Tag: Ithacon

Weird Scenes #079: “I Didn’t Know You Could Die From The Flu.”

Weird Scenes #079: “I Didn’t Know You Could Die From The Flu.”

Right from my toes / On up to my nose / Flow on, flow on, river of shit / I’ve been swimming In this river of shit / More than 20 years, and I’m getting tired of it / Don’t like swimming, hope it’ll soon run dry / Got to go on swimming, cause I don’t want to die. • Wide, Wide River, written by Ken Weaver and Lionel Lewis Goldbart from The Fugs’ 1969 album “It Crawled Into My Hand, Honest.”

Please re-read the headline above. It has quotes around it because, last Friday, the Great Orange Fool said “Over the last long period of time, you have an average of 36,000 people dying (a year) … I never heard those numbers. I would’ve been shocked. I would’ve said, ‘Does anybody die from the flu? I didn’t know people died from the flu.’”

For the record, the President of the United States did not start COVID-19. He has done all he could to spread the disease due to his actions, his inactions, his disgust with science, his jealousy of those more intelligent than he, the way he goes down on the so-called religious voters, and his obligations to Vlad Putin and to those who finance his ventures and have kept him out of prison thus far have reduced the global population to quivering androids of Jell-O without any real clue as to what they should do, except for washing their hands in 120 proof alcohol.

Worst yet – Trump’s actions started long before we ever heard the word “Coronavirus.” In 2018, many of America’s top officials charged with handling pandemics got fired for having dared to have been hired by Barack Obama. Rear Admiral Timothy Ziemer, the National Security Council’s senior director of global health and biodefense, was replaced by giving his responsibilities to that well known health care expert, John Bolton. Not-Doctor-John promptly pushed out Tom Bossert, the NCS adviser who recommended maintaining strong defenses against disease and biological warfare. Continue reading “Weird Scenes #079: “I Didn’t Know You Could Die From The Flu.””

With Further Ado #84: It’s a Noir World … or … I See Red Door and I Want to Paint It Noir

With Further Ado #84: It’s a Noir World … or … I See Red Door and I Want to Paint It Noir

Nothing’s ever really black and white. Except for movies. So many of my favorites are black and white. And so many of my favorite black and white movies are Film Noir thrillers. You know the type, those sleek and stylish old time Hollywood movies, the kind with dames and detectives, the kind with revenge and lust, the kind with crime and plenty of punishment.

There’s a lot of appreciation for Film Noir lately in comics and other books, so it’s not a surprise that there’s so much readily available for us all to enjoy. Here’s a few recent good ones that you don’t want to miss:

CRIMES OF PASSION “More Than Maybe”
by Steve Orlando and Greg Smallwood
DC Comics

I wanted to snag a copy DC’s Crimes of Passion #1 because I had read that one of the stories in it was a Wildcat adventure written by Stephanie Phillips. She’s a hot new writer, kicking it into high gear with comics like Aftershock Comics’ The Descendent, the upcoming Artemis and the Assassin and Dark Horse’s Butcher of Paris. She’s going to be a guest at ITHACON 45 (it’s on March 21 & 22nd and tickets are available here), and I’m excited to meet her.  Her Wildcat story, “Pulling Punches”, is great fun. Continue reading “With Further Ado #84: It’s a Noir World … or … I See Red Door and I Want to Paint It Noir”

With Further Ado #83: Shiver My Timbers, Matey

With Further Ado #83: Shiver My Timbers, Matey

There’s a truism in comics that “everybody knows”. Pirate comics don’t sell.  However. every piece of common wisdom needs to be shattered at one time or another, and we were just the scurvy knaves to do it. Sit back, sip your rum, and let me tell you the true tale of how we made a pirate comic!

Last year, I had a brilliant student in one of my classes. Naomi Hanson had many different interests and passions, and one of them was the history of real-life pirates. She was quite the expert and delivered lectures at academic conferences nationwide on the subject.

Naomi was also in the ITHACON class, where we teach students about creating and managing trade shows, and then have them run an actual convention: ITHACON.

After hearing about her lectures – shiver my timbers – I thought about how to take it to the next level. I explained to Naomi that I had vision of a Pirate Panel at San Diego Comic-Con. I knew it would be a long shot making that happen, but she was game to try.

The ideas were accepted by the panel committee at San Diego Comic-Con. I knew she’d be great onstage. I recruited another panelist, renowned library science expert Krista Rozanski.  I would be moderator.  The mizzen masts were about to be hoisted, and we were ready.  Continue reading “With Further Ado #83: Shiver My Timbers, Matey”

With Further Ado #037: Stepping into the Twilight Zone with Nick Parisi

With Further Ado #037: Stepping into the Twilight Zone with Nick Parisi

In one of those summers of my youth, my buddies and I would always wrap up our nightly mischief so that we could get home in time to watch The Twilight Zone reruns at 11 pm. The next day, my buddy David Locastro and I would eagerly ask one another, “Did you see that one last night?”  With our utmost fanboy authority, we’d begin to dissect the most recent episode.

Fast forward to late March when the 44th Annual Ithacon hosted Twilight Zone expert and Serling aficionado Nick Parisi. His recent book, Serling, His Life, Work and Imagination is a fascinating and engaging work. As Rod Serling was a professor at Ithaca College and Ithacon was exhibiting treasures from the Serling Archives this year, it made perfect sense to invite Parisi as a guest.

The show was great fun but, as all shows are, it was also a blur of activities. So, it was after Ithacon that I caught up with Nick to speak more about this book.

Ed Catto: So many of us grew up with The Twilight Zone and we all have our stories.  For me, I have fond memories of watching it on WPIX out of New York City. What was your interaction and how did you become so much of fan that you’re now an author and expert?

Nick Parisi: Ed, I have similar memories of WPIX. I started watching TZ on WPIX when I was nine or ten years old and I still remember the nightly schedule: The Odd Couple at 11, The Honeymooners at 11:30, Star Trek at midnight, and The Twilight Zone at 1 am. I would do my best to stay awake and I would usually make it! The show mesmerized me pretty much immediately and I became a fanatic for it pretty quickly. Then Marc Zicree’s Twilight Zone Companion came out and it kicked my fanaticism into another gear. That was a truly revolutionary book.  Continue reading “With Further Ado #037: Stepping into the Twilight Zone with Nick Parisi”

With Further Ado #034: Getting Ready for Another Convention

With Further Ado #034: Getting Ready for Another Convention

Throwing parties, getting ready for parties, cleaning up after parties…there’s a certain flow to it all. I really like all these different stages, even when it gets nuts.

And for me, right now it is nuts. I’m helping throw a party. The 44th Annual ITHACON, Ithaca’s Comic Convention is this weekend.  It’s actually the nation’s second longest running comic con, right after San Diego Comic-Con. I’m part of a big team, including a group of dedicated Ithaca College students. They are learning about conventions and getting their first, hands-on taste of actually planning and running one.

But aside from the all the planning and ever-expanding to-do lists, part of my pre-convention ritual is gathering together some favorite comics for guests to autograph. There’s something about an autograph that makes a favorite comic become even more of a treasure.

Louise Simonson will be a guest at ITHACON. She’s had a such an impressive career- editing B & W magazines (Vampirella, Eerie, Savage Sword of Conan), writing top characters (Superman, the X-Men) and creating ground breaking characters (Power Pack, Spellbound).

But I think I found a favorite comic that I’d like to ask her to autograph.  Superman: The Man of Steel #63 was published in 1996. It was right before the big industry bust, and at that time this title was part of a quartet of Superman comics that created a rich, monthly Super-tapestry of interconnected adventure.  When this comic was published, Superman and Lois had just been married, and Clark had lost his super-powers.

One thing that makes this issue special is that Lois takes center stage in this story.

On John Siuntres’ Word Balloon Podcast, he recently interviewed Brian Michael Bendis who said he realized that Lois was one of the most interesting people in the DC Universe. This story from 1996 reinforces that view.

In this issue of Superman: Man of Steel, Lois is tough, determined and resourceful. She’s not stepping into the spotlight to save Clark because he’s in a temporary jam. In this story, she’s just “doing what she does” because that’s what she always does.

But there’s more: another nuanced part of this tale is how writer Louise Simonson cleverly makes the case to readers that it’s not the powers that make Clark a Superman.   She’s able to write the character and show his humility, his heart and his hero’s soul.

John Bogdanove’s art in this issue still stands up. He had this breezy, action-oriented style that delivered impactful scenes with plenty of oomph.  At the same time, he could pull the reins back for the quiet scenes as well.  And with his inker, Doug Janke, Bogdanove created textures in each panel that would delight and surprise the reader’s eye.

It’s a great issue, and I can’t wait to tell Louise how much I enjoyed it, and still enjoy it, at ITHACON. Fingers crossed she’ll give me an autograph.

One More Thing

Similarly, I also stumbled across another comic in my collection.  I had forgotten how much I liked it.  Doomsday Annual #1 is a collection of short stories focusing on the early days of Superman’s unstoppable nemesis, Doomsday. I was flipping through the comic to review the Louise Simonson story within, but was reminded how much I liked the obscure Green Lantern Corps story that was also included.  It was called “In Blackest Night” and was written by Roger Stern with heart-stopping art by Gil Kane and Jerry Ordway. 

Ordway’s at his best with crusty inks over Kane’s pencils (layouts?) here. Kind of like that delicious cocktail that you’ve just tried for the first time, this combination of two favorites created something special. Jerry Ordway has the roughs and inked pages up on his blog and they’re worth a look.  And Stern’s tragic tale of loss and sacrifice packs so much into a 12-page story.   

Roger Stern is another ITHACON guest, and you can bet I’m going to pester him for an autograph too!

And I don’t mean to slight our other amazing ITHACON guests. For a small show – we’ve assembled an impressive line-up that also includes Walter (Ragnarok) Simonson, award-winning YA author Tamora Pierce, Tom (AHOY Comics) Peyer, Jamal (The Wrong Earth) Igle, David (“Trouble with Tribbles”) Gerrold, Craig  (Behaving Madly) Yoe, Twilight Zone Author Nick Parisi, Frank (Stinger) Cammuso, Superman Expert Sid Friedfertig,  Steve (The Only Living Girl) Ellis, Harold (Small Monsters) Sipe, Ken (Popeye) Wheaton and more.  Maybe even one more super-surpise guest! And we’re trotting out some of the rare treasures from the Rod Serling Archives to put them on display for attendees. Can you tell I’m really looking forward to it? Hope to see you there.

ITHACON 44 celebrates Rod Serling & The Twilight Zone

ITHACON 44 celebrates Rod Serling & The Twilight Zone

Ithaca, N.Y. (March 14, 2019): The Comic Book Club of Ithaca is preparing for the 44th annual ITHACON, to be held Saturday, March 23rd and Sunday, March 24th at Ithaca College’s Emerson Suites.   To prepare for the 60th Anniversary of The Twilight Zone, and to celebrate the life of Finger Lakes native, Rod Serling, ITHACON is developing several special events for this year’s comic convention, including:

  • Twilight Zone Crossover & Mini-Marathon: Ithaca College’s Park School students honor the legacy of The Twilight Zone by creating their own short films based on minor characters in episodes from the original series. The four original Twilight Zone episodes used for inspiration will also be screened: “A Stop at Willoughby”, “The Silence”, “I Shot an Arrow into the Air” and “Penny for Your Thoughts”.
  • Serling Archives Display – Several rare items from the Serling Archives will be on loan and on display for attendees to view, celebrating the incredible creativity and fascinating life of Rod Serling.
  • Twilight Zone Mockulogues Contest – In honor of Rod Serling’s genius and the 60th anniversary of the Twilight Zone, attendees are invited to create their own Rod Serling inspired monologues. Contestants will be given time to prep and present their creation. Monologues will be judged based on various categories, including creativity. Prizes will be awarded. This event will be held at IC Square at Campus Center starting at 6:00 pm.
  • Nick Parisi, author of Rod Serling: His Life, Work and Imagination will be a featured guest. He will also be interviewed during an ITHACON Author’s Panel on Sunday at 1:00pm in the Taughannouck Falls room near the Emerson Suites Exhibition Hall.

As is tradition, ITHACON also provides a strong line-up of comic industry professionals, guests, including Walter Simonson, Louise Simonson, Tom Peyer, Jamal Igle, Bill Schanes, Craig Yoe and Sid Friedfertig. ITHACON is proud to host award-winning authors including Tamora Pierce and David Gerrold.

More information on ITHACON can be found on the official site (ithacon.org) and the facebook page Admission and parking are free for this event.

 

Pop Culture Squad member & columnist Ed Catto

With Further Ado #030: Twilight Zone Comics – Part 2

With Further Ado #030: Twilight Zone Comics – Part 2

There’s that old saying about imitation as the sincerest form of flattery.

Two weeks ago, I wrote about the Twilight Zone, and I am focusing on that show, and Rod Serling, as it will all be a part of the 44 annual Ithaca Comic Convention.  My focus has expanded, and now I’m even taking a look at competitive, and or derivative, properties.

In the world of this particular niche – Twilight Zone type comics – I’m finding that imitation goes hand-in-hand with the notion of copy degradation. There’s less use of the actual Xerox machines today, but you understand the concept: every time you make a copy of a copy it tends to lose something. That’s exactly what I’m finding with comics series similar to Twilight Zone comics – copies of copies tend to lose something.

The Outer Limits was a science fiction anthology show from the Golden Age of Television. It was ushered in right about the time that The Twilight Zone was being ushered out by CBS. Despite scripts by top-notch writers (Harlan Ellison, Robert Towne, Joseph Stefano, etc.) and some great acting (Robert Culp, Jill Haworth, etc.), this series is often remembered as an also-ran to The Twilight Zone Continue reading “With Further Ado #030: Twilight Zone Comics – Part 2”

PopCultureSquad’s Ed Catto to Teach 1st Of Its Kind Comic Con Course

PopCultureSquad’s Ed Catto to Teach 1st Of Its Kind Comic Con Course

Our columnist Ed Catto is adding a new line to his resume: College Course Pioneer. The 2019 Spring semester at Ithaca College will be offering student the first course of its kind in the country: Creating and Promoting Ithacon. Students will help organize and promote Ithacon, the second-longest running comic convention in the nation!

Here’s the press release in full:  Continue reading “PopCultureSquad’s Ed Catto to Teach 1st Of Its Kind Comic Con Course”