My upcoming convention appearances (fall 2013)

So to anyone that regularly follows this sporadic blog, I apologize. I really had hoped to post a little something each day of Comic-Con 2013 San Diego. I failed. Spilled milk at this point … time to move on.

If you want to see me in person, I will be attending the following conventions this fall (2013).

SEPTEMBER 7 – CENTRAL COAST COMIC CON (C4)

Central Coast Comic ConAccording to their website, this convention will be “taking over the Ventura County Fairgrounds. We now have four buildings at the fair grounds for C4. Two for panels & workshops, one for gaming and the main vendor and guests hall. 
 New Beginning’s equals new Memories.”

Also in attendance at this show will be old friends Marat Mychaels, Matt Hawkins and Howard Chaykin.

Check out the details and get tickets at: http://www.venturacomiccon.com/

* * * * * * *

NOVEMBER 23 & 24 – LONG BEACH COMICS & HORROR CON

Long Beach Comic HorrorIf the recent attendance at San Diego Con and WonderCon in Anaheim are any indication, this show should be well attended, but not so big that you make yourself crazy.

Attending this show will be old friends and work colleagues Marv Wolfman, Mark Waid, Gene Ha, Barbara Kesel plus the hardest working man in comics Jimmy Palmiotti and his new bride (and my favorite all-around cartoonist) Amanda Conner.

Make your plans to attend now and register at: http://www.longbeachcomiccon.com/

And if you haven’t been keeping up with my comings and goings lately, I’m currently VP at Space Goat Productions. Check out the website at http://www.spacegoatproductions.com

That’s my version of the story,

Dave Olbrich (Aug. 13, 2013)

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Fanatic Friday at Comic-Con 2013 (part 1)

A quick shout out to my favorite blogger, Paul O’Connor. He plugged my convention “coverage” on Twitter … so thanks. Check out his blog at: http://www.longboxgraveyard.com.

The glamorous hours spent at SDCC doing portfolio review. Truth is ... I love it!

The glamorous hours spent at SDCC doing portfolio review. Truth is … I love it!

Another early morning as my daughter Maggie needed to be in line for Hall H and she wanted it to happen before 6:30am. It is what you have to do for “Walking Dead/Game of Thrones day. I was a little afraid that wouldn’t be enough … as people were camped out last night before we called it a night. (Special note: we turned in early last night … or at least early for Comic-Con.)

Tom Mason and I both had breakfast meetings this morning, so we were on the trolley by 8am. For those keeping score Tom, Maggie and I all came to the convention together, as we have done for the last several years. We have worked out a system that works for us. Oh yeah, your scorecard should include the fact that Tom & I work together now at Space Goat Productions, plus we worked together in the past at both Malibu Comics and Fantagraphics Books.

Tom had breakfast with current Portland, Oregon resident Mickie Villa who got her first job after college working as a production assistant at Malibu Comics. More about her later.

I had a breakfast meeting with Carl Reed from comic publisher Lion Forge Comics. Carl and I met briefly at Wonder Con, but this was our first chance to talk at our leisure about how we can work together. Can’t wait to get started helping him after I return from the show.

Because of the enormous crowd here, finding a place to meet and eat can be a frustrating challenge. So far I’ve had three meals at the restaurant across the street inside the Hilton Hotel, because at least so far the convention crowd has yet to discover it. Old regular haunts like Dick’s Last Resort have an hour wait and the line at The Tin Fish is crazy long with no place to sit. Such is life in the age of “sold-out” Comic-Cons.

The energy from over 130,000 people in a relatively small place is incredible, but it also creates headaches … and allows for less spontaneous behavior. You almost have to plan EVERYTHING, which to my way of thinking is definitely less fun.

(I apologize if you are reading this as I work to update it … somehow I’ve managed to lose almost an hour worth of brilliant prose that I will now have to re-create. Just know that I will finish it. But I have to go lick my wounds for a little while … maybe get a cookie.)

Come back soon.

-dwo

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Fanatic Thursday at Comic-Con 2013

This just in … a surprise presenter for this year’s Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards will be … wait for it … Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, James Marsters. Anyone with a convention badge can attend the Eisner Awards, so change your plans for Friday night Buffy fans.

20130718-232211.jpg

The sea of people upstairs under the “sails” at SDCC 2013 Thursday

Day started dropping off Maggie, my daughter, at Old Town station before 7am so she could catch the trolley to the convention center to get in line for Ballroom 20. She needed to get in line for the panel for the BBC TV series SHERLOCK at 2:00pm. Such is the life of a con-goer who wants to see the big auditorium TV and movie presentations. Wish I could join her (because I REALLY love the show), but such is the life of a working comics professional.

Tom didn’t have any con obligations until after noon, so he peeled off on the train ride to the convention center to visit a local Euro-Cafe with great WIFI. I went straight to the con, towing around the banner signage for Space Goat Productions that I’m going to use during portfolio review. I think I am going to HATE being responsible for this SGP sign, it is bulky and there isn’t a really good safe place to put it between review sessions. And then getting it back home again …

First thing this morning was the panel talking about the 25th anniversary of the Will Eisner Comics Industry Awards, which i started with Will Eisner when the Kirby Awards died. If you want to read my account of that, I’ve already written about that in another blog post … just use the “search” function. Jackie Estrada was the MC and panelists included Bongo’s Bill Morrison, Denis Kitchen, Todd Klein and Maggie Thompson. I sat in the audience and contributed when asked. A fine way to spend an hour chatting about this thing I started that Jackie has built into something amazing.

After, I met Maggie Thompson in the hallway as she was being interviewed for a blog aimed at comics fans who happen to be girls. And Maggie introduced me to the guy responsible for NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour. Maggie says its is great so I plan to check it out.

One great thing about Comic-Con, if you have been in the industry a while are the happy surprises that occur along the way, like catching Maggie Thompson in the hall … and meeting her new friends … or like what happened to me next.

My cell phone let me know I had a text … from some of my favorite people … Debra & Dean Rohlfing. i thought they were at home in Texas. Instead, through a series of unique circumstances they were downstairs in the exhibit hall. Before the crash of the comics biz in the mid-90s, Dean and I had become friends, first when he worked for Diamond Comic Distributors and later we both worked for Marvel for a short time. Dean & Deb brought the whole family, which included their two very cool daughters and the future son-in-law. I hope to catch some more time with them before the show is over.

Next on the agenda was a quick meeting with Bob Schreck, a guy with a legendary comics career who now produces comics for Legendary Pictures (responsible for both Pacific Rimand Man of Steel summer blockbusters). Space Goat even contributed to the Pacific Rim comic that was just released. Bob and I have been competitors and acquaintances for a very long time … and as old guys who know all the same comic people and survived all the slings-and-arrows of staying in this crazy business, we come to be friends. We talked shop, we talked business and we talked about life. Just a couple old warriors comparing stories and battle scars.

At 2pm, I started two hours of artist portfolio review for Space Goat. I saw an unusually large number of good artists ready for their first job. Very encouraging. I never take anything from the artists I see. I give them my card and ask them to contact me. It is the first test to see if they are ready to take a pro-active approach to their comics career.

And those are the highlights of my day … after hours Tom and I attended the Scholastic Books party (where we saw Stan Sakai and Scott McCloud) … then it was off to the Hilton for a drink. We couldn’t find the Comixology party that Chip Mosher invited me to, but we did run into editor/entrepreneur Andy Schmidt (who has started a new business), comics vet Steven Grant (who wrote the comic that spawned the movie 2 Guns), as well as publishers Ross Richie (Boom) and Will Christianson (Avatar) both of whom are much smoother operators than most people give them credit for.

Dave Olbrich

 

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Fanatic Wednesday of Comic-Con 2013

Wednesday Preview Night of Comic-Con 2013 is in the rearview mirror.

Miscellaneous notes.
1. We arrived later than usual on the trolley that drops us off in front of the convention center. The good news that San Diego had changed its trolley route was pointed out to us by an employee of the trolley system working at the trolley stop (thanks for that San Diego). In past years, unless you were riding the “convention special,” you had to change trains if you were going from Old Town to Comic-Con. Not any more, all trains go direct. Hooray!

2. The definition of “professional” at Comic-Con sometimes seems to include nearly everyone. Yes, I know that is a gross exaggeration, but when we arrived the line from professional pro badges went from Hall E to Hall A outside on the sidewalk … about 2/3 the length of the entire convention center. But the organizers get a round of applause because despite the VERY long line, the wait was short and the pro-reg volunteers handled an enormous number of pros quite efficiently.

3. While standing in line (with my daughter Maggie and long time buddy Tom Mason) we met Space Goat Productions’ head honcho Shon Bury and we also saw actress Molly C. Quinn (she plays the daughter on Castle) who had stopped on the sidewalk to take pictures with a fan.

4. Kudos to the Warner Bros. Marketing department, the bag given to pros (and I assume everyone else) at registration is a well-designed … the adjustable straps allow you to carry it like a bag or throw it over your shoulders like a back-pack …very nice indeed.

People I saw and talked to:
1. First stop was the booth of artists Aaron Lopresti & Terry Dodson, who we plan to have dinner with Saturday night.
2. Next we coordinated (via text) a meet with writer Gerry Jones, who I first published in 1987. Maggie wanted to get her copy of Jones’s book Killing Monsters signed. Mission accomplished. Always good to see Gerry and his traveling comapnion Joe Felice.
3. DC’s Comic-Con booth is a favorite pro meeting spot. Marvel’s booth seems openly hostile to the kind of socializing that goes on at DC. Met Shon Bury again, plus …
* Space Goat artist Attila Futaki
* DC’s Jack Mahon
* DC Editors Bobbie Chase and Jim Chadwick (friend and former Malibu-ite)
* Space Goat artist Fernando Argosino
* Silo (animation) head honcho Sean Hart
* and I’m sure I’m forgetting something.
4. Former Malibu marketing dude and current Exec at IDW Alan Payne spent some time catching on with Maggie and me at the IDW booth. While we were standing there, we saw a girl (Lauren) that we had seen on the TV show Catfish the night before. And as we were leaving the booth, we saw someone in a purple wig who looked EXACTLY like Maggie Gyllenhaal.
5. Fellow So. Cal. comics business pro Chip Mosher gave me an invite to Thursday Comixology Party. It helps that he works there.
6. After walking through my second favorite section of the convention hall … where they sell old comcis and graphic novels, Maggie and I re-united with Tom Mason and headed over to FUNKY GARCIA’S for drinks and food with a bunch of the Space Goat crowd before calling it a night.

dwo
from a secret location just outside San Diego

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Touched by a man (I barely knew) on my birthday!

Yeah.  OK.  Calm down.  Yes it is my birthday. But no …

MenInBlack1cover

The comic title that I published
that “non-comics” people know

The suggestive headline is true … but it is also a joke and doesn’t mean what it seems to mean. I was trying to come up with a clever headline for this (mostly self-serving) post … and this amused me. So sue me. And please accept my apologies in advance Marty.

Facebook is a terrific tool to stay in touch, especially if you are part of community or family separated by geography. Such is my life, both personally and professionally. I live in Southern California. My family (and extended family) mostly live in the Midwest. Many others are scattered to the four winds.

Comics professionals are distributed all over the globe. When my birthday rolls around friends and acquaintances use the opportunity to check-in and say “howdy.” It is really great to hear from people I like and love on my birthday.

Prime11cover

The ULTRAVERSE is how most comic
fans would know my work.

It is better yet, when someone you’ve only met a small number times uses your birthday as an opportunity to say something really thoughtful. So this is me sharing a private message I got from comic industry stalwart, writer supreme and all-around good guy Martin Pasko.

Bday2013 from Pasko

I fully admit this is self-serving. But I wanted to share. I did what I did in comics for a number of reasons. Let’s see how many I can name on the spur of the moment. (1) I love comics and have for nearly as long as I can remember (2) I have wanted a career in comics since my early teens (3) I went to college hoping to find a career path into comics (4) I needed a paycheck to feed my family (5) I wanted to provide for my employees as well as myself (6) I wanted to make a positive impact on the comic book industry and be “in the club” (7) I wanted creators who trusted me and worked with me to be glad that they did and (8) I wanted to do the right thing and be able to look at myself in the mirror.

Grade: B- (mostly successful, but with huge and noticeable shortcomings)

Getting this message from Martin Pasko was an amazing surprise and warmed my heart. It touched me. I wanted to say THANK YOU in the most public way at my disposal. And if I’ve violated your privacy by publishing your message to me, please forgive me.

That’s my version of the story.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU ………. JOHN ROMITA Sr (Jan.24)

John Romita Sr.

John Romita Sr.

The comic industry owes you such a huge debt of gratitude for everything you have done to make our careers and lives better … in addition to your jaw-dropping pictures and cover designs.

Thanks Mr. Romita … from the farm town boy who loved the way you provoked his imagination … to the aspiring comic pro to whom you showed such grace … to the comics vet who appreciates you now more than ever.

John Romita_GwenStacy

Spider-man’s girlfriend Gwen Stacy

Previous mentions of John Romita Sr can be found numerous spots here at Funnybook Fanatic: HERE and HERE and HERE just to tease a few.

And that is my version of the story for today.
(January 24, 2013)

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All the news that’s fit to print!

As most people reading this blog already know, I was (once upon a time) the publisher of Malibu Comics. The company did okay for a while and then for a while, it did much better. Getting press coverage for our titles was always a strong point of Malibu Comics. This is NOT a story about that. Below you’ll find a newspaper clipping from 1989 (at least that is my best guess).

Malibu news story 89 fixed

The photograph below was used to illustrate the story.

Malibu news photo 1989 fixed

Look, I’m not going to discuss the apparent mullet. Ain’t gonna happen.

Malibu sold its comics through the world-wide direct market. The first fan letter we ever received was mailed from Germany. We did not solicit this story. The newspaper reporter called Malibu through some personal contacts we made in the community. Just to be clear, this story was NOT the result of Malibu’s savvy marketing efforts.

Let’s talk about this literal snapshot from the history of Malibu, especially for those of you that only remember Malibu as the company that either helped launch Image Comics or the company that published the Ultraverse & Bravura comics.

1. Assuming I’ve got the date right (1989), this story was written just before the company’s second anniversary of releasing comics. Malibu’s first titles were released in June 1987. In 24 months, we had geared up our production from 3 titles per month to 30 titles per month. With sales relatively low per title, we needed that kind of volume to keep the lights on, the doors open and make payroll each month. YEEK!

2. If I ever get around to writing The Secret Origin of Malibu Comics Part 5, you will learn about the days when we ran Malibu from my “back porch.” It is absolutely true. The office we were using at THIS time was only about 1,000 square feet and very cluttered AND it had no heat. Most of the year in California this wasn’t much of problem, but there were definitely times when the temperature would dip into the high 30s and low 40s. That is awfully cold to sit around and do office work all day. We got by with space heaters and weight-lifting gloves.

3. WAIT A SECOND. Did I just type “weight lifting gloves.” Yes. We were doing most of our work on early Macintosh computers. We wore the weight-lifting gloves because they could provide a small amount of warmth for our chilly hands, but they did not cover our fingertips. We needed free fingertips to allow for all the typing we did all day. I’m not the least bit ashamed to admit, I still own a pair of weight-lifting gloves that I wore during those early, chilly days.

4. We did a lot of newspaper strip reprints in those days, focusing on properties that people our age might recognize. Why they mentioned Charlie Chan instead of Sherlock Holmes, I will never know.

5. I’m proud that we published Dinosaurs for Hire, proud to this very day. It was fun in a way that almost no comic is fun these days. If you look around, you can find copies of this lost gem in a dollar box somewhere. Make the investment. I do not believe you will be disappointed.

6. I’m less proud of Scimidar. To say that the book was PG-13 is being generous. It was a title about a sexy girl assassin in a grim future (written by longtime DEAR friend R.A. Jones). It was a book ABOUT sex and violence. It was often gratuitous. I’m not “less proud” of Scimidar because of what it attempted to be. It sold quite well in comparison to a lot of our other titles, but it simply didn’t achieve its goals very well. What is was trying to say ABOUT sex and violence sometimes got lost in the content.MalibuLogo001big

7. This newspaper story was published at a time when there weren’t any Malibu titles, at least no comics carried Malibu as its imprint. The company was called Malibu Graphics Publishing but the imprints that we promoted and put on the covers of the books were either Eternity, Adventure or Aircel. These were imprints that readers and retailers were already familiar with and that helped sales. Our job in those days was to achieve the highest sales possible, both for our own benefit but also for the benefit of the creators.

8. Yes. In 1989, 20th Century Fox was working on relaunching Planet of the Apes in some way. Needless to say it never happened. Malibu published the comics anyway and we did very well with it. Exactly why a relaunch of a movie series failed, I don’t know. Perhaps we may never knew.

9. If Malibu was a top five publisher in 1989, we were mostly certainly no higher than #5 … and we probably were not in that position every month. But to make it to #5 in two years of publishing seems like an achievement we should be proud of.

10. Yes. I decided on a career in comics when I was sixteen years old. I wrote about that HERE.

11. The story says that we had nine employees. I cannot for the life of me can figure out how nine of us worked in that little tiny office. I’m not sure where that number comes from.

12. The picture was taken outside our offices as I sat on the asphalt parking lot among a bunch of Malibu titles we spread out on the ground. I’m holding our best-selling title at the time: Robotech: The Sentinels. Surrounding me you can see Three Musketeers, War of the Worlds, and another one of bestsellers, Ben Dunn’s Ninja High School.

AND … just for the record. In Paragraph one, the newspaper misspelled Spider-man. In Paragraph three, the last name of Chris Ulm is spelled wrong. Paragraph six has a whopper of a typo, when the word “said” is spelled wrong.

So now comes my appeal to others reading this blog. Do you have scans or clippings similar to this one hidden way somewhere, a local newspaper who came out to a local small comic publisher to cover their “success.” If so, please send them along … I would love to see them and with your permission I will post them here for the world to see.

That’s my version of the story.

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CAPTAIN AMERICA #140 – My favorite covers: Part 1

If I could own only one piece of original art, this might be it. I can’t even imagine what the price would be. (Perhaps someone can tell me.) John Romita Sr. really knocked it out of the park on this one, in my humble opinion.

Yeah, okay, I admit that part of it is nostalgia. It was released in August of 1971, the end of summer vacation when I was 11 years old. This was no doubt a sweet spot for the fantastic adventures of costume heroes to entrance of young Minnesota farm boy.

Written by Stan Lee and interior pencils also by Romita, this issue had A LOT to like: a cool looking villain that I’d never seen before, Nick Fury on the Helicarrier, Sharon Carter (who never looked better than when drawn by Romita), Cap trying out a secret identity as a policeman, the Falcon’s “radical” girlfriend Leila (who hated cops), the Falcon in his original green-and-gold costume, and a new threat to the world destined to fall into the hands of the Gargoyle, Element X. Thrills and chills in the Mighty Marvel Manner.

Cap140.favcov01

And don’t miss my personal story of attending a party in Hawaii with both Stan Lee and John Romita Sr. HERE.

That’s my version of the story.

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The Ultraverse television commercials (enjoy!)

Featuring Larry Bagby Jr., Chris Ulm and the future former Mrs. Scott Rosenberg.

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The Jonny Quest song I play for myself at least once-a-week.

I don’t have the time this evening to write a long diatribe about my deep and abiding love for all things Jonny Quest. I’ve written of it many times here before.

This animated classic got under my skin as a young fan who depended on television to be both my friend and my window into the worlds of the fantastic. And then as an adult my interest continued. I was beside myself with fanatic GLEE when Comico got the rights to publish comics featuring the further adventures of Jonny, Race, Hadji and Co.

As luck would have it, at that time, I was working at a fan magazine called Amazing Heroes, back when comic fans actually read fan magazines. The offices for the publisher of Amazing Heroes was less than fifteen miles from the home of Doug Wildey, the man responsible for the creation of Jonny Quest. Exercising my editorial prerogative, I assigned myself the job to get an interview and write a feature about Doug for the launch of Comico’s series. Besides being amazingly talented, Doug Wildey was soft-spoken and incredibly generous with his time. Doug even did a painting that we used for the cover of Amazing Heroes.

Then, he gave me the painting. And it hangs on the wall of my office where I can enjoy it every day.

At the bottom it reads, "For Dave, a fine writer and a nice human being.  - Doug"

At the bottom it reads, “For Dave, a fine writer and a nice human being. – Doug”

Many years later, I got a CD (we still have those, right?) called Saturday Morning, it featured many songs from my television-polluted youth by popular bands (of the time). If you enjoy this blog, you should own this CD. Then something happened this evening that drove me directly to my blog to write this new post.

I found a video featuring Reverend Horton Heat’s version of the Jonny Quest theme song. It segues in the middle into “Stop The Pigeon,” the theme song from Dastardly & Muttly, but I still play this song for myself at least once a week. If I had a guarantee that the good Reverend would play this song live in concert, I would travel across a time-zone or two to hear it in person. Now you can ENJOY!

That’s my version of the story.

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The Avengers Conquer the World

It is already late as I write this. And it is days after every entertainment news organization has declared Marvel’s The Avengers movie the all-time box office champ.

I honestly wish I had the time at the moment to pontificate at length about my thoughts about The Avengers. Trust me, I will someday. I will someday soon. But for now I simply want to share the following piece of video with the fans of this blog. As we stood in line to enter the theatre for the Marvel Movie Marathon, at approximately 8am on Thursday May 3rd, a man approached us with a microphone and tiny camera.

He asked us some questions and then said the video would be on-line sometime in the next 24 hours or so. Below is the result of his work. Maggie (my daughter) and I appear at about the 20 second mark or so. Also with us former Malibu Editor-in-Chief Chris Ulm and his daughter. And if you watch closely, we appear twice more later on in the video. Enjoy.

If you want a really nice recap of the day, written by a friend (Paul O’Connor) that sat just a few seats away from me.

Check out his blog: Longbox Graveyard.

That’s my version of the story … for now.

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The coolest thing I saw at WonderCon

I LOVE COMC CONVENTIONS. I like big ones, I like small ones. I like busy money-making ones. I like the ones where the organizer is clearly losing his shirt. I like them with or without celebrities. I can always find something to like. Something odd or fascinating. Something new or something that tickles my sense of nostalgia. And just to go on the record, I really enjoyed the most recent incarnation of Wonder Con held March 16 – 18 in Anaheim. More about that later.

At Wonder Con this year, an old friend of mine challenged me to start posting to this blog again. So I’m going to go slow. Slower than I would like. Slower than any dedicated blogger would find acceptable. But I’m accepting the challenge. I’ve been away a long time, but I’m back … sort of.

The coolest thing I saw at Wonder Con this year was a tiny 10X10 booth manned by an artist by the name of Alex Wer, The Pumpkin Geek. Let me say that agian to let it sink in … THE PUMPKIN GEEK. Feast your eyes on this.

Hawkeye has always been a favorite of mine

BIG STAR Nathan Fillian as FIREFLY's Malcolm Reynolds. I remember when he was Johnny on TWO GUYS, A GIRL AND A PIZZA PLACE

Finally, the amazing Peter Dinklage has a role worthy of his talent, wit and charisma. Thanks GAME OF THRONES!

If you told me in my 20's that I'd be a DR. WHO fan, I would have laughed in your face. Now I am a convert.

Alex has taken the carving of artificial pumpkins to an amazing level. I told him when I saw his stunning work that I would post pictures on my blog, so now I’ve killed two birds with one stone. A new Funnybook Fanatic post and providing a little free promotion to a guy I only met once, but loved his work.

I hope he keeps coming to conventions. I hope he makes a lot of money. I hope to own one of his cool creations one day … as soon as I can commit to one that I must have for years and years to come.

http://thepumpkingeek.com

So with one plug out of the way … I have another very important one. If you aren’t reading the fabulous blog called LONGBOX GRAVEYARD. You are missing something really special. So as soon as you are done reading this … go read Paul O’Connor’s truly entertaining achievement in blogging aimed specifically at guys like me. CLICK HERE!

And now a few words about this year’s Wonder Con.

I hope that the organizers find a way to make it … or something like it … or something exactly the same with a new name … a regular event. The people who organize Wonder Con are the same fine people who run Comic-Con International in San Diego each year. The gathering in San Diego has grown in size, attendance and reputation to a degree I don’t think anyone imagined 10 or 12 years ago. San Diego Con is too big in a lot of ways.

I’m not one of those “old timers” who pine away for the days of yore when San Diego was smaller or more focused on actual comic books. I think San Diego is an truly colossal and tremendous event. Like I said at the top … I LOVE IT.

WonderCon in Anaheim this year was very well attended. I believe that it proved that Southern California can support TWO great conventions every year. San Diego attendance sells out in hours. That is a lot of demand and it also speaks for a possibility of a lot of unfulfilled demand. Perhaps those frustrated by their inability to attend San Diego could be serviced by another show in Los Angeles or Anaheim. Perhaps holding the conventions approximately six months apart would also serve the needs of the wide variety of publishers, vendors and media companies that use conventions to promote their work to fans.

WonderCon has been operating in Northern California (first in Oakland, then in San Francisco) for a long time. I don’t have any idea what the long term growth prospects are if the show returns to point of origin. If it was going to provide a “release valve” for the crowds in San Diego, it seems to me that it would have happened already.

It must also be said that other convention organizers have tried their luck in Southern California in recent years with only limited success. WonderCon was proof that the people will come, especially to a well-run, well-promoted event. I’d love to see it happen again.

That’s my version of the story.

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In honor of reaching 50,000 page views, we take a trip down memory lane.

As I write this post, this humble funny book blog (started in November 2009) has finally reached 50,000 page views. I’m not sure if that is a very small number, but I’m okay with it. Funny Book Fanatic certainly isn’t a high traffic site … and I have not been able to update it very often. I’m sure the infrequent updates has slowed traffic.

Scott & Dave setting up at American Booksellers (1991?)

Regardless, 50,000 page views in 15 months means that I’m averaging more than 110 page view per day.

Dave, Scott, Chris and Tom at American Booksellers Convention in 1990

As everyone who reads this probably knows, from 1987 to 1995, I was the publisher of Malibu Comics. Originally it was called Malibu Graphics, but we changed it. We published comics under a variety of imprints, Eternity, Aircel, Adventure, Platinum Editions, Bravura. Malibu was even the publisher of Image Comics for the first year of its existence.

Malibu started out as four guys, two working in the back porch of a trailer in Newbury Park, California and the other two working from an enormous warehouse in Commerce, California. For the record that means me, Scott Rosenberg, Chris Ulm and Tom Mason.

Scott Rosenberg and an unsung hero at Malibu Comics, Dan Danko.

By the time Marvel Comics bought Malibu Comics, we had over 100 employees … including a color department that worked three-shifts plus a division that made video games and a “movie” division.

I’ve already posted four pieces of the formation of Malibu Comics.
The secret origin of Malibu Comics (part one)
The secret origin of Malibu Comics (part two)

The secret origin of Malibu Comics (part three)
The secret origin of Malibu Comics (part four)
I plan to do more than will detail as best I can the trials, tribulations, mistakes, failures and hard work that we all put into Malibu.

Tom, Dave & Chris waiting for an elevator to go to the SHOW.

Malibu could not have been successful without the hard work of a large number of dedicated employees. Some came and went quickly. Others came and stayed and made enormous contribution. Some became like family. Our first two editorial employees were Dan Danko and Mickie Villa. Dan stayed to the very end. Mickie might have, but she found love at a comic book convention and moved to be with her new husband (who worked at Marvel).

A few months ago, one of the many former Malibu Comics employees set up a Facebook group for Malibu Alumni. It is full of all sorts of pictures from back in Malibu’s heyday, most of the pictures seem to have been taken when groups got together to either make funny faces … or to eat. If the pictures were any kind of indication, the gang at Malibu was out eating most of the time (and dressing in the bad costume styles of the day).

Then the other day, Mickie Villa from the wilds of Washington state, posted a number of the pictures featured here from her personal collection. I liked them so much that I buckled down and posted them here.

Author (and friend) Gerard Jones with the radiant Mickie Villa (at a comic convention)

Thank you Mickie. It inspired me and reminded me how sad I am that I have so few photographs of my days at Malibu Comics. These are great memories. An enormous reminder that time stands still for now one … squeeze every ounce of enjoyment out of every day.

*** AND TAKE MORE PICTURES ***
You’ll never be this young again.

For those of you who know any of us personally, I hope you find these pictures entertaining. For everyone else, just Marvel at the fashion sense of comics folks from the late 8o’s and early 90′s.

That’s my version of the story.

–Dave Olbrich (DWO) Fri. Jan. 29, 2010

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Filed under Behind the Scenes, Fanatic General, Fanatical History, Malibu Comics Origins

Maggie’s sorta little, so here’s a little Maggie

Look … I’m a proud Dad. No apologies here.

This is my daughter, Maggie. She’s a beautiful, funny, opinionated, energetic girl and she’s just not very tall (5 foot 3 inches). Despite what Jaime Hernandez thinks, my daughter isn’t named after the character that he created for his truly AMAZING comic accomplishment LOVE & ROCKETS.

She’s also got a wonderful movie-oriented blog that she updates as often as she can, what with her full-time job, social life and bowling commitments. I highly recommend it. So after you watch the video below, go read her blog HERE.

I don’t know who those other people are in the video. Enjoy.

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Alan Moore isn’t Obama’s official biographer. Don’t you wish he were.

Alan.Moore.tie

Alan Moore at a party

A Funny Book Fanatic can dream can’t he?

And so can the humor dudes in Wisconsin.

From the “too good not to pass along file” comes the following story from America’s finest daily humor source, The Onion.

Click on the graphic below to read the whole “story.”

Onion headline

CLICK ME !!! • CLICK ME !!!

Consider this an official Funny Book Fanatic plug. Read my blog first (just in case I update it more often … sorry about that regular readers!) then go directly to read The Onion, which is full of great stuff every day and often makes extremely funny comic book references.

Too bad Moore would probably never let Vertigo publish this non-existent biography. But it is good for a “mass media meets geek” inside-joke giggle nonetheless.

That’s my version of the story.

— Dave Olbrich (DWO) Tue. Nov. 4, 2009

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MEGAN FOX: Perhaps the best looking Funny Book Fanatic EVER!

I wasn’t a fan of Megan Fox … but I’m seriously considering changing my mind. It isn’t due to peer pressure. It didn’t have anything to do with the attractive pictures that were taken of her while she was partially clothed (not that there is anything wrong with that). It is due to the following segment on JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE!

Continue reading

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My open letter to CNBC about Melissa Francis and Larry Kudlow

If you don’t watch cable financial news channel CNBC, the following post will mean nothing to you.

I promise you won’t see this kind of post very often. In the morning, I often turn my television to CNBC. I don’t know how much longer I will continue this practice. I like to know what is going on in the world, especially in the world of money. I like to expose myself to differing thoughts and opinions. But sadly it seems that the recent financial crisis and the election of President Obama have had a negative effect on the broadcasting at CNBC.

Continue reading

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Filed under Fanatic General, Point-of-view, Uncategorized

Zac Efron and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in JONNY QUEST … or not?

Jonny-quest-logoBefore we get to the news story (well comics/movies/animation news anyway) that has been jerking me around so bad that I’ve got whiplash, we need to cover a few housekeeping chores here first.

1. Don’t forget … if you’re reading this blog and you want me to answer a question that you might have about comic books, especially behind the scenes stories that may have occured since I went professional in 1982 … ASK! We’ve even given this special fanatic feature a name and its own logo. This is your chance to ASK THE DWO. If you’re curious about me and what I might have some intimate knowledge of … check out the BACKGROUND page.askthedwo2

2. Vote for me. Immediately below the “Calendar” and the “Contact the DWO” headers in the right-hand, there is a little blue box that says “Vote for me.” While I admit that I don’t know exactly what this does, apparently the slaves rowing in the galley of the internet get an extra bowl of gruel if you vote regularly. Continue reading

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IRON MAN 2 update including Johansson in a Black Widow suit

SUDDENLY I’M A MUCH MORE POPULAR FANATIC
In a recent post, I discussed the amazing work done by Diamond Comic Distributors Elissa Lynch (and Leslie Jackson) as she successfully got Hugh Jackman to record a PSA promoting Free Comic Book Day and comics in general. (CLICK HERE) Thanks to links from many of the comic blogosphere’s best read sites, more people came to Funny Book Fanatic to check out the “story behind the story,” nearly four times more than on any usual day. I want to take this opportunity to thank …

heidi.beat.21) Heidi MacDonald @ The Beat

2) Tom Spurgeon @ Comics Reporter

3) J.C. Vaughn @ Diamond’s SCOOP

4) The cool Robot 6 folks @ Comic Resources

Plus an honorable mention to the website home of Joe Field’s Flying Colors store. (Free Comic Book Day was Joe’s idea.) Continue reading

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Let the FOURTH ROUND voting for the 2nd String Character contest BEGIN!

2ndstringhall

Now that all FIVE of the 2nd String Character Hall of Fame Nominees have been introduced one-by-one, I’ve set up the voting box and you can vote for your favorite. Just check it out in the right hand side bar (you will have to scroll down past the “Saloon” and “Fanatical Hosting“). To see a lot more detail into this and all the previous nominees, check out the 2ND STRING HALL OF FAME PAGE linked above. To recap, the nominees are (alphabetically): Continue reading

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Jackman/Wolverine Free Comic Book Day PSA: The story behind the story

In yesterday’s post, I wrote about how Concord California retailer Joe Field came up with the idea for Free Comic Book Day, a great promotional tool for the industry since 2002. I also wrote about the watershed event (IMHO) of Wolverine Hugh Jackman standing in front of a camera in Malibu California and talking about Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) and how great comic books are. 

This SATURDAY is FREE COMIC BOOK DAY! Don't forget!

This SATURDAY is FREE COMIC BOOK DAY! Don't forget!

Yesterday’s post also included a brief discussion about the huge amount of wasted time and wasted discussion that went into the pursuit of getting a high visibility celebrity to endorse comic books. More than one organization was formed, meetings held and organizations ultimately abandoned, all in the pursuit of an endorsement from a popular movie or music star.

When Joe Field said of the Wolverine PSA that he had waited 25 years for it to happen, he also revealed another secret that I had not heard before. Joe said, “We had three of the four actors from the Fantastic Four movie a couple of years ago, they recorded a Free Comic Book Day PSA, but something happened with the studio and the deal fell apart.” Continue reading

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Filed under Behind the Scenes, Fanatical History, Point-of-view

Thank you Wolverine … or Hugh Jackman is the holy grail of comics

OKAY … HE’S PROMOTING A MOVIE … BUT STILL …

I’m assuming that at this point, with the X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie opening just days away, that most comic book fans have already seen the Public Service Announcement that was recorded by MOVIE STAR Hugh Jackman. If you haven’t, I’m including it here and now because there are many longtime comic book professionals that wondered (mostly in the past) if it would ever happen.  

JOE FIELD HAD TO WAIT 25 YEARS FOR THIS 

When the news broke many days ago about this video combo promoting the Wolverine movie that included a PSA for Free Comic Book Day, I got on the phone and called one of my favorite retailers, Joe Field. Joe’s store, Flyer Colors is, regrettably, one of those great comic book retail outlets that I’ve never had the good sense or good luck to actually visit. Continue reading

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Vixen, Quiz Question Answers and Black Widow in the shower

BACK TO BASICS … OR UPSETING MR. HEINTJES AGAIN.

What with the trifecta of nicotine withdrawal, calorie counting and excess exercise, I’ve been ignoring my responsibilities to my fanatic fan base. I’ve not made myself available as the stunning font of knowledge through the regular program we (how many of me are there?) like to call “Ask The Dwo.” Okay … okay … everyone stop laughing.

voteforme

askthedwoThe reason that this upsets my longtime friend Tom Heintjes is two-fold. First he’s responsible for my DWO nickname (yeah, you pronounce it like it was a word … you say du-woh … it doesn’t rhyme with “two”) so he thinks he retains some control over its use. Second he disapproves of “the Dwo,” it is his opinion that my nickname should be “dwo” without the “the.”

Now that I’ve completely bored everyone who stopped by to read about funny books, let me say this to Mr. Heintjes. Get Over It.

None of this changes the goal of this humble program. Ask me a question. Any question. I’ll attempt to answer it. I can’t guarantee that you’ll like the answer. So put on your thinking caps. And if you’re stumped for ideas, you can always check out the BACKGROUND page for ideas. I’ve got an answering “Ask The DWO” post coming up next week. Continue reading

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MARVEL’s Black Widow, Thundra, Deathlok and more Gene Colan Project

SEND THE BLOODHOUNDS HOME … OR OUT FOR STEAK

Strap in. I’m back. If you need an explanation, that’s fine. But be careful what you ask for. I’m going to do this is the dreaded ask yourself a question and answer it format that is so annoying when you see someone do it live. It may even be more annoying when you see it in print.

Dave Olbrich (me) San Diego 2009

Dave Olbrich (me) San Diego 2009

Am I glad that I quit smoking? Yes, of course I am.

Was it easy? No, it wasn’t easy. I used comfort food to make up the lack of nicotine, but I did it cold turkey. And I gained about 18 pounds. 

Am I glad that I started Weight Watchers about three weeks ago? Yes, I’ve lost 12 of the 18 pounds that I gained, but it completely wrecked me in ways that I didn’t expect. My mood has been really REALLY crappy. It is now very difficult to work in my office where I enjoyed my cigarettes and chocolate. 

What am I doing to turn things around? Exercise seems to help a little, releasing much needed endorphins. Time used for exercise also leaves less time for this fanatical blog. Continue reading

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Filed under 2nd String Characters, Gene Colan project, Point-of-view, Product Plugs

Jack Kirby vs Gene Colan … really?

Really … JACK KIRBY vs GENE COLAN in some kind of legendary “silver agey” comic book artist smackdown … really … well not really. But it is an interesting thought, you have to admit. If you want to get directly to the controversy (or non-controversy if you actually apply any critical thought to it), you’ll just have to scroll down a little bit.

But first, a tiny bit of unnecessary and probably unwanted non-comics stuff…

I’M NOT TAKING MY GLOVES OR MUZZLE OFF … BUT …

If you know me in any small way, you can probably guess where I come down politically. This is not a political blog. This is also not a personal blog, a music blog or a journalistic blog. That said, don’t be surprised if I talk briefly about my life, my daughter, Jim Croce, The Kentucky Headhunters, The Dan Band, or my degree in Mass Communications from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.billo

I don’t really see this as a left/right, blue/red issue, but an issue regarding journalistic integrity, but you be the judge.

That said, I thought that this was a piece of information worth passing along … doing my small piece of the effort. I don’t have any plans to bore you with this kind of polarizing material very often. So if you want to pitch in and help, click the picture at the right (it is a link) … and if you’ve come for a funny book fix instead … just scroll down and away you go. Continue reading

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Filed under 2nd String Characters, Gene Colan project, Point-of-view, Quiz Questions

Seth Rogen, Green Hornet, Lorna Dane & The Herculoids …yeek!

greenhornetcomics

Seth Rogen / GREEN HORNET

Is Seth Rogen the GREEN HORNET?

Before we get into the meat of today’s post, I’ve got a couple of things that I want to share.

First, am I the only one whose teeth begin to itch when imagining a Green Hornet movie featuring Seth Rogen as both screenwriter and lead actor? I’m not going off all “scorched earth/Scarlett Johansson” here. When I imagine the screenplay Rogen and his buddies might write, my teeth itch. When I picture Rogen in the mask and hat, standing next to Kato, my teeth itch.

I’m holding my breath a little bit on this one. The action scenes in Pineapple Express showed a great deal of promise, but can they fit into a Green Hornet context? Are there any other fanatics feeling the same way?  Continue reading

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Filed under 2nd String Characters, Blog of the Week, Gene Colan project, Point-of-view

Macross, She-Dragon and The Gene Colan Project!

If you are a regular visitor here, I’m sorry it has been so long since new material appeared. Oddly, when I quit smoking recently, it lead to me changing a lot of my routine. A changed routine meant finding a new one that included writing blog entries. This has proven to be more difficult than I anticipated. I’ll continue to post as often and thoughtfully as I can … now on with the show.

 

FANATIC QUIZ QUESTION ANSWER FROM MARCH 5

The question on the table was a challenge to put five different Comico titles in the order in which they were released. I even made it easier by choosing titles that were all released in different years. Plus I included a bonus question regarding Robotech: The Macross Saga #2. So without further ado, here are the answers.

Despite good sales, there wasn't a Macross #2.

Despite good sales, there wasn't a Macross #2.

1. Grendel #1 – released May 1983

2. Elementals #1 – released November 1984

3. Robotech: The Macross Saga #2 – released April 1985

4. Night & The Enemy GN – released November 1987

5. The Maze Agency #1 – released December 1988

The interesting piece of trivia is this: there was NO Robotech: The Macross Saga #1. The first issue of the long running series from Comico was either called Super Dimension Fortress Macross or just Macross, depending on which source material you believe. I would have used the indicia from the issue to settle the argument, but I don’t own a copy. It is interesting that a licensed title would change its name between issue #1 and issue #2. Continue reading

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Filed under 2nd String Characters, Gene Colan project, Quiz Answers

The Scarlett Johansson/Black Widow School of Casting

Scarlett Johansson as Marvel Comics’ tough-as-nails, world-weary Avenger and former Russian spy The Black Widow in the Iron Man 2 movie? I don’t think so ! ! ! 

 

The guys at Marvel Studios haven’t made many mistakes in their history as movie makers. A misstep here … an Elektra there, but overall you have to admit that they have done a pretty good job.

 

S. Johansson: As dangerous as a dishrag!

S. Johansson: As dangerous as a dishrag!

Now the internet is teeming with recent news coming out of Marvel Studios. One story talks about how Marvel has adjusted their original release schedule for their upcoming slate of movies. Good move. One huge round of fanatic APPLAUSE. We’ll get to that important news after we dispatch with the more entertaining and more trivial news of the recent casting announcements for Iron Man 2.

Continue reading

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Brevoort, Anderson, Marder and other FANATIC name dropping

Since launching FUNNY BOOK FANATIC at the end of November 2008, this blog has seen its fair share of comic book fans and comic book professionals stop by and give it a read. I work hard to make sure that readers feel like bookmarking my humble efforts here have something interesting to entertain themselves with for a few minutes.

Malibu's first release, DARK WOLF #1

Malibu's first release, DARK WOLF #1

I’ve always been a little bit surprised by the distance my work and efforts can travel and who can be effected. I remember during the early days of Malibu, we had a post office box instead of regular postal delivery. When I get around to part five or part six (or part seven) of the Secret Origins of Malibu Comics I’ll get around to explaining that. I remember (future Malibu Comics editor-in-chief) Chris Ulm and I were sitting at the kitchen table when (future Malibu marketing chief) Tom Mason walked in the door after a run to pick up the mail.  Continue reading

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Robotech, Grendel featured in this week’s FANATIC Quiz Question

The other day in my fourth installment of my Secret Origins of Malibu Comics series, I posted a cover of Jonny Quest published by Comico in 1986. This is the second time that I’ve let me fanatic dedication to this great animated show of my youth hang out in random ways. There is also a Jonny Quest illustration hiding in a post about comic creator jack-of-all-trades Jeff Parker.

Posting that Dave Stevens cover got me to thinking more about Comico. So I’ve decided to make it the subject of this weeks quiz question.

 

FANATIC QUIZ QUESTION OF THE WEEK 

A few weeks ago we played this game with First Comics, now it is time to turn our attention to Comico. Look at the five covers below and then put them in the chronological order in which they were published. And just to make it easier, each one of them was published in a different year.

Elementals #1  •  Grendel #1  •  Maze Agency #1

Night and the Enemy GN  •  Robotech: The Macross Saga #2

Continue reading

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Filed under Blog of the Week, Product Plugs, Quiz Questions

Blog of the Week is also the answer to last week’s quiz question

We have a lot of stuff to get to in today’s post, but before we can start our discussion of our BLOG OF THE WEEK, I need to make mention of the header for this week … and what it means.

When writing this blog, I do not assume that my fanatic readers are “plugged-in” to every nook and cranny of the comic blogosphere. So often I’ll post and/or talk about stuff that I find on the internet. Yep, you might have seen it already, but I’m betting that busy fanatics from here to Hereford, Texas may not have seen it.

voteforme

Like Will Eisner Week. Did you see this one? Or did it get past you in the blasting noise that passes for information in the 21st Century? Quoting from the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund website: “The first week of March will mark the inaugural Will Eisner Week, a celebration of Will Eisner’s legacy in graphic novel literacy and free expression. A collaborative project of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, The Will & Ann Eisner Family Foundation, and a variety of comics institutions, Will Eisner Week is chaired by the Minneapolis College of Art and Design’s Assistant Professor Barbara Schulz. Will Eisner Week will be celebrated this year from March 1 to March 7, commemorating the 92nd anniversary of Eisner’s birth. Continue reading

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Filed under Blog of the Week, Miscellaneous Monday, Quiz Answers, Trivial Fanatics

Malibu Comics Secret Origin (part 4)

In the first part of this “series” I talked about the state of the comic industry that Malibu was born into. In the second part I talked about my personal path prior to the birth of Malibu. In the third part, I talked about 1986, the year that Malibu was born and some of the things that came together at Sunrise Distribution that would be instrumental in Malibu’s success.

Kevin Nowlan's cover to one of the first AH issues that Tom and I worked on together. (issue #5: featuring The Inferior Five)

Kevin Nowlan's cover to one of the first AH issues that Tom and I worked on together. (issue #35: featuring The Inferior Five)

In part four, I’m going to talk mostly about Tom Mason. I’d met Tom the first day I worked at Fantagraphics Books. I had been hired to be the managing editor of Amazing Heroes magazine. That first day on the job in Connecticut, I was introduced to Tom, who was the art director for Amazing Heroes. We worked together closely. We became friends in Connecticut and when Fantagraphics Books move to Sourthern  California, both Tom and I were along for the ride (and keeping our jobs).

STARTIN’ FROM SCRATCH WITHOUT ANY SCRATCH Continue reading

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DR. FATE is the 2nd String (third round) winner

THE 2ND STRING CHARACTER HALL OF FAME NOMINATIONS CONTINUE

We’re close to the end of the month, so it is time to turn our attention to the not-nearly-equitable and only vaguely fair contest I’m calling the 2nd String Character Hall of Fame. I take the nominations that I get in the various comments section or sent to me via e-mail, especially on the page set aside for the contest. Then I take the names, write the names on little slips of paper and throw them into an old bright orange Tampa Bay Buccaneers stocking cap.

2ndstringhall Continue reading

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MARTIN POWELL: Robert Bloch and bloody roses

FANATIC R.S.V.P. from writer MARTIN POWELL

This is a red-letter day at Funny Book Fanatic. One of the goals I’ve had for a while is to get others in the comic business to share their “behind the scenes” stories. I’ve had a lot of nibbles, but the first comic book professional to answer my invitation is the multi-talented Martin Powell.

Scarlet in Gaslight #3 from Eternity

Scarlet in Gaslight #3 from Eternity

I’ve frankly been struggling with this introduction because if you go to Wikipedia (my usual crutch in situations like this) you’ll only find a British musician and a 19th Century baseball player from the Detroit Wolverines.

Martin Powell is very familiar to me (because as you’ll read below), he was one of our g0-to writers at Malibu Comics. He wrote at least eight different comic titles/series for Malibu. Scarlet in Gaslight (a story where Sherlock Holmes met Dracula) was nominated for a 1989 Will Eisner  Comics Industry Award (it lost to the Stan Lee/Mobius Silver Surfer mini-series).  Continue reading

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Blog of the Week: Feb. 24, 2009

FANATIC BLOG OF THE WEEK

Rokk’s Comic Book Revolution

rokkscomicbookrevolution

In my fanatic pursuit of new blogs to qualify for Fanatic Blog of the Week, I’ve seen a lot of comic book review blogs. Generally I’m not impressed, but this is the blog exception to the rule. Rokk’s Comic Book Revolution alternates between long, involved detailed reviews and shorter shotgun reviews they call “Bunker Bulletins.” Thoughtfully illustrated and written with entertaining verve, Rokk Krinn and the other folks who post here (Shawn, Jim and Nagacore) provide qualitative evaluations along with historical perspectives and other commentary important to their readers. Books are given separate grades for story and art … both on a ten point Night Girls scale. Continue reading

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Filed under Blog of the Week, Quiz Questions, Trivial Fanatics

George Tuska draws the IRON MAN image I see in my head

askthedwo1Don’t forget that this blog features an open invitation to “ASK THE DWO.” Me, Dave, I’m the DWO. Don’t know what you might want to ask me, check out the Background page. It has been a long spell since I’ve had a really good question, so sharpen your virtual pencil and ask me something cool. I can always guarantee an answer, I just can’t guarantee an answer you’ll like.

Check out the fancy new header. A Marvel/DC mash-up from George Pérez. Looks like promo art for something, but I don’t know what. 

voteforme

I’ve decided to put it up to try to usher in a new era here at Funny Book Fanatic. The new idea. Shorter posts, but put up on the blog more often. Frankly, I have no idea if it will work or not, but I’m going to try. The format of the template I’m using isn’t the greatest for what I’m trying to do, but what the heck. It is my blog and I’ll do what I wanna. Continue reading

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Filed under Ask The DWO, Quiz Answers

Miscellaneous Thursday: Feb. 19, 2009

CHECK OUT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST FOR A DISCUSSION ABOUT CASTING THE IRON MAN II MOVIE

• Don’t forget to click the VOTE FOR ME button just above my smiling face in the sidebar.

• Don’t forget to vote in the 2nd String Character Hall of Fame Balloting, also in the sidebar.

• And if you want to send me a new graphic to replace my header, feel free … the size is exactly 770 pixels by 200 pixels.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

BLOGGIN’ AIN’T A WALK IN THE PARK

How could I forget this ? ? ?

How could I forget this ? ? ?

It was bound to happen. I’m surprised that it didn’t happen sooner. I made a whopper of a mistake. Not the kind of mistake that would make anyone mad, just the kind of mistake that makes me look stupid. In my post a few days ago, regarding Peter David, I said something about the fact that he and I had never worked together. This was not the truth, as both Mark and Kara pointed out in the comments section. Continue reading

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Artist Gene Day, a MASTER lost much too early

Every year I go to Lake Havasu City, Arizona with my wife to visit her parents. Contrary to the stereotype, I really like and enjoy this trip. As you’re reading this, I’m driving back to my hacienda in Southern California, listening to Howard Stern on my Sirius Satellite Radio. If you’ve come expecting Miscellaneous Monday, unfortunately (for the 2nd time in three weeks) I have to apologize. My big silly fanatic Miscellaneous post won’t be ready until Wednesday. 

This page and post may take some serious time to “load” today because I’ve decided to remind everyone one of the reasons to REALLY love Marvel’s MASTER OF KUNG FU title. It had good times and it had weaker times, but one of the highlights was the emergence of inker Gene Day as a penciller of extraordinary talent and storytelling ability. Just oogle these pages … see the power … the innovation … the attention to detail … the superb panel-to-panel continuity. Gene Day died in his sleep in September 1982, he never reached his 32nd birthday. What a colossal lose. Continue reading

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Peter David and the picture he gave Maggie, my daughter

I don’t think that I’ve ever worked with comic writer Peter David. We know each other. We exchange greetings at conventions.  Regrettably, I’ve never had a chance to work with Peter David, which is one of the reasons that make this next story so extraordinary.

Peter David

Peter David

It had to have been San Diego during Comic Con 1996 when I was having breakfast at a hotel near the convention. It was the first time that I brought my daughter Maggie to the show. She was 10 years old at the time. While Maggie has grown into a comics and “genre” fiction enthusiast and loves to go to San Diego Con, she didn’t really enjoy her first one that much. I’d always bragged how much fun I had at the show. This particular year, my wife and daughter decided to come with me … and frankly it was a little overwhelming. Continue reading

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Malibu Comics Secret Origins (part 3)

askthedwo1Before we get started with this Fanatic installment of the earliest days of Malibu Comics, let me remind everyone reading this that I encourage blog reader participation. Post a comment, start a dialog, ask a question. We even have a special feature to get your questions answered called “Ask The DWO.”  My name is David W. Olbrich and so, DWO is both my initials and a nickname that I’ve used since the it was given to me by Tom Heintjes during the time we worked together at Fantagraphics Books. I’ve grown to like it. So ask me any question that you might have. I can’t guarantee the quality of the answer, but I can promise an answer.  Just label it “Ask The DWO” in some way and I’ll turn my attention to it … now on with the show.

THE FIRST TENTATIVE STEPS IN THE MALIBU SAND Continue reading

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Miscellaneous Monday: Feb. 9, 2009

OMG! IT IS THE 45th ANNIVERSARY OF THE FIRST AIRING OF THE SCARECROW OF ROMNEY MARSH

This three-part Disney’s Wonderful World of Color “mini-series” changed my life. Not only because of it features probably the first historically fictional character to right wrongs in a mask and alter ego, but because I can still sing the theme song 45 years later. Check out the post HERE and HERE for more details.

Cover art by Rick Leonardi

Cover art by Rick Leonardi

THE FIRST IN A SERIES OF NEW FANATIC HEADERS

I’ve asked several times for fans of this fanatic website to submit new headers to replace the pictures of Clint “Hawkeye” Barton that graced the top of this page yesterday. Well, take a look at this first effort. I think it is terrific. The anonymous fan that submitted it wanted me to know that the particular comics that are featured all had special meaning to him.

These were titles that fired his imagination and drove him not just to read more about these particular characters, but to plunk down more and more money for other comic books as well. I think we all have titles like that. Someday I’ll blog about mine (some more), but for today, I’m just going to bask in the glow of this new Fanatic header and encourage others to send me their fanatic headers for use here (exactly 770 X 200 pixels).

Cover art by George Freeman

Cover art by George Freeman

Cover art by Mike Mignola

Cover art by Mike Mignola

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FANATIC QUIZ QUESTION OF THE WEEK

What do these three comic titles have in common: Jack of Hearts #1, Rocket Raccoon #1, Cloak and Dagger #1? I’d like to give a tip of my hat to old friend Steven Grant, but this particular Fanatic “what is the connection” isn’t nearly as hard as the powerful brain-teasers that he provides on his regular posts called Permanent Damage over at Comic Book Resources. I don’t read Steven’s column there as regularly as I should, but I almost always enjoy them. Grant’s one of the most interesting guys in comics, IMHO.

All three are Marvel Comics, all three are first issues in a mini-series, neither of those facts are the answer I’m looking for. What else do they have in common? Yes, they are all printed in color … try harder than that. Continue reading

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Filed under Fanatical History, Miscellaneous Monday, Point-of-view

Blog of the Month, more 2nd String Hall of Fame Nominees

February is here and we’ve got to move along on a few of the Fanatic on-going projects. Let’s start with our Blog of the Month nominees. 

On the Blog of the Month Nomination list were:

febblogmonth

Comic Impact  •  Dial B for Blog

Jeff Parker’s PARKERSPACE  •  Mike Sterling’s Progressive Ruin

As I’m the only judge, I’d thought I would explain my thinking here. While Jeff’s PARKERSPACE and Comic Impact might have been able to win if the list of competitors had been different, these blogs were up against two really astonishing accomplishments in communicating the joy of comics over the internet. At the risk of insulting Mike Sterling (who still needs to add FANATIC to his bloglist for those of us living in Ventura County, California), this category could have been a hand’s down slamdunk win for Dial B for Blog. Kirk Kimball working on his Dial B blog under the pseudonym Robby Reed created something truly extraordinary.  Continue reading

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Filed under Fanatic General, Product Plugs

Misc. Wednesday: February 4, 2009

First, the important stuff … HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAGGIE! My daughter turns 23 years young today. Click on the picture of Maggie and Roxy below to see a picture of them together in 1994.

Two things I love (10 years later) Maggie & Roxy from 2004

Two things I love (10 years later) Maggie & Roxy from 2004

Yep, my obsession with the National Football League got in the way of my fanaticism for comics, causing this modest blog to be delayed by a day or two. The last two years have featured incredibly exciting and competitive Super Bowls. Definitely a cause for celebration given how often the championship has turned into a lopsided affair. But now I’m back and Miscellaneous Monday has morphed into Miscellaneous Wednesday and if you deal with change as well as I do, you’ll probably find this a little disturbing, but I encourage you to soldier on. Continue reading

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Filed under Miscellaneous Monday

NFL SuperPro Super Bowl apologies

For those of you that showed up here expecting this week’s installment of Miscellaneous Monday, I beg forgiveness. I’m blaming the big game. I’m blaming being bloated on Super Bowl food. I’m blaming spending Sunday night with my family (wow, was Big Love great tonight, or what?). Continue reading

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Filed under Fanatic General

Malibu Comics Secret Origins (part two)

malibulogo2In this post, I’m going to begin to go over my personal path to becoming Publisher of Malibu Comics. Maybe others will be able to relate to my personal travails, we’ll see. But first (as they say in the trade) some housekeeping.

This is a good time to remind all readers (and there seems to be a bunch more now than there were a few weeks ago) that Funny Book Fanatic has a standing offer for readers to ask me questions.  I call it “ASK THE DWO” and in the past I’ve managed to answer some interesting questions about: comic characters with fur, the Comics Code Authority and Dale Keown’s work at Aircel Comics. If you want some tips about what you might ask me, check out the Background page.askthedwo

There are also a lot of activities for fanatics visiting here, especially if you page down, reading all the cool stuff in the right hand sidebar.

    Click the VOTE FOR ME button just above my lovely picture (by artist Matt Busch).  ——–> Continue reading

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Filed under Ask The DWO, Malibu Comics Origins, Point-of-view

Comic Book Time Capsule: January 1989

***** Apparently my abilities as a Jedi-blog-master are lacking. Due to the heavy use of graphics and the erratic use of text, this particular Fanatic post is going to look wildly different from one computer to the next. Sorry. I promise to do better next time. – DWO *****

funnybookfanaticlogoCovers from comics released by publishers other than Marvel and DC from twenty (20) years ago today. What were you doing twenty years ago, other than buying and reading these fine examples of funny book fanaticism.

In no particular order, all were released in January 1989. (if my research hasn’t failed me again) And don’t forget to click the VOTE FOR ME button right there —–> Continue reading

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Filed under Fanatical History

Miscellaneous Monday: Jan. 26, 2009

funnybookfanaticlogoWow … is it Miscellaneous Monday already? Time flies when you’re a funny book fanatic. First I’ve got some blatant self-plugging to do. To begin with, you may have noticed a “Vote for me” button just above my lovely picture in the sidebar. Please click it. You can vote for FUNNY BOOK FANATIC once a day. They tell me it increases my “ratings” in the blogosphere … and I’m all about competition. Next, be sure to e-mail your friends and neighbors about how cool this blog is (it is…isn’t it?) and last but not least, I’m up for any proposed link exchanges, just let me know and we’ll see what we can work out.

 

FANATIC QUIZ QUESTION OF THE WEEKcreationconv

What comic book stalwart has worked ON-STAFF at all the following companies: Creation Conventions, Marvel Comics, Comico, Dark Horse, Oni Press and DC Comics? Yeah, okay, another easy one … but for those that know the answer, you already understand my ulterior motive. Continue reading

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Filed under Fanatical History, Miscellaneous Monday

The secret origin of Malibu Comics (part one)

As many of you are aware, I was the founding publisher of Malibu Comics. I was there for Day One and had every intention and desire to work there the rest of my life. Circumstances conspired against me (and mistakes were made) and now I write this fanatic blog.

THE WORLD MALIBU WAS BORN INTOmalibulogo1

Malibu Comics was born during the black-and-white bust, the comic market downturn that followed the black-and-white boom. The beginning of the black-and-white boom is usually measured (people measure these things?) from the release of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 in May 1984. With an original print run of only 3,000 copies, TMNT #1 grabbed the attention and imagination of comic readers and collectors. One site I read, said the appeal to a wide range of existing comic fans was intentional: Teenage (Teen Titans), Mutant (X-men) and Ninja (Daredevil). Wikipedia claims that TMNT was a parody of Miller’s Ronin. Continue reading

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Filed under Behind the Scenes, Fanatical History, Malibu Comics Origins

Artist Brent Anderson, Shanna, $30 and an elevator

I had breakfast with Marv Wolfman this morning (no fanatic fear of name-dropping here) and he mentioned he was working on a project with Astro City artist Brent Anderson and it reminded me that I needed to post the following story.

Alex Ross Cover to Busiek/Anderson ASTRO CITY

Alex Ross Cover to Busiek/Anderson ASTRO CITY

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

It was a San Diego hotel during Comic Con International sometime in 1989 or 1990. After a long day of pressing the flesh and manning the Malibu booth, I was exhausted, standing in a small crowd, waiting to take an elevator to my room. Then I saw him, comics veteran artist Brent Anderson approaching where I stood. Immediately the “small voice” of guilt started to nag at the back of my brain. I couldn’t avoid him any longer. I was going to have to DEAL with Brent Anderson.

To understand my dilemma, dear fanatic reader, you’re going to need some background. (Sorry, I just channeled Stan Lee’s Soapbox there for a second.) Continue reading

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Filed under Behind the Scenes, Fanatical History, Road Warriors