The Cockroaches reunite! Plus some thoughts connecting little-known bands, the Wiggles and Fleetwood Mac

The Cockroaches reunite!
Plus some thoughts connecting little-known bands, the Wiggles and Fleetwood Mac
            I was very excited when my wife posted this on my Facebook wall in early April:
This coming June, for the first time in over 25 years, The Cockroaches are reforming their original album line up to celebrate the release of their album catalogue on iTunes. Join Anthony, John and Paul Field, Jeff Fatt, Phil Robinson, Tony Henry and Peter Mackie for one of two shows! All tickets $30 and on sale Monday (April 14) at Midday!Dee Why RSL – Saturday June 14. For tickets, call (02) 9454 4000 www.deewhyrsl.com.au

Rooty Hill RSL – Friday June 27. For tickets, call (02) 9625 5500 www.rootyhillrsl.com.au

Tickets on sale Monday, Midday…Hey let’s go, let’s go!

***
            Before I tell you about the Cockroaches, let me tell you about the Wiggles.  My daughter, then three, watched the Wiggles at her babysitter. About a year ago, I do not remember the exact momentous date, we found some Wiggles on our TV through Youtube.
            I walked in to the living room and my wife and child were watching a show with grown men wearing long-sleeved yellow, blue and red shirts, black boots and black trousers with pant legs only going to their upper ankles.
            “You’re watching the original Star Trek?”
            Then a fellow in a purple shirt walked on the screen. Purple? No one on Star Trekwore purple. At least until The Next Generation – when Troi wore purple. He’s a Betazoid? Oh great. “Captain, I sense hostility!” “Yes, Counselor. That explains why they opened fire on us…”
            No, no, explained my wife. This is the Wiggles.
            I had heard of the Wiggles – I knew they were a children’s show that did songs and danced and such. They were mentioned in a radio DJ’s rant: “Flav-a-flav and the Wiggles will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame before Rush and Foreigner will”. (I know, I know, Rush was inducted in 2013. Too little too late, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame…)
            I watched and enjoyed the shows. We Tivoed more shows and enjoyed them too. By the time we got into the Wiggles, they had over twenty years of children’s entertainment under their belts.
            By summer of 2013 the Wiggles were #1 on my daughter’s Hit Parade, trumping even Barney in the “What would you like to watch” category.
            We looked up all we could on the Wiggles. We want to know what our kid is watching – we did the same with Barney and with newer shows she’s watched. Who stars in them? What else did they do? We don’t want her to watch a bunch of weirdoes or a show just out to sell toys. 
            I made a wonderful discovery in my research. The Wiggles grew out of a rock group called the Cockroaches. That sounded familiar, I said. I googled it and found the video to their biggest hit “She’s the One” and another for “Permanently Single”.
            “I remember those songs!” But how? It was a hit in Australia in 1987 and 1989 respectively, which meant it hit the US in 87 or 90. Could I have seen their videos on MTV? No, I had stopped watching it by that time.
            During the late 80s/early 90s I was in law school but also working at a college town radio station in southern Illinois as a DJ.  I’ll bet we had the albums at the station (well, CDs by that point), but we didn’t play them. We were beginning the format now known as “Classic Rock”. This meant our playlist stopped at 1982 or so. It’s all the rage now – we were ten years ahead of our time at being twenty years behind the times.  We wouldn’t even play new songs by established artists.
            So there was no way we’d play new songs by new artists. We received a lot of big hair metal bands’ CDs  – all in the hopes that some station might play a song or too. One CD we received was the first album of LA Guns – they eventually got to be a pretty big group!
            We must have received Cockroaches CDs, too. I liked their style of power pop better than the barrage of metal sent to the station.
            By now other contemporary Australian groups had some hits in the US – Crowded House and Midnight Oil, for example.  I know, I know. Midnight Oil had been around for many years before the mid-to-late 1980s. I’m being Americentric here, haha.
            As is usually the case, once one band opens the door, others jump on the bandwagon. Especially in US markets. In the early 1990s you couldn’t swing a pair of ripped jeans without hitting yet another grunge band from Seattle.
            Australia is the same. “Like Crowded House? Listen to THIS” a sample  CD would boast. When Henry Lee Summers’ album debuted, he was billed as “not just another tall, lanky kid from Indiana” in a clunky attempt to attract John (then Cougar) Mellencamp fans.  The irony here is that Mellencamp is anything but tall and lanky.
            I cannot confirm ANYWHERE on the internet whether the Cockroaches’ CDs were released in the states, or even if their CDs were pushed by marketers to radio stations. But how else would I have known about them?
            The Wikipedia entry for the Cockroaches – telling us their entire history – is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cockroaches
            A brief synopsis: the Cockroaches numbered among them three brothers with the last name of Field.  One of the Field’s daughters died of SIDS. The band broke up shortly after that tragedy. The fun had gone out of it. I don’t blame them.
            One Field brother, Anthony, went to college and got his degree in Pre-School education. My sister has that degree too. Of the 500 or so students, there were five men. Three of those five men decided to try an experiment. Since they were all of a musical bent, why not try to make music for children that would excite and interest them and not talk down to them?
            And in the past year our house has dozens of their DVDs (some rented from the library), CDs, and ticket stubs to their live show. You can read about my review of their St. Louis concert here:    http://michaelgcurry.blogspot.com/2013/09/were-off-to-see-wiggles-review-of.html
***
            However I came to love their music; I am not surprised I am a fan. A big fan. Beatles aside, I have always been a fan of lesser-known artists. There is so much music out there – to limit yourself to a few musicians or groups is ridiculous. It is, however, the basis for most radio station programming now (I have blogged about the desolate state of radio: http://michaelgcurry.blogspot.com/2013/08/i-finally-bury-long-dead-friend-begin.html). It’s sad to think of all the music people are missing while listening to “Taking Care of Business” for the thousandth time. 
            Instead of the Rolling Stones I listened to Badfinger. Instead of Eric Clapton I listened to JJ Cale (so did Clapton for that matter). Instead of listening to Springsteen I listened to John Prine (so did Springsteen …). I loved the Stones and Clapton and Springsteen; but I loved Badfinger, Cale and Prine more. They needed it more.
            That may be why I liked the Cockroaches so much. While the other DJs were oohing and aahing over the latest metal CD, here was a group making party-rock music. Here are two links to two of the You Tub hits: She’s the One (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1wzFeCJ2dc) and Permanently Single (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKBUl_wzi8o).
            Permanently Single is especially baffling. It barely charted in Australia (#87 in the charts); I doubt it would have been pushed in the US.
            How on earth do I know about this music?
***
            But wouldn’t it be fun to watch them reunite for a couple of shows? It’s not like they’ve been out of practice. Anthony seems to have stepped up his musicianship with the Wiggles – with the new members HE is the one playing guitar instead of Murray. He also continues on the drums and, according to his autobiography, is proficient on many instruments.
            His brothers Paul & John are also involved in various Wiggly escapades – John writes many of their songs and Paul produces songs and videos and acts more or less as their spokesman and manager. They recently formed The Field Brothers and released an album of country music 1964. http://www.thefieldbrothers.com.au/
            Check out some Youtube videos of their live performances – including a countrified version of “Permanently Single”. The Field Brothers have a Facebook page, too.
            This is the last entry on their Facebook page: “Don’t forget! For the first time in over 25 years, The Cockroaches are reforming their original album line up and more to celebrate the release of their album catalogue on iTunes in June. “
            Unlike the original news release quoted earlier, this kind of statement riles me. It’s not the original line-up; it is the most popular line-up.       Notice the press release says “album line-up” which is more correct.
            This may just be my hang-up but usually when a band has its “original line-up”, it doesn’t.
            Fleetwood Mac is reuniting and touring for the first time in many years and I see that phrase bandied about: original line-up. How is that possible, I ask, when Peter Green is dead? Huh, some people ask? Sigh. The ORIGINAL line-up for Fleetwood Mac was Peter Green, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood. The band’s original name was Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac. They were all part of John Mayall’s Blues Breakers and splintered off into their own group and had a few hits (including “Black Magic Woman” – they wrote it but it became the signature tune for Santana).
            This Fleetwood Mac that is reuniting and touring is certainly the most successful line-up (Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood) – their songs are the ones constantly repeated on the radio. But theirs weren’t the first line-up to be successful!
            My favorite line-up for Fleetwood Mac was the one before Buckingham and Nicks joined. This included Danny Kirwan and Bob Welch (who were replaced by Buckingham and Nicks – never that simple, Kirwan left and was replaced by Bob Weston for one album, the group with Welch made one more album after that then he left, etc. …). Their hits included “Hypnotized”, “Heroes are So Hard to Find”, “Bare Trees” and “Sentimental Lady” – a later solo hit for Welch.  You NEVER hear these tunes on broadcast radio. I like this line-up better than the reunited one.
            But that’s just the way I am. Instead of Fleetwood Mac, I listened to Fleetwood Mac.
            If you think about it – there are some groups that did better with a second line-up then their “originals”. The Moody Blues pop to mind. They had a few hits (“Go Now” and “Do Wah Diddy”, but when Justin Heywood and John Lodge joined, their work went into the stratosphere! They’re still touring!
            The Eagles were very successful with their original line-up; their later line-up was HUGELY successful, but their earlier incarnation had plenty of hits, too.  The Eagles are another group that people tout as the “original line-up” going on tour or recording. Umm, no. If Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmidt are there, it’s not the original line-up.  It’s a GREAT line-up, but not the original …
***
            Back to the Cockroaches…
            So here’s my plan – we can fly to Sydney on Thursday, get there Saturday (damn that international date line), go see the show on the 14th (I am unavailable the other date), fly back Sunday morning and land home Sunday night (bless that international date line) and back to work Monday – only two days off!
            Airline tickets for two adults and one child is just over $6,000.00. Add in the cost of the show, food at the airports and elsewhere, a quick overnight stay in a hotel and we’re talking about $7,500.00. To see a band that had no hits in the US and only one top ten song in their native Australia. I should start saving now.
            Maybe Lachy and Emma can babysit during the show. I’ll have to post my request on their Facebook page. I wonder how much their charge? They’ll have to email me their references, of course …
 
 
 
Original Material Copyright 2014 Michael G Curry
             


(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Advertisements

A Visit to Wizard World 2014 Comic Con St.Louis Part Two

A Visit to Wizard World 2014 Comic Con St.Louis
Part Two
                I, my sister, her husband and their son went to Wizard Con on April 5, 2014 in St. Louis. By early afternoon I got all the autographs I wanted and had some comics and album covers signed by two of my favorite artists: Neal Adams and Mike Grell. I could not think of any other comic book artists still alive that I would like to meet. Maybe Joe Staton.
                Well, Steve Ditko of course. And Murphy Anderson. And Jim Steranko. And George Perez. And Jose Luis-Garcia Lopez. Okay, there are LOTS of artists I would still like to meet. 
                Were I able to go back in time the list of artists I would love to meet is quite long: Jim Aparo, Gene Colon, Curt Swan, Dick Giordano, Dick Dillon – all gone now.
                And I’m not talking writers – just artists here.
                But anyway, back to Wizard Con. When we last left our adventurers…
***
                My brother-in-law met, bought a print from, and got the autograph of The Crow creator James O’Barr.
                My sister got the autographs of various guests of the con:  John Bernthal (Shane from Walking Dead), Summer Glau and Alan Tudyk. Sean Astin said she looked like Juliette Lewis.
                My nephew is the only boy in a Tae Kwon Do class of adult men. They call him “Daniel-san”. Ralph Macchio was tickled to hear this and posed for a photo.
                Most thrilling of all for him was meeting Jason David Frank (a Power Ranger). My nephew did some moves for him and Jason put it on his Facebook page as one of the highlights of the Con.
                Adam Baldwin made my sister cry – in a nice way. She was (and is still) a big fan of “My Bodyguard” and Adam was so touched by her story he autographed a headshot from the movie for her at no cost.
                All of them were very kind and courteous to my sister and her son. Good for them.
                Some sad news though – the autograph tickets for Nathan Fillion and Bruce Campbell were already sold out. If they wanted to wait at the end of the line and there was still time they could ask for autographs. My family decided it was easier to wait and come back the next day. Maybe they should put this photo on some nice cardstock and have Nathan and Bruce sign it together.
 
 
                (This is a Wizard World photo taken during of of their photo ops.)
                While I waited for my family to get Sean Astin’s autograph a familiar face approached – it was my cousin from Peoria and his brother. Let me explain: my cousin is actually his father-in-law. My cousin’s daughter married JP. So he is my first-cousin-once-removed-in-law. But he’s still my cousin. And his son and my daughter are nearly the same age and like to play at family reunions. Yes, my cousin’s grandson and my daughter are only six months apart. The age-span between my oldest and youngest cousin is 33 years. My oldest cousin had two children before I was born. A long-lived family are we.
                His brother is no blood relation to me whatsoever, but I remember him from the wedding. It was fun to talk to them for a few hours.
                They got some photos taken with Sean Astin and William Shatner. I was very disappointed in the photos – Shatner’s especially. You can tell it was done in a rush and it could have been a cardboard cut-out as un-animated as it looked.
                Now granted Shatner is in his 80s and sat on a stool for an hour as a parade of fans stood next to him for a photo. I’d be a little weary, too. But if it were my picture I would hope for a smile or something…
                But then again, when are you ever going to get your picture taken with Bill Shatner? I really am torn between saying this is quite cool and being aggravated at his lethargy!
                My family and I walked through the artists’ alley. This was when my brother-in-law got his print from James O’Day. We found ourselves at Mike Grell’s booth (my second visit with him). He was drawing a commission and my nephew and I discussed his technique as we did with Neal Adams.
                Mike said, “The most important tool you have is the eraser!” He held up a well-used piece of rubber. “Not just for mistakes! Look…” Mike opened up his portfolio and showed my nephew eraser marks made to look like speed lines and clouds and leaves.
                “He uses the side of his pencil and the eraser to create the illusion of texture,” I said. I used to draw a comic strip … so I know of these things, you see…  Thanks again Mike Grell, for your time and patience encouraging a young child to practice the art!
                We met more friends before we left: the local comic store (Fantasy Books – their wepage is (http://fantasybooksinc.com/) had a booth and one of the workers recognized me. I’m either very recognizable or I buy too many comics there.
                As with last year, the Best in Show for Cosplay went to my friend who does a pitch-perfect Captain Jack Sparrow. He NEVER breaks character, but his smile when he saw me was heartening. My nephew (who had never met him and didn’t know I knew “Jack”) wanted a picture and Jack grabbed my sleeve and pulled me into the picture. Great fella – he deserved to win.
                My nephew turned 10 this past autumn and I wanted to hire Jack (I hesitate to use his real name without his permission) to entertain at the birthday party. He agreed, but we cancelled when my brother-in-law hired his co-worker Chadto entertain.
                Chadis a member of the 501st Legion Midwest Garrison www.501stsithlords.comand does cosplay all around the mid-west. He does a great Darth Maul and let my nephew pose with him in battle-ready stance! When we left there were other youngsters waiting for their pic with the evil Sith Lord!
                Here is a photo I found on “Jack’s” Facebook page of him and Chris together. I would have loved to have been there. I wonder if they know each other?
 
                Cosplayers abounded at the Con – of course that night was the contest, so everyone was parading around the booths. Were there that many players on Friday and Sunday?
                Lots of Doctor Whos in fezzes and lots of Star Trek, Star Wars and comic book characters. There were also lots of people dressed in costumes from video games. Even my sister had to ask what some of them were dressed as.
                One delight was watching two little girls taking their picture with Batman. “Thank you Batman,” one of them said and hugged the solemn dark knight. Both of the girls had “Hello Kitty” backpacks. Were my daughter there she would have been more interested in the backpacks.
                My wife asked if she would have found anything interesting there. Probably not, unfortunately. There was not much in the way of musicians performing and the panels probably weren’t to her liking. She doesn’t shop nor cares much for autograph-hunting.
                I would love to take my daughter to “meet” Batman and others. But not now. There were other children at the con – four years old and younger – but my daughter doesn’t like scary costumes. Hopefully by the time she is old enough to enjoy watching the cosplayers the zombie fad will have passed and there won’t be too many people drenched in blood with axes sticking out of their faces.
                One of my complaints from last year was my having no knowledge of even the existenceof panels during the con! I assume that is because it was the Con’s first year in St. Louis and it was not well organized. Not so this year. Although their website still did not mention panels, they were included in the program booklets. And another change this year was that we attendees were provided program booklets with which we may peruse the various panels. See how such little details like that can escape a Con organizer?
                Clydeattended some panels and so did JP; and they enjoyed them. I did not attend any panels. Most of the guests had Q&A sessions, there were movie previews and panels celebrating the anniversary of the Voltron franchise. None of this was my cup of tea. Not that I have anything against panels – I spent the first two days of Gen Con doing nothing BUT panels. See my blogs on Gen Con for details: http://michaelgcurry.blogspot.com/2013/08/prose-and-cons-agencon-2013-report-day.html
                But the panels at Wizard Con … meh. If the panels were subjects you enjoyed – I hope you enjoyed them! One I did not attend that piqued my interest was one featuring Bill Finger’s granddaughter. It would have been nice to meet her.
                St. Louis Wizard Con 2014 was more of a success than in 2013 – which in itself was very successful! Will there be one next year? I’d bet so.
                Will I go? Probably. It’s a good place to find old and rare comics. Expensive, but I can’t find them anywhere else – even online. If Neal Adams and other comic artists are there I will get their signatures on my favorite comics. I might even pay to commission some original artwork.
                If there are no big stars that make me ooo and aah; that’s okay.
                This year was much more fun than last year – probably because I met more friends there and knew more people as guests, artists, cosplayers and even exhibitors. Here’s hoping for many more successful years for Wizard Con!
                I’ll see you next year!
Copyright 2014 Michael G Curry

A Visit to Wizard World 2014 Comic Con St. Louis Part One

 
A Visit to Wizard World 2014 Comic Con St. Louis
Part One
                In April St. Louis held its second Wizard World Comic Con. For a refresher – here is the site to my blog describing last year’s experience. http://michaelgcurry.blogspot.com/2013/05/the-pros-and-cons-inapril-st.html
                This year I went with my sister, brother-in-law and their ten-year-old son. I ran into them last year and this year we decided to go together. They are regular attendees of CONtamination each year also in St. Louis, but it was cancelled for 2014. So they decided to take their money to the Wizards this year. They weren’t disappointed.
                I have concluded that Wizard World Comic Con is the world’s most expensive flea market. They had a lot of great stuff there, don’t get me wrong. But most of it was eeeeeeex-pensive! I found a few great posters and some fairly-priced comics. I also found a bin of the original Kenner Star Wars action figures from the 1970s and 1980s. The figures from the “Return of the Jedi” used to be rare and worth a bit. But here they were for $5.00 – about what they sold for 30 years ago. Maybe next year I’ll buy up the ones I didn’t get then. By the third movie I was 20-years-old and not too interested in buying them. Thirty years later it is a different story. I was more interested in buying the small display cases for the figures.
                My sister, bro and nephew were very excited about the guest list. Most of them were available not only for autographs but photo ops. There was an additional fee for those. Last year the list of stars didn’t thrill me; probably because it was Wizard World Comic Con’s first year in a new town and no one knew how successful it would be. They needn’t have worried.
                It was an equal smash this year, so the roster was a little better. Lou Ferrigno, according to my sister, is a frequent guest of these things. Bruce Campbell was a huge draw. Half the cast of Firefly was there: Adam Baldwin, Nathan Fillion, Summer Glau and Alan Tudyk. Wrestler Chris Jericho, Ralph Macchio, Sean Patrick Flanery and Sean Astin were all there for autographs, panels and photos. 
                And this time there were guests that excited me! William Shatner, Adam West and Burt Ward. Woot!
                There was also a Doctor – Matt Smith (the 11th? I’ve lost track) and Karen Gillan (who played his companion Amy) were there for panels, autographs and photo ops. They were the most popular guests with the longest lines. When their autograph times were announced, the noise level of the crowded auditorium rose as people raced to the autograph booths.
                I decided not to ask for Smith’s and Gillan’s autographs – my money was budgeted for Shatner, Ward and West.
                When my family and I first arrived we did some comic book shopping. I helped my nephew find some old cheap comics that were age appropriate. Most comics from my era – the 1970s – were age appropriate of course, but finding stories that was done in one issue was harder. My nephew is a Batman fan, though, so finding cheap Batman comics from the 1970s or before can be tricky. You gotta know where to look. Brave & Bold and World’s Finest are fine choices. I also found him some Justice League of America and I decided to get him hooked on Legion of Super-Heroes. I found plenty of those in the cheaper bins.
                During the long day I also found some reasonably priced silver-age Green Lanternand Legion comics. I found a good golden age World’s Finest and an unbelievably cheap Feature Comics in nice shape. At the Graham Cracker comics kiosk I pointed out the first X-Men comic to my nephew, the first Spider-Man (Amazing Fantasy as well as Spider-Man #1), the first Thor (Journey into Mystery) and my sister was thrilled when I showed her the first appearance of Swamp Thing (in House of Secrets) all on display along with many others.
                While comic hunting, I groused many times at seeing comics I paid full price on in the dollar bins. Later I said I was equally pleased to see comics I paid full price on selling for $70.00 or more!
                We were there about fifteen minutes still digging through bins when I heard a familiar voice. It was by very dear friend Clyde and his wife and adult daughter – also doing some shopping. His daughter mentioned on Facebook that they bought many a fun item and her photos showed many a cosplayer and panels they enjoyed that day. Clyde has yet to write about Wizard World Comic Con, but he has a wonderful series of blogs on comics and related topics here:  http://playmst3kforme.blogspot.com/2013/06/weve-got-you-covered-10-great-comic.html
                Because of our work schedules I have not been able to chat with Clyde for some months. It was nice to catch up!
                After a bit more shopping we decided to get the autographs we wanted done.
                We were near the booths for Adam West and Burt Ward and began there. My sister told me she was bringing her DVD of their Batman movie from 1966. I thought that was a great idea and brought mine too.
                Burt Ward was a friendly and chatty gentleman. He showed us pictures of his dogs and explained how he cared for them and fed them the proper food so that some of them, at 25, play as actively as dogs half their age. His web site is here: http://www.gentlegiantsrescue.com/
                He autographed and personalized our DVDs. My nephew was so nervous he hardly said a word. I told Burt how much I enjoyed his work as Robin (other than some voice work he has done little other acting).
                Adam West was also just as kind and, although they made us rush along, we had enough time to shake his hand. I told him how much I enjoyed his pilot Lookwelland he appreciated that. When he shook my nephew’s hand I said to my nephew, “You realize you are shaking the hand of a man who acted with the Three Stooges.” Whether Adam West was playing me or not when I said they he leaned back in his chair and offered me his hand again. “The Outlaws is Coming, that’s right!” he said, sounding amazed. Hey, I’m a fan of both him and the Stooges, what can I say? It was the Traveling Wilburys of film!
                William Shatner was another matter. He, Nathan Fillion, Bruce Campbell and Matt Smith required queuing in feeder lines long before the autograph schedule. You had to buy the tickets ahead of time. I didn’t know that and luckily Shatner was not sold out. I waited much longer in line that I usually have the patience for. “How long were you in line?” My sister asked later. “I got in line in 2014; I got out in Stardate 3097.4.” Once the autograph session started it went pretty quickly – not a lot of time to gush. I shook his hand and told him I loved his work. He thanked me while autographing a photo I selected from those offered. Surprisingly I didn’t have a lot of Shatner books or pictures. I had a commemorative magazine from Star Trek II with a nice pin-up of him, but decided not to hunt for it. I mentioned I was an attorney and his Danny Crain was a very realistic portrayal and he thanked me. By this time he was signing the lady behind me (her name was Tracy – we got to talk a lot during our months in line) and I was being herded out.
                That finished the autograph-hunting of Wizard World Comic Con for me. My family wanted to get into a few other lines so I said I would meet them back “here” and went to the artists’ alley.
                I found artist/writer Neal Adams’ kiosk earlier to sign two Power Records for which he did the cover – one of Batman and one of Superman. “Do you still have the records?” “Yes, home safe and sound,” I said. My nephew is a budding artist (another nephew Dirk is a professional comic book artist) and we stood and watched Neal draw. I told my nephew I thought Neal was one of the greatest comic artists ever – he drew a head-shot of Batman (a commission for that day, no doubt) while we watched. I told my nephew to watch how he draws lines and circles. My nephew was just as thrilled to look at all the posters and other artwork surrounding Adams. My sister had a cell phone photo of a sketch my nephew did and proudly showed it to Neal (there was no one in line at the time). I asked Neal when he started drawing. “Four,” he said. I told my nephew he had six years to catch up. Thank you, Neal, for allowing a ten-year-old to watch you make your art!
                But Neal Adams had his own kiosk away from the artist alley. There I met Mike Grell – an artist whose style very much compares with Neal Adams. In fact, Grell took over the art chores of Green Lantern after they brought back that title after its run with … Neal Adams. Neal Adams and Denny O’Neil produced a now-legendary story arc, but not enough to revive slagging sales. The title was cancelled and brought back a few years later with O’Neil writing, but now with Grell drawing.
                No one was in line at Grell’s booth so I introduced myself and shook his hand. “When I started reading comics, I read your Green Lantern and your Legion and Warlord. When I moved to Batman, you moved too. You drew every comic I loved as a kid. Thank you.” He thanked me and held his hand out again. I gave him my Green Lantern #90 (his first) and First Issue Special #8 (first appearance of his Warlord) to sign. He only charged me a dollar. Considering what I paid before that for signatures (including $40.00 for Neal Adams), I almost kissed the guy.
                Both Mike Grell and Neal Adams were very friendly and happy to talk to me. They were both very courteous and appreciative of this fan-boy. Meeting them was the highlight of the Con for me.
                I was torn as to what to bring from Grell to sign. I wanted to bring a Legion comic; then a Sable. I wanted to bring his first professional work (an Aquaman back-up in Adventure) – it would have been cool to ask him what he remembered of it. But I am glad I took what I did.
                Next was the kiosk of Ethan Van Sciver, who (among other works) drew Green Lantern Rebirth (don’t ask). He signed it graciously.
                I walked along the other artists displaying their work. I took a few cards – I am always on the lookout for artists to do covers for my novels. There weren’t a lot of science fiction-y art unfortunately. There were darn few fantasy artists, either. I did enjoy the fantasy art of h-eri (like her Facebook page at IvoryDragonStudios) and I think she could design a great cover should I flesh out the fantasy novel I have outlined. 
               Most of the other artists were comic-book oriented. Good stuff throughout!
                So I accomplished all my goals for the Con! I met who I wanted to meet and got some nice swag!
                In the meantime, my sister’s family was having the times of their lives…
                To be continued …
Copyright 2014 Michael G Curry

 

             


(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});