Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Follow the Leader, Episode 122: "Big Events" in Pop Culture

Redartz:  Hello everyone, ready for another exercise in friendly group debate? Well, Tuesday means it's time to "follow the leader", so momentarily I will step aside and allow you to set the stage. 

But first, here's another extra conversation starter. This past few weeks my wife and I have been part of the vast multitude tuning in to the final episodes of "Game of Thrones". In this current world of countless entertainment choices, a 'big event' that attracts a majority of followers is a rare thing. Back in our Bronze age, with only a few television choices, limited access to alternatives made for frequent 'water cooler' experiences shared by almost everyone.  These 'big events' served to unite people otherwise divided  by such barriers as politics and religion . And they serve as touchstones, years later, for those of the participating generations. Soooo, what are some of the 'big events' that you remember witnessing? Are they doomed to disappear from popular culture? Share your thoughts on  shared pop culture; and with your impending topic , we'll enjoy another 'twofer'...

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Follow the Leader Episode 121: Prequels; Yay or Nay?

Redartz:  Hello, hello, hello! Tuesday has come once again, bringing us another workday, another day closer to Friday, and of course, another edition of "Follow the Leader". Which means you have another opportunity to ignite a maelstrom of debate and discussion on any topic of your choice, provided it pertains to our beloved Bronze Age. Open up those laptops, plug in those tablets and smartphones, and unveil our subject for the day!

You may ask, what have I been up to this week (or you may have no interest in that whatever, but there it is). My wife and I finally saw the recent "Captain Marvel" film, introducing Carol Danvers to the MCU. We both enjoyed it, and as always it was fun filling her in with all the comic minutae relating to the film. Glad we saw it before catching the forthcoming Avengers film. Otherwise, with Spring here, a lot of outside chores have taken up my non-work time, but I have managed to read a few comics -  kind of on an Archie binge lately, but also read some Mike Fleisher Spectre and Lee/Buscema Fantastic Four. Anyone of you reading anything exciting?

 The floor is now yours; salutations, everyone!

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Follow the Leader Episode 120: Moving Music and Superfluous Strengths...

Redartz: Happy Tuesday, everyone, and welcome to another 'meeting of the minds'! You get to set the topic for today's discussion; that's the plan of course. But to get things going, I'll put out a topic as well, so we get another 'double dose' of debate.

My topic arises thanks to the influence of our friend Steve over at "Steve Does Comics" (which, if you haven't checked it out, you really should). During one of his posts this past week he mentioned an ABBA song he favored. Being an ABBA fan, I had to investigate said song, courtesy of YouTube.  Upon hearing that song ("Eagle", by the way), I was monumentally  moved by it's power and beauty. So, a question for you all today: Is there a song that REALLY affects you, moves you, brings tears to your eyes? Not necessarily your favorite song, but one that has a deep emotional effect  over you. It reminds me of something my Grandmother (a music lover and piano teacher) once said to me: "You can tell a good piece of music when it sends chills down your spine". She was quite right.

Now, the mike is back in your hands. Have at it, friends!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Follow the Leader Episode 119: A Theatrical Threefer...

Redartz: Welcome back to our regularly-scheduled Leader Following! You've all had an extra week to think up a titanic topic for our eagerly awaiting group of conversationalists. So, let's hear from you; first come first served!

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Adventures in Comics: A Gathering of Friends, Second Edition!

Redartz:  Greetings, gang! We interrupt our usual "Follow the Leader" today with a story about a great weekend. Last weekend was "C2E2" in Chicago; a comics/pop culture convention of fairly impressive size (no Comic Con San Diego, but pretty big for mid-America). And in a follow-up to the event two years ago, this year's con proved an opportunity for several of us to meet in person. So here's the story of the day. And what's more, you'll get some story from Charlie and Colin as well... Oh, and before we go any further, have you seen Doug's post from last week over at "Black, White and Bronze"? If not, be sure to check out his excellent coverage of the day. It's not a "Super Blog Team-Up", bur we could consider it a "Bronze Blog Two-in-One".

Anyway, at C2E2 in 2017, four of us familiar to regular followers of this column met up and had a great time : Doug, half of the dynamic duo who brought us "Bronze Age Babies", Charlie Horse 47, one of our most frequent commenters, and Martinex 1 and I (your humble hosts here).  That day went so well, we hoped to do a repeat at some point. It took two years, but last weekend that repeat came to pass; but with an exciting bonus: the surpise addition of Colin Bray, who travelled all the way across that big Atlantic pond to meet us and enjoy the show! And regarding Colin's visit, thanks to Charlie for prompting the original suggestion, and for hosting Colin while guiding him through the wonders that are Chicago.

For me the weekend's adventures began shakily Saturday. I had a fair bit of traveling distance (not near what Colin had, but still a pretty good drive); and had planned to stay overnight with my son and complete the journey Sunday morning. When that plan unexpectedly fell apart, Doug was kind enough to offer a spare bedroom; so the day was saved. With the added pleasure of an evening of rich conversation , courtesy of Doug and his gracious wife.

That spirited conversation continued Sunday morning, as Doug and  I made our way to McCormick Place, the convention venue (stopping for a delicous, and amazingly speedy, breakfast). The hall was gigantic. And the crowds? Massive; the place was packed. But impressively, upon opening the officials funneled that crowd inside pretty efficiently. The lines moved quickly. More about lines coming up...

Shortly after we entered the Convention floor, Marti, Charlie and Colin arrived. 

Redartz, Doug, Colin, Martinex and Charlie

Introductions were made, hands clasped, t-shirts compared, and we began by heading for "Artist's alley". C2E2 featured a very impressive lineup of Bronze age comics talent; the first we visited was Joe Staton. 

Joe was quite friendly, and had some nice prints available (one of which Doug took home; an

enviable purchase). Staton also had copies of "Dick Tracy Meets the Spirit" available- he has been drawing the strip for some time, and this comic collected a very cool story arc wherein Tracy teams up with Will Eisner's famous detective. We talked briefly about his stint at First Comics, and then he signed my autograph mat...


This mat, by the way, has been picking up creator signatures since Louisville Con last year. Upon filling it, a collage of appropriate comic art will fill the center, and then it'll hang proudly upon my wall. So each new autograph makes it even more meaningful.


Soon we moved on to Archie artist  Dan Parent's booth. After picking up another signature, the five of us split up to wander the convention a bit. I added autographs and visits with Kevin Nowlan, Marv Wolfman, and Michael Golden. The only disappointment of the day came upon trying to see George Perez: the line was a 3 1/2 hour wait; more time than I could devote to one pursuit in an already full day. 

Next up was a tour of the dealer's area. There were loads of booths hawking figurines, Funko's, cosplay materials, books, gaming, and much more. As for comics, there were probable about 20 dealers, including a few biggies: Metropolis Comics, Harley Yee, Torpedo. Doug picked up a nice stack of TPB's, I'm still trying to get through the stack from the last show. So I picked out a small stack of 'floppies', a few miscellaneous comics of interest. 

The biggie was Archie Annual 12: for some time I've wanted to acquire a comic that appeared on the newsstands during the month I was born. With that book, mission accomplished. A book as old as I am, and almost as wrinkly!

Of course wandering the convention floor meant encountering many fine examples of cosplay. Here's a few great examples:

During the course of the day, the five of us met up a couple times in the upstairs snack bar area and enjoyed some great conversations. This was the high point of my day, a chance to visit at length with a group of rarely seen but deeply valued friends. The discussions were rich and wide ranging, but understandably centered on comics and our mutual love for the medium, And fortunately, nobody came and shooed us off considering we had only purchased a couple of cold drinks!


All told, the day went much too fast. I could easily have spent hours more just talking with the gang. Indeed, it was a rewarding day for all; to the extent that we are already making plans for a third meeting. Personally, I can't wait.  

And now, a word from a couple of the other participants:

Charlie Horse 47-

The highlight was having Colin fly in from the UKI  

The second highlight was the four of us rallying again after two years!  Lightening can strike twice!  That Colin was there was all the better.

The third highlight was the passion for original art you shared with me.  I have merely grazed the surface to this passion and hobby!

I did enjoy talking to Joe Stanton.  In particular b/c he is doing Dick Tracy for Tribune Syndicate and just a few days before we were able to get the previous artist Jim Brozman to draw Colin a picture of Dick.  Here's a link to the video...


I was happy to get two autographed Dick Tracy comics from him (for a nominal contribution to the Heroes for Comics fund).

Oddly, I bought a relatively new trade, (new for all us old timers) regarding Bucky's return.  I think it was called Winter Soldier?  I was quite surprised that all of us had read that since, in general, we haven't been reading comics since 1990s? 

And I did enjoy getting within a few feet of David Tennant with Doug.  But, while all of you seemed to know him from Dr. Who I only know him from the UK series Broadchurch, in which one of the stars was Jodie Whitaker.  Coincidentally, Jodie is the new Dr. Who.  Charlie thinks she makes a fine Dr. Who b/c she is quite pretty and able to look very serious without looking intelligent at the same time, and thus not intimidating Charlie!  
It also interests me that we are interested in art more than comics.  Well, suffice to say that we've all more/less read everything from the Bronze Age that we intend to read (or at least have it sitting in a stack to be read, lol) so we aren't likely to acquire the comics again?
Lastly, as Red, et al. have mentioned, it was a great time having Colin with us and we look forward to a repeat in 2021.  That we were able to make that connection would only have been possible with the internet.  So, chalk one up for the Net!  Might I add that we consider going on Saturday in the midst of the mayhem???

Colin- I spent the Con wandering randomly through the aisles reminding myself constantly 'hey I'm at C2E2! In Chicago! Chicago!'

Beyond the overall sensory experience, meeting Charlie and Marti and Red and Doug kind of WAS the Con. It was so good to meet up and share the common language of comics and friendship. And middle-age.

OK, let's be frank - it felt good to share the common language of middle-aged comics friendship. ;)

But if you force my arm behind my back I would say that seeing five copies of Amazing Fantasy #15 all in a row was a highlight. Also the conversation with artist Eddie Campbell, who has redrawn and colorised 'From Hell' - one of my favorite graphic novels. The newly serialised version looks sweet with his subtle color tints.
Thank you friends for making this Brit feel very welcome, not just at the Con but in your country. The Internet can indeed be a force for good!

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