With Further Ado #051: Blah Blah at the Nerd Prom

With Further Ado #051: Blah Blah at the Nerd Prom

You can make the argument that Comic Conventions are just big Pop-Ups, designed to promote all manner of geeky and unexpected treasures. Or you may say that they are more akin to treasure hunts. After all you just know that that one old comic or exclusive toy is out there somewhere on the dealer’s floor. For so many entrepreneurial businesses, they are the ultimate trade show: commerce wrapped up in the showy fashion of focused nerd-dom. To others, comic conventions are a way to scoop up amazing bargains. (Nobody likes diving into the bargain boxes more than me.)  Continue reading “With Further Ado #051: Blah Blah at the Nerd Prom”

With Further Ado #049: A Rose By Any Other Name

With Further Ado #049: A Rose By Any Other Name

I’ve known Rose Del Vecchio, and her co-founder Jenny Cheng ever since they participated in my Fangirls Lead the Way panels. Together they run an innovative company called FanMail.com. A forward-looking Geek-focused company with an entrepreneurial streak a mile wide. The things that strikes you immediately about Rose is that she’s the real deal. As San Diego Comic-Con approaches, it’s important to catch up with Rose, a person on the front lines of both entrepreneurism and geek culture.  Continue reading “With Further Ado #049: A Rose By Any Other Name”

With Further Ado #049: Stay Awake!  Screams & Screens & Invasion of the Body Snatchers

With Further Ado #049: Stay Awake! Screams & Screens & Invasion of the Body Snatchers

This year I’ve added another wonderful, yet admittedly weird, job to my resume. I’ve become a horror movie host for Auburn Public Theater’s Screams & Screens series. Every other Tuesday, we show B-Movies on the big screen, and yours truly provides a little background and the opening dialog. Local support has been incredible and we also give away a plethora of prizes each week!

I don’t quite fit into an Elvira outfit (nor do I want to wear one) so I’m usually just in a sports coat and let my enthusiasm for these fantastic films buoy the pre- and post-film commentary.  Our next film is one of my favorites: the original 1956 Invasion of Body Snatchers.  Continue reading “With Further Ado #049: Stay Awake! Screams & Screens & Invasion of the Body Snatchers”

With Further Ado #048: Innovation & the Comic Shop Retail Model

With Further Ado #048: Innovation & the Comic Shop Retail Model

This weekend we had an amazing family wedding in Buffalo. Whenever I’m in town, I like to drop in on the local comics shops, especially the funky Gutter Pop and the traditional Queen City Bookstore. (I’ve written about these two shops recently here.)

Just as we were wrapping up all the festivities from our weekend wedding, I tried to squeeze in a stop, and a little retail therapy, at Queen City Bookstore. To my surprise, they were closed in order to devote 100% of their focus Sunday to the Buffalo Comic Con.

Rats!

The Buffalo Comic-Con is a fun show. Captain Action exhibited there a few years ago and we had a grand time. I had a wonderful time getting to know comic artist Kevin Nowlan as we were on a panel together.

But, still… I was bummed out that Queen City Bookstore was closed. So, I used Waze to guide me out of the city and on the way out, was surprised to see a storefront sign that read: Iron Buffalo Comics. Games. Coffee.

Screeeeech! I mimicked an Adam West “Bat Turn” (minus the parachutes emerging from my car) and my wife Kathe and I stopped in for a visit.

Iron Buffalo is a funky, new comic shop. It’s still in its infancy but you can see that this store, like so many new comic shops, is trying something new.

Here’s how they describe themselves: Continue reading “With Further Ado #048: Innovation & the Comic Shop Retail Model”

With Further Ado #047: Color Me Impressed

With Further Ado #047: Color Me Impressed

I’ve always loved the art in comics. At first, I was fascinated by the draftsmanship and rendering. Then I learned to appreciate composition and storytelling. Only occasionally would I pay attention to color. I think Neal Adams’ stunning Tomahawk covers first opened my eyes to power of color in comics.

But in the here and now, let me review three current comics that make impressive use of color.  Continue reading “With Further Ado #047: Color Me Impressed”

With Further Ado #046: The Game’s Afoot – or The Thrill of the Hunt

With Further Ado #046: The Game’s Afoot – or The Thrill of the Hunt

I missed an issue of a comic series I’ve been collecting…and it felt great.

In recent years, I have had the luxury of popping around to several different comic shops during my time in Metro NY and now in the Finger Lakes.  Thus, I don’t ask my favorite retailers to order specific series for me. That does make it that much harder for the retailer, and I know that’s a drag for them.  But somehow, even with reserving copies, I don’t usually miss issues that I’d like to read.

Beyond my favorite comic shops, I’ve also been buying the DC 100-Page Comic Giant! comics (we used to know them as Super Spectaculars) from Wal*Mart.  In an effort to reach new readers, DC has been producing these overstuffed comics as Wal*Mart exclusives. Each one has a short new story and then several recent reprints.

There’s also another benefit – these comics are great to gift to young readers. They are packed with content and I like to think that when you give one to a  kid, they might spend some meaningful time reading (and away from their screens).

I really enjoyed their Detective Comics reprint comic, but I have made it a point to keep up with two series:  Batman Giant and Superman Giant Continue reading “With Further Ado #046: The Game’s Afoot – or The Thrill of the Hunt”

With Further Ado #044: Just Sign Here

With Further Ado #044: Just Sign Here

Although I love getting them, I’m not really sure why autographs are such a big deal. Oh, I understand the economic concept that autographed comics are more valuable and can be sold at a premium. But why do we seek out authors or artists to sign printed copies of their works? Is it for the brief creator interaction? Is it a type of memento or a badge? Is it a way to make a particular copy of a thing a little more special?

I seem to recall a story from 80s about that old country star Kenny Rogers. He never signed autographs. Instead, Rogers would pause to engage in an authentic conversation with a fan.  Sounds like a good idea, right? In today’s world, of “if there’s no selfie it didn’t happen”, I’m not sure that would cut it. Autographs provide that proof, more or less.  Continue reading “With Further Ado #044: Just Sign Here”

With Further Ado #044: Treasures… from a Used Book Sale

With Further Ado #044: Treasures… from a Used Book Sale

In Ithaca NY, there’s a “famous” twice-a-year used book sale. The Friends of Thompkins Library convince local book lovers to donate about a zillion books and then sell them to other book lovers for peanuts.  This generates revenues for the library because there’s an incredible volume of books, magazines, comics and calendars that change hands.  A guy like me, who loves old mysteries, men’s adventure paperbacks and comic-related books can always stumble across treasures at this sale for just a buck or two.

They are always treasures to be found in “them thar hills”.  Continue reading “With Further Ado #044: Treasures… from a Used Book Sale”

With Further Ado #043: The Super Genius of Jim Salicrup

With Further Ado #043: The Super Genius of Jim Salicrup

What do you get when you take a guy who loves comics, was mentored by Stan Lee, spent time with Spider-Man (and especially Venom) and has an incredible publishing track record?  Throw in a dollop or two of “he’s an awfully nice guy” and you have Jim Salicrup. 

I’m eager to drag Jim up to Ithaca College as a guest speaker for my entrepreneurial and comic-con courses. But until then, I had to catch up with him and find out about his new endeavor, Super Genius! 


Ed Catto: You have an amazing history in comics, Jim. Can you remind me how you started and how you got to this point?

Jim Salicrup: Like most people working in comics today, I fell in love with comics as a kid. In fact, my childhood dreams, back when I was a kid living in the projects in the Bronx, were to work at Marvel Comics and to live in Manhattan. I even applied to the High School of Art and Design, where so many comic book artists went, thinking that would prepare me to work in comics. Imagine my surprise, when after sending a postcard to Marvel offering to be their slave, they actually took me up on my offer! Well, I wasn’t technically a slave—I was paid a salary. And this happened in the Summer of ’72 before I even started attending The High School of Art & Design. Once I was at Marvel, I was there for twenty years, eventually editing most of Marvel’s top titles—from the Claremont/Byrne X-MEN to SPIDER-MAN by Todd McFarlane.

After I left Marvel, I was the Editor-in-Chief at Topps Comics, where I worked with everyone from Jack Kirby to Ray Bradbury! After Topps, I was back working with Stan Lee again as Senior Writer/Editor at Stan Lee Media. And after that, I was involved with the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCA) and co-founding Papercutz with NBM publisher, Terry Nantier. Our first graphic novels came out January 2005, and we’ve been dedicated to publishing great graphic novels for all ages ever since.  Continue reading “With Further Ado #043: The Super Genius of Jim Salicrup”

With Further Ado #041: Making Comic Cons Look (Big) Easy

With Further Ado #041: Making Comic Cons Look (Big) Easy

Just about every year, I spend a week in Louisiana.  Sometimes I get over to New Orleans, but most of the time I’m with old friends in New Iberia parish.  My pals are folks like Dave Robicheaux, his daughter Alafair and his best friend Clete Purcell. They are good people, but boy, do they get into a lot of trouble.

My visits are facilitated by author James Lee Burke, and he’s been writing about these characters for years.  He’s prolific and his novels never disappoint. Have you read a James Lee Burke story yet? Ostensibly they are thrillers. He’s superb at ratcheting up the suspense each and every time.  Beyond that, Burke also has a way to peer into humanity’s soul and wrap it all up in poetic prose. His brilliant writing is achingly beautiful.

I just finished the second most recent one, called Robicheaux. His newest, which I should read soon, is called New Iberia Blues. Burke also writes other books outside of this series, and I’ve been enthralled by them too.  I’d strongly suggest you give them a try.  Continue reading “With Further Ado #041: Making Comic Cons Look (Big) Easy”