Thursday, December 25, 2014

Good Advice from Mickey Marchello

It's blue I tell ya!
Everyone's been hungry for an update on the Peppi Marchello book that Aardwolf Publishing committed to shortly after Peppi passed. What better time?

The book is fully laid out and we're just re-arranging some photo and graphical elements now… Still waiting on Mickey Marchello's finished Foreword, but I speak with Mickey several times a week and it's coming along.

And Mickey received my own introduction "A Little Twisted," which, after three decades of writing about the Rats' officially and unofficially, is the best piece I've produced on my pal Peppi. Speaking of producing, you should hear the music that Mickey's been coming up with lately! But I digress…

Mickey wisely suggests that sharing the unfinished book with anyone until it's 100% done is a mistake. We're taking that advice. He related the following:

"So Peppi would call me and say, 'Did you see what I sent you? I think it should be blue but I know you're gonna say red.' And I'd say, "Pep, I didn't even see the fuckin' thing yet and you're already fighting with me about it?' And he'd say, "I knew it! I knew you'd say red! Well we're keeping it blue!' And I'd say, 'Pep, I don't care if it's blue or red. You decide.' And he'd say, 'You do this every time, Mickey. It's blue and that's final!' And then he'd hang up angry… Then, the next day, he'd call and say, "Mickey? I think you're right. We should go with red.'"

"This book is your vision, Cliff. It's my brother's lyrics but it's your book."

Well, yes and no. Someone has to make the hard calls and take the heat but we've had tremendous help from the fans, Cathy Marchello, and from Mickey. Our designer Richard Sheinaus has delivered a gorgeous design, too. Can't wait to share it with everyone.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The High Price of Cosplay. Pat Broderick Breaks His Silence.

Pat Broderick is more than disenchanted with the Greenwich Village Halloween parade that comics conventions have become in recent years. He says the skin show costs artists like himself money. So he’s doing something about it.

“A few years ago I returned to a wider comic convention circuit,” Pat told me. “I’ve been doing commissions for many clients and have a backlog. Recently I was also fortunate to receive work from DC Comics, and I have my own properties, which I’ve been working on for the last two years.  So there’s no lack of work now and I find myself in a happy position for an aged artist.”

Aged artist? The proper term is veteran. Take a gander at the Werehawk pin-up Pat recently contributed to Aardwolf Publishing’s forthcoming Dave Cockrum’s FUTURIANS RETURN project. But I digress…

“This last year,” said Pat, “I reviewed the years’ convention appearances and came to a sobering conclusion. Conventions had veered away from the family-friendly events they once were into major media events with large cosplay involvement. At first I thought the mega increase in attendance would also bolster sales with [artists and] dealers. Sadly it has not.”

Pat says promoters are all about maximizing advanced ticket sales, which leads to more people at a show, but the wrong type of people: unqualified guests. People who want to see and be seen aren’t at shows to spend money.

Pat's contribution to Dave Cockrum's FUTURIANS RETURN
“From a promoter’s point of view, it’s a great day,” says Pat. “Sadly it’s not so great for artists and dealers.”

So Pat bailed on an appearance in Ft. Lauderdale. “I'd been working with this promoter for about a year and every time I’d inquire why artists weren’t getting the same promotional efforts channeled towards cosplay events. And I was told that the artists were. Sadly this just did not prove to be the case.”

The next day, when Pat logged onto Facebook, he found numerous “friend” requests from cosplayers. So he requested that cosplayers cease “friending” him. He also asked convention promoters not to invite him if they were building their shows around cosplay events and media guests. “It was a simple request,” he says.

By the following day, Pat’s announcement had gone viral. It even was picked up by The Atlantic. “The amount of hate mail was huge,” says Pat. “The amount of support was even larger.”

Pat believes the inclusion of cosplay as a main convention function adds no value to the shows beyond padding attendance. Not only doesn’t it translate into sales, it does the opposite.

“Cosplayers work their way around convention floors and impede the natural flow of traffic as they stop and pose for photos. They don’t care that they're blocking people from selling their wares. These roaming groups of costumed players shut down a convention floor.”

And what of the notion that cosplayers are creating or participating in a form of art? “They’re not,” says Pat emphatically. “If they had created the designs from scratch and they were truly uniquely theirs, then that argument could be made. But they don’t do anything original.”

You're so busy looking at me that you can't even read this article.
So what are cosplayers good for? Nothing, apparently. “They rarely spend much if any cash except on their costumes,” says Pat. “It’s just gotten out of hand and these show [promoters] are forgetting that it’s their obligation to make it a profitable event for everyone.

Pat is considering creating a different kind of comics convention. “A decision was made about three months ago to produce my own shows and an attorney was contacted. Backers have been approached and are interested. Structure is being put into place. Names are being bounced back and forth. Eventually we’ll host our first show.”

Of course Pat’s position has not come without a cost. “I've been banned for life from attending four Florida shows by one promoter,” he reports. “But that’s okay. I’d rather be dropped ahead of time than attend another bad show.”

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Richard Lenchus: Still Crazy After All These Years

With deepest love and respect, wishing my Sensei Rick Lenchus, the Great Grandmaster, martial arts pioneer and founder of Legend Shotokan, a happy birthday on this, his landmark 75th. For half a century, Sensei Lenchus has given all of his students great dedication while setting us on the path of dignity and budo.

Legend Shotokan of Morristown, NJ
And he taught us how to fight.

Clifford Meth, Rick Lenchus, Avi Meth and Benjy Meth (2010)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Joe Sinnott on Neal Adams. How'd You Like to Own This?

News Release…

For the first time in 44 years, comic book legends Neal Adams and Joe Sinnott have collaborated on a special edition to be auctioned by the non-profit Inkwell Awards (aka “The Inkwells”). The auction will take place in March, 2015. The two artists contributed their talents to a sketch cover of a Batman #0 comic book. The first and last time they collaborated was on two issues of Thor in 1970.

“We are thrilled beyond belief to have these two living legends work together again on our behalf,” said Bob Almond, Inkwell Awards founder and director. “We originally planned to auction the piece off in December of this year but decided we didn't want to compete with holiday shopping. By waiting until March, everyone who wants a shot at this piece of history will have time to save for it.”

The piece came about when Inkwell volunteer Joe Goulart approached Adams at the 2014 Connecticut ComiCONN to contribute a donation sketch for the non-profit. Adams then made his own request: He would do so if Inkwell Special Ambassador Joe Sinnott inked it. Sinnott is also the namesake of the charity's Hall of Fame Award and its annual Inking Challenge event and book collection.

Sinnott's son Mark was contacted and the deal was sealed. Two months later, Joe brought the inked version to the Rhode Island Comic Con for a historic photo with Neal. The comic book has been professionally graded 9.4 and “slabbed” by the Comic Book Certification Service.

Information on the upcoming auction may be found on the organization's web site and Facebook page. The Inkwell Awards is an official 501(c)3 non-profit organization and the world’s sole registered advocacy for the promotion of the comic-book inking art form. In addition to its stated mission, “The Inkwells” annually recognize and award the best ink artists and their work. The organization is overseen by a committee of industry professionals and assisted by various professional ambassadors and contributors. They sponsor the Dave Simons Inkwell Memorial Scholarship Fund for the Kubert School and host the annual Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame Award.