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Craig Zablo Posts

Tampa Con Report

Posted in Comics, and Con Report

On Saturday, my son, Mike (far left), AC Comics CEO, Bill Black (second from the left), John Beatty (see him?) , and I drove to Tampa for a small comic convention. The main draw was Marty Nodell who created The Green Lantern but John Dell, Rick Magyar, Derek Aucoin and others were also scheduled to attend.

The con was on Sunday, but we went down early to avoid a long drive on the same day. The trip down was a blast. We entertained each other with stories, and literally laughed the whole way.

We went out to dinner… and planned to eat at a Chinese restaraunt called “The Crazy Buffet,” but when we found out it was $21.95 per person [what are they? crazy?], we decided to find another place for chow. We ended up at another Chinese buffet and who do you guess was having dinner there? That’s right, Marty Nodell who would be Guest of Honor at the convention the next day. We spent a bit of time talking with Marty and his lovely wife and then had a more reasonably priced meal.

The rest of the evening was spent laughing and planning things that will probably never take place [short films, comics, etc.], debating the difference between a farmer and a cowboy [Clint Eastwood vs Roy Rogers for example], watching Evander Hollyfield turn an opponent into the Elephant Man, and basically acting foolish. What a great time… we were up until well after 1 AM and I can’t remember laughing so much or so hard in recent years.

We were up early to be on time for the show which was well attended but very hot. A tightly packed room without any place to sit and talk made it seem even hotter. Marty was there and swamped by fans looking for original art, autographs and pictures. The other artists came in, but only one was sketching. I enjoyed talking to John Dell, Derek Aucoin, and Rick Maygar [who may do a Stallone piece!]. I also met Randy Martin who had several really nice sketchbooks full of commissioned sketches of Edward Scissorhands! My son found a few comics for his collection. At around 2PM we decided to head home [after a brief stop at Bill‘s to check out his autograph collection]

Overall it was a fun experience, but anytime Mike, Bill, John and I get together we have a great time. Oh, and in case you’re wondering… John isn’t the guy in the Spider-Man suit… John took the picture.

Kelsey’s Back, Baby!

Posted in Art, and Comics

Whooo-hooo! Kelsey Shannon‘s web site is back on line again.

Kelsey is an extremely talented artist [and a really nice guy]. He’s probably best known for his work with Mike Avon Oeming and Miles Gunter on Samauri Bastard.

I’m proud to say that Kelsey did some Sly artwork for the StalloneZone Gallery a year ago… well before Samauri Bastard [so don’t think that we’re jumping on the bandwagon!] Anyway, back to Samauri Bastard, the first issue is out now and I suggest that you give it a look before it sells out.

Then head over to Kelsey‘s site. You can check out the dozens of sketches that he does before getting down to the business of drawing a page. You can also see other cool pieces that Kelsey created for himself and others. And you’ll know why I’m so excited that Kelsey is back on line, baby!

Good Television

Posted in TV

I’ve always loved good television. Due to time constraints with the job, family, and other interests, I try to limit the time I spend in front of the tube. This season I have found myself watching more programs…

Boston Public continues to be the “must-see” show on Monday. The finale will be a great capper to another fine season.

Tuesday is my favorite night for tv. 24 folowed by The Shield. 24 has had a great run, and I wonder how they will follow it up? The real-time format made it very interesting. I hope they figure out a way to do more. The Shield pushes all of the boundaries yet does it with great acting and storylines. I’ve been with it (and 24) from the start and hope to never miss an episode.

West Wing is another “must-see” show. Perhaps only The Shield can match it’s great ensemble of actors.

Survivor and ER round out the shows that I make a point to never miss. Survivor is riding a new wave of popularity due to the “never know what will happen next” feel of this run. ER bid farewell to Doctor Green (and why wasn’t Dr. Ross at the funeral??) but there’s still life left in the series.

Yeah, it’s been a great season for tv. I’ve found myself watching more than ever… but I can’t complain since I’ve always loved good television.

Dark Shadows

Posted in Horror, and TV

When I was a kid, there weren’t many things that I enjoyed more than a good scary movie. In fact, most of my friends felt the same. We’d look forward to the weekend to stay up late, turn off all of the lights in the house, and watch Sammy Terry’s Nightmare Theater. What could be better than a weekly fix to satisfy our horror craving?

How about a five days a week fix??

Dark Shadows was the first and only soap opera I’ve ever watched on a regular basis (if you don’t count professional wrestling). It told the tale of the Collins family… what a mess they were. Vampires, werewolves, ghosts…. whew! And we ate it up!

Dark Shadows was the must see show of it’s time. It spawned a series of novelizations, trading cards, and more. There’re annual Dark Shadows conventions that continue to this day!

A new collector’s series of Dark Shadows DVDs are going to be released shortly. The price is right, so get your friends together and turn down the lights!

Wow! Bill Black!

Posted in Comics

Wow!

I’ve known “Wild” Bill Black for over 25 years and that’s the first word that comes to mind when I think of him. Bill is one of those rare individuals who has a real enthusiasm for the things in life that he likes. And Bill likes a lot of things. Good Girl Art, Comics, Horror Movies, Old Time Westerns, Old Time Science Fiction Movies, and more. You know, the really cool things in life.

Not only does Bill enjoy all of these things but he takes an active part in them as well. Bill has made horror movies, worked as an artist for Charlton, Warren and Marvel, run conventions for the subjects he loves and more. But Bill is best known as the founder of AC Comics, the longest running “Independent Comic” company going today. AC Comics focuses on good girl art and westerns but that’s not all that they do.

I just spent over an hour previewing the CD-ROM pictured to the left. It’s packed with hours of material (over 1,000 “pages” and around 6,000 pictures)! I’ve known Bill for over 25 years and was learning stuff I never knew! If you enjoy the stuff that Bill does (and who doesn’t?), then check out the CD! After you get a look at it I know that you’ll say:

“Wow!”

Bruno Bows Out

Posted in Pro Wrestling

I never saw Bruno Sammartino wrestle. Still I agree that he is, perhaps, the greatest star from the golden age of pro wrestling.

Bruno will be among the first 13 inducted into the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame this weekend. They’ll have to have the ceremony without him. Bruno refuses to attend.

“Wrestling is how I made my living and supported my family, but it’s over. I don’t want anything to do with it anymore,” Bruno was quoted as saying earlier this week.

Despite a long reign as world champion, selling out Madison Square Garden over 200 times (the most ever) and his immense popularity, Bruno was blackballed from wrestling when he spoke out about, “Drugs, steroids, all the sexual stuff, bizarre things” that he saw going on in wrestling in the 80’s. Click here for the full story.

I never saw Bruno wrestle. That’s sad for me. No one will see Bruno at the ceremony as he’s inducted into the Hall of Fame. That’s sad for all fans of the sport.

Sahara Worth the Trip

Posted in Books

I just finished reading my second “Dirk Pitt” adventure by Clive Cussler. Sahara is being considered for a major motion picture… can you say franchise?

Excerpts from Simon and Schuster:
1996.. a disease is driving thousands of North Africans into madness, cannibalism, and death. The suspected cause of the raging epidemic is vast, unprecedented pollution that threatens to extinguish all life… Racing to save the world from environmental catastrophe, Pitt and his team… run a gauntlet between a billionaire industrialist and a bloodthirsty West African tyrant. In the scorching desert, Pitt finds a gold mine manned by slaves and uncovers the truth behind two enduring mysteries — the fate of a Civil War ironclad and its secret connection with Lincoln‘s assassination, and the last flight of a long-lost female pilot….Now, amidst the blazing, shifting sands of the Sahara, DIRK PITT will make a desperate stand — in a battle the world cannot afford to lose!

Hellboy Goes Green

Posted in Comics, Movies, and TV

Ain’t It Cool News has reported that the Hellboy movie based on Mike Mignola‘s fan favorite character, Hellboy, has been greenlit. Guillermo Del Toro (“Blade II“) is set to direct. Despite earlier reports that Vin Diesel might play Hellboy, it appears that Ron Pearlman will get the role instead. This is cool for a number of reasons, the first two being that 1) Pearlman was the first choice of both Mignola and Del Toro and 2) Pearlman is so right for the role! Filming begins this winter in Prague! You can get full details here.

Hellboy is one of the few comics that I buy EVERY time it comes out. Mignola never disappoints. Here are a couple of trade paperbacks that could help you get up to speed if you’ve missed out…

Hellboy: Seeds of Destruction

Hellboy: Conqueror Worm

Hellboy: Odd Jobs

I’m really excited about the prospects for the movie Hellboy. Del Toro is a fan of the comic, Mignola is working closely with him and Pearlman completes the trio. This could be really cool. I’ll keep ya posted!

Bad Ending for Blake

Posted in Celebs, and Crime

Police went to the home of actor Robert Blake on April 18, 2002 and CNN reported that they were there to arrest him in the death of his wife, who was gunned down outside a Los Angeles restaurant a year ago. Blake is shown in this 1985 publicity photograph from the television program “Hell Town.”

We had just finished watching “Survivor” and I was heading in to check my e-mail when I got a call. “Turn on CNN. They’re getting ready to arrest Robert Blake for the murder of his wife.”

I can’t say that I’m shocked or surprised. Although I wouldn’t be willing to say that he’s guilty, it doesn’t look good. I read quite a bit about the murder (how could you avoid it at the time?) and none of his explanations ever seemed to really make sense.

I’ve always liked Robert Blake‘s acting. “Baretta” was an enjoyable series and he’s been in several very good movies. It’s too bad that this doesn’t look to have a happy ending.

RIP – Robert Urich

Posted in Celebs, and RIP

Robert Urich passed away at 4:25 this morning after a long bout with cancer. I knew that he had been diagnosed with cancer several years ago, but I was under the impression that he had beaten it.

Although Mr. Urich appeared on many television shows, he was probably best known for his role as Spenser on the series “Spenser for Hire” based on the popular series of novels by Robert B. Parker.

Robert Urich also appeared in other television series including “Soap,” “Vega$,””The Lazerus Man,” and “Lonesome Dove.”

He was extremely active in supporting cancer research. With his wife he created the Heather and Robert Urich Fund for Sarcoma Research. He is survived by his wife; three children; two brothers; a sister; and his mother. A memorial service is scheduled for Friday in Los Angeles.

The Men Who Killed Kennedy

Posted in Crime

Where were you when it happened? If someone asks that question now, we instinctively think of 9-11. There was a time, for many of us, when that question meant one thing… “Where were you when President Kennedy was killed?”

I was barely five years old and yet the memory of that day is burned in my mind. I remember everyone being glued to their television sets for the latest news. The nation seemed to breathe a sigh of releif when the lone gunman was captured… but did he act alone?

I’ve always been intrigued by the various conspiracy theories. In high school I read the Warren Commission report and followed the latest findings. There have been hundreds of books written on the subject, several movies, and many documentaries. “The Men Who Killed Kennedy” is one of the best summaries of the different theories that abound. Chock full of interviews, photos, film and speculation, even if you don’t buy into any of it, you’ll still be impressed by the sincerity of those that do.

Mackey & The Shield: Bad is Good

Posted in Crime, and TV

Michael Chiklis plays Detective Vic Mackey in FX’s acclaimed new show, The Shield. If you haven’t seen The Shield, odds are you’ve heard of it since the pilot was the highest-rated original series premiere in basic cable television history.

I’ve watched The Shield since its premiere and it immediately went to my must see list. Chiklis is, without a doubt, the main draw. He’s an exceptional actor playing a complex role as the leader of a “strike force” of cops dealing with the worst in society. Mackey is as bad as the criminals he takes down… yet he has a code of ethics to “take care of his own” and he does. I’ve never had such mixed emotions about a character before. I want him to get caught and yet I don’t. The rest of the cast and the storylines are excellent as well.
With all of that said, I can’t recommend the show to everyone. It pushes the limits in every way possible (language, violence, sexual situations). But if you like gritty hard-boiled cop shows, then this show is the one for you!

UC Goes Way Undercover

Posted in Crime, and TV

I read today that it is unlikely that UC: Undercover will be brought back next season and that’s really too bad. If you never happened to catch the show, then you really missed a good and potentially great series. UC: Undercover was created by Shane Salerno. Oded Fehr, Jon Seda, Vera Farmiga, Bruklin Harris, and Jarrad Paul made up the cast. Guest stars such as William Forsythe, Ving Rhames and Steven Bauer were regularly featured! If the series isn’t renewed, I hope that we’ll get an occasional tv movie.

Training Day Lives Up to Hype

Posted in Crime, Movies, and Z-View

I finally got an opportunity to see “Training Day” — what a powerful movie. No doubt, if you’re a movie fan, you’ve heard the hype. This is one movie that lives up to it.

Denzel Washington turns in a truly Oscar-worthy performance (his best yet, in my humble opinion). Ethan Hawke is excellent as well. While this movie isn’t for everyone, it is for my money one of the best movies that I’ve seen in months.

If you’ve seen it, I’d love to hear your thoughts… if you haven’t, consider it on your next trip to the video store. As for me, this baby is gonna end up in my personal collection!

“Training Day” rates an A+

Killer Inside Coming to Big Screen

Posted in Books, Crime, and Movies

Earlier this week Variety reported that Dominic Sena (“Gone in 60 Seconds”) will direct the 1952 pulp fiction classic “The Killer Inside Me” by Jim Thompson. While I didn’t care much for “Gone in 60 Seconds” because of the story, I am fairly excited about the prospects for “The Killer Inside Me.” First of all, it’s an excellent book, considered by many to be Jim Thompson‘s best. Stanley Kubrick called it “the most chilling and believeable first-person story of a criminally warped mind that I have ever encountered.” I agree. But who to play the main character, Lou Ford, a sheriff’s deputy with a psychopathic side? My vote would be for someone totally unexpected… someone like Sylvester Stallone! Fans have been wanting to see him play a bad guy… well, this could be the role. Whoever is chosen should be playing totally against character… someone that everyone would NEVER suspect is a pschopathic murderer… if not Sly then maybe Harrison Ford? At any rate… check out the book!