Comics? Sure, I read some comic books when I was a kid. I was a pretty big fan of Spider-Man back in the day, mostly from the old TV cartoons, but I did manage to snag a comic book a few times. I had these things for years, and then, they disappeared—presumably at the hands of my mother who would periodically purge my belongings without notice. I recall one Spidey issue from the 70s where he had a car that shot spider webs out of the front. I’m sure that I could try to find some reference to this issue on the internet if I tried, but I just have not. I do recall that the vehicle was red and blue like its famous driver, and was alternately called “The Spidermobile” or “The Web Wagon”. I guess if Batman could have a cool car, so could Spiderman, huh? Another 70s comic issue had Spidey and another, more obscure hero named Nova that flew through the air. Some villain had a tendency to melt holes through walls in this one. If either of these list as being worth thousands today in Overstreet, please do not tell me—they are LONG gone.
Having the benefit of working at Tower Records in San Mateo, CA in the early 90s did expose me to other comic characters such as Carnage, Bane, and Cerebus, but I never really did follow all this stuff with the relish that the big comic fans did. I now have a passing acquaintance with the characters and stories, with the occasional visit to Mister Kitty’s website Stupid Comics for a random laugh. This is the vantage point from where I stood when I attended Amazing ComicCon 2017 in Las Vegas.
Upon walking into the Convention Center, I saw the requisite cosplay, the families, the furries, and curiously, quite a number of very well-dressed and well-groomed women that seemed a bit wildly out of place amidst all the nerdery. I quickly realized that the Convention Center was hosting not only the ComicCon at this time, but also the International Beauty Show. Quite an interesting juxtaposition of events.
We quickly picked up our press badges and made our way onto the floor. Large, overwhelming, and yet apparently dwarfed by that at the Phoenix ComicCon. I’m not sure as to why the event in Vegas was smaller. After walking past table after table of merch and seeing Peter Mayhew (of Chewbacca fame), we got down to the interviews. First stop was in the corner by the drinking fountains, where we set up the tripod for a couple of characters from Comicare.
This Phoenix-based organization is out there doing some real loving care to children in hospitals by dressing up in superhero costumes dropping by to pay them a visit. Even worse than being sick, the hours and hours of boredom being cooped up in a hospital bed takes its toll after a while on a kid’s resolve. A visit from Iron Man or Wonder Woman can often bring a smile to a child’s face that nothing else can and boost a kid’s spirits through an extended medical ordeal. In addition, they also provide these kiddos with donated comic books to help them pass the time. These folks really rock for the service that they provide to communities. If you are interested in helping, follow or like them and spread the word about them on social media—even that small gesture helps: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
If you have comic books to donate to them, even better! If you live in the Phoenix West Valley, here are some dropoff locations where you can help make a kid a little happier. Click here to make a donation and here to buy Comicare merch. Anything else? Send a shoutout to them here.
After speaking with the Comicare folks, we headed over to do our scheduled interview with Kevin Eastman, the co-creator of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and current owner of Heavy Metal magazine. We had a little bit of a wait until this happened, so I looked over at a nearby projection
screen and. . .
HOLY BLAST-FROM-THE-PAST!! It was a panel consisting of Lee Meriwether, Julie Newmar, and Burt Ward from the 60s TV series Batman. While I was too far away for a great picture, it was nice to see these figures I knew from childhood there in front of me talking about highlights, laughs, and memories of Adam West.
At last, Mr. Eastman. Kevin was a really friendly and approachable guy who talked with us at length about his life with the Turtles as well as what he is up to now. Instead of me trying to encapsulate it all in a paragraph or two, click here to see the full interview.
The one thing that I would like to mention here, and what I thought was the most valuable takeaway from our talk with him, is that he encouraged everyone not to give up on their dreams. We have all heard this before from many people, but considering the source, I think that it is worth considering again in a fresh light. If a young comic book writer could achieve such commercial success with four young turtle characters specializing in martial arts and bearing the names of Renaissance artists, what can YOU do? Think about it. Make something happen.
Find Amazing! Comic Con online!
Special thanks to Shauna O'Donnell of O'Donnell Media Group!
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