By Beau Smith
As I mentioned in my last few columns, I was recently a special guest at Mid-Ohio Comic Con in Columbus, Ohio. (Oct. 3rd and 4th) The convention is under new ownership, James and Bill Henry. Both of these guys are top notch and really nice. The enlisted former owner, Roger Price and the show was one of the best Mid-Ohio cons in recent years. By moving the convention back almost a month early, they were able to not only get more comic book creators, but more readers and fans as well. Both Saturday and Sunday were busy and there was never that “ghost town” scene that plagues most cons on Sunday afternoons.
The con was like that of some of my other favorite conventions, the Pittsburgh Comic Con, the Baltimore Con and Heroes Con in North Carolina. You have that perfect mix of big show/small show, meaning that you have a great line up of guests and dealers, yet you have the “family” feel where you can hang out, talk to and have fun with folks without all of that New York or San Diego rush. This, like the other cons I mentioned, is a great place to pick up back issues, especially Silver and Bronze Age comics for an average price of around $3.00. You just can’t beat that. Paul Mullin from Comic Book World in the Cincinnati, Ohio and Florence, Ky. Was set up and had all kinds of great deals from his three stores. In the past I, along with my buddy Chuck Dixon, have been able to find all kinds of great deals from Paul. In fact, my prized run of Sky Pilot – The Fighting Missionary Of The Far North came from Paul at Mid-Ohio Con. Great Norm Saunders covers and Frank Borth interior art.
|Billy Tucci-Dean Mullaney-Beau Smith|
I had the honor of moderating the Sgt. Rock-Yesterday And Today panel with the legendary Joe Kubert and the bombastic Billy Tucci. Of course, Joe is best known for being “The” Sgt. Rock artist as well as a writer, teacher and businessman. Billy Tucci, creator/artist/writer of Shi is now the artist/writer of the new Sgt. Rock mini-series The Lost Battalion coming out next month from DC Comics. Our panel went great and it was wonderful to see 82 year old Joe Kubert as excited and animated as a 12 year old when talking about his latest work as well as what he has done before. I tried my best to go beyond the usual fan magazine style questions that we get way too much of online and in print. Joe was there with some incredible, insightful answers. When asked if editors and writers should insert their own politics and personal agendas into mainstream super hero books, Joe calmly answered, “Their first goal should be to make a compelling story with words and pictures” The goal is to entertain and to give the readers what they want. ” Joe answered all the questions with common sense and professionalism. It was refreshing to have the answers by both he and Tucci go without being laced with a snarky, “I’m so clever” tone that we hear way too much of in today’s panels.
Joe told wonderful behind the scene stories of comic book publishing from not only from the ’50s through the ’90s ,but today as well. I cannot stress how entertaining and educational he was. Billy Tucci wowed the crowd with his original art from the upcoming Sgt. Rock-The Lost Battalion and Kubert as well. Billy told of his world travels and massive research that he did for this series. He also spoke of his own military service, which brought Kubert to talk about his own time in the Korean war. As I said, this was a panel that was a treat for any fan, reader, artist, writer or historian.
|Beau Smith & Joe Kubert|
I got the chance to hang out with a lot of my friends on both sides of the table. Dean Mullaney, former founder of Eclipse Comics and the first guy to hire me in the business. Dean was there representing his latest IDW Publishing work of Terry and the Pirates, Little Orphan Annie as well as his Scorchy Smith/Art Of Noel Sickles books. If you haven’t picked up any of these incredible books then you should at www.idwpublishing.com or your local book/comic store. Needless to say, Dean, Billy Tucci and myself had some very interesting discussions on politics in the evenings. It’s always fun to have the far left, the far right and the smack dab in the middle political opinions tossed back at the same dinner table. The best part is that these were discussions and not the scream fests that get nothing done.
Up and coming artist, Marlin Shoop was signing and sketching. Marlin is working with me on the comic book CYN based on actress and martial artist, Cynthia Rothrock. Marlin has worked for Top Cow, DC and Marvel. He is a Kubert School grad and is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet. Marlin is also an accomplished martial artist in his own right.
I got to spend time with my co-creator of Courting Fate and the creator of the new IDW Publishing book, The Dreamer. That would be the lovely Lora Innes. She and her husband Mike Innes were there to make sure I didn’t step out of line. I repaid them by making them go to dinner with me and Billy Tucci. Trust me, having dinner with Billy is like being on the Hurricane Deck of a small ship. Lora is a very talented writer/artist. I think a lot of folks will be very interested in her book The Dreamer. It’s a time travel story that slides between the Revolutionary War and today. It’s packed with action, witty dialogue, romance and humor. Lora’s husband Mike is joining me in trying to get someone to bring back Charles Bronson’s favorite after-shave, Mandom. Check out YouTube and see what Mike and I are talking about. It is way too priceless.
|Mike and Lora Innes|
Bobby Hickey of Blue Line Pro, maker of all the best comic book art material as well as Sketch Magazine, hung out Saturday and brought some of my No Guts, No Glory: How to Market Yourself in Comic Books. Bobby is also the publisher of it and my Parts Unknown comic. Make sure you check out all their stuff
|Beau Smith & Bobby Hickey|
There were some other highlights of the show. Chris Claremont (X-Men) had some mighty long lines as did Alan Davis, Billy Tan, Chris Sprouse, Len Wein, Marc Sumerak, Mike Grell and Ethan Van Sciver. Ethan is truly one of the most talented guys in the business. He signed non-stop during the show. His booth was beside mine along with long time fan favorite artist, Keith Pollard (Vigilante, Avengers).
Some of my long time friends were there as well, David Mack, the ever witty Paul Storrie, Darryl Banks, Brian Pulido, Tony Isabella, Mark Evanier, Thom Zahler and P. Craig Russell. Many stories were told and lots of new lies made up. I cannot stress how much fun this con was. You should really try and make it there next year.
Busted Knuckles Manly Cover of the Week: Sgt. Rock: The Lost Battalion #1
Art by Billy Tucci
Our Army At War #172
Cover Art by Joe Kubert
In keeping with the great work that Joe Kubert and Billy Tucci have done for Sgt. Rock and the war genre of comics, this week’s Manly Cover is a double feature with great cover art by both of these artists and former servicemen. I hope you enjoy these looks at Sgt. Rock, Yesterday and Today.
Busted Knuckles Babe of the Week: Elisabeth Hasselbeck
Talk Show Host and Reality Show Contestant
In 2001 she was one of the most popular stars of the show Survivor when she held the attention of the then red hot show with her All-American good looks and her surprising ability to outlast almost everyone else. She is now a regular host on the talk show The View where she has proven that she is no pushover when it comes holding her own against intolerant talk show bullies like Rosie O’Donnell and Joy Behar. Some say it’s only a matter of time before the leggy host will have her own program showcasing her own politically savvy ways. In my book, anyone that can stiff-arm the likes of Rosie O’Donnell is A-List.
I’ve been catching some of the NBC Fall season. Here are some quick comments:
Heroes: I don’t think I’ll be making time for this one anymore. It’s become a very badly written mainstream superhero comic book. The narrative and dialogue is really over the top and cliché. Hiro and Ando still get great lines and have remained likeable.
Life: One of the most underrated shows of the last few years. It has a great cast and top notch directing. Each episode is stand alone and complimented with a continuing sub-plot. You should be watching this show and buying the first season on DVD.
My Own Worst Enemy: I’ve never been much of one to follow the work of Christian Slater, but this show seems to be something that he might catch some attention with. The basis for the show has a Jeykll/Hyde slant. Slater plays a spy that is very Jack Bauer/James Bond like that also inhabits the same mind/body of an almost Ned Flanders family guy. Internal struggle and they “talk” to each other with videos, notes, etc when one is running the body. I’ve only seen the opening episode so far. I doubt if it’s anything I’ll make time for, but if I’m on the couch when it comes on I might watch it. Then again it just might change my mind.
Well, I’ve run a little long this, so I’ll let ya go and grab a sandwich and some rest. See you next week.
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