Author: Craig Zablo

Heroes Over Wizards

As regular ZONErs know, it’s become a Zablo family tradition to attend the annual Heroes Convention in Charlotte. I start talking up the show each year as the date for the convention gets closer and new guests are announced. Usually my hype begins about six months before the show.

This year I’m starting a bit early.

Like NOW.

WizardWorld [a big company that puts on conventions all over the US] has purposely scheduled their convention in Atlanta the
same weekend as Heroes.

Coincidence you say? Nope.

You see, Shelton has made it an annual tradition to announce his next convention date a year in advance [and his show has always been held in mid to late June].

This year, because there were rumors that Wizard was looking at Atlanta, Shelton wrote them to find out the date that they were looking at. Shelton even offered to support their show as long as their schedules didn’t fall on the same weekend.

You can imagine everyone’s surprise when Wizard announced that their Atlanta convention would fall on the same weekend as Heroes. You can read the details here and here.

Well, I’m happy to say that pros and fans have rallied around Shelton‘s show. Casey Jones, Tony Harris, Bryan Hitch, Greg Rucka, Joe Pruett, J. Michael Straczynski, Cliff Chiang, Mark Bagley and Ethan Van Sciver all quickly announced that they’d be at HEROES and NOT the Atlanta convention next year. Additionally, Cully Hamner, Brian Stelfreeze and Karl Story who live in Atlanta have announced that they will be at Heroes as well!

Heroes 2006 may end up being the best Heroes ever. My hope is that the folks running the Wizard show will reconsider and reschedule. They’ve already started a bit of backtracking

At any rate, if Wizard changes their date or not, I’ll be at Heroes in ’06.

Hopefully you will too!

A Really Creepy Moment

Last night I watched “Hide and Seek,” a psychological thriller starring Robert DeNiro and Dakota Fannning. The movie was pretty good, but that’s not the point of this post…

In the movie DeNiro keeps waking up at 2:06 AM. The first time that this happens, he discovers his wife has committed suicide. As the movie progresses 2:06 AM becomes a significant plot point and the audience is left wondering [until the resolution] why DeNiro wakes up at 2:06 AM.

It was pretty creepy. Especially late in the movie, as Deniro searches for a killer in the house and suddenly Dakota holds up a child’s clock set to 2:06 AM. Now THAT was very creepy, but it’s still not the creepy moment I’m leading up to.

Overall the movie was a fun way to spend a couple of hours and I really enjoyed how the dvd set up the alternate endings [there were several]. Ah, but I digresss… so on to the REAL creepy moment

Later that night I woke up feeling the need to go to the restroom. Now most nights, I sleep through until the morning. Occasionally I’m compelled to get up in the middle of the night for a trip to the john, so it’s not totally unusual that this would happen. Last night when I woke to go, I looked to see what time it was… and you guessed it… the digital clock read 2:06 AM.

Now THAT was creepy!

“Hide and Seek” rates a B

Mariahs’s Fake Abs – You Make the Call

Remember when I told you that I thought that Mariah Carey looked like she had painted on her abs for her 4th of July Macey’s performance?

I thought it was just a funny little item and was surprised when it was picked up here and a bunch of other places.

The July 25, 2005 issue of US Weekly even has the story in it’s This Minute You Want to Know About section.

The piece, Did Mariah Fake Her Six-Pack? brings everyone up to speed: “Sure, Mariah Carey‘s back on top of the charts, but who knew her stomach muscles were also making a comeback?” The author then asks a make-up expert and a rep for Mariah Carey to weigh in on the subject.

The make-up artist [Sally Blenkey-Tchasova, owner of one of the places that started the whole “spray-on” craze] was quoted as saying, “It looks like she was helped by make-up or air-brush tanning. Even if a woman is really ripped, abs are generally not that symmetrical.”

You’re probably as surprised as I am [meaning not very], that Mariah’s rep denies that the abs are fake without every really saying their not. “This is ridiculous. She has been eating right and working out for three hours a day. Mariah has never looked or felt better.

The picture to the right was taken about three weeks before the one at the top of this post. So, ZONErs… what do you think?

Niles and Jones Create a Giant Monster

Steve Niles, Rob Zombie and Nat Jones teamed last year to produce The Nail, which was one wild ride.

Niles and Jones had such a fun time working together that they’re reteaming to bring us Giant Monster, a 2 issue [@ 48 pages each] mini-series from Boom Studios.

Giant Monster is the story of an astronaut who, while in space, is infected with a parasite and upon his return to Earth, uh… runs into a few problems. ; )

More Body Bags Coming Our Way

Way back in April, I posted an

item about the return of Jason Pearson’s “Body Bags.”

At that time Jason said if the response to the reprints was good enough, we’d see the return of Mack and Panda.

Today it was announced that two new Body Bags projects are in the works.

In November we’ll get Body Bags: 3 The Hard Way, which will include a new 20 page story called “Hit ‘Da Switches,” along with two older short stories that will be re-printed in color for the first time ever. Then in January, Jason will follow up with an all new 48 page Body Bags one-shot.

Ah, life continues to be good!

“Transporter 2” Gearing Up

A few days ago I made the statement, “Sequels are rarely as good as the original.” And yet I, like many of you, love to see sequels.

On the weekend of September 2, I’ll probably be in a theater watching Transporter 2. The original was an unexpected toddy. The Transporter not only did better at theaters than was expected; it also was a hit with the dvd crowd. So much so, that a Transporter Special Edition dvd is in the works.

I thought The Transporter would be an enjoyable way to spend an hour and a half, but was surprised at just how much fun it turned out to be.

Much of that enjoyment was the result of Jason Statham in the lead role and the over the top action.  Well, I’m happy to say that both will be back in full force.

Heroes Con Sketches Posted

My recent trip to Heroes Con 2005 was recounted here, but now that I’ve posted my art pick-ups in my Stallone Gallery, I thought that I should also provide links not only on the SZ [for Stallone fans], but also here in the ZONE for my blog and comic friends.

My first piece posted, by Steve McNiven, was actually one that I got at MegaCon
when Steve was sketching for the ACTOR charity.

Rick Leonardi
was the first artist I approached at Heroes 2005. I’m a long-time Leonardi fan and was very pleased that he agreed to draw Rambo for me.

Brian Walker surprised me with this fun sketch of Sly as Lincoln Hawk from Over the Top. As a bonus, Brian even through in [or is that drew in] Bull Hurley!

What a great gift!

Mike Ploog
was an artist that drew some of my favorite childhood comics.
I couldn’t pass up a chance at a freebie head sketch from Mr. Ploog and love
his take on Jack Carter.

I loved Nat Jones‘s work with Steve Niles on The Nail. Nat was one of the artists that I really wanted to try and get something from at Heroes. You can imagine how happy I was when he agreed to draw Cobra.

Gary McKee
and I have been talking about him doing a piece for my Stallone gallery for a while. I was extremely happy when he agreed to do me a water color piece. I was even happier when I saw the end result.

Let’s cut to the chase. Casey Jones did one of the finest Stallone sketches I have yet to receive. He hit a homerun, raised the bar, use whatever metaphor you’d like… or just click HERE and… see for yourself!

I knew that my sketch from Cliff Chiang was going to be very good. How could it not be, it’s Cliff Chiang! What I didn’t know was that Cliff was going to follow Casey Jones‘ lead and create one of my all-time favorite pieces. Not only did Cliff add Adrian to the mix, but he also captured the essence of their characters. Wow!

If you’ve read this far, you’re a true fan of Stallone, comic art or both. Either way, let me give you a heads-up… yesterday I received a piece of art for my Stallone gallery from an artist whose work I’ve admired for years. I never dreamed that I get something from him, since he rarely goes to conventions or sketches for fans. I’m still in shock. The piece was a gift and is so nice. I’ll add it to my gallery in a day or two after I quit staring at it.

Anyone want to comment on my latest sketches or take a guess as to who the mystery artist might be?

Diamond Dave an Obvious Choic

Some things just seem so obvious, once you think about them. It looks like David Lee Roth  will replace Howard Stern next year when Stern switches over to Pay-Radio.

Diamond Dave has already done a couple of weeks on the radio and according to reports has kind of turned the town on its ear.

I don’t think that Roth doing well with Stern‘s audience should surprise anyone. Diamond Dave does enjoy the… ah, same types of things as Stern and truth be told is probably more entertaining to listen to.

Still my bet is that Howard scores big when he moves to Pay-Radio and he’ll probably find a cable channel to air his program without the restrictions he had on E. Yeah, Howard Stern will continue to rule the airwaves for those willing to pay.

That’s obvious… if you just think about it.

Frank Miller Staying Busy

Frank Miller had an interview up at

Frank Miller is THE MAN.

He can write [comics, and screenplays — I’d love to see
him take on a novel], draw, and direct. In this interview he talks a bit about efforts involving all three of this talents.

His latest project is Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder.

When I was real young, I liked the idea of Robin. He was cool… and not much older than me. When I got older, I saw the problems inherent with having a youngster fighting crime. Sure, it works if Robin is in his late-teens, or if you’re doing “Adam West”-type Batman stories, other than that you just have to suspend a little more disbelief.

So it’ll be interesting to see Miller‘s take on it. Another plus is that Jim Lee will be doing the art. Lee‘s work is sweet. Much of the interview is about Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder, but Miller also talks about:

1] A Batman terrorist story that he’s writing, penciling and inking… and
2] He’s gearing up for Sin City 2… and
3] He’s going to write, pencil and ink another Sin City mini-series.

Yeah, the last two have left me smiling from ear to ear! Put Me on Tilt

Well, what do you know? I’m a winner!

That’s right. I am a winner!

When I came home from work today, I found a package from the fine folks at waiting for me. In it was Tilt – Season One., in addition to having the latest movie news, interviews, and more also regularly runs contests for free dvds, posters, hats, and other coolness. And I was lucky enough to win, the Tilt dvd set. This is especially cool since, I like poker and only was able to see the first episode of Tilt [which I enjoyed].

At any rate, check out Who knows, you may end up with some swag too!

Mariah and the Painted-On Abs

Last night as I was flipping the channels, I happended across Mariah Carey performing at the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular. Now normally, that wouldn’t be worthy of commenting here but…

As I was watching the performance I said to my wife, “Hey, doesn’t it look like someone painted on Mariah’s abs?”

She didn’t think so and attributed it to Mariah working out and dancing. Still it looked kind of funky to me.

Before flipping on to new channels, I said, “I still think it looks like she had those abs painted on.”

Well guess what…

Back from the Land of the Dead

Sequels are rarely as good as the original. There are far more Jaws 2‘s than there are Godfather 2‘s. And the farther you go down the sequel path, the more likely you are to see a mess.

That’s why I’m happy to say that George A. Romero‘s Land of the Dead is a welcome addition to his zombie series.

My favorite is still “Night of the Living Dead.” I doubt that any zombie movie will ever top NOTLD, not only because everything came together on it [the low budget, shooting in black and white, a cast of unknowns, etc.], but also because it was the first zombie movie to really get to me. These weren’t island zombies or some mummy come back to life. These were our neighbors, our friends and even our family members who were crawling out of the grave to eat us!

Land of the Dead is my second favorite of Romero‘s quartet [followed by Dawn of the Dead and then Day of the Dead]. While I generally don’t like the idea of “smart” zombies, I was intrigued by the idea that these zombies were starting to learn. I thought all of of the actors were well cast. The use of fireworks as a plot device was a cool idea. Heck, I can even go with the idea that money still has value [although that plot element to me was the weakest].

Land of the Dead is supposed to be Romero’s final zombie movie, but I wouldn’t mind see him come back for another.

“Night of the Living Dead” rates an A+
“Dawn of the Dead” [original] rates a C+
“Dawn of the Dead” [remake] rates an A
“Day of the Dead” rates a C
“Land of the Dead” rates a B

War of the Worlds and War of the Words

Tom Cruise has been in two battles lately. One, The War of the Worlds with Steven Spielberg; the other, The War of the Words with Brooke Shields.

Let’s start with the one that most people can get behind, The War of the Worlds. This update is a worthy successor to the classic 1953 film. And although I’ve never read the book by HG Wells, what I have read indicates that the film doesn’t veer too far from Wells‘ basic ideas.

War of the Worlds is a movie that should be seen in a crowded theater. It’s a big, explosive, exciting summer picture worthy of the Independance Day Weekend slot. Cruise does a fine job of being a jerk of a father who finds himself forced to be responsible for the lives of not only himself but also his two children.

Dakota Fanning is, as always, excellent. She is one of the finest actors working today. Tim Robbins shows up in a supporting role and pulls it off better than I would have expected since he’s playing against the type of role we usually see him play. And of course, Stephen Spielberg rules. Any quibbles I would have with this film would truly be nitpiks and War of the Worlds was too much scary fun to do that. If you haven’t seen War of the Worlds, you should. And before it comes out on dvd.

Now for Cruise’s recent War of the Words with Brooke Shields and Matt Lauer. Tom‘s been acting strange lately. In fact, it’s been the talk all over the internet and entertainment news shows. I’ve avoided discussing it here, since I figured that Tom was just in love and attributed his jumping on couches and screaming, to his infatuation to Katie Holmes and her apparent conversion to Scientology.

Yet, Tom‘s recent behavior has gone beyond what can be excused by the excitement of a new romance. When Cruise spoke out against psychiatry and the use of medicine, well, that’s his opinion and he’s entitled to it [as wrong as he may be].

But when he personally criticized Brooke Shields for her use of medication while dealing with depression and then argued with Matt Lauer while claiming that he [Cruise] knew the “history of psychiatry” when he so clearly doesn’t have a clue… to me crosses the line.

I wonder what’s up with Mr. Cruise. He used to be such a respectful, polite guy. Something has gotten a burr under his sadle.. .

Or maybe he just needs to take a “chill pill.”

“War” of the Worlds rates a B+

Twilight Zone Marathon

Long time ZONE readers know that one of my biggest pleasures as a kid was staying up late and watching scary movies and tv shows.

I still get a kick out ’em.

You can imagine how much I enjoy it when the Scifi channel runs it’s Twilight Zone marathon.

Starting at 11PM tomorrow night and running until 4AM on the 5th, you can tune in and watch the classic Twilight Zone episodes from the 60’s. While I doubt that many of us will last for all 29 hours, there are many episodes worth checking out, including two of my favorites.

The first, “Terror at 20,000 Feet” involves a man [played by William Shatner] who has just been released from a mental institution.

On a plane ride home he sees a creature on the wing of the plane trying to destroy the engine… but no one else sees it. He knows it’s out there, but everyone believes that he’s having another breakdown…

The second is called “To Serve Man.”

Aliens arrive on Earth and all indications are they came in peace… but do they really?

Even if you can’t watch them all [and who can?], maybe you can plan to tune in to see an old favorite or one you’ve never seen before.

I know that I will…

And for just a little while I’ll be a kid again, up on the couch hoping that someone else besides me and Bill Shatner sees the creature on the wing!