Category: Con Report

Collector’s ComicCon Are You "N"?

On Sunday, July 22nd from 10am – 5pm, the Collector’s ComicCon is going to be the place to be in Fort Pierce, Florida. Not only will my best bud, John Beatty be a guest, but he’ll be joined by Bill Black [artist, writer, publisher of AC comics, writer, director and producer of “GARGANTARAMA” ] and Brenna Berry star of “GARGANTARAMA”.

It’s a fun little one day show. Click HERE for all the details. Hope to see you there!

Heroes Con 07 Report

Heroes Con 2007 was a blast. Rather than go into a lengthy con report, I thought I’d post up some pictures and my thoughts. Hope you enjoy them half as much as I did the show…

This is the crew that I hung with for most of the weekend. Starting at the left and working around the table, my oldest son Mike, “The James”, Raf Kayanan, John Beatty, Andrew Robinson, Matt, Lazenby and Hal. Getting together with these guys is always a blast. Raf, Beatty and Andrew were set up at the con next to each other [Bob McLeod, Derec Donovan and John Dell were also within reach] so it was a pretty hopping spot. Originally Dave Johnson was supposed to be set up in the same area, but unfortunately he couldn’t make it this year.

That’s Matt Fraction pictured above. He’s about to autograph my copy of Last of the Independents which I highly recommend! It was my first time meeting Matt who also writes the popular Casanova comic series.

Rick Remender not only autographed my Doll and Creature graphic novel [review coming soon], but did an amazing piece for my Stallone gallery. I’ll post it once it’s scanned. Rick said that The Last Days of American Crime is in the works. I can’t wait. Rick has so many irons in the fire with Fear Agent, Sea of Red, Strange Girl and more that I was starting to think that he’d never get to it.

Another first was meeting Kyle Baker. I’m a huge fan of Kyle’s work. You Are Here is one of my all time favorite graphic novels. Kyle signed mine and told me his an idea for a sequel. I truly hope that someday he’s able to do it. I also picked up Kyle Baker Cartoonist Volume 1 & Volume 2 and Nat Turner Volume 1 & Volume 2. I was also lucky enough to get a Rocky sketch from Kyle [which I’ll post later]. Kyle Baker is an amazing talent and it was a pleasure meeting him.

One of the best parts of each Heroes Convention is watching artists create pieces for the auction. That’s Craig Hamilton working on his “300” piece. Craig’s an amazing artist who puts some much thought into everything he does. One of the cool things about Craig’s painting is that it works both horizontally [as seen above] or vertically! Tony Harris worked on a wicked “Phantom of the Opera” piece, while Phil Noto brought Batman, Batgirl and Catwoman together as Andrew Robinson started “After the Parade” .

That’s Gus Vasquez and his lil cousin Rosario Dawson. [Yeah, Rosario Dawson as in “Sin City”, “Grindhouse”, “Clerks 2”, and a whole lot more!] Rosario and Gus were back as special guests of the show and also the auctioneers! They did a great job and a new record was set when Adam Hughes’ Star Wars painting topped out at $5K!

It was so cool just to spend the weekend among friends, many of whom happen to be talented artists. Andrew Robinson definitely falls into both categories. The drawing above and this one are just two pieces that Andrew had created for his latest sketchbook. I was also lucky to see an advance copy of Andrew’s new art book that will be coming from Alberto Ruiz’s Brandstudio Press. Andrew’s book is going to be a hot seller and I can’t wait to get my copy!

Raf and Alberto spoke and Raf may have an “art of” book coming soon. I can’t believe I didn’t get any pictures of any of the sketches Raf produced. I was just too in awe of his work since it had been so many years since I’d been able to sit and watch him draw. I did get this shot and this one of two Punisher sketches that Beatty worked up for some lucky fans.

I guess I was just too busy actually talking to friends [Gary McKee, Jason Walker, and Eric Layton to name just three] and saying “hi” to artists [Jeff Parker, Brian Stelfreeze, Cully Hamner, Adam & Alison, Casey Jones, Cliff Chang, Tommy Lee Edwards and so many others] that I didn’t take many pictures. I promise I’ll do better next year… but please understand, no one does it as well as Pat Sun.

I was able to get some great additions to for my Stallone sketch collection. That’s Mike Wieringo pictured above. Mike’s blog is regular reading for me, not only because of his great sketches, but because of his thoughts about each sketch. When I contacted him about a Rocky sketch he posted after seeing “Rocky Balboa”, he said I could pick it up at Heroes. Mike was also selling a sketchbook and with each book purchased fans got a free sketch. Talk about a great deal! I picked up a sketchbook and got Mike’s take on Jack Carter as a bonus. [I’ll post it soon.]In addition to the two sketches I got from Mike Wieringo, I also was able to get one each from Rick Remender and Kyle Baker. Andrew Robinson did a cool Rocky for me before arriving at the show. So did Andy Smith. Megan Ruiz [Alberto’s daughter — a true prodigy] came through with Rambo. I also was able to get on Robin Mitchell’s sketch list and come home with The Art of Robin Mitchell, Volume 1 and his take on Cosmo Carboni from Paradise Alley. I’ll post all of these sketches once I get them scanned.

If you’ve made it with me this far, then you know a good time was had by all. Thank you and good night!

Heroes More Than Ever!

I’m always ready for Heroes. It’s my favorite comic con of the year due to it’s laid back atmosphere and the amount of talent that the show attracts. I didn’t think that it would be easy for Shelton to top last year’s guest list, but this year’s is mighty impressive! And I just found out that Dave [100 Bullets] Johnson, Rafael [Conan] Kayanan, and Andrew [Dusty Star] Robinson will be sharing table space alongside my best bud, “Big” John Beatty.

Yeah, I’m always ready for Heroes… and now more than ever!

Raf @ Heroes

I just found out earlier this week that my buddy, Rafael Kayanan, will be a guest at this year’s Heroes Con. I first met Raf about 30 years ago! He was just a kid wanting break in comics. Since then he’s gone on a successful career in both the comic and film industry.

Raf’s not only an extremely talented artist [as in creating artwork], but also a highly accomplished martial artist [as in can kick some butt]. In the comic field he’s worked on everything from Conan to Star Wars. In the film industry he’s done everything from storyboards and conceptual art to serving as technical adviser and fight choreographer on major films. You just know he’s got some great stories.

Raf will be at a table next to Big John Beatty. You just know that this is going to be THE place to be. Hope to see you there!

Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find

It’s never to early to start talking up one of the best comic book convention’s in the world! Heroes Con, in its 26th year, is stronger than ever. This year’s guest list continues to grow. Despite the impressive size of the guest list, the show retains a small con feel. Due to a packed schedule of activities, there’s something for everyone. The show is perfect for families [in fact, for years we’ve made Heroes a part of our family vacation]. If you have any interest in comics, art, or just having a great weekend, then you should come to the con!

MallowCon Report

Last weekend I had the good fortune to attend the first Comics Collector’s Comic-Con in Port St. Lucie. The show was put on by Keith Mallow [pictured above probably wondering how he ended up in a StalloneZone t-shirt]. You’ve heard me talk about Keith [and his lovely wife Monica] before. They’re good people [well, at least Monica is…]. I was there with my best buddy, Big John Beatty, who was a guest at the con. Here’s how the show went…
Beatty and I arrived early. The room was already packed with dealers. Keith led us back to Big John’s table. I was surprised to see Jesse “Cadre” Hansen set up at a table behind us. I should have known that Cadre would be at the con since he is “the hardest working man in comics.” Jesse had his latest project on hand, the #1 issue to Cornerstone which features four stories by the Cadre Corner Crew [say that three times fast!]. It’s a nice package, and I’d have said that even if Jesse didn’t give me a shout-out in the “Thank You” section!
Soon enough Ethan Van Sciver arrived. His table was next to Beatty’s. My buddy, John Higashi, had asked me to get a sketch from Ethan for him. Ethan agreed to the Star Wars piece [adding another figure to this one that he had drawn earlier].

I decided to take a walk around the room before the doors opened. There were quite a few dealers set up. Tim Gordon was there. Tim’s a great guy and he puts on the Tampa show that you’ve heard me brag about over the years. Keith Mallow and Tim are working together cross-promote their shows and see that they don’t overlap. Pictured above is a shot of the America Man table. They were giving away free copies of their America Man comic. Since the doors were getting ready to open, I headed back to Beatty’s table.

From the time the doors opened until almost closing time, the show stayed busy. Every fan I talked with said he/she was having a great time and making some good purchases. Dealers seemed to be doing good business as well. When both the fans and dealers are happy, you know it’s a great show!

Ethan was able to finish Higashi’s sketch, but then about an hour into the show suddenly had to leave. Hopefully, whatever emergency called him away was been positively resolved.

Beatty had a sketch list that kept him busy through the show. That coupled with a ton of autograph requests [and even a couple of newspaper interviews] made the day flow by quickly. Beatty was in the zone when it came to his sketches. Each one was a winner, but this Punisher sketch [purchased by uber Punisher fan Bart ] was my favorite of the show.

As the show came to an end, everyone started to say their good-byes. We told Tim that we’d be at his show in August, if we didn’t make the one in May. Cadre said that he and his crew would be down for the next Sketch Society meeting. We told Joe “Ladder Leg” that we’d see him at the next show. There was just one last thing to do before hitting the road… and that was to thank Monica and Keith for putting on a great show… I decided that it would be best for Beatty to thank Keith

Party-time in Port St. Lucie

If you’re anywhere near Port St. Lucie, Florida this Sunday you might want to swing by the community center [2195 SE Airoso Blvd.] for a Collector’s Comics mini-convention. My buddy, John Beatty will be there signing autographs and doing sketches. Ethan Van Sciver will also be on hand working his artistic magic. The show runs from 10:00am-4:30pm. Phone 772-878-2277 for more details. Hope to see you there!

One Mega-Great Day

Usually when I plan to go to a comic convention, I post the news well in advance in case I have friends planning to be there. Much of the fun of cons is hanging with folks you seldom see! I hadn’t planned to attend this weekend’s Orlando MegaCon. Two weekends ago I attended FX and my wallet needed a break. Even though Darwyn Cooke was scheduled for MegaCon [and I really wanted a shot at a Cooke Stallone sketch], I figured to sit this show out.
Imagine my surprise, when at 7:30am Saturday, my good buddy John Highashi called me.  John knew how badly I wanted a Darwyn Cooke Stallone sketch.  Higashi said that Darwyn was sketching, and his prices were very reasonable. Unfortunately, there was no way that I could get over on Saturday since I had plans with my son Chris.
At 11:30pm, Higashi called me again to say Darwyn still had a couple of slots open. If I could get there early Sunday, I might still have a shot! To sweeten the deal, John had come up with two one day passes! [Talk about a true friend!] I spoke with Chris and he wanted to go.

That’s Chris and “The James” Howell looking all gangsterish. Chris and I got up early. I was first in line at Darwyn’s table. Right behind me came Randy Martin who hoped to get a sketch for his Edward Scissorhands collection. A few minutes later and the line behind us was huge! When Darwyn arrived, he said that he had room for just two more sketches. I was in!  As long as Darwyn didn’t run out of time, I’d get my Stallone piece!!

Usually when I hit cons, I have two or three days to hang with friends, set up sketches and look at what the dealers are selling. Since this was the last day of the show, I had to move quickly.  I visited briefly with Cadre and his crew, Alex Saviuk, Joe Pekar and Alberto Ruiz. [That’s Joe and Alberto in the photo above. Alberto’s the one flashing the lettuce!]
Keith and Monica Mallow were there. They joined Chris and I for lunch at the convention center cafe. Chris is pretty reserved the first time he meets someone, so he REALLY didn’t know what to make of Mallow, who’s a joke a minute guy. [Unfortunately his funny jokes only show up every five minutes or so… but I kid…] Keith is planning a one day show in Port St. Lucie, Florida on April 22nd. I’ll post more about that as the date draws near.

After lunch Chris and I hung out with the guys from Tsunami Studios [Gary McKee, Mike Torrance, and Jason Walker]. They’d prepared a studio sketchbook. It was a bargain, especially since they all drew small headshots free with every purchase. I’ll post up mine later this week.

The cool thing about hanging at the table is you get to see the guys working on commission sketches, you get to visit with other artists who stop by, as well as the folks who come to the show in costume.  Although he wasn’t in costume, I was surprised to see Jimmy Sanders III! It had been about 12 years since I last saw him. He’d made a splash in the comic biz as an inker and was going full bore for a while. Then a lot of things happened and he seemed to have dropped off the planet. He said that he’s hoping to back into comics.
As the afternoon wore on, I began to wonder if Darwyn would get to my sketch. He always had a huge line of fans who wanted to shake his hand, get a photo, and have him autograph a stack of comics. Darwyn was always friendly and took the time to make sure each fan left happy. He was making progress on his sketch list, but the clock was ticking
Matt Halloub hung at the table for a bit. He picked up some great additions to his collection. Hawaiian Dave visited and shared some of the great pieces that he scored at MegaCon. John Higashi would suddenly teleport in, and then just as quickly be off again. “The James” rounded up all the sketches that he’d set up. I had come to the show hoping to set up one sketch with Darwyn Cooke.
The show was almost over when word got back to me that Darwyn was drawing Sly! I swung by his table and it was ready! I thanked him then made my way back to table Tsunami. After just a few minutes the end of show announcements started. Before we said our goodbyes, Chris snapped a photo of us. That’s Gary looking proud of his pencil, and Jason to our right. I’m behind Gary, and Mike Torrance is behind me. Hawaiian Dave is directly behind “The James” who seems to be putting the Vulcan grip on Jason.

Before I go… let me leave you with a shot of Darwyn and his take on Sly as Jack Carter!

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.

FX or Bust

In just a little over two weeks I plan to attend the annual FX Convention in Orlando, Florida. This year the show looks to be the best ever due to the strong guest list that includes: Matt Wagner, Steve Niles, Michael Golden, Dan Brereton, Dave Johnson, Steve Niles, Whilce Portacio, Andy Smith, Phil Noto and many, many others.

The media guests include Michael Biehn, Lance Henriksen, Ray Park, Adam Baldwin, Hayden Panettiere, and a bunch of others. I usually don’t get too excited with the movie/tv stars, but I have to admit that Michael Biehn and Lance Henriksen would be pretty cool to meet.
The best part of the show for me will most likely be hanging out with friends I seldom get to see [John Higashi and James Howell to name two] and hopefully picking up a couple of new pieces for my Stallone art collection.
If you can make the show be sure and say, “hi.” I’ll be the guy in the Stallone t-shirt. [With the success of “Rocky Balboa” I may not be the only one though!]

A Weekend Like The James’

My buddy, The James, just got back from DragonCon.

DragonCon is a smorgasbord of funmovie & TV celebs, directors, authors, artists, bands, professional wrestlers… well, you get the idea.

I’ve never been to a DragonCon, but if I went, I’d want a weekend like The James had. Yeah, that’s The James sitting with George “Night of the Living Dead” Romero. [And that wasn’t the highlight of his weekend.] Click here to find out what was.


Back Home from Tampa Con

Well, I’m home from Tampa. Although it was a quick trip, and I didn’t get much sleep; I did get to accomplish my major objectives of assisting Bill Black with filming some scenes for two movies he’s currently shooting and seeing my old buddy, Jim Ivey.

That’s Brenna Barry, star of Bill Black’s Gargantarama, and Jim Ivey [looking pretty content at 81] in today’s header photo. I’ll tell show and tell you more about the trip later this week. You’ll also get to see some cool reports over at John Beatty’s Blog. As for now, I need a rest!

Tampa Con, Here We Come!

In just a couple of hours I’ll be heading down to Tim Gordon’s Tampa Comic Book and Toy Convention. Tim holds the show three times a year and it’s always a fun time. Although the show is on Sunday, “Big” John Beatty, “Johnny Star-Warz” Higashi, “The James” Howell and I go down the night before. It’s always a blast with these guys and the convention is like an added bonus.

This trip could turn out to be even more fun than most since our buddy, “Wild Bill” Black is going to film some scenes for one of his movies. Bill is a guest at the show and decided that while he was in Tampa he could combine work with pleasure [or in Bill‘s case pleasure with pleasure]. He’s even enlisted “The James” to play the role of a 70’s lounge singer who gets attacked by a vampire!

Then tomorrow we’ll head to the show. It’s got a pretty impressive guest list for a small one day convention. There will also be a costume contest, door prizes and a film room. I’m really looking forward to seeing an old [as in longtime, not because he’s 81] friend of mine, Jim Ivey.

If you’re within driving distance of Tampa, come on over and join us. If you want to hook up with our group, more than likely I’ll be wearing a StalloneZone shirt, or just look for a 70’s lounge singer who was bitten by a vampire.

Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find

I‘m going to be heading off for a little R&R so you might not see me around here much in the next week or so. One of my stops will be the HEROES CONVENTION in Charlotte. It’s been part of the Zablo family vacation for years and this one should be the best ever. Don’t worry, I’ll tell you all about it when I get back.

Big Beatty, Jazz and Papa will hold down the fort while I’m gone.

Talk to you soon!