Saturday, my son Mike, John Beatty
and I, loaded up the "Jack Carter XG360"
and pointed it towards Orlando. We were off to pick
up John Higashi for our trip to Tim
Gordon's Tampa Comic Book and Toy Show. We were
hyped, because Tim's shows are always a blast, and
also because Bill
Black's "Nightveil: Witch War" movie was
going to premiere [Big Beatty plays a bad guy in
The drive to Orlando was filled with the typical
nonsense that occurs whenever Big Beatty is around.
Laughter and "war stories" are Beatty's
strong suits. Serving as a co-pilot is not. Beatty
charted us past Higashi's exit and we ended up in
Downtown Disney. We sailed right by Planet Hollywood,
the Virgin Mega-Store and back towards Highashi's
abode. Once Higashi was on board, Beatty suggested
that we go back to Downtown Disney. So we did. After
Big J had done enough "window shopping"
[does the word "E-Looko-Grande" mean
anything?] we were off to Tampa.
Once in Tampa we checked in to the hotel that Grand
Master Higashi had reserved for us. Soon enough James
Howell joined the party. Luckily, Higashi had
booked a suite so we had plenty of room. It's funny how
when guys all get together they revert to junior high.
For dinner we headed over to Sweet Tomatoes. It
never fails to amaze the crowd how much chili and rice Beatty
can put away. Usually he eats the stuff along with his meal
and then has more for desert. That night he had a couple
of bowls, but opted for the Lava Cake with Ice Cream
as his meal ender. And if that isn't scary enough, he wowed
the crowd with his progress towards a "50
After a short trip to Barnes and Noble where Beatty
did some more window shopping [does the word "E-Looko-Grande"
mean anything?] it was back to the hotel and more nonsense.
Beatty and Howell provided the entertainment
as they debated various issues with me jumping in from
time to time to perk things up. Beatty nodded off
first, and still provided laughs once his snoring kicked
in. We hadn't set an alarm, but everyone woke up at around
5:30 AM when Higashi Frankenstein-walked
to the restroom. He must have banged into every wall on
his way in -- and on his way out he tripped and landed on
James. [At least he said he tripped!]
Everyone got cleaned up and then we had a quick breakfast
at a pancake house. Funny, but no one ordered
pancakes as their main course. We pulled into the parking
lot and, I kid you not, before everyone was out of the car,
Higashi was already running to get in line for the
Tim Gordon has been putting on these shows for about
three years now and each one is an improvement on
the last. This show had one of the biggest guests lists
yet and a film room which ran films throughout the
course of the show. Ethan van Sciver was there. Ethan
always has a line of fans waiting and this show was no different.
James Howell put in a request for a Green Lantern
commission. Brandon McKeeny was set up and I spoke
to him about a Stallone piece. He said that he'd
like to do Rambo, so we set that up [he was going
to do it after the show and I'd get it in a few weeks].
Aaron Lopresti wasn't listed as a guest, but had set
up. I told Higashi and "The James" about
Lopresti and both arranged for sketches -- I planned
to as well before the show was over.
I felt a tap on my shoulder and heard, "How you doing,
Craig?" I turned to see Pat Broderick
[Captain Marvel, Micronauts]! Pat wasn't
listed as a guest, but had decided to drive over and check
out the show! We spent a few minutes catching up and then
I walked Pat over to Beatty. I then made my
way over to the artist's area. I spoke briefly with
Johnny Atomic [wish I had more time to talk to him
-- this guy is one to watch out for], Derrick Fish,
Mark and Stephanie Heike, and Shannon Chenoweth.
I then headed over to the film room with Mike,
Beatty, and "The James." None of
us are really into "Star Wars" but we all
wanted to see the fan film "Saving Star Wars."
The room was packed and I think that everyone enjoyed it...
especially those REALLY into the Jedi thing. "The
James" liked it well enough to buy a copy and get
it autographed by the director. Beatty and Howell
were also both pretty infatuated by the female lead.
a short break we came back to watch Bill
Black's "Nightveil: Witch War". Bill
filmed the bulk of this movie over ten years ago. Now that
computer technolgy has reached the point where costs are
manageable, Bill decided to finish the film and test
the waters. I can truly say, that we had a blast watching
it. Part of the fun was knowing the people behind and in
front of the camera. Big Beatty appears as a bad
guy and does a good job if it. Brad Gorby deserves
special mention for his set creations, minatures,
and over-the-top performance as a Wizard.
If you're a fan of AC comics, or low budget films,
then you may want to give this a look.
highlight of Tim's shows are the costume contests.
This one featured many great entries. A group of four
guys playing Marv, Hartigan, Dwight,
and Kevin from Sin City took first place.
The show was starting to wind down. "The James"
picked up his very nice Green Lantern piece from
Ethan. Higashi and "The James"
each picked up their pieces from Arron Lopresti.
Dang! I'd never made it back to set up a piece for me! "The
James" said he'd had a great time and was heading
home. Higashi headed over to say good-bye to Ethan,
and I took a few minutes to touch base with Tim and
thank him for another great show. Then we loaded back into
the "Jack Carter XG360" and headed for
Tim's next show is August 28. Maybe we'll
see you there.