Olympia Comics Fest 2019

My favorite comic show in the world happened about a month ago and I was lucky enough to once again have a table there. The Olympia Comics Festival was June 15th but I am just recovering from the hectic weeks and all-nighters that I had to pull to finish the 16 page mini comic in time for the show.

The Bennie mini comic was made entirely on my Ipad and printed on my Epson printer. There was no way I would have finished in time to send it to a real printer so I had to bite the bullet and use a crap-ton of ink and make a limited number of minis myself. Right now I am refining the original art and correcting mistakes so I can send it to the printer and make it a full sized comic with a new cover.

It was a great time as always, I met creators that were very talented and got to buy some of their work. Turnout seemed a little light this year, maybe because Father’s Day weekend? Even though I was a zombie from lack of sleep it still seemed to fly by. It is only a one day show and that works fine for me since I am still a little wary of the 3-4 day shows and the gas, hotel/ air B&B and bad road food bills that come with them.

These are books by some of the other creators at the 2019 Olympia Comics Festival.

After grabbing a life saving bite to eat, I attended the guest of honor signings at Danger Room, the sponsors of the festival. There I got to meet the great Emil Ferris, who’s book, My Favorite Thing is Monsters is not only a thing of beauty but incredibly moving. She was such a joy to speak with. It was my first time at the artist signing but I will make sure to always attend them in the future since they are very different from signings I have been to in the past where the person at the table sometimes barely makes eye contact, scrawls something on your book and sends you on your way. The guests here genuinely engage with the fans. It’s almost like everyone gets to interview the creator. And nobody in line gets impatient, they just wait their turn. Another beauty of the smaller shows.

I bought SuperButch #1 at last year’s show. Now I can catch up!

Going Paleo

As I write this it is day 28 of my 30 day Paleo Reset. What makes the Paleo Reset different from the Paleo Diet is that during the reset you’re forbidden from eating any dairy, grains, legumes, sweeteners, refined foods, industrial seed oils, soda, alcohol or any processed sauce or seasonings. Basically all the things that we both love and are killing us.

What is permitted: meat & poultry, organ meats, bone broth soups, fish, starchy tubers like sweet potatoes (which I now LOVE), leafy veggies, fermented vegetables and fruits, healthy fats like coconut, olive oil and even animal fat. These things you can eat as much as you want.

Broccolini, Amber Cup squash(which is to fucking die for) and under all those mushrooms & onions is a burger.

One of the biggest adjustments was redefining what breakfast is. Eggs are allowed but I gave them up just in case I have an allergy to them. So breakfast is now a chicken breast and a sweet potato. There were some cravings early on but not as bad as I thought they would be.

Amber Cup, spinach & pork chop.

You can listen to people give testimonials about how a diet changed or improved their lives but unless you experience it yourself it may be hard to believe. I am a believer.

An all vegetarian option of broccolini, zucchini and delicata squash.

I didn’t weigh myself before but I know I’ve lost some weight and lots of belly bloat. I feel more energetic and have no pain in my joints whatsoever. My mind is even clearer.

The idea is to introduce some things back into the diet one at a time after the 30 days is up. Then you ‘ll be able to identify the offenders your body can’t tolerate. Be prepared to say goodbye to some old friends.

This has changed my outlook on food 100% and I’m never going back to the way I used to eat. Am i going to occasionally cheat once the reset is over? Hell Yes! But I’m going to treat that cookie or that slice of cake like the tiny dose of poison that it is and only have a bit rather than pigging out like I used to.

Pitch Perfect

Pitch is probably the the best TV drama that you’re not watching right now. Sports fans are ignoring it because “Oh how ridiculous a girl baseball player” and non fans are like, ” Ugh, another show about sports”.

PITCH: L-R: Tim Jo, Meagan Holder, Mo McRae, Kylie Bunbury, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Mark Consuelos, Ali Larter and Dan Lauria in PITCH premiering Thursday, Sept. 22 (9:00 - 10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX © 2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Tommy Garcia / FOX.
PITCH: L-R: Tim Jo, Meagan Holder, Mo McRae, Kylie Bunbury, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Mark Consuelos, Ali Larter and Dan Lauria in PITCH premiering Thursday, Sept. 22 (9:00 – 10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX © 2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Tommy Garcia / FOX.

My opinion is that there’s enough there to keep both those demographics content. Last week I was catching up on the show on Hulu and Janet started watching and was totally drawn in and she couldn’t care less about sports. Kylie Bunbury is so believable as Ginny Baker the first female MLB player. Mark-Paul Gosselaar nails the part of the aging veteran teammate with a heart of gold that takes Ginny under his wing. I had no idea he was that good an actor when he was Zack on Saved By The Bell.

Sure you could pick apart details like her father when showing her how to throw a screwball has his fingers set for throwing a circle change but only hardcore fans would complain about that. There’s plenty of drama and character development to keep you interested in the story. It’s like Friday Night Lights in that it’s a show about people of which some of them have sports as part of their lives but there is very little actual sports being shown.

That said, having the full cooperation of Major League Baseball makes this show feel really authentic. They find a way to work actual game footage and current players and sportscasters into the mix which is very cool.

The most important thing about Pitch is the inspiration a show like this could be for young girls, and they really drive this home some would say to the point of being preachy. Given the results of the recent election, I don’t think you can downplay the woman hate that goes on in society in general or sports specifically. Even in the comments section for videos promoting the show there is so much vitriol. I personally believe that a woman could play pro baseball. She would have to be a pitcher or maybe a slick fielding middle infielder and be a generational talent like Serena Williams. And the biggest obstacle she would have to overcome wouldn’t  be MLB hitters, but the old boy system that likes to keep things the way they’ve always been.

The Man Who Would Be Prince

Thursday April 21st 2016 was a tragic day in many aspects. WWE great Chyna was found dead in her home. A 16 year old girl was murdered in a school bathroom by other teenage girls(WTF???). Prince Rogers Nelson, one of the greatest rock icons of all time died at his Paisley Park estate. All this happening within hours of each other, each event shocking enough to dominate the news cycle. It was the passing of the man called Prince that would stun the world.

prince_C-920_470x584

My one and only time I got to attend a Prince performance was 1981 at Park West in Chicago. Anyone familiar with the venue knows it’s very intimate, basically a night club. I remember there was a 2 drink minimum. The Dirty Mind album was his latest effort and the band was touring to promote it. We had seats on the main floor maybe 30-40 feet from the stage. Prince came out dressed in the trench coat, boots and manties he wore on the album cover. His band was pre-revolution with Dez, Dr. Fink, Andre, Bobby Z and Lisa, no Wendy just yet. I don’t remember how long they played but I do remember being blown away by this guy who we thought was maybe just a gimmick and knowing that we had been in the presence of greatness. From that point on I bought all of his albums and was a fan for life. Two years later, Purple Rain hit and the rest as they say is history.

The untimely deaths of Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston really didn’t surprise me that much. Both their lives had been in a downward spiral to some degree so when the news came I was saddened but not shocked. The Prince thing really caught me off guard. I imagined him being a funky old man like George Clinton making music for years to come and popping up at award shows. Losing him this soon really was a shot to the gut.

At one point Prince to my dismay decided to no longer do his classic songs in concert. His new religion forbid him from using the four letter words that he so cleverly wove into his magical lyrics. I never gave the new material much thought but now I plan on giving it a second chance. Partly because there will be no more forthcoming, and partly because now I’ll listen with a different mindset. The man was constantly cranking out work which was one of the things I admired most about him. He was unafraid of failure. If a record bombed, no biggie here’s some more stuff. And some more stuff. I love that. I wish that I was able to have that drive in my own life.

My White Sox Adventure

I have been a Cubs fan since the days of Banks, Santo & Williams but I was born on the south side. That means a lot of abuse has been sent my way from south siders as well as anyone that thought me a dope for rooting for a bunch of perennial losers.

But all the while I have never hated the White Sox. In fact the pale hose have a special place in my heart. The first ballgame I ever attended was a Sox double header that my uncle brought me to. I still remember being awed by the red pinstripe uniforms because we only had a B&W TV.

It wasn’t until years later I discovered that the Negro League All-Star Game was often held at old Comisky Park, and for years they commemorated that by giving away Chicago American Giants caps as a promotion every year.

 

The 1936 Negro League All Stars at the old Comisky Park.
The 1936 Negro League All Stars at the old Comisky Park.

So even though I bleed cubbie blue I think baseball fans are lucky to have two major league franchises in this city and I still enjoy catching an AL game every now and then.

Jose Abreu, whose dinger would later seal the win.
Jose Abreu, whose dinger would later seal the win.

After scoring a seat in section 520, sixth row even with first base for $5, I settle  back with my Lagunitas IPA and a much anticipated Bill Melton Brat. The brat was disappointment. It was pretty dry, overcooked and burnt in some spots. Since it was covered in onions there was no way I could tell until it was too late. Should have gotten the Beggar’s pizza instead.

melton_brat
This brat was not worth the heartburn that it gave me later.

Halfway through the top of the second inning a group of teenagers came in. Then another group. Then, I swear to God about 150 of them just swarmed in. Of all the empty sections in a pretty damn empty park this group of youngsters had been assigned section 520. I’ve got nothing against teenagers but I was kind of hoping to just enjoy the game and all of it’s nuances which you don’t really do if you go with a group because then it becomes more of a social event. A few years ago I was at a Blue Jays game in Toronto and was attempting to return to my seat after buying food. The usher stopped me and said ” Sir, please wait until the batter is finished” after which myself and all the other patrons waited until between innings to return to our seats so we wouldn’t obstruct the vision of the seated fans. Americans have no problem putting an ass in your face at any point in the game even if something crucial is happening. Hey, I need my third hot dog, you got a problem with that? With the kids constantly getting up and parading back & forth to the snack bar, by the third inning it was time to move.

The middle schoolers that took over my section. Notice the lack of fans in every other section.
The middle schoolers that took over my section. Notice the lack of fans in every other section.

Luckily for me since the park was so empty sitting in another section wasn’t hard to do. After moving to the first base side I was able to focus on the game which was 1-0 Astros. From then the game took a turn for better for the Sox as well. My guy Geo Soto (ex-cub) hit a home run to put them ahead and Jose Abreu, who was one of the reasons I wanted to see a Sox game in the first place hits a two run shot to give them a cushion and the Sox end up winning 4-1.

The scoreboard celebrating Jose Abreu's insurance home run.
The scoreboard celebrating Jose Abreu’s insurance home run.

Being at the park is fun if you have crazy good seats with parking included, but for me personally, the best seat in the house in in front of your HD TV with a clean restroom just steps away and unlimited food & drink at your fingertips.

 

Popcorn Junkie

Lately I’ve become addicted to Trader Joe’s Chicago Style Popcorn Mix. It’s the closest thing to Garrett’s cheese & caramel popcorn mix and it’s only $3 a bag. Garrett’s Popcorn has been around since 1949 and every since they opened Chicagoans have been standing in line to but their awesome popcorn. Another company has filed a lawsuit against Garrett’s over the use of the term “Chicago Mix” but everybody knows that Garrett’s is the best no matter what they call it.

Part of me feels bad as I’m chowing down on bag after bag of the TJ’s stuff because Janet is allergic to popcorn. So now I try to eat it when she’s not around. Which makes me a secret popcorn eater. God help me.

TJpopcorn

New additions to the Etsy shop

Lately I have been focusing more on the comics than the prints with Awesome 5! #1 now in stores as well as online and Alternative City #0 now at the printer. That said, now is a great time to add some new prints!

The Obama print and The Happy Cat are from larger paintings i did for a couple of fund raisers. You can find out more if you visit our shop. Also don’t forget to like our Facebook page!

Chipotle VS… Taco Bell?

When I saw the commercial touting Taco Bell’s new “Gourmet” “Cantina Bell” menu I had my doubts but I figured what the hell I’ll give it a try. I knew it wouldn’t taste better than Chipotle but I thought it might taste better than the regular Taco Bell burrito that looks kinda like a tortilla that a bird pooped on. Boy was I wrong.

Chipotle chicken burrito bowl on the left, Taco Bell Cantina burrito on the right.

The chicken was tasteless, the rice and beans were bland and what they call guacamole  was almost non existent. I choked some of mine down but Janet only took a bite of hers. Of course Chipotle costs more but it’s so worth it because of the marinated meat and more flavorful toppings. Not to mention the hormone free and ethical way their meat is raised. I could eat Chipotle every day!

 

The Amazing Spider Re-Boot

Alright, alright I know The Dark Knight Rises comes out today but I still want to talk about the new Spider-man movie, The Amazing Spider-Man. They got it right this time. The previous Spidey franchise of movies was more visually appealing than it was true to the original material. This version is to those movies what The Dark Knight series is to Tim Burton’s Batman movies.

Andrew Garfield did a great job of bringing modern teen angst to Peter Parker. He’s a lot closer to the age Peter was when he became the webslinger. Not once during his performance did I think about Tobey Maguire’s stint in the red suit.

Garfield’s real life girlfriend Emma Stone gives an equally compelling portrayal of Pete’s REAL first girlfriend Gwen Stacy. Their onscreen chemistry is natural and unforced. This is the treatment Gwen deserves unlike the one she received in Spiderman 3 (yikes!).

I don’t want to give away too much to those who have not seen it yet or those that aren’t comic readers. Have to say this… you know you’re getting old when Sally Field is playing Aunt May and you can remember watching her play Gidget on TV as a kid! Anyway go see it if you haven’t already…it’s …Amazing!

Original ACEO works now available!

There are two new additions to our etsy shop. One is an ACEO of Nefertiti, a character from Awesome 5! who is the girlfriend of Ramses, the bad guy in issue #1. Even though the real Nefertiti and Ramses never hooked up, these two decided to adopt those personas for their life of crime. The other is a little odd fellow I’m calling Soup Strainer, because of his prominent moustache he sports.

What makes these cards different from the other ACEOs is these are one of a kind originals. Nefertiti is ink and watercolor on 2 ply bristol board and Soupy is watercolor & ink on Strathmore 500 series illustration board, one of the finest materials made for drawing or illustrating IMHO. Both come titled, signed and dated on the back.

I have been meaning to put these up sooner but I’ve been so busy finishing  Awesome 5! #1 (more on that later) that I haven’t had the time. Like the ACEO prints, the originals come with protective sleeves and top loaders with free shipping in the U.S.