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Craig Zablo Posts

Diesel’s Streak

Posted in Celebs, and Movies

Vin Diesel has a great streak going… Pitch BlackThe Fast and the Furious

…and now XXX.

All of these films are/will be in my dvd library.

With talks of sequels for both Pitch Black and XXX, Vin could actually join Sean Connery, Sly Stallone, and Harrison Ford who all have had TWO movie franchises going at the same time!

XXX works. Diesel is more than believable as the extreme sports junkie recruited to become a government agent. The set-up and “training” sequences are really fun and include some of the best scenes in the movie. [And ya gotta love how they show a James Bond type trying to survive in this “new world.] Samuel L. Jackson is always a plus and I hope that we get to see more of him [in action] in the sequel.

Vin Diesel‘s next film could be the sequel to Pitch Black followed by the sequel to XXX. Both of these are fan favorites so it looks like the streak will continue to grow…

… and so will my movie collection!

The Signs are There

Posted in Movies, and TV

The signs were all there.

M. Night Shyamalan had already written and directed the oh-so-cool “Sixth Sense” and the well done “Unbreakable.” Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix were set to co-star. M. Night was back as writer and director. The trailers were full of suspense, and left you wanting more. Yeah, the signs were all in place for a winner.

But you never know.

I saw “Signs” yesterday and it’s been on my mind constantly since. The story does involve aliens.. but probably not in the way that you’re expecting. It’s as much about family, redemption, and faith as it is aliens… and it is scaryvery scary at times! But it will also make you laugh, move you to the verge of tears, and more than likely leave you feeling very happy for seeing it.

This is my favorite movie of the year thus far. It rates a solid “A.” I think you’ll enjoy it to because…

… the signs are all there!

Nice to be Wanted

Posted in Art, and Comics

Usually it’s nice to feel wanted.

The piece I wrote about me being drawn in a comic with Superman struck a cord with many of you. I received several requests to see more. Well, let me say that attending the Man of Steel’s wedding was a breeze compared to my appearnce with a certain DC comics gunslinger…

So what do you think about the drawing of me on the wanted poster with Jonah Hex?

John Beatty commissioned Bob McLeod to do a painting [reprinted to the left] based on an idea from Mike Zeck. Big Beatty thought it would be funny if my face was on the wanted poster and Bob agreed. The rest is history.

Bob McLeod [probably best known for being co-creator of The New Mutants for Marvel comics] is available for commissions. Bob is a first rate artist who can draw well in a number of different styles. Check out his site and tell him I sent ya!

Yeah, usually it’s nice to feel wanted… unless you’re wanted dead or alive!

Mike Zeck’s “Get Carter” Prelim

Posted in Art, Celebs, Comics, and Movies

If you’re looking through the SZ Art Gallery in order, then you saw Mike Zeck’s finished Jack Carter piece. [If you haven’t then you’re still in for a treat!] Mike also sent me this prelim that he worked up before doing the final version. Man, is he great or what?
Mike accepts commissions and you can see more of his work at his site. Please tell him I sent ya [and let us see what YOU get]!
– Craig Zablo (July 20, 2002)

Zablo Part of the DC Universe

Posted in Art, and Comics

See the strong, handsome-looking guy in the picture? No, not Superman! The other hunk. Yep, that’s me. Bet ‘cha didn’t know that I’m part of the DC universe did you?

Yeah, I don’t like to brag, but I’ve hung out with Superman. LOL!

The artwork to the left was drawn by Jerry Ordway for a story written by Marv Wolfman [and co-plotted by John Byrne] which appeared in The Adventures of Superman #426 way back in 1987. Jerry Ordway was the regular artist and he was drawing friends and friends of friends in scenes in the comics. Since Jerry and John Beatty were friends, I got in on a “hook-up.”

How cool is that?

I’ve also made “appearances” in other comics. I guess I’m part of the DC Universe, the Marvel Universe, and occasionally this one as well.

Jorge Zaffino R.I.P.

Posted in Art, Comics, and RIP

Big Beatty left the message last night. He’d just received word that Jorge Zaffino had died of a heart attack. He was only 45.

I’ve been a fan of Jorge Zaffino since I first discovered his work years ago in a very cool mini-series called Winterworld [still one of my all-time favorite stories].

Jorge may be best known for his work on The Punisher. He completed a hardbound graphic novel as well as some issues of the Punisher monthly comic. Jorge‘s work also appeared in Batman: Black and White and other comic anthologies and special projects [which he preferred] in the US as well as comics in Argentina [his homeland].

Jorge Zaffino‘s art was stark, bold and so very powerful. He didn’t follow the trend of lots of lines and over-rendering and consequently was never considered a fan favorite… until you spoke with artists and writers. Chuck Dixon called Jorge “a true artist’s artist.” Tim Truman said he was an “amazing artist” and Mike Manley was quoted as saying, “His work will stand the test of time and that is the mark of true talent.”

I’m saddened for Jorge‘s family and friends. I’m also sorry for his fans around the world who will no longer have the good fortune to see new art from him. [I’d always hoped to see Jorge represented in the SZ Art Gallery. Can you imagine what his version of Jack Carter or Rambo would have looked like?]

God bless Jorge Zaffino, his family, friends and fans. Like Mike Manley said, “His work will stand the test of time.”

"Reign of Fire" Rocks

Posted in Movies

I went to “Reign of Fire” hoping for an action-packed roller-coaster ride. I wasn’t counting on it, but I was hoping.

Reign of Fire” boasted a screenplay by three people [Gregg Chabot, Kevin Peterka, Matt Greenberg], that I’ve never heard of, starred Christian Bale, and Matthew McConaughey [neither considered “A” list stars], and was directed by Rob Bowman [who didn’t impress me with the “X-Files” movie]. The odds were that the film would be entertaining at best… the odds were wrong. This film rocks.

Bale did an excellent job in his role but McConaughey OWNED every scene he was in. The direction, production values, special effects were all top notch. I must admit that the ending did let me down a bit but not enough to stop me from adding this baby to my library when it is released on dvd.

Reign of Fire” rates a B+.

Join the TZ Marathon

Posted in Horror, and TV


When I was a kid one of my biggest pleasures was watching scary movies or tv shows. I still get a big kick out ’em in fact. What’s even cooler is that my kids enjoy them just as much as I do.

I’m not talking about today’s gory bloodfests, but instead the old Universal Monster movies, the American-International Films and the like. As far as tv shows, none is better at this genre than the original Twilight Zone!

The Sci-Fi channel is running a two day marathon of Twilight Zone episodes starting at 7AM today. If you plan to check out any, let me recommend two.

The first, pictured above, is “Terror at 20,000 Feet.” A man who has just been released from a mental institution sees a creature on the wing of a plane trying to destroy the engine… only no one else sees it. Is he having a relapse?

The second, pictured to the right, is called “To Serve Man.” Aliens arrive on Earth and all indications are they came in peace… but do they really?

These are just two of many excellent episodes.

Even if you can’t watch them all [and who can?], maybe you can plan to tune in to see an old favorite or one you’ve never seen before. I know that I will…

And for just a little while I’ll be a kid again, up on the couch hoping that someone else besides me and Bill Shatner sees the creature on the wing!

It’s a Small World

Posted in Art, and Comics

“It’s a small world.” How often have you heard that cliche and thought, it’s really not that small?

In the late 70’s up until 1983, I collected and dealt in original comic art. I had an inside track to quite a few artists since John Beatty [who was working in the business] and I had been friends since junior high. My favorite artist at the time was Paul Gulacy [a very talented and very nice guy] who pencilled and sometimes inked a series called “Master of Kung Fu” [written by the equally talented and nice, Doug Moench].

I was fortunate enough to eventually meet both of these guys and even commission some art from Paul… but I digress. Long before I ever met Paul, I was able to get one of my favorite MOKF pages [a panel from it is posted above]. It practically fell into my lap for a great trade. I couldn’t believe my luck! I had one of my favorite pages from the series and I had been collecting / dealing in art in less than a year.

Fast forward less than a year. I placed an ad for art that I was selling and offering for trades. A guy called up and wanted to purchase the Gulacy page. Well, at this point I owned other Gulacy pages and was even speaking to Paul via phone on a fairly regular basis so I sold the page.

Fast forward to 1983. I was getting ready to graduate college and get a “real job.” I decided to sell off my entire art collection [except for a Stallone piece by Paul – which I still own, thank you very much!] Over the years, I’ve thought about all of the art I’ve owned [and that included pieces by Steranko, Byrne, Miller, Zeck, etc.], but it’s that MOKF page that I’ve missed the most.

Fast forward to last week [we’re moving through time at a breakneck pace, aren’t we?]. Comic art collector Mike Shields posted up some of the art from his collection and guess what page he has in it? “Wow!, [said in a Bill Black-like voice] that’s right, Mike Shields now owns the very same Paul Gulacy page!”

I sent him an e-mail telling him how I came to own in back in 1979 and that I had sold it in 1980. In closing I said that I was glad that it had ended up with a big Gulacy fan and that I wondered how many people it had gone through since I had sold it to end up with him.

Mike wrote me back and told me that he checked his records on how he came to purchase it. Seems he saw an ad in 1980 from a guy with the initials CZ! Yep! Mike purchased the piece from me 22 years ago and has had it in his collection ever since! How cool is that?

Sometimes it DOES seem like it’s a small world after all!

The Good Old Wild Wild West

Posted in TV

When I was a kid I loved The Wild, Wild West.  Everything about this show was flat out cool.
James West [played by Robert Conrad] and Artemus Gordon [Ross Martin] were a team of Secret Service agents protecting our country from all sorts of evil. Think James Bond in the Wild West.

Did I say that everything about the show was cool? Good. Because everything about it was cool. And I mean everything.

Conrad and Martin were perfectly cast as West and Gordon. They had a rapport that seemed real. Although the series was set in the time period following the Civil War, a science fiction element was involved in many of the episodesWest was given cool gadgets a la James Bond… and the fight / action scenes were the best on tv.

The show title sequence featured an animated cowboy in four different scenes with great theme music. Each commercial break ended with a cliffhanger and the scene would freeze, change into a line drawing and then replace a drawing on a title card.

The series was definitely ahead of it’s time. It spawned two tv movies [not nearly as good] and a big screen movie staring Will Smith and Kevin Kline as West and Gordon which was really bad. I’d like to have seen Tom Cruise as West but the script was so bad, that I doubt that he’d have done much better with the project.

When I decided to do a piece for Zablo’s Zone about “The Wild, Wild West,” I visited a lot of fan pages. Reading interviews, episode summaries, and looking at pictures of all of the spin offs [comics, novelizations, etc.] brought back a lot of happy memories. When I was a kid, I loved “The Wild, Wild West.”

I still do.

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!”