Wednesday, June 24, 2009

INTERVIEW WHO?

On Monday, Sue E-mailed me to say that someone from Jazma Online wanted to interview me about Iconic. First thing I had to wonder was...why me? You had Keith and Liam there with impressive titles, AND stories. So why was I picked? I guess the Grandpa Pages resonated with the interviewer.

Anyway, I was sent a dozen or so questions to answer and E-mail back...a couple of them familiar from my interviewing days, which I found funny. Took me three days to get my answers how I liked them. I showed Steve to see what he thought before sending them off.

Well, there ya go; my first interview.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

END OF THE LINE

Sunday. First order of business after breakfast (and discovering that K-Mart didn't open till 12...the hell!) was to have the truck carted away. Wasn't sure how traffic was gonna be or how long the response time would be, so instead of waiting till I'm ready to leave and being stuck longer I did it then. I was a little worried that I'd have to leave with the guy as "some drivers don't like transporting across states without supervision," but luckily the guy was pretty cool. Gave him money for tolls plus tip, and off he went. Got a call about 3 saying the truck reached home.

Finaly got the cheese steaks! After the truck, I headed out to get us and our neighbor some. I finally got to see what the REAL subway there looks like. Basically, it's like the NY subway except the stations are pretty flat and bland, and they have advertisements OVER the tracks instead of on the platform. Also, it was dirtier than ANY NY subway. Plus, not only do they have their own kind of Metrocard, but are still on tokens! Tokens! I can't even remember the last time I used a token, and I was one of the last holdouts before the card became manditory. The line I had to take from City Hall, the Orange Line (let me tell ya, their map, though simpler, was a LOT more complicated in some ways) took forever as there was some kind of delay. I got off at the stop and ended up getting lost, thanks to Google maps taking me to 5th Street instead of where I needed to be, which was 8th. It also didn't help the one street I memorized, Passyuck, left my mind until I asked a local for directions and saw it again.

Anyway, I had my choice: Geno's or Pat's; both at the same intersection and both with extremely long lines. I chose Geno's. After about 20 minutes of waiting, I had my sandwiches within 5. Getting back was a little easier and quicker, except for the fact at the intersection there the streets I was following seem to defy physics, much like that painting with stairs everywhere, and head two different ways at once. I was heading West, then next thing I knew I was going South.

The last day of the show was pretty subdued. I managed to sell one Iconic on an impulse purchase from someone in a rush, and Dave Hooper remembered me when he saw me as he was leaving. That was pretty cool. We packed up, said our goodbyes, and headed for the City Hall station to take the Blue Line to the Amtrak station. On the way I got the idea that I coulda looked for a one-way rental car, but luckily for me it turned out there was none available. So, they ended up spending $99 each direct to New Haven (and ended up passing through NY anyways, so we separated for nothing) and I had $129. So much for offering a convenience.

When I got to my block it decided to start POURING. What the hell is WITH all this rain this month? At least I came home to a plethora of packages: DVDs I ordered from Best Buy, stuff I won on eBay, and my Ghostbusters video game! Woot!

The weekend had a lot of trials and tribulations. I'd say the best part was hanging with Liz and Shawnti. The only reason I even do cons besides cheap comics is to hang with my peeps, especially with how busy I am lately and the fact the CT CAGers tend to get together a lot more than we do down here.

And so much for finally giving Liz back her goddamn luggage cart. I brought it to give, and then the bullshit happened and I ended up taking it back. GAH!!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

TO BOLDLY GO WHERE EVERYONE HAS GONE BEFORE!

Today was my make-up day to get to all the stuff I hoped to get done on Friday. First, I had to pay a visit to the only bank branch open on a Saturday, over a mile away, to get some more funds. I shoulda charged the parking. Lemme tell ya, it's crazy how their subway system is. Some of their lines are just underground trolleys. The way they're laid out it's like riding an underground bus, complete with stop request cords. The bank was also interesting in that you had to be buzzed in and out and walk through a metal detector. Geeze, I knew the area looked like a shitty ghetto, but c'mon!

I did some walking around, passed through U. Penn, and then hit the "train" back. The subway entrance I used was an old decommissioned trolley car placed around it. That was pretty cool. My next stop was the Franklin Institute to see Star Trek: The Exhibition. Basically, it was a collection of models, props and costumes from the various shows. They had a couple green screens set up where you could get your picture taken and a background added in. I got mine taken on Captain Kirk's chair. I musta missed the transporter room, though, and I wish I hadn't 'cause they offered the pictures on a cradle with a lenticular design so it looked like you were transporting. Ah well.

Proceeding out to nearby Logan Circle (heh), I found a sign that listed and mapped some nearby places. Yesterday, I saw a picture of it in the souvenir shop and tried to determine it's location by the background buildings, thinking it was on the side of town where my bank was. I had also asked the chick in the souvenir shop about where the Rocky statue was, and she gave me these complicated directions and what not. All she needed to say was it was along the Franklin Parkway, because on that sign was a picture of the art museum with the statue on the top of the steps. Or, so I thought. You see, I didn't know about the statue's controversy and repeated movements, so when I made it to the museum and saw no statue, I was a little concerned my location recognition was off. I still ran up them (because I always run up stairs) and grabbed a few shots. It was when I went back down I tried a hunch and found the statue at the SIDE of the stairs. Go me!

Did I also mention that, after being teased with sunshine yesterday, today was all rain AGAIN? Friggin' weather. Rain in New York, rain here...

I went back to the show to hang with them for a bit, and to rest and relax. I was overdoing it, but with so much to see and so little time, can ya blame me? I stuck around long enough to do a couple sketches with Liz's stuff, and headed back to the hotel to relax as I told her I was gonna do before I got sketchy.

Ma had said we had to go eat some real Philly Cheese steaks and the girls were game. Well, we had delay after delay, and this here was basically our final night to do it. And then I find out the girls made plans to not only go to a party, but Shawnti is getting treated to dinner and Liz is tagging along. Despite my saying I was gonna go back to the hotel to relax a bit, and that I DID have my cell phone, nobody could find me so they just went ahead with the plans. I'll admit, I was agitated at first, not so much at our plans getting kiboshed again because, c'mon, it's just cheese steak, but at how it ended up happening (and also with how long it was taking to list my comics). But, with all the crap Liz has to deal with at home right now I can't really fault her for not thinking straight.

So, we ended up at the Hard Rock Cafe with Tom and Danny, two guys they met at a prior show, and had a good time. Except for the 50 billion birthdays everything had to stop to acknowledge. They were playing some kick-ass music too. Me and Liz decided we were too tired, and the partIES were too far for us to go to if we wanted to bail at any time, so Shawnti went off with them and we hit the hotel. Liz intended to do some art, but passed right out. Me, I went back to listing my new books so I could get that done before coming home to non-stop work. Of course, i didn't finish but fearing more rain I threw the stuff into the van anyway. At least I got up to the S's.

So far, my view of Philly is kinda meh. I've been to a lotta new towns these last couple years, and Philly's been the dirtiest so far. It's like a ghetto with nice blocks interspersed here and there. A lotta homeless people on the streets, abandoned buildings. As grimey as it looks in the movie Trading Places is about as grimey as it looks in real life. Not a place I'd like to live, that's for sure.

By the way, I saw Trading Places on Comedy Central when I went back to the hotel. Most funny appropriately timed movie to have on this weekend.

Friday, June 19, 2009

IT'S DEAD, JIM

It's a damn good thing I'm anal-retentive about symmetry. And getting into things. If I wasn't, I wouldn't have decided to center the van and I wouldn't have discovered that the fuel injector died. At first I thought it was the battery, but pops and the AAA guy pretty much confirmed it. So, we're ending the weekend by taking public transport back to the city and I'm having the van towed to the house. Delaying it till Sunday so I can ship stuff back in it and not have to carry every effing thing.

With that fun out of the way, I got to the show and put my stuff up on the table. Depressed about my poor truck, I decided to use it as a good excuse to hit the discount bins hard and fast. After that, I did my rounds. I saw the guys I knew from Section 8, David Quiles, Ken Okabayashi who I saw at MoCCA, and Jim Calafiore. Sitting near us was Dave Hooper, a Captain America artist from the late 90s and who worked on the arc we just recently put out in trade, Fighting Chance. I thought it was funny running into him and we proceeded to have a looooooong conversation about goings on with him and the state of Marvel management in the 90s. And then I saw Sean McKeever and closed out the show talking to him. Both great guys, real pleasures to talk to. I even quickly met Dan Slott as he was on his way out.

Now, let me tell you this pisser. Liz had confirmed with the show that we could get an extra chair, being that we had a couple people. What they DIDN'T tell her was that it'd cost $53 to get one! They also said no personal chairs, and yet a few people near us had them. So Liz went out and got a cheap beach chair to use for the show. What a friggin' ripoff!

Liz and I made tracks back to Independence Mall, the park where the Liberty Bell is kept, to check out the souvenier shop we saw. We got a buncha crap for our respective peoples, then did a little more exploring on our way back to the convention center. We saw the site of the current mint, as well as the tomb of the unknown soldier. Seems like a few attractions didn't make it into any of my preparatory searches. Odd.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A STATE OF INDEPENDENCE

Naturally, I didn't accomplish anything I set out to do the last week. I wasn't able to get upstate, I wasn't able to work on the site, and I didn't even get to do my stories. But, we all saw that coming.

The big news is today I'm in Philadelphia for Wizard World with Liz and Shawnti. Of course, what trip would be complete without a lotta bungles and blunders along the way. First, Liz didn't text me they were on the way until Norwalk, and their train also had a lotta starts and stops. And then my final packing, of course, took forever. And then there was the traffic and trying to find a way to get to Vanderbilt Avenue to meet them. I dunno why the stupid city has a lotta turning restrictions. And while it didn't inhibit us much, it was pouring a good chunk of the way.

We stopped at a rest stop as two of us had to go and we were all pretty hungry. The Burger King there was really retarded. They basically had a buncha slots set up that they gradually filled with burgers. You took the burgers, your fries and drink, and then you got rung up appropriately. The problem with that system is if they're really slow, chances are you'll grab a burger that's been sitting a while. And if they don't have what you want ready, you'll have to wait until they get up to filling it.

Back on the road, we ended up taking a few missed turns as the GPS is funky in that way. Getting to the hotel was easy after that, but finding parking was the bitch. All the local garages had a height restriction that didn't accomodate my van. We eventually got to a lot and I was able to pay for a 4 day stay. We checked in to another problem; the room Liz ordered was supposed to have a couch bed, but didn't. The guy upgraded us for free, though. We passed by the convention center to get our badges and see where the table was. Since there was only an hour left for set-up, we decided to do that tomorrow and just get to sight-seeing.

First stop was the visitor's center at Independence Mall, followed closely by the Liberty Bell right as it was closing. We proceeded to wander for a bit, taking pictures of random architecture while we hunted down the attractions I had looked up the other night. One surprise we came accross was their Irish Hunger Memorial, which had to be the largest and most elaborate I've seen yet. Basically was a panorama of scenes and you followed the story by walking around it. We did the waterfront, and found a comic shop that we browsed some. I got a couple books out of their dollar bins, nothing remarkable. I hate how other state shops charge you tax on books. WTF?

We came back and relaxed for a while after doing some shopping for the weekend at Rite Aid. The girls weren't hungry so I went off to hunt for dinner myself. Amaryllis wasn't kidding when she said this town shuts down early. The only place reasonably priced I found open was this chicken place around the corner. Food probably woulda been more enjoyable had I a sufficient amount of ketchup.

The last thing to go wrong was we had two TVs in the room, and both our remotes were dead. I went down to the front to get some batteries, and there was a huge-ass line. I tried to call for service from the phone near me, but my button was apparently dead as Shawnti got through. So a maintenance guy came up with a new remote, and I pegged the three of the 50 some-odd channels I'd be frequenting that weekend.

First day had its share of cock-ups, but we still had fun. Now, on to the show tomorrow!

Monday, June 08, 2009

WHO YA GONNA CALL?

25 years, baby! Ghostbusters hit theaters TODAY in 1984! Hard to believe it's been so long...and I STILL love watching the movies.

It's a big year for Ghostheads. IDW is rolling out their second mini-series (which I hope is a dramatic improvement over the LAST piece of crap). The Ghostbusters video game comes out next Tuesday after a couple years of anticipation. Ecto-1 recieved a COMPLETE restoration that was leaps and bounds over the spackle job done for the promotion of the new DVD 2-pack in 2005. And now, apparently, Ghostbusters 3 is back on track and getting made!

Now, that's the good. The bad is...the post office lost my package! One of my last Ebay wins was a complete run of Red Sonja from Marvel. I won it on April 29th. I checked the status and there were no updates. I E-Mailed the guy and he assured me it was shipped. I check it again, it was sent out the end of May. I checked it again today, and it said it was delivered. What what WHAT?! Delivered to WHERE? I was HOME when it was supposedly dropped off...and yet here I am, with no comics. Dropped the guy another line...hopefully he's more helpful THIS time than last time.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

MoCCAFEST

This weekend is the annual Museum of Comic and Cartoon art festival. It's a small convention that often recieves a lot of praise. Hearing about it after our horrible Big Apple experiences last year, I fought for CAG to have a presence there. This was our year.

Instead of the usual Puck Building, the fest was moved to the 69th Regiment Armory for rent reasons. Probably a good move, considering the cramped quarters I hear the Puck had versus the open space there. I went to the bike show at the armory a few years ago when I was looking for a new bike, so I was familiar with it.

Damn good thing I bought my ticket online, since the line was around the corner by the time I got there. They had several rows of tables. Was surprised to see DC had a presence in Vertigo. I ended up dropping $100 on books I saw. Couple were pricey, couple were deals. The problem with the Indy world is not a lot of the Indy stuff catches my interest. The stuff I got is probably closer to mainstream than most.

Iconic debuted today. The response has been pretty positive so far with 5 good reviews in the can. The copies we all ordered will be sent out later on, what we had was just for the show. They also went and got Iconic caps made for 4 of us, and I got one. Nice hat. Think I'll wear it to next week's meeting.

Spent a good part of the show hanging out with Willie. He's fallen on some hard times and will end up moving to Florida during the week. We walked the show some, but spent most of the time in Madison Square Park talking. The problem with small shows is you can see everything right away. And unfortunately, our dinner plans to celebrate Iconic got pushed back to 8 because the show opened and therefore will close late, which then ended up being 7 still. Sooooooo, yeah. Lotta time to kill.

However, they ended up closing the show at the normal time anyway. Someone can't make up their minds. We went off to dinner with significantly less people than who said were coming, but we still had fun. Sue has a habit of picking out EXPENSIVE places to go. The effing sodas were $3.50 a glass! I hate eating in Manhattan...

Overall was a fun day. I'm not gonna go tomorrow so I can get the Index finished up. I'm hoping to do some Ghostbusters-related material in the next week as the 8th is the 25th anniversary, baby!

Friday, June 05, 2009

THE SKINNY...

ON WORK
To save money, they've been cutting part-time routes and combining them with the similar full-timers. As a result, they put me together with Rory. So, every day but Monday I'll be going out with him and splitting the duty on both our routes. It's an okay arrangement and I get it, but I kinda miss not only being my own boss on road, which was an aspect that sold me on the job.

Rory keeps giving me a hard time about my use of two handtrucks, but the one time I only took out one I really NEEDED two. That was a day we not only had a ton of traffic, but a lot more pieces per stop than he let on resulting in two lates. Not to mention, the way he does the route his customers will ALWAYS be serviced first, leaving mine in the cold. The last time we had to start on my block I was able to get us doing my stuff first, which was smart. Save the lugging around the block for last. The other fun thing was this one stop of his had a massive amount of bulk the last couple of weeks. I ended up doing it the last one, making use of two handtrucks to save me a trip in lugging. Didn't help too much the day they had two massively long and heavy boxes, but still.

The drawback to this method is I need to rely on another part-timer to bring me back to the station. THIS is the fun part. Thanks to the combining, there aren't many part-time routes left on the road. I chose to go with Brian because he usually gets back the quickest. But, the first Friday, Damien sent him home as we had too many full-timers in and the guy doing his route had to help another courier with his afternoon deliveries. Sooooo, after half an hour of waiting for a response from ANYONE, I ended up taking the SUBWAY back with my handtruck, handcart and seven packages. The next time he was unavailable, I tried to go with Leslie but someone else got stuck on him, so I left him my equipment and just took the train. Smarter this time.

It really is a pain in the ass. I'm hoping either volume goes back up or they'll get sick of hearing me complain and this'll be reversed.

It's not all bad news, though. One of my enemies is transferring to be closer to home. That news just made my weekend, man. No matter what happens, it's allllll good.

ON COMICS
I can now officially talk about it. I am the editor in chief of GWP, the second generation. Guild Works was the partnership between Keith and Mark until they had some creative differences. Mark took all the books, Keith got to keep the name. So, he's revitalizing it with a new logo and a new name, and a new support staff of people he know won't screw him. While he'll be the Publisher in the background, Hector will be art director with Matt M on graphics. He's also working out a deal to become an imprint of an associated small presser so we're looking at a strong start for us. More on that part as it gets finalized.

Marvel Index has been renewed for a SECOND YEAR. I don't know HOW in the hell that happened. Our sales have dropped to about half in 4 issues. I guess they are considering us along the lines of the Marvel Adventures books, which sell well below their tollerable cancellation level. Hey, fine by me. I'm just hoping I've got an adequate collection of whatever titles we're gonna hit once we finish these initial three. I'm finishing issue 8 now and then taking the next week off so I can work on my sites and maybe churn out as many of 4 Ghostbusters stories I can for the anniversary.

ON LIBERTY
Lawmakers've finally decided to open the damn Statue since 9/11. No reason why it shoulda been closed this long. However, I doubt I'll be visiting anytime soon. I went once and discovered that it's grossly over-sized in movies. Built for a smaller generation of people, there's barely any room for me to stand up...on the stairs or in the crown.

ON ROMANCE
So, basically, I've decided to give up all pretense that I'm actually considering ever actually looking for someone. Here's why: time. If I get involved with someone, I wanna be all in. Right now, that ain't gonna happen. Too many responsibilities and projects going on, I can't afford to give any to someone and that's just not fair. On top of that, I don't think I've really ever felt any of the emotions connected to love. Thik the closest I ever came was over a decade ago, and haven't felt anything similar since except for maybe a year or so ago. But, that doesn't matter. Of course, people still pester me about my status and who I should make moves on and what not, and then there are the obligatory "aren't you lonely?" questions. To that, my answer is I've spent my whole life alone...why would I be lonely now? Lotta people can't get their heads around the concept that ya know I've never had Saturday night dates, a prom date, or what have you. Can't miss what ya didn't have, and frankly with all the drama involved you can keep it. My career is more important to me at this point than taking the first steps towards a family I don't even want.

ON GAY MARRIAGE
Republicans and Bible thumpers: shut the f*** up. 'Nuff said.