Tag: Don Simpson

With Further Ado #295: ITHACON Preview

With Further Ado #295: ITHACON Preview

We’re getting to launch ITHACON again. It’s the nation’s second longest running comic convention, and I’ve had to the privilege to be involved with this one for the last few years. This year, we have some amazing guests and some very clever panels!

And of course, there’s more information here and if you haven’t bought your tickets yet, what are you waiting for? They are available here!

Re-Awakenings: Disney’s Gargoyles 30th Anniversary Panel:
11:30 Saturday

Thirty years ago, a new type of hero hit the airwaves as part of the Disney Afternoon: stone statues called Gargoyles who came to life at night to fight crime! Blending history, mythology, sci-fi, and romance, Disney’s Gargoyles ran for 78 episodes, boasted a Marvel Comics tie-in, a video game, and toys. Now, at Dynamite, the Gargoyles live again! Meet Joseph Rybandt, Editorial Director at Dynamite Entertainment, the publisher of Gargoyles record-setting revival, and other panelists for a discussion of the show’s history, its current success in comic book form at Dynamite, and its future in the recently announced live-action Disney+ reboot! Moderated by Jonathan Chalmers

Editing Comics 101: with Shelly Bond
2:30 Saturday

What does a comic book editor actually do? Find out with ITHACON 47’s Guest of Honor, Shelly Bond. She’s had an impressive comic career, and it started with she was a student at Ithaca College. We’re excited to roll out the red carpet for Shelly -and her husband, artist Philip Bond. In this panel, Shelly will deconstruct the process of making comics. Don’t miss it!

Continue reading “With Further Ado #295: ITHACON Preview”

With Further Ado #251: The Best Batman Story Ever…?

With Further Ado #251: The Best Batman Story Ever…?

I think I just read the best Batman story ever! Surprisingly, it didn’t even have Batman in it. It was in issue #3 of The Ambassadors. This comic is written by Mark Millar. Travis Charest illustrated it and it was just published by Image Comics.

Image described this “miniseries” series this way:

The most ambitious comic book of all time is finally here! Imagine that you could gift superpowers to six people. In a world of eight billion, who do you choose? Join six of the greatest artists in the industry for an enormous story about ordinary people from around the world explaining why it should be them.

That sums it all up pretty well. (Although is it the most ambitious of all time? I tend that to think that Don Simpson’s upcoming X-Amount of Comics: 1963 (WhenElse?!) Annual would get that appellation from me right about now.) In this series, a woman has created a way to bestow superpowers on people and has to choose the individuals who will receive them. Continue reading “With Further Ado #251: The Best Batman Story Ever…?”

With Further Ado #195: Whew! A live convention, and it was fantastic!

With Further Ado #195: Whew! A live convention, and it was fantastic!

Whew!  Last week I pulled back the curtain as we were in the throes of planning for ITHACON. It was the first year we’d be back live, after the pandemic restrictions, and there was a lot of anxiety in the air.

And as you might recall, ITHACON is a unique show: Bill Turner, the founder, is still very much involved, but I have the privilege of teaching an Ithaca College course about tradeshows and conventions, and as a part of that class, the students promote, plan, and manage ITHACON.  Having worked for Reed Elsevier, I set the bar really high too.

But you know what? It all worked out. The show was a huge success.

I’ll rely on the photos to tell the tale this week, but I still want to fire away with five random thoughts (If I was trying to impress you, I’d label them as “Five Insights”) about ITHACON 2022.

1. People like people – and they are excited to gather together. There were a lot of happy smiles all around and just about everyone: the attendees, the guests, the dealers/exhibitors, the cosplayers, the students (they did all the work), the volunteers, the Comic Book Club of Ithaca (and even the facilities staff) reported they had a great time.

2. ITHACON attracted the people who wanted to be there. Attendance was down from when we were last in person, but that was expected. And you know what? We didn’t want it too crowded anyways. This resulted in quick lines and opportunities for fans wander about and to discover new things.  The dealers were happy too; many of them told us tales about how ITHACON 45 was their best show in a while/ever!

Continue reading “With Further Ado #195: Whew! A live convention, and it was fantastic!”

With Further Ado #193: Convention Planning in the Age of Uncertainty

With Further Ado #193: Convention Planning in the Age of Uncertainty

Planning for a comic convention in 2022 sure is weird!

As Covid drags on, everything seems to be affected as we all, as a society, struggle to shift back to normal. Or to redefine what normal means.  And when you add in the anxiety of world events, the in-your-face impact of inflation (rising gas prices) and a rainy spring season- there’s a lot more to planning an event than there used to be!

But this Saturday and Sunday, April 23 and 24th, we’ll be hosting ITHACON 45.  The nation’s second longest running comic convention, right after San Diego Comic-Con (CCI), will be back in-person and live. This show’s founder, Bill Turner is still VERY active in all aspects of the show, and I have the honor of teaching a class at Ithaca College’s School of Business where we teach students about conventions, trade shows and live events, and then provide them the “hand’s on” opportunity to help promote, manage, and run a real show – ITHACON. Continue reading “With Further Ado #193: Convention Planning in the Age of Uncertainty”

Brainiac On Banjo: Del Close! Holy Shit!!!

Back in the day I was involved in producing a comic book called Wasteland. This effort led to the one question I have been asked most often in comics, particularly by my fellow field laborers. That question is “how the hell did you get DC Comics to publish that book?”

I was surrounded by a lot of talent who are as incredibly gifted as they are unique. This is a matter of fact: they unleashed some truly brilliant, emotionally terrorizing stuff. Artists William Messner-Loebs, Ty Templeton, Don Simpson, David Lloyd, George Freeman, Tom Artis and Tim Dzon, Lovern Kindzierski, Timothy Truman, William Wray, Michael Davis, Rick Magyar, Tom Ziuko, Joe Orlando, Tony Salmons. Writers John Ostrander and Del Close. Associate editors Robert Greenberger and Brian Augustyn. And a cast of dozens.

Working with these folks was an absolute honor and a joy.

Now, there’s a documentary about Wasteland called “For Madmen Only: The Stories of Del Close,” directed by Heather Ross and written by Heather and Adam Samuel Goldman. No kidding. It’s got an iMBD page to prove it.

The whole idea of using Wasteland as the basis for doing a documentary about Del is, if you’ll forgive me, dazzling. Hey, it wasn’t my idea; I’m just in it. Heather’s the one who pulled it off and it took her years to do so. That requires a lot of energy with an attention span to match. Del’s been subject of several biographies that are quite good – in fact, Howard Johnson’s is quite great – but revealing the marrow of that man to a 2021 audience is no easy trick. His days as a performer, a Shakespearean actor, a teacher and a director are well noted, particularly his long association with Second City, the iO (a.k.a. improvOlympics), the Upright Citizens Brigade and Saturday Night Live.

I’ve long felt my pals in sweet home Chicago should build a statue of him and place it in Lincoln Park, close to Second City. Those of us who appreciate the history of American comedy would enjoy it, of course, and I think Del would appreciate his providing a place for the pigeons.

In order to have a documentary, you probably should have interviews with some of the people involved with Del (you’ll see just how they are involved in the documentary) and among those in For Madmen Only are Bob Odenkirk, Patton Oswalt, Adam McKay, Tim Meadows, Charna Halpern, Howard Johnson, Susan Messing, Alan Meyerson, Jason Sudeikis, Dave Thomas, Michaela Watkins, George Wendt, as well as John and myself. There are flashback scenes where Josh Fadem plays John, James Urbaniak plays Del, and Matt Walsh plays me. There’s a ton of real Del Close footage, as is only fitting as his name is there in the title, and much of that feature some of the other well-known legends that Del worked with, trained, and/or got into trouble with.

Holy shit. I just broke my own world’s record for name-dropping.

To be serious for the moment – don’t worry, it’s a one-time thing – this is an honor that shakes me to my very bones. Wasteland was, and still is, the most fun I’ve had in comics with my clothes on. I think we all knew we were walking a tightrope when we did the series, but I doubt many of us realized we’d finish falling up!

Plus… please allow me one more snatch of egoboo. Having Matt Walsh play me, for crying out loud, is mind-bogglingly amazing.

At the top of this piece I said I’ve been asked about how I got DC Comics to publish Wasteland. Well, it just so happens that this very Sunday, July 25th, at the San Diego Comic Con – which is once again on You Tube this year because of the Plague – I’m on a panel where I reveal exactly that. It airs starting at 10 AM west coast time, which, for those of you who can’t work a slide rule, is 1 PM eastern time and 2:30 PM Newfoundland time. Hey, you never know. The You Tube link ishttps://bit.ly/3xTQHqj; the long link is https://youtu.be/7Xddm_N-djo.

OK.

We’re ready for our close-up, Heather!