Monday, December 31, 2018

Ohhh, NOW I Get It! (A "Short Shorts"/"Grammar Nazi" Post)

1. A couple of weeks or so ago, the USA's President Trump came in for some teasing on Twitter after posting a Tweet using the term “Boarder Wall” to refer to his proposed border wall on the US/Mexican... uhhh... border. You know, the one that he says will stop illegal immigration... because everybody knows that almost all illegal immigrants in the USA are Mexicans, right? And this wall will completely secure our boarder... errr, border.

He made this mistake twice.

Or was it a mistake? Y'see, despite all the Tweets ridiculing his alleged misspelling, and despite this very entertaining article, I'm going to give the prez the benefit of the doubt and say he meant just that. Boarder.

Here's my theory. Perhaps the biggest (loudest?) of Trump's promises during his campaign for president was that he was going to have a wall built and that Mexico would pay for it.

So here's what I think he's going to do. ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement), or the INS (United States Immigration and Naturalization Service), or... whoever... is going to round up all of the illegal immigrants (and as stated above, almost every damned one of 'em is a Mexican) and force them all to work (for free) on constructing his wall. So, in effect, Mexico will be paying for it.

Those illegal Mexican immigrants will be allowed to stay in the United States only as long as it takes them to build Trump's wall, after which they'll be deported to Mexico. (And since the wall will indeed be completed by then, we know they'll never be able to come back.) While they're living here, we'll house them for free, but we'll still consider them "boarders."

Therefore, the wall will be – say it with me – a “boarder wall.”

(And by the way, when I say “all of the illegal immigrants” I mean every able-bodied adult among them, male and female. Not their children, of course.

Which is a good thing, cuz they probably can't even find those poor kids at this point.)

1a. By the way, the second article I linked to above – "Your President Is a Dullard Who Confuses Homophones" – contains this great quote that I wish I had written myself: There’s nothing like seeing a great meme on Facebook or Twitter and being unwilling to share it because the person put “there” when they meant “their” or “your” when they meant “you’re” or “hear” when they meant “here” or some such nonsense. It is a frustrating daily occurrence on the internet, and even the “president” of the United States is not immune from it.

Oh, and I didn't call the article “great” just because it included a sentence I might have said.

1b. When I tried, once again, to find the article I just quoted from, I threw the terms "Donald Trump," "Boarder Wall," and "confused homophones" into the search box... and I learned that a disturbingly large amount of articles online use the word "homophone" to talk about people who don't like gays. Really? Seriously? I would have thought that anyone even familiar with the word "homophone" would be above making that sort of mistake. I guess not.

2. So, President Trump is talking about bringing the troops back from Syria, and maybe Afghanistan, and Lord knows where else by the time this article posts. And I know the real reason why. He's going to station every damned one of 'em in a huge circle around the White House, so when the FBI or whoever finally come to "get him," he'll be protected.

3. Tens of thousands of federal inmates will be released, according to this source and many others. And President Trump is evidently all for it.

Isn't this the guy who was so worried about all those Mexican criminals? Oh, wait. These are going to be "low-level" inmates, the type of criminal in minimum security prisons, or so-called "country club" prisons.

You know... the kinds of prisons guys like Donald Trump end up in.

4. Recently, NBC was accused of dispensing "Fake News" because they printed an article about the president which evidently was true when they printed it, but was rendered untrue by President Trump's actions only a few hours later. The situation is analyzed here.

I'm so sick of people -- especially DJT -- talking about "Fake News." The Prez seems to throw that term at anyone who doesn't think he's as wonderful as... well.. as he thinks he is.

In my tribute post to Bill Dana on June 21, 2017, I wrote:

At my flea market stand, one of the items I have for sale is the album pictured below, José Jimenez in Orbit (Bill Dana on Earth). Just last Sunday, my display of this LP prompted not one, but two conversations about Bill Dana. One was with a gentleman who assumed that Mr. Dana was dead, but I promptly corrected him, informing him that the comedian, now ninety-two, was still alive. And as far as I knew, I was right; the news outlets had yet to report that Bill Dana had died on Thursday, the 15th.

Was I lying? No, of course not.

To me, there's a big difference between lying and making a mistake. Even the news media shouldn't always be expected to get their stories straight. People make mistakes, even when they have the best of intentions.

And intent is what's at the heart of situations like these. If you ask a three-year-old "What's two and two?" and he says "Nine," is he lying? No. And if you ask him "What's six divided by three?" and he replies "Thursday?", again, is he lying?

I never received a test after it had been graded by a teacher where the teacher had written "Three wrong, David. You LIED THREE TIMES!"

That's not how it works.

The President, on the other hand? Lies constantly. Several times every day. Several times every day. There are websites devoted to counting all of his deliberate falsehoods. Their lists are staggering. And they only list the ones they know about.

It's like the old joke, "How do you know when a lawyer is lying?" "His lips are moving." The same could be said about Donald Trump.

5. I'm far from the only person to see a resemblance between Stephen Miller and Josef Goebbels. (Do a Google search, and you'll see.)

But they don't really resemble each other all that much.

It's not their looks I'm comparing, though. It's their general attitude, especially where immigrants are concerned, and where the power of the president is concerned as well. You'd never guess that Miller is descended from Jewish immigrants, would you? Well, read this article... written by his own uncle.

6. Okay, now you know why I so rarely do political posts.

7. And I promise I'll try to get better about following your posts, and soon!

8. And... Happy New Year!

Thanks for your time.

P.S. ~~ COMING SOON! (Watch for it!) A Re-Posting of One of the Best (and Longest) Stories I Ever Posted on This Blog!

Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas!

Everyone knows A Charlie Brown Christmas, right? Well, maybe you recall a few years back, when someone put together the following video, using a song that, when it was popular, I literally heard every time a car drove by me and I could hear what was playing on its radio! (And I mean "literally" literally, like it should be used, not figuratively!)

That's all I had time for this year, fellow babies. My "Comical Wednesday" post will show up next week, although I may post something not related to comic books this weekend!

Merry Christmas to all of you, and for all of you who don't celebrate Christmas, Happy Whatever-You-DO-Celebrate!

Thanks for your time.

P.S. ~~ COMING SOON! (Watch for it!) A Re-Posting of One of the Best (and Longest) Stories I Ever Posted on This Blog!

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Terrificon 2018, Part Three ~~ A "Comical Wednesday" Post... on a Thursday!?!

So, since I'm still "recovering," I'll see how quickly I can get Part Three of my report on Terrificon 2018 written. I plan to lean a lot on illustrations!

I suppose the real "star" of this convention, if there was one, was neither a celebrity nor a comic book professional. No, it would be a fictional character named Thanos, who's been in comics since 1973, and in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as far back as 2012.

Actually, Thanos' first comic book appearance was in Iron Man #55, which was cover-dated February, 1973. Therefore, that issue actually hit the stands in late 1972, if it matters. The movie-going public is most familiar with Thanos as the main baddie of 2018's Avengers: Infinity War.

I will spare you all a lengthy & detailed history of the villain, both in the comics and movies as well as the behind-the-scenes stuff involving his creation by writer/artist Jim Starlin. I figure, if you're a comic book and/or movie buff who really cares, you know most or all of that stuff already. And if you don't particularly care... Why should I bother? Heh.

I will, however, give you a look at a Jim Starlin sketch of Thanos which was drawn before Thanos ever appeared in a Marvel comic!

When first introduced, Thanos mainly fought Marvel's original Captain Marvel character (whose comic book I did not read). He returned a while later to fight Adam Warlock, in a far-reaching saga that saw the deaths of both Adam Warlock and Thanos himself.

By the way, back in the early-to-mid-1970s, Jim Starlin occasionally drew self-portraits in his comic stories. Here are only two of them:

Earlier, I mentioned the "deaths" of both Thanos and Adam Warlock. However, these being comic books, so-called "dead" characters have a tendency to return. Thankfully, Jim Starlin had returned to Marvel, so he brought them both back to life -- no one else could, realistically -- in early 1990, in the pages of Silver Surfer, a title for which Starlin had assumed the writing chores.

From the pages of Silver Surfer, Thanos bounced from a terrific two-issue mini-series The Thanos Quest to its immediate and equally terrific follow-up, The Infinity Gauntlet. This led to The Infinity War, then The Infinity Crusade, and between then and now, multiple series, mini-series, and one-shots with such titles as (in no particular order) Infinity Countdown, Infinity, Guardians of Infinity, Infinity Crusade, Thanos, Thanos Infinity Siblings, Thanos: The Infinity Conflict, Infinity Abyss, Thanos: The Infinity Relativity, Thanos: The Infinity Revelation, Warlock and the Infinity Watch, The Thanos Imperative... Tired yet? I am! So even though there are even more, I'm not gonna list 'em!

In my not-so-humble opinion, they should have put every damned one of them under an umbrella title like The Infinity Cash Cow!

Now here's the way Mr. Starlin looks roughly forty years later:

Not only was Jim Starlin himself at Terrificon 2018, but so were many other pencillers and inkers who've worked with the character of Thanos, usually in stories written by Starlin.

One of the inkers was John  Beatty. I had him sign one of the comics I'd brought, which I'll show you later, for reasons which will be apparent... uhhh... later.

Another inker was Joe Rubinstein, who inked some of the issues of The Infinity Gauntlet.

I had him sign issue #6, one of the issues he did.

But even though they worked on The Infinity Gauntlet too, I did not get the autographs of either writer Starlin or penciller Ron Lim on this particular comic, mainly to save myself a little money!

Unfortunately, I'd forgotten that Joe had also inked the Captain America issues reprinted in the graphic novel that I'd had signed by Roger Stern (as told here), or I would have had Joe sign the graphic novel, too!

Another professional I approached was artist Ron Lim, who's penciled several storylines concerning Thanos, including the Starlin-written issues of Silver Surfer which reintroduced Thanos and Adam Warlock to the Marvel Universe.

One of the comics I had Ron autograph was Silver Surfer #50, the issue with the glitzy silver foil embossed cover. (I didn't have Starlin, its writer, sign this one. I had other books for him to sign, as you'll see later!)

Oh, I should point out that that pale white line that bisects my scan of the cover is not a crease. It's a glitch in my scanner!

Friday evening, John and I attended the "Forging the Infinity Gauntlet" panel with (from left to right) Ron Lim, Jim Starlin, Joe Rubinstein, and (if the Terrificon program was correct) panel host John Siuntres. It was a terrific (pun intended) prelude for the next day, when John and I actually planned to meet Jim Starlin himself!

I was so glad that nobody asked Starlin how he felt that Marvel was making zillions off of characters and concepts which he created, but Marvel owns. Personally, I can only hope, although not assume, that whenever Jim writes something involving Thanos nowadays, Marvel pays him something commensurate with his (Starlin's) true value to the company.

The next day, John and I arrived rather early, but in no time at all, the line to see Jim Starlin (who hadn't yet arrived) looked like this:

Once he had arrived, and I got to meet him, the first comic I gave him to sign was the first issue of Star*Reach, an independent title whose first issue went through four printings. The Starlin cover shown below was the back cover on the first two printings (1974 and 1975), but it was the front cover on the third and fourth printings (1977 and 1978). My copy is a third printing. I assumed that a copy of Star*Reach #1 would spark a comment from Starlin, as I hoped he didn't see one of those anywhere near as often as any of his Marvel or DC work. I was wrong.

However, he did comment on the second book I handed him, a copy of Marvel Graphic Novel #1, featuring an incredible story called "The Death of Captain Marvel." He noticed it was a first edition when he signed it, inside.

Here's the cover, followed by a photo of Michelangelo's Pieta, which inspired the cover:

I took that opportunity to bring up the back cover illustration, shown below:

Namely, I mentioned the sneaky little cameo by none other than DC Comics' Superman, nearly hidden by all the Marvel characters standing in front of him!

The last comic I had Jim sign was The first issue of The Thanos Quest, precursor to The Infinity Gauntlet. I'd previously had that book signed by penciler Ron Lim and inker John Beatty.

I wanted to share one more thing with you, another photo of Jim Starlin, this time posing with his creation.

Hm. I wonder if they would've let me sit on that display for a photo or two? No, probably not...

But Starlin does look kinda happy after all, don't you think?

So, there you have it, fellow babies! Three chapters talking about every comic pro I got to talk with at Terrificon 2018. Everybody! Evvvvvvvv'rybody!

Ummm... except one...

Looks like there's gonna be one more chapter after all!

Thanks for your time.

P.S. ~~ COMING SOON! (Watch for it!) A Re-Posting of One of the Best (and Longest) Stories I Ever Posted on This Blog!

Saturday, December 8, 2018


I've been very busy lately. And then, I got sick. (Nothing serious, so don't worry.) I'm not sure when I'll be back to posting, and visiting your blogs. 

I'm just telling you all that because I've been pretty good about posting a couple of times a week for a while now.

Thanks for your time.

P.S. ~~ COMING SOON! (Watch for it!) A Re-Posting of One of the Best (and Longest) Stories I Ever Posted on This Blog!

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Tell It to the "Chaplin!" ~~ Originally Posted on 10/15/10

If I ask you, "Who is the man pictured in the above photo?" what will be your reply?

"Charlie Chaplin," you say, right?

"Nope," I reply. "It's definitely NOT Charlie Chaplin!"

"Okay," you say, "So maybe it's one of the many Chaplin 'wannabes' who sprang up in silent films after Chaplin -- and his famous "Little Tramp" character -- had burst upon the scene (such as the gent pictured in the following stereographic photo, issued circa 1925)?" (Please excuse the "eBay" text partially obscuring this and some of the other scans in this post, by the way. I'll explain about that later!)

"Nope!" I reply again.

"Okay, Mr. Fox! Maybe you did a little bit of computer voodoo with a still pic of Robert Downey, Jr. portraying Chaplin in the 1992 eponymous biopic? Or maybe you did that with a shot of someone else playing the role of Chaplin?"

Nope! (I'm enjoying this far too much, by the way.)

Here's a little background, fellow babies:

Charles Spencer Chaplin (1889-1977) had barely begun his film career when his second film premiered in early 1914. This film was the very first to introduce the character known as the Little Tramp.

Here's Chaplin's own tale of how the look of the character came to be: "[On] the way to the wardrobe I thought I would dress in baggy pants, big shoes, a cane and a derby hat. I wanted everything to be a contradiction: the pants baggy, the coat tight, the hat small and the shoes large. I was undecided whether to look old or young, but remembering Sennett had expected me to be a much older man, I added a small moustache, which I reasoned, would add age without hiding my expression."

The use of this superb illustration of Charlie Chaplin's Little Tramp
has been graciously permitted by its artist, Jason Pruett.

Yep. That's how Chaplin himself explained the look of the character, and its origins.

"Fine. Whatever!" you say. "So who is the guy on the freakin' postcard?"

Postcard? Yes, it's a postcard. I actually own it. And the reason that the stereographic photo of the Chaplin impostor above and two of the scans below have "eBay" superimposed on 'em is because I (unsuccessfully) tried selling them as a pair several years ago, on eBay. That's when I made the scans. I would have made new scans for this post, but I'll be damned if I know where the freakin' postcard is right now!

Okay, let's take a look at the entire front view of the card (and note that the hat is normal-sized, and that the coat is somewhat baggy, not tight, and also note the absence of a cane)...

And a close-up of the front view (Sure looks like ol' Charlie, dunnit? But it isn't!)...

And now, the back view...

And a close-up of the back view...


"Wait a minute, Foxy!" you say. "1909? WTF?!?" (Or maybe you say "WTH," if you're so inclined. Heh.)

Yeah, 1909. Five years before the Little Tramp showed up on-screen, and one year before Chaplin ever set foot in the USA!

So, is this a remarkable coincidence? Maybe. Or did Chaplin see this outfit on the very same postcard -- well, another one just like it, I mean -- and decide to improve upon it? Maybe.

And is this li'l ole century-old postcard a one-of-a-kind, mouth-watering collector's item? Maybe.

It's also for sale... if and when I can ever find the damned thing, that is!

By the way... I hope you're not too disappointed by the fact that after all of my exposition, I've only told you "what" it is, and not who it is. 

I really don't know who it is, y'see... just that it's not Charlie Chaplin!

Thanks for your time.

P.S. ~~ COMING SOON! (Watch for it!) A Re-Posting of One of the Best (and Longest) Stories I Ever Posted on This Blog!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

TerrifiCon 2018, Part Two ~~ A "Comical Wednesday" Post

Here, a bit delayed -- What else is new? -- is the second chapter of my unofficial "report" about this year's Terrificon (or TerrifiCon*) in Connecticut.

First of all, I should explain something to those of you who don't attend conventions, or anywhere else where celebrities show up. Comic creators (as well as other "famous types") generally charge a fee to sign autographs, and set their own rates for said fee.

Right now, for obvious reasons, I'm just going to focus on the practices of comic book creators.

Writers will often sign something for free, or ask for a token payment of as little as one dollar.

Artists generally charge five or ten dollars for their autographs. Why? For a few reasons, actually. Artists are often approached by fans to do sketches of particular characters, and these sketches are time-consuming to draw, but bring in some very good money. Therefore, if one, or two, or thirty people in a row ask for an artist's autograph --  Or, oftentimes a convention-goer will approach an artist or a writer with a good-sized stack of books to sign! -- they're theoretically keeping that artist from drawing a picture that'll fetch him or her big money, so the artists charge the signature-seeker something as a minor compensation. Plus, a lot of fans turn around and sell these autographed books (or whatever else they have the artist sign) for a profit, so I suppose the artist figures, "Why should this fan get something, and I don't get a piece of it?"

(By the way, if you think I over-used the word "artist" in that previous paragraph, it's because it'll be a cold day in Hell when I'll use "drawer" to describe anything other than part of a desk or a bureau.)

As I explained in Part One of my TerrifiCon 2018 posts, there were over a dozen comic writers and comic artists, plus some TV and movie celebrities, from whom I hoped to get a signature or two or three. I brought a printed list of the various writer, artists, and other celebs that I'd "targeted." I also had a relatively small stack of comics with me.

I was fairly lucky. There were only three comic creators that I "missed," one of whom (Keith Giffen) because he'd had a stroke and missed the convention. (I can't find any updates on his condition, in case you're wondering.)

So, to continue with my list of autograph "scores" in no particular order, let me begin with Barbara Friedlander.

Barbara worked for DC Comics during the 1960s. She wrote several stories for their romance titles and, as an editor, actually worked on comics other than DC's romance titles! Barbara was the only guest on a panel moderated by writer Paul Kupperberg (mentioned last time), and shared a few interesting tid-bits about her job at DC Comics, which she left in the late 1960s to get married. (Well, it was the '60s, don'tcha know, and a chance at wedded bliss almost always came before a woman's career.)

I got the impression that Barbara was fairly new to the whole comic convention experience, as opposed to so many of the guests of this convention and so many others.

My main interest in Ms. Friedlander's presentation was to hear about what part she'd played in the creation of a 1960s DC character I'd once followed named "Scooter." The Swing with Scooter comic began with a rather clever storyline. Scooter was an English musician from a hugely successful rock'n'roll band called "The Banshees" who quit the music business and moved to the USA. Put it this way: If the Beatles had been a five-member band -- we're talking about their British Invasion era, not the earlier years when Stu Sutcliffe actually was "the fifth Beatle" -- and Scooter had been that fifth member, it would have fit perfectly with the story presented in Scooter's comic.

The very first issue of Swing with Scooter #1.

Barbara co-created Scooter along with writer Jack Miller and famed comic artist Joe Orlando. She wrote or co-wrote many stories and features in those early issues. And despite what you may have read or may someday read, Swing with Scooter was not just another rip-off of titles published by the Archie Comics Group.

Well, not in the beginning, anyway.

Swing with Scooter #14. I'd given up on the title long before this.

Eventually (and unfortunately), Scooter's stories and artwork (and even the book's logo font, for cryin' out loud) changed to become just another ripoff of Archie. I had stopped reading the title long before then, and was extremely glad to learn that Barbara had left Swing with Scooter (and DC itself) well before the title changed for the worse.

I actually got to meet and speak with Barbara the day after I'd attended her panel. My friend John and I were preparing to enter a room where they'd be holding a panel devoted to Marvel's Black Panther character, and I noticed Barbara speaking with a fan.

John and I had a couple of minutes before the Black Panther panel began, so I got her attention and asked what she charged (if anything) for her signature. I had a copy of Swing with Scooter #1 (shown above) with me that I wanted her to sign later. She said she didn't charge anything, then asked "Why, do some people charge for theirs?" (Things like that are what gave me the impression that she was knew to this whole "convention thing.") I briefly explained that many creators do, and why.

Then I told her I wanted to bring a comic to her table later to have her sign it, and she said "Oh, I don't have a table. I'll just be walking around in the convention hall."

I hesitated before saying "Uhhh, yeah, actually, you do have a table. I've passed it a few times yesterday and today, but obviously, you weren't sitting behind it."

"Oh," she said, turning to a young man who was with her. "We'll have to go find it."

After the Black Panther panel, John and I returned to the main convention hall, and I approached Barbara and that same young man, both of whom were now seated at her table. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that although Barbara was preparing to leave for the day, she had waited just for me because I'd said I had something for her to autograph.

As we chatted, she collected various comics and magazines she'd worked on and loaded them into a briefcase. She really was preparing to leave. We discussed a couple of comic book professionals of the 1960s (and later) whom I knew by reputation, and then I said my goodbyes so she could be on her way.

Another convention guest I met was artist and inker Joe Giella. Joe's career started in the 1940s. He worked for C.C. Beck and later worked for Timely Comics (now Marvel) on Captain America, the Human Torch, and Sub-Mariner. Later he joined DC Comics, where he did the work for which he is most renowned. From the Golden Age and into the Silver Age, he inked characters such as the original Flash, the original Green Lantern, Black Canary, Batman, the Silver Age Green Lantern, and the Silver Age Flash. In fact, Joe is the oldest living Batman artist. (Joe's ninety!)

I do not own a copy of The Flash #123 (shown above), the oh-so-valuable "Flash of Two Worlds" which firmly established the concept of parallel worlds at DC Comics. Then how, you might wonder, did I manage to get the following signature?!?

Quite simple! I cheated. Well, kinda. In the year 2000, DC reprinted that landmark issue as part of their series of "Millennium Editions" and I do own a copy of that, which Joe signed for the (I thought) ridiculously low price of  four dollars.

And here's a treat for you comic trivia mavens! The cover of The Flash #123, published in 1961, has inspired several tribute covers, like the following:

(The "legwork" for the above seven covers was actually done by a guy named Mark Engblom, who runs a fun website called Comic Coverage. Check it out!)

And this fan creation is probably my favorite!

Anyway, did you know that the cover of The Flash #123 was actually based on the cover of a totally unrelated DC title published two years earlier? Here it is:

And now, back to Joe!

Mr. Giella also autographed a "real" Silver Age comic for me, the Giant Flash Annual from 1963 which was and is one of my all-time favorite annuals, as I said here. Joe inked several of the Flash stories reprinted in that incredible issue.

Actually, I was lucky enough to get another classic Silver Age issue signed as well, Green Lantern #16, the 1962 story which introduced the character known as Star Sapphire!

It was really nice to get to meet someone who was involved in the creation of so many comics that I read as a little foxling.

Now, the next encounter I want to tell you about is my meeting with writer (and fellow New Englander) Don McGregor, whose stories I first encountered in the early 1970s. McGregor may be known best as the writer of some incredible, ground-breaking Black Panther stories he did for Marvel Comics in the 1970s, but my favorite of all his works is his run (with artist P. Craig Russell) on Marvel's "Killraven, Warrior of the Worlds" series in Amazing Adventures.

McGregor's style of writing was very wordy -- not that something like that could ever bother me, of course -- and I always felt I was getting my money's worth reading his stories.

Okay, fellow babies, it gets more than a little wordy here – there's that word again, and you're going to see it a lot in the next few paragraphs -- but that's very appropriate, so please don't leave me now!

When I approached Don McGregor's table, he was standing in front of it. He greeted me very briefly, then turned to speak with an artist whose name I unfortunately can't recall. Their conversation lasted quite a while, but I stood a few feet behind Don, waiting patiently because, after all, I had two comics for him to sign. When his conversation ended, he turned and realized I had been waiting. He apologized profusely, walked around to the other side of the table, and sat down. There was no one else in line, so for the next few minutes, his attention was totally on me.

The “Killraven” series was originally called “The War of the Worlds,” as it was based on the novel of the same name by H.G. Wells. Simply put, Wells' story described a failed Martian invasion at the dawn of the 20th century. The Marvel series established that the Martians attacked again roughly 100 years later, and this time, they conquered and enslaved our people. (In 1973 we were safely removed from the 21st century, so creative minds could predict all sorts of things!) Killraven and his band of “Freemen” were part of the resistance, you might say. After a promising start, the series floundered a bit, despite writing by such stalwarts as Gerry Conway and Marv Wolfman, and I was on the verge of no longer buying the title.

Then Don McGregor took over the writing chores, and things improved drastically.

McGregor's plotting, characterization, and dialog kept me absolutely enthralled (as they did whenever I encountered his other projects over the years). And my modern-day self suspected – hell, hoped – that Don would be as wordy in person as he was on the printed page.

He did not disappoint me.

Finding only one to bring, out of all the Killraven stories, was difficult. There were two issues that stood out, and I finally narrowed it down to one:

I gave him the above-shown issue of Amazing Adventures, spouting a few words about how much I enjoyed the series, and rather than just saying “thank you” and signing the damned thing, he looked at me and asked “Why did you choose this issue?”

Like he cared.

Cuz he did care.

I explained that the issue I'd brought to him had the satisfactory resolution of a handful of plotlines, et cetera, et cetera.

The story in question contained a sub-plot involving a group of people making a pilgrimage of sorts to worship at the foot of a giant metal archway. At the story's conclusion, that archway ended up being revealed as the remains of a 20th century McDonald's! Don was referring to that when he signed my book, as shown below.

I had one other comic for him to sign. In 1984 and 1985, Don and legendary comic artist Gene Colan (1926-2011) produced two four-issue mini-series featuring a 1930s detective named Nathaniel Dusk. Issue #3 of Nathaniel Dusk II ended on a “cliff-hanger.” Dusk was locked in a steam room, and the heat setting for said steam room was set high enough to fry Dusk in a matter of minutes. The beginning of issue #4 told how he got out of this fix.

Another writer might have spent two, maybe three pages showing how the hero extricated himself from his predicament. Don took twelve pages. Twelve. And he made it interesting. No, scratch that. He made it riveting!

I told him that over the years, I have bought literally thousands of comics, and parted with most of them at one time or another. Sometimes I'll buy one or more a second time, years later. There are even books I currently own which I've owned three different times.

However, as I told Don McGregor, I've had my original copy of Nathaniel Dusk II #4 since it first came out in 1985. And when I said that, he launched into the “story behind the story” of the steam room, as it were.

Wordy? Oh, you bet. And I loved it. I loved it so much, in fact, that I'll even forgive him for twice writing my name as “Dave” rather than “David.” That should show you what a nice guy I can be.

It was only much later that I figuratively kicked myself after realizing that I had forgotten to tell him how much I'd enjoyed his work on Topps Comics' Zorro series back in the '90s! And Zorro was one of my role models!

Next Wednesday: Part Three of my Terrificon experiences, where I describe meeting several artists (and one amazing writer/artist) involved in some of the many comic book stories about Thanos, the main baddie in last spring's blockbuster film, Avengers: Infinity War!

Thanks for your time.

P.S. ~~ COMING SOON! (Watch for it!) A Re-Posting of One of the Best (and Longest) Stories I Ever Posted on This Blog!

*Even their own website doesn't seem to know!
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