Friday, July 1, 2016

Jill Thompson at C2E2 2015

Thank you to Johngy's Beat Contributor Dick Griffiths for leading me to comic book writer and illustrator Jill Thompson   It's always good to have someone like DG on board to steer me to these talented people.
Jill is probably best known for her work on Neil Gaiman's The Sandman characters and her Scary Godmother series.  She has also created for DC Comics, Marvel Comics and several others.  She even worked for Topps on their The X-Files: Afterflight card set.  It seems her work is everywhere.  For the wrestling fans, she also provided illustrations for Mick Foley's Halloween Hijinx   Additionally, she is as delightful as she is talented.
Scary Godmother is a series of children's books and comic books, featuring a tall, skinny and pretty fairy-witch with long curly squirrel hair, pale green skin, small bat wings and purple and green leggings.  Jill admits the character does bear a resemblance to her creator.  Jill also admits that the "scary godmother" isn't really scary.  She's more like a Halloween fairy godmother.
There are also monsters, kids and other fun characters.  She even mixes in a little social commentary on occasion.  It all adds up to a lot of fun for kids and adults.
You can learn more about her on the Jill Thompson website or by following Jill Thompson on twitter.  You can also find her at many comic cons.
Jill Thompson and me in Chicago, IL-April 2015.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Cards That Never Were: Mike Ryan 1975 Topps

"Cards That Never Were" is a recurring series in which I create virtual trading cards for players who were missed in the original sets.  It is a concept I have borrowed from too many others to list, but I thank them all.
Catcher Mike Ryan made his major league debut with the Boston Red Sox in 1964.  Topps rewarded him with a multi-player "Red Sox Rookie Stars" card.  After four seasons in Boston, he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies, where he played for six seasons.  Philadelphia traded him to the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he played the 1974 season.  He was released in October, ending his major league career.
I understand the decision by Topps not to include Ryan in the 1975 set.  Still, that does not prevent me from making one for him.  This would be a "career capper" for him, as well!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Gary Lee Vincent at Days of the Dead

Gary Lee Vincent is an author, actor, musician and producer.  I met him at Days of the Dead, while learning all about Belly Timber, a movie project promoted by Bobby Easley.
Vincent has his hand in many projects.  In addition to Belly Timber, he his latest movies include Endor, My Uncle John is a Zombie and The Goddess.  You can learn about those movies and his other projects at GaryLeeVincent.com.
His works generally involve horror, mystery and bizarre themes, which makes him a natural fit for Days of the Dead.  It also makes him popular among fans of that area.
Vincent is also an accomplished author.  I have not yet read any of Vincent's books, but I am interested in them and will be purchasing them.  His Attack of the Melonheads sounds like the perfect title for a horror flick.  He's got a lot more books, but that will be my first choice.
He is a great guest at conventions.  With so much to offer, his versatility works well.  Plus, he is very personable.  Definitely stop by his booth if you should happen to see him at a convention.
Gary Lee Vincent and me in Indianapolis, IN-June 2015.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Days of the Dead Indianapolis 2016

Days of the Dead Indianapolis 2016 is in the books and what a great time it was!  This was the 19th DotD event and I was at the first one (also in Indy) and 11 of them total.
Adolfo is the man behind DotD and he has an awesome crew.  Like any such convention, there will always be a glitch or two, but the DotD team smooths out glitches quickly.  Fan service is one of the main priorities at any Days con.
This year seemed to be the largest crowd ever.  It could be the presence of wrestling legend Shawn Michaels, a cumulative growth, a packed celebrity guest roster or any combo of these and other variables.  The fact is DotD is growing in size and obviously popularity.
The Days crew (including "Hardcore" Heather Owens and Ed Gonzales, two friends I've met through Resistance Pro Wrestling) is very visible.  This isn;t a con run by some nameless, faceless corporation.  This is a con for the people, run by the people.  I cannot say enough good things about Adolfo and his bunch.
What I can say is that I am already looking forward to Days of the Dead in Schaumburg (Chicago).  For more info on Days, check out DaysoftheDead.net.
Adolfo and me in Indianapolis, IN-June 2016.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Friendly Encounters: Ric Flair, Adolfo and Carrie

Friendly Encounters is a weekly series featuring friends who have met celebrities.

I have featured wrestling legend Ric Flair several times here, because he is the biggest name in wrestling many friends have met.  Today though, the biggest name in wrestling is pictured with one of the most underrated names in comic cons.  Don't be surprised if Adolfo ends up as one of the biggest names in comic cons sometime down the line.
Adolfo is the man behind Days of the Dead, the little comic con that has grown into five events every year around the country (Atlanta, Chicago, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Louisville).  Don't be surprised if more cities are added soon.  He's only been doing this for a few years and already it has grown into big events.
Right by his side is Carrie, his beautiful significant other.  These two appear to be a perfect match.  She is just as much of a blur at these conventions as he is.  Together, they are the dynamic duo who oversee a very smooth operation.
He is pretty low key.  Adolfo doesn't post tons of pictures of him with celebrities, but the ones he does are usually important ones to him.  When he posted this picture with Ric Flair, the significance of it hit me.  Adolfo and Days of the Dead are in the early years of a great run.  Check out DaysoftheDead.net to get in on the fun!
Carrie, Ric Flair and Adolfo in Atlanta, GA-February 2016.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Celebrity Jersey Cards #279 Kenny Chesney & Seth Rollins

This is a regular series which attempts to combine my lifelong passion for trading cards with my semi-professional interest in celebrities.  We continue working our way alphabetically through Major League Baseball.

Music star Kenny Chesney was born in Knoxville, TN, but there are no baseball teams in Knoxville or in all of Tennessee.  He actually claims to be a Boston Red Sox fan, but his Celebrity Jersey Card shows him wearing a Baltimore Orioles jersey.  Is the #7 for Mark Belanger?  He does earn points for the hat and glove, but I still want to know why I can't find him repping his Red Sox.
Pro wrestler Seth Rollins is a native of Iowa, but he brought his title belt to Baltimore to throw out a first pitch.  It also landed him on a Celebrity Jersey Card.  I love title belts on these cards.  I'm going to guess he is wearing an Orioles cap (backwards).

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Congratulations and Thank You to Aaron Moore of the Chicago Bandits

I am enjoying my third season covering the Chicago Bandits.  I freely admit, my journey started with me looking for something new to cover.  I did not expect to enjoy it this much and to love the organization like I do.
General Manager Aaron Moore was one of the first people I met within the organization.  He welcomed us and he thanked us for spreading the word on the Bandits.  I promised I would do my best to provide coverage and to promote the team.
Since I write for myself, I don't have to be fair and impartial.  I can openly admit I cheer for the Bandits!
Aaron has continually mad me feel at home at Bandits games and events.  Like the rest of the organization, Aaron is a class act and a true professional.
I contiunally hear from fans and staffers how the Bandits draft and acquire quality people and I agree completely.  These young ladies are elite athletes and great role models.  At any game, you can see hundreds of young fans line up to meet the players and get autographs and pictures and the players always give their all, especially to the youngsters!
Owner Bill Sokolis, Manager Mike Steuerwald, Coach Roman Foore and Aaron are all part of that drafting process.  Aaron also juggles hundreds of other duties.
I have added a bit to my Bandits workload this season.  I am also the distributor of their pocket schedules.  My company Arch News Agency has been busy putting schedules all over the Chicago area.
I enjoy helping teh Bandits.  I am very happy and proud to be a part of the organization.  The Chicago Bandits are topnotch and deserve more praise and more expsure.  I plan on continuing to help in any way I can.  I hope to see you all at games.  For more info, check out ChicagoBandits.com.
Aaron Moore and me in Rosemont, IL-June 2016.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Tara Reid at Days of the Dead Chicago 2015

Days of the Dead has had Tara Reid as a guest multiple times.  Reid has an impressive resume, including the American Pie franchise and The Big Lebowski.  Recently, she has been in the Sharknado movie series (with Howard Stern's Benji Bronk among others).
Reid is a pretty big name for any con, but Days got her and the fans were ecstatic.  Reid is one of those stars you cannot pass up.  Adding to the benefit is that she is extremely nice.
At the last Days, I was in the lobby of the hotel when I saw Reid walking to the convention.  She really stood out.  In a room full of beautiful celebs and the chaos of the frenzied fans, it is easy to overlook anyone.  In a lobby alone, when Reid walks by, she is not easy to miss.
Once again, Days nails it.  I heard from a few people who drove six hours just to see her at the event.
Days always has big name celebrities and interesting celebrities.  For more info on Days, including the future events and celebrities scheduled, check out DaysoftheDead.net.
Tara Reid and me in Schaumburg, IL-November 2015.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Celebrity Jersey Cards #278 Paula Deen & J.R. Martinez

This is a regular series which attempts to combine my lifelong passion for trading cards with my semi-professional interest in celebrities.  We continue working our way alphabetically through Major League Baseball.

Georgia native Paula Deen rose to fame as a television cooking show host.  While she has been criticized for alleged racial remarks and for her overuse of butter, there is no denying her success as a host and restaurant operator.  For her Celebrity Jersey Card, she donned the uni of the Nationals, instead of her hometown Braves.
Jose Rene "J. R." Martinez is an actor, motivational speaker, former Dancing With the Stars contestant and more.  The job which changed his life, however, was his stint in the United States Army, during which he sustained severe burns to over 34 percent of his body while in Iraq.  Martinez survived and inspires others through his speeches and every day life.  It seems only fitting that his Celebrity Jersey Card would feature him with the Nationals.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

On the Beat With Shelby Turnier of the Chicago Bandits 2016

Today our coverage of the 2015 National Pro Fastpitch champion Chicago Bandits continues with rookie piitcher Shelby Turnier.  Welcome to Chicago Shelby!
Shelby had an outstanding career at the University of Central Florida.  She was named the 2015 American Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year and was also the first All-American in UCF softball history.  Among other great stats, she ranks first on the UCF all-time wins list (79) and has the lowest single season ERA (.87).  Her career at UCF was capped by being the highest draft pick in UCF history after the Bandits selected her  with the 11th overall pick in the 2016 NPF Draft.
So far in this young season, Shelby is 1-1, with a 4.71 ERA in 16 1/3 innings.  Shelby also has 12 strikeouts and only four walks.
Along with welcoming Shelby to the Bandits and Chicago, we talked to her about joining the champions and adjusting to the NPF.  We also talked about pitching in her native Florida.
Shelby showed real poise and maturity in discussing joining the NPF and not the USSSA Pride.  She made some very interesting and refreshing points.
We also talked about seeing Chicago.  Shelby has seen "The Bean," unlike her teammate (and yesteday's interview subject Tatum Edwards LOL).
I walked away from the interview with Shelby very impressed by her maturity and character.  I am not surprised though.  This is what the Bandits do.  They bring in talented players with upstanding and outstanding character.  Shelby will do well in the league and I look forward to following her progress.
You can head over to ChicagoBandits.com for more info on Shelby and the Bandits.  You can also check back here for our continuing coverage.  My best advice though, is to go see a game!