Sunday, April 28, 2013

Gustave Whitehead flew first!

Forty-three years ago in 1970, we celebrated the first Earth Day, This past Saturday (April 27), I participated in my first Earth Day celebration event. I joined my former high school teacher Andrew Kosch at Fairfield Ward High School, where he was there talking about (as he is wont to do) Gustave Whitehead, a local resident who in 1901 — two years before the Wright brothers — flew a motorized air craft.

Andy has always been a parachutist and ultra-light plane enthusiast. Back when I was still in high school, Andy first began talking about Gustave, who flew in the Bridgeport/Fairfield area a full two years prior to the Wright brothers. Andy has spent most of the years between then and now attempting to get Gustave his proper credit for this magnificent feat.

ICONIC_cover-1Andy even constructed a replica of Gustave’s “Old #21” and flying it way back in 1986. Andy has done a great amount of research about Gustave, even interviewing someone who (as a young lad) worked with Gustave on the plane and witnessed it flying. For my own part, I recall, back in high school, talking with Andy about Gustave and saying that it would be cool to produce a comicbook about Gustave. Well, it took me 36 years but I finally was able to write a short story about Gustave Whitehead. It appeared in a a graphic album called Iconic that was published by The Comics Arts Guild. that graphic album is still available for sale (it also contains short stories about a number of historic, legendary, and/or mythic figures).

Well, recently an an Australian researcher who works in the aviation industry in Germany named John Brown was doing some research for The Smithsonian Channel was commissioned to research flying cars. During that research he came across Whitehead’s name, and descriptions of his craft — as well as of his flight and after investigating the matter came to the conclusion that Gustave Whitehead actually did fly prior to the Wright Brothers. Brown then went on to publish his research in the 100th anniversary edition of Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft, one of the foremost publications about aviation in the world. In the March 8, Brown acknowledged that Whitehead flew his No. 21 aircraft more than two years before the Wright brothers left the ground at Kitty Hawk.

Needless to say this greatly pleased Andy. When I spoke to him after the story broke in the local press he told me that he was going to be exhibiting his replica of Old #21 at Ward and invited me to join him and sell copies of my comic. So I then pulled my Gustave Whitehead story out of the Iconic graphic album and turned it into a stand-alone 8-pager that we are going to use to help promote Gustave's accomplishments, and (hopefully) turn it into a full-sized 32-page comic which we want to then distribute to schools in Conn.

One of the reasons that Gustave’s accomplishments have not been recognized is because of a long-standing contract between the Smithsonian and the heirs of Orville & Wilbur Wright (all of which was reported in the book History by Contract), by William J O'Dwyer). Well, I (with the help of my buddies over at Pronto Comics — who published my first stand-alone comic, Hot Girl and Totally Hot Girl) was able to publish First in Flight, my 8-page comic story about Gustave Whitehead and how he flew Old #21. The art on the Whitehead comic is by Rick Lundeen, and that book will also be available on IndyPlanet ($2.00).

Well, the books made it in time (I wasn't sure they were going to make it, so I produced a smaller B&W version that I’m selling for $1.00), and I made it to the Earth Day event. In addition to Andy and several members of the Connecticut Air & Space Center in Stratford, CT there was also Anne Fiyalka, a local woman who — as a teen — got the opportunity to fly with famed aviator, Amelia Earhart.

Needless to say, the day was glorious (one of the first really nice days we’ve had around here all year thus far), and there was a very receptive crowd that was amazed that the history that we all learned, wasn’t quite true. Anyway, we had a great day, I was able to sell quite a few copies of my comic, and Andy informed me that he’ll be doing another “green” event with Old #21 in August here in Norwalk at Taylor Farm Park and invited me to join him for that event as well.

Next weekend, I’ll be at the Bronx Heroes Comicbook Convention which will be held at The Bronx Library Center (310 E Kingsbridge Rd Bronx, NY 10458;
718.579.4257) on Sat. May 4th through Sun. May 5th, 2013. I also hope to be attending the Kids Comicbook Convention on Saturday, May 11 at Bronx Community College (the show runs from 10 a,m to 6 p.m.) and have copies of the comic there as well.

Now, here are some photos from Earth Day at Fairfield Ward High School:

Anne Fiyalka and Andrew Kosch and at Earth Day, Fairfield Ward High School, standing in front of a replica of Gustave Whitehead's "Old #21"

Anne Fiyalka who actually flew with Amelia Earheart as a teen, inside Gustave Whitehead’s Old #21.

Gustave Whitehead exhibit at Earth Day at Fairfield Ward High School, April 27, 2013

Gustave Whitehead’s Old #21

Gustave Whitehead’s Old #21

Friday, April 26, 2013

Filibuster this!

Patton Oswalt stopped by the set of Parks and Recreation recently and improvised this hilarious example by talking entirely off the top of his head for eight minutes straight about what he thinks the plot of the new "Star Wars" movie should be.

This is hilarious!

This was amazing, however in all of that the only thin that Oswalt got wrong is that the X-Men fly in the Blackbird, not a Quintet (that's an Avengers' vehicle). Still that he got the five Infinity gems counters that minor gaff.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

When Superheroes prank each other

At first, you might want to think that Batman is being juvenile and, well mean, for doing this...

...but let's not forget that he who pranks last, pranks best...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Who says Comics are dying?

 Not us, for sure. We recently spoke to David Campiti founder of Glass House Graphics, and  former publisher of Innovation Publishing (that gave us comics ranging from adaptions of Anne Rice’s novels Interview with the Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, and Queen of the Damned. Piers Anthony’s Incarnations of Immortality, On a Pale Horse; the TV series Dark Shadows, Quantum Leap, Beauty and the Beast and Lost in Space; as well as the movie series Child’s Play, A Nightmare on Elm Street and others. Some of Innovation’s original series included Angel Heat; Dangerous Secrets; Dream Angel; The Experimentals;  Al Rio’s Exposure; Galaxy Girl; Greylore;  Kevin Juaire’s Hero Alliance; Legends of the Stargrazers; and Mike Barr’s The Maze Agency). In it’s day, Innovation was the #4 comics publisher in market share, after Marvel, DC, and Dark Horse. With Glass House Graphics he represented numerous artists that worked for many of those same companies.

Well, he was telling us about a very cool company called Red Giant that is looking to, well essentially re-invent, revive, and completely resuscitate the comicbook industry. Now while this may sound like a very noble cause, we too were wondering how Dave and Red Giant plan on doing this, and well, what he told us came as something of a surprise. Red Giant is looking to develop its properties for not only the comicbook market but for other media as well; such as movies, video games, television, novels, toys, apparel and telephone wireless applications. Currently the company has a number of such properties that it is publishing on the web as web comics, but plans to reverse-engineer itself and go to print, producing a million copies of comics on a weekly bases that can be distributed free of charge in comicbook shops but elsewhere across the country.

Yes, you read that right, a million copiesweeklyfree of charge.

Recently, the company was written up in not only  The Orlando Business Journal (several times), but the  The New York Times as well. Personally, while we are admittedly a tad skeptical of their plans, we totally love that they are seriously attempting to “put their money where their corporate mouth is” and give their plan the old college try.

As we have come to learn, they did an IPO last year, as a penny stock, and turned a very nice profit. Now they are working out the next steps to realizing their very noble (as far as we are concerned) business plan.

Needless to say, we wish them the very best of luck in their endeavor, because we know as well as anyone that — while comicbook characters are doing box-office business at both the movies and in the videogames industry, comicbooks themselves are experiencing something of a downturn in numbers of comics printed every month. Hopefully, Red Giant’s plan will play out and  we will get to experience yet another golden age of comics.

Look for my name at the end...

Who needs money? I’m wicked famous!

Peter and Gwen in bad lip reading!

Come fo rthe bad lip reading, stay for the Easter Egg.

And hilarity ensued!

Seriously, I nearly wet myself!

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

It's all in Tribute

So, recently I was with the esteemed Jim Main (the big guy over @ Main Enterprise, the forward-thinking publisher who has been publishing a good deal of my work recently).

We were in attendance at the Newburgh Comic Collectorfest (in Newburgh NY). It was there that I acquired a copy of the newest publication in with my work appears, Dell & Gold Key Collector #1.

This wonderful magazine is chock full of insightful and intriguing info on the old Dell & Gold Key comics, including Magnus Robot Fighter, Tarzan, and Frankenstein. There is some very cool vintage art images and all sorts of interesting stuff that you are going to want to know more about.

While at the Newburgh show, Jim also laid on me a copy of his wonderful pin-up mag, Tribute #6. This particular issue contains some outstanding work by quite a number of ME regulars, including Jeff Austin, Maya Andres, John Lambert, Tom Ahern, Nik Poliwko and many more.

This issue of tribute had a distinctly horror feel to it and really came out quite well (which I probably would say even if Jim wasn't my publisher). Both mags are currently available from Jim (as are a hoard of other fine publications) So you should reach out and touch contact Jim to learn more about all of the delightful goodies that he has available.

Also, you should watch this space, because Jim tells me that he has all sorts of way-cool mags that are slated to come out over the next several months. He won’t tell me what they are (it’s true, I do all of the layout and production work with my eyes closed), but he assures me that they are some way-cool stuff.

OK, that’s about all for me now, I have to put the blindfold on and get back to work for Jim!