Showing posts from February, 2011

The Plane Story; Kevin Sacco

The Plane Story is a debut graphic novel by commercial artist (advertising), Kevin Sacco. The Plane Story is dedicated to cartoonist Harvey Kurtzman, who along with cartoonist Will Eisner, are the two artists that Kevin Sacco's cartooning figures and themes in this graphic novel most resemble.

As to why Kevin Smith titled his autobiography The Plane Story, isn't something I got from reading this book, but I did enjoy it, even though it maybe reads faster then a graphic novel about a life lived (and how he got to his present point) should read, in my opinion. As I've stated, I did enjoy The Plane Story and hope that Kevin Sacco does some more comic book narratives, but I just wish this graphic novel had a little more weight than it does.

Sad, sad, sad...

I just read that comic book and animation writer, Dwayne McDuffie died. From early reports that are coming in, he died yesterday from complications from a surgery he had. Whatever happened (and I don't know what he was getting surgery for), Dwayne McDuffie was only 48 years old and that's waaaay too young to die. The only time I met him was back in November 2008, when he was a guest at the Vegas Valley Comicfest at the Clark County Library (that's where this photo is from). If I remember correctly, it was Derrick, of Comic Oasis, who was instrumental in Dwayne McDuffie actually coming out to Vegas for our Comicsfest that year (Kate and I, being that we've been on the planning committee for the past few years with Derrick, loudly echoed our support that Dwayne McDuffie would be a great guest - and he was).
Just about everyone who reads comics and watches some of the best in animation already know that Dwayne McDuffie had (damn, I'm having a hard time writing about h…

Friday night's all right for meeting new friends!

This past Friday, over at Buffalo Wild Wings on the northwest side of town, Brieanna Brock (as seen here in this first photo with her husband Heath, who has a Thor fixation - grin), organized a drink and draw for people to meet some of her artist friends who she brought in for the Maximum Comics / Alternate Reality Comics signing and Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth benefit this past weekend.
Derrick, who owns Comic Oasis, was at the shindig, with his friends, artist Charles Holbert, and Lauren (here in this second photo with Derrick), who is Charles' art agent and also works with Desert Wind, a local comic grading company. I had never met Lauren previously, but we had a great chat and just further serves to show the quality of people Derrick surrounds himself with.

Derrick, between his Coors Light (haha - sorry to be a beer snob!) chatting with Brieanna.

For those of you who haven't met Charles Holbert at Comic Oasis (he does a lot of art for Derrick's store) or at any …

Sunday artist jam & benefit pt.1!

As I mentioned above in the entry above, this weekend was a visiting Arizona artists signing / artfest / charity benefit that Maximum Comics hosted on Saturday and Alternate Reality Comics hosted on Sunday.

Brieanna Brock (look her up on facebook), who wears many hats, both figuratively and literally, as she cosplays as many comic characters, including ones from Zenescope, is Rave theater's first Saturday of every month midnight scream queen host (she goes by the name Selena, Mistress of the Ring when she does that), and contributes to, in addition to just being an all around great promoter of artists and all things fandom related, is friends with all of the many artists who came into town this weekend, and she made this whole event possible.

Here in this first photo is Jamie, with a BEAUTIFUL Red Sonja piece of art he commissioned from Eric Basaldua!
Artist Eric Basaldua (has done artwork for Top Cow titles such as Witchblade and Darkness and many covers for Ze…

Sunday artist jam & benefit pt.2!

Eric Basaldua with Kate and myself, holding the bottle of rum we got him. Another patron of the arts who isn't in any of my photos here, Gary Rabuzi, also brought Eric a bottle of rum, and as Eric said upon seeing the three bottles "Now I've got my breakfast, lunch, and dinner lined up!" Did I mention that Eric likes rum!?

Andy Bohn did this great piece of art showing some different Robins for Jason!

Just a little shot of some of the people who made it out to Sunday's artfest / signing / benefit. Thanks to everyone who came out and made the day the success it couldn't have been without you! I was a little nervous about what the turnout would be, being that Sundays are amongst the store's slower day, but the artists were happy with the amount of people who came out and a good amount of donations was raised for Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth (and Maximum Comics, who hosted the artists on Saturday had the same results)! My hat is being tipped to the Las…

Sunday art jam & benefit pt.3!

Brieanna Brock (event organizer), cosplaying as Phoenix from the X-Men (I don't know if she was Phoenix in honor of her Arizona artists friends - I just thought of that, but she was probably waaaay ahead of me), with her friend, Victoria Paege, an actress and model, who also wears many hats at, and lucky old me!

April Reyna did a very fun drawing of Epstein for me that will also be on the original art wall of fame here at Alternate Reality Comics!

As the event ended, I had the idea of getting this group shot in front of my store, but I forgot to tone down the sun, which is was stabbing us in our eyes. I think it's funny that Brieanna / Phoenix seems most bothered by the sun, as you'd think she could have done something about it!
Brieanna holding the Claremont / Byrne X-Men graphic novel in which Phoenix becomes Dark Phoenix, so we've got a before and after thing going on here!

Thank you, Brieanna, Heath, Eric, Amanda, Alfred, April, Jean (and Jean's…

ComicsPRO 2011 pt. 1 of 3!

ComicsPRO is a comic store retailer exclusive organization that was formed to give a unified voice to concerns that comic book store retailers have with our publishing partners in this industry and to find ways in which we can all make our comic book stores even more fun and efficient. Last week, this year's meeting was held in Dallas and with many more new members and publishers being present than in previous years to communicate how things can be better on both sides of the fence, the future looks really solid from my perspective for the comic book industry.

In this first photo here is Dan Didio, co-publisher of DC Comics, with Jon Cohen, of Beyond Comics in Maryland (or did I get them mixed up - grin!). All of the first day I had wanted to get a photo of the two of them together and I'm thankful that they agreed to doing this photo instead of just slugging me!

I've known Jon for years, from previous retailer get-togethers, but I never really got a chance to speak to Dan …

ComicsPRO 2011 pt. 2 of 3!

Last Saturday night, after the ComicsPRO meetings ended, Chris Powell of Lone Star Comics, organized a tour of four Dallas comic book stores. Here in this self photo taken on the bus as it departed is Kate and myself (from Alternate Reality Comics in Vegas, of course) in the foreground and on the top left is Jay from Maximum Comics (another Vegas store - he's got two actually) and Derrick from Comic Oasis (yet ANOTHER great Vegas store), with Gary Dills of Laughing Ogre Comics trying to muscle in on the Vegas posse (grin!) on the very far right. Derrick and Jay are good friends of Kate and myself and being as we're all busy with or own stores, we don't get to get together with each other as much as we like, so we got some good hanging out time done in Dallas. And we all got to do some good visiting and sharing of ideas with other fellow retailers, even though they weren't from Vegas (double grin)!
The first store we visited was Keith's Comics and here's Keith we…

ComicsPRO 2011 pt. 3 0f 3!

Boom Studios!, brought out an RV that was filled with brews to the ComicsPRO meeting, and although it was parked in the Doubletree parking lot, everyone managed to not spend the entire weekend within said RV (as tempting as that was)! I think Boom Studios! wants retailers to remember the RV experience when placing orders for their titles, which isn't a trick they need as they publish a wide variety of a lot of what's great in comics today!

Here in this first photo is me and Kate on the right, with Chip Mosher from Boom Studios! to my left and his boy wonder at Boom Studios! to his left (sorry I'm a putz and can't remember his name - I blame it on the Blue Moons!) and Jay from Maximum Comics (Vegas & Henderson) in front of all of us in his Hammer Time! shirt!

Another shot from inside the Boom Studios! RV featuring Stuart Shreck (DC Comics sales guru) and Kate.

John Munn of Comic Book Ink, Kate, and Joe Field from Flying Colors Comics (also creator of Free Comic Book Da…

The Original Johnson v.2; Trevor Von Eeden

How many ways is there to say how fantastic something is? However many ways there are, they all apply to Trevor Von Eeden's two volume graphic novel biography of Jack Johnson, called The Original Johnson. This was the second great graphic novel that came out last week (the other being Psychiatric Tales that I've got a blog entry below this one) that I read Sunday on the plane back from the Dallas ComicsPRO comic book store retailer meeting this past weekend.

Jack Johnson was the first black heavyweight boxing champion of the whole world and as Trevor Von Eeden shows in The Original Johnson, he wasn't just powerful in the ring. Being that Jack Johnson was a black man living in the late 1800s and early 1900, he lived in a time that was very racist and many didn't like that a black man was the champion of "their" sport.

People sometimes shy away from biographies because they think they're just boring retellings of history, well there seems to have been nothi…

Psychiatric Tales; Darryl Cunningham

On my return flight from the ComicsPRO comic store retailer meeting in Dallas yesterday, I read Psychiatric Tales, one of two excellent graphic novels that came out last week. Psychiatric Tales is written and drawn by Darryl Cunningham and is subtitled Eleven Graphic Stories About Mental Illness, which is exactly what this graphic novel is about, from an insider's perspective, as Cunningham, the cartoonist worked as a health care assistant in a psychiatric ward.

I do enjoy many escapist comic books and graphic novels of the super hero variety, but my very favorite kinds of sequential art productions are in the non fiction, autobiographical vein. So I knew that if Darryl Cunningham handled the subject matter of Psychiatric Tales in a thorough fashion, that this was going to be a book I was going to want to read. I'm happy to say that Psychiatric Tales exceeded my expectations and this will be a graphic novel that I'll be able to easily recommend for years.

Darryl Cunningham …

Arizona artists visiting Vegas event!

Time to mark your calendars for what's going to be a fun time at Alternate Reality Comics that could very well redefine what a fun time is! Sunday, February 20th from 12-4pm, I'll be hosting several artists from Arizona, California, and Las Vegas!

Here's the line up: Eric Basaldua (artist on comics from Top Cow and Zenescope), Rob Duenas (Penny For Your Soul), Alfred Trujillo (Zenescope artist), local artists Jean Arrow, Andy Bohn, April Grady Reyna, Tosh Delaney, Shelby Robertson, Brieanna Brock (Zenescope cosplayer and contributor on the website, Victoria Page (contributor on and cosplayer), and Michael Duran (who cosplays as Superman on the Las Vegas Strip)! It's a good thing I moved my store to a bigger space!

This event is your chance to get some uber cool art sketches from some amazing artists, purchase a raffle ticket for your chance to win a piece of art from these artists, and there'll be additional raffle prizes from…

Vietnamerica A Family's Journey; GB Tran

Vietnamerica is a new 280 page color hardcover graphic novel by Gia-Bao (GB) Tran, published by Villard about his parents, who are from Vietnam, and their journey to America in the 1970s. Vietnamerica is a complex narrative, fitting for a complex country (Vietnam) and America's involvement into that countries war / conflict in the 1960s and 1970s.

I was really looking forward to reading Vietnamerica when I first heard about its release because while I had a historical knowledge of Vietnam, I was hoping that this graphic novel would give me a first hand, personal perspective of what living there was like, especially during the Vietnam War. Vietnamerica did accomplish this to an extent, but ultimately I didn't connect with it as much as I had hoped I would, as it doesn't have the personal, emotional resonances of Maus or Perspepolis. I think that this is partly because GB Tran, the creator of Vietnamerica, was only coming to terms with what living in Vietnam and the Vietnam …

Scenes From An Impending Marriage

Scenes From An Impending Marriage is a new hardcover graphic novelette, by Adrian Tomine. Scenes From An Impending Marriage is a reworking of a book Tomine gave to his wedding guests and is a cute (although not in the annoying way, wedding things of this nature can be) and works as an entertaining production by Tomine until he releases his next sequential art production (which like the work of Daniel Clowes, is becoming less and less frequent).

While Scenes From An Impending Marriage doesn't have the subject matter weight of other Tomine graphic novels like Summer Blonde or Sleepwalk and Other Stories, or the fine clean art line Tomine has perfected, it is packaged in a nice hardcover format for only $9.95 that offers a nice look at the private life of Adrian Tomine and what he's been up to lately (he even has a daughter and lives in New York City these days!).