk to give the Magic the lead and the win.

It was an amazing ending to one of the most exciting basketball games I’ve ever had a chance to witness. More importantly, my son said it was the best game that he’d ever seen and he saw it in person. Talk about a Magical night…

9112 Miles to Graceland

“Big” John Beatty
boarded a plane this morning for the start of a journey that may last him the rest of his days. You see, he’s off to meet a young lady that may be the love of his life. John and Bella met nearly six months ago through the internet. They’ve been talking and e-mailing and video conferencing nearly daily since then. So they decided it was time to meet face to face!

This morning John boarded a plane that will fly him from Orlando to Detroit to Japan to Manila. Whew! That’s one heck of a trip. Big J says that he’ll e-mail when he can, and update his blog if possible.

Let’s all wish the big guy a safe trip. If he doesn’t scare off Bella when he meets her after spending all those hours on the plane, this thing may just work out!

FX, Day 2

FX, Day 2, got off to a much better start. I was able to breeze right in. John Higashi was already there and we met at Jason Palmer’s table. Then it was over to Matt Wagner. Matt said that he had finished my Jack Carter sketch, but wasn’t happy with it and wanted to re-do it. I told him that I didn’t want him to have to do double work, but he said it was no problem.

John and I decided to walk artists’ alley. We visited with Andrew Robinson, Mike Perkins [I set up a Judge Dredd Stallone sketch], Gene Ha, Whilce Portacio, Billy Tucci, Andy Smith, and others.

I swung by Miguel’s booth where I met up with some Stallone fans that were familiar with my site. Miguel and I talked about the Rocky Balboa card sets that he’s putting together. Stallone / Rocky fans are going to love them.

I saw that Matt Wagner was getting ready to have Q & A session and headed over. The 45 minutes flew by as Matt talked about his career in comics. It was interesting to learn that Matt postponed doing Mage when he learned that DC was doing a take on King Arthur with Camelot 3000. Then after seeing what they had done, Matt decided that Mage would still be a new spin on the legend… and the rest is history. It’s hard to believe that Matt has been in comics for 25 years. It’s cool to see how his style has changed and he has matured as an artist. It’ll be interesting to see where the next 25 years takes him.

After the Matt Wagner panel, I swung by Steve Niles’ table to get a couple of books autographed. Steve said that the “30 Days of Night” movie is going to make a lot of fans happy. Of course, I can’t wait to see it! Then I made my way to Mike Higgins’ table to pick up my Stallone Judge Dredd sketch.

Joe Pekar and I shot the breeze over a couple of Cokes. Joe’s a guy to keep an eye on! I hope to get a Stallone piece from him at some point.

Higashi and I met up again. We stopped by to talk to Andy Smith, Gene Ha, Bill Tucci and others. Although Bill is best known for his creation Shi and drawing the female form, he showed us a cool Sgt. Rock piece that he created for a proposed series. We stopped in for a visit for Dave Johnson and then back over to Matt Wagner’s table. Matt had started the second attempt on the Jack Carter sketch, but wasn’t happy with it and decided to take a third stab at it. Higashi agreed to pick up the piece for me since I wasn’t coming back on Sunday.

Then it was over to Miguel’s booth again to touch base. The “Rocky Balboa” card set will be out in March featuring 72 cards from the movie. Originally, the card set was going to cover all of the Rocky movies, but after seeing how well received “Rocky Balboa” was, Miguel worked out a deal for two separate card sets. The second set, out later this year will cover all five Rocky movies. Each will be sold as complete sets in custom binders. I’ve seen mock-ups of some of the cards and the binders. Stallone / Rocky fans are going to love them! I’ll premiere the items and post updates on the SZ as they become available.

FX 2007 was a worthy show. It had something for everyone. If they can get back artists like Dave Johnson and Matt Wagner, I’ll return next year. And who knows, maybe by then they’ll have the opening day kinks worked out.

FX Day [A Long Day] One

FX 2007 billed itself as “the coolest show on Earth.” After looking at their guest list which included comic superstars: Matt Wagner, Dave Johnson, Michael Golden; film and tv celebs such as Michael Biehn, Lance Henrikson, and many others, I decided to check out the show for myself.

Unfortunately the convention got off to a shaky start. None of the con workers seemed to know their roles. The lines for “will call” tickets as well as the “day of show” tickets were backed up and it was long past the early opening time before things got rolling. I had purchased an advance three day ticket knowing that the odds of me attending on Sunday were slim, but because advance ticket holders were allowed into the show an hour early, I figured that the extra cost was worth it since I really wanted a sketch from Dave Johnson. Unfortunately advance ticket holders did not get in an hour early, nor did they get the promised “goodie bag” [which didn’t bother me]. To slow things even more, all advance ticket holders had to wait while a con employee stuck a temporary tattoo on them so that they could gain admission the following days. Sheesh!

When I got into the show I made a beeline for Dave Johnson’s table. I already had one sketch by The Potentate in my collection, [a cool Rocky Balboa] and was hopeful that I’d get another to compliment it. Reverend Dave arrived about 15 minutes later and seemed surprised that he had people waiting. I spoke to Dave about my admiration for his work and he was genuinely humble. As he looked at my Stallone sketches, he commented about ones that he particularly liked. I think it’s always cool to hear artists talking about their craft and other artists that they admire. We agreed on the price and Dave said that he’d do me a nice Jack Carter.

My next stop was Matt Wagner’s table. Matt, like Dave Johnson, is one of my favorite comic creators. I’ve followed Matt’s work since his Comico days. Mage remains one of my all-time favorite graphic stories. I knew that Matt’s sketches were out of my price range, but I still wanted to meet the legend. Matt was as down-to-earth as Dave Johnson. We talked for a bit while I was looking at his pre-done con sketches. They were all sweet. Of course there weren’t any of Stallone. ; ) During the course of our conversation though, Matt agreed to do a smaller Jack Carter sketch that would work with my budget.

Getting a sketch from both Dave Johnson and Matt Wagner made my show. I wouldn’t be looking for more sketches despite the fact that it was a slow day for the artists. Still, I did make my way around the show to visit with Miguel at his Rocky Balboa booth, Andrew Robinson, Joe Pekar, Andy Smith, and the guys at Cadre’s Corner. In fact while I was talking to Cadre another guy came up and had a couple of pictures taken with some of the crew. As the guy was telling them how much he enjoyed their work, I realized that it was William “The Greatest American Hero” Katt! He must have noticed me looking at him because he reached out to shake hands and say, “Hi.” Surreal.

I decided to walk around the tv and movie celebrity section. It was cool seeing MichaelTerminator” “Aliens” Biehn and Lance “Aliens” “Near Dark” Henrikson. They had huge lines of fans waiting to get their autographs. I’ve always liked Michael Biehn and look forward to his role in Tarantino and Rodriguez’s “Grindhouse” this summer. A couple of the stars of the hit series “Heroes” were there, but since I don’t follow the show, I can’t tell you about them. I also Peter “Mission Impossible” Graves, King Kong Bundy [not as big as I thought he’d be], Ron “Serenity” Glass and a few others.
John Higashi showed up and we hung out for a bit. It’s really hard to keep pace with Higashi when he is in full-con mode. He was like a shark in fish-infested waters as he made his way from artist to artist, setting up commissions, buying sketchbooks and laying the groundwork for later art deals.

Dave Johnson finished my Jack Carter piece. It was a knockout… absolutely perfect. Then to top it off, The Potentate presented me with an autographed copy of his latest sketchbook as a bonus! [Later that evening, as I was looking at my sketchbook, I was surprised to find that my Rocky sketch was in it! Too cool.] It was a great ending to a fun day.

Drink and Draw Launch Party

Remember when I told you about the Drink and Draw Social Club?

Ok. Do you remember when I told you about their cool art book [The Drink and Draw Social Club Vol. 1]?
Well, you won’t want to forget this… especially if you’re able to attend. [And if you do make it, be sure and tell Reverand Dave that the I sent ya!] Anyway, the Drink and Draw Social Club is having a launch party for their new book on February 10th from 6pm until closing at the Meltdown.Drink and Draw Social Club founders Dave Johnson, Dan Panosian and Jeff Johnson will be joined by LeSean Thomas, Josh Middleton, Felipe Smith, Jim Mahfood, Tragnark, Michael Avon Oeming, Kat Von D and many others.

If you can’t attend, you can still get a copy of The Drink and Draw Social Club Vol. 1 by clicking on the link. And if you do go, be sure and get some photos!

Wanna See A REALLY Big Ring?

Pretty cool picture, huh?

No, it’s not a still from Star Trek or Star Wars or anything like that. It’s truly a photograph of an actual floating ring that’s the size of a galaxy! No joke.
Every day you can see a new image or photograph of our fascinating universe, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer simply by clicking HERE.
Thanks to Ernest “Jazzman” Resendes for providing the link!

Heroes Helped by Heroes

It’s sad to say that many older comic book writers and artists end up financially strapped in their “golden years.” An organization called Heroes Initiative works to “provide a financial safety net for yesterdays creators who may need emergency medical aid, financial support for essentials of life and an avenue back into paying work.”

One of their recent efforts involved recruiting over 80 comic book artists [and even a writer or two] to draw a custom sketch on the blank cover of a specially produced issue of Ultimate Spider-Man #100.

Drink and Draw

Artists, for the most part, live solitary lives. They usually work alone, spending long hours at the drawing board. In an effort to combat this isolation, Dave Johnson, Jeff Johnson and Dan Panosian formed the Drink & Draw Social Club. Once a week these talented artists would get together to eat, drink, draw and socialize. The idea was such a great one that more and more artists began to join in.
Soon talents like Andy MacDonald, Josh Middleton, Jim Mahfood, Lesean Thomas, Kat Von D and others began to swing by for some drawin’ and jawin’.The idea was such a natural that similar groups began to spring up around the country. Heck, even “Big” John Beatty started his “Sketch Society” last year wrapped around the same concept.Can you imagine how cool it would be to hang out in a relaxed atmosphere with these talented artists as they drew stuff that THEY wanted to see? Well, you might not be able to hang out with these talented cats, but you can see some of the cool art that their Drink and Draw sessions produced! The Drink and Draw Social Club Volume 1 is now available. Featuring over 100 pages chock full of art,! My order is in!

Nobody Lasts an Hour

I love a good scary movie. You know, the kind that’s seldom make anymore. I’m not talking about the slasher, teenager in danger, or poorly-translated-foreign-film-that-was-once-really-scary movie. So when a really good scary movie comes along, I’m in.

Looks like I’ll be checking into 1408. Will you?

300: The Art of the Film / Z-View

I received my Art of 300 book today and it’s a beaut!With 300: The Art of the Film you get to go behind the scenes and see how director Zack Snyder (Dawn of the Dead) translates Frank Miller’s award-winning graphic novel to the big screen. The book includes more than 100 pages of production photos, concept art, and much, much more. What makes the deal even sweeter is that if you order using the link provided you can save over 33%!Now if the movie’s release date would only get here!

300: The Art of the Film rates an “A”