StalloneZone Honored at New Action Movie Site

The StalloneZone was recently honored as the first featured site at Awsom 50: The On-Line Source for Action Movies. Here’s what they had to say about the SZ:

STALLONE ZONE – The #1 Sylvester Stallone Fan Site in the World! Now in its’ 10th year on-line, Craig Zablo’s quite excellent Sly Stallone site shows no signs of letting up. Quite simply this is the place to be for any self respecting Sly fan and is in all honesty far better than his official site.

High praise indeed!

As most SZoners know, the name Awsom 50 comes from the tag of Cobra‘s car. So you just KNOW that the webmaster must be a huge Stallone fan! This is definitely a site to watch!

– Craig

Craig and the “Rocky Balboa” Blog

Craig and the Rocky Balboa Blog

A few weeks ago I posted MGM is in the SZONE! and discussed conversations that I’d had with representatives from MGM and Sylvester Stallone‘s office. At that time I wrote: “I’m not sure what role the StalloneZone will play in the official promotion of “Rocky Balboa”

Earlier this week, this was posted on the ROCKY BALBOA BLOG: Stay Tuned… The Rocky Balboa Blog will soon be updated with more great content and a brand new home

As you can imagine, I’ve been bombarded with e-mails from fans asking questions… so here’s the deal:

  • I will be hosting the Rocky Balboa Blog. I was contacted by Sly‘s rep who verified Sly is very much aware of the SZ and SZoners around the world. The Rocky Balboa Blog will be regularly updated with exclusive photos, news, interviews and more. Our first update will appear soon!
  • The StalloneZone will continue to compliment Sly’s official site. You’re still going to get regular StalloneZone updates, exclusives and more!
  • The road to December 22, 2006 is going to be a fun one. I hope that you’re coming along for the ride!

    – Craig

MGM is in the SZONE!

Earlier this week I was contacted by representatives of MGM and Sylvester Stallone‘s office. I was informed that Sly is very much aware of the StalloneZone. In the course of the week I’ve exchanged several e-mails and phone calls with different individuals. Needless to say, it’s been an interesting week.

I’m sure that some of you new SZoners are skeptical. Long time SZoners know the care that I take to insure that I post only news and not speculation, rumors or lies.

Although it’s too early to say more, I can say that there could be some very exciting things in store for us between now and the “Rocky Balboa” release date of December 22, 2006.

I’m hoping that I can say more soon.

In the mean time, continue to get the word out that Rocky is Back. I’ve always said that Sly has the greatest fans in the world. Now we’ll get a chance to prove it.

See you on the message boards!

– Craig Zablo

StalloneZone EXCLUSIVE: Sly Honored at Boxing Writers Award Ceremony


StalloneZone EXCLUSIVE: Randy Rousseau Attends Boxing Writers Award Ceremony for Sly

On May 5thSZonerRandy Rousseau attended the Boxing Writers Association of America Awards ceremony held at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las VegasSly received the first ever award for lifetime cinematic achievementRandy sent in the following pics! – Craig


StalloneZone Exclusive Coverage: Sly at Mr. Olympia 2004

Randy Rousseau, sent in a great report of his coverage of Sylvester Stallone‘s appearance at the 2004 Mr. Olympia contest held in Las Vegas.  Here’s what Randy had to say:

Hi Craig. Wow! What a show!

This show was much like the Arnold Classic, same kind of displays just Vegas style, as you can see the ladies on the tables dancing…and in the cage.

But the best booth at the show and most impressive was Stallone‘s Instone booth. It had a huge banner of Sly with a Rolls/Royce Bentley as an Instone give away, promotional ads for Sly‘s new magazine, and the Instone Challenge promotion. They had a sign telling everyone what time and date to expect to see Sly and Jennifer.
People started to line up two hours early for the chance to meet the Stallones.

Instone was handing out samples of Sly‘s pudding, t-shirts and pictures of Sly for him to sign when he arrived. The crowd was very pumped waiting to see the screen legend. There were about one hundred people in line when in walks the man. Sly said hello to everyone in his booth then turned and waved to the crowd. Sly then went over to look at the car and said, It looks great.”

My son had brought along our Judge Dredd helmet from the film and he was holding it up to see if Sly would spot him. As Sly looked over the crowd he stopped and made eye contact with my son and said, “I thought I was the only one who had that. Sly came over to say, “Hello,” but too many people rushed him, so I put my son on my shoulders to lean over to Sly for him to autograph the helmet.

My cousin had also brought along our Over the Top doll of Stallone to have him sign. Sly got a real kick out of seeing that. And he gladly signed it while having fun with the crowd. My daughter had red, white and blue boxing gloves that Sly signed for her. The crowd was having a great time as Sly was signing tons of autographs.

Than my wife said, “Look, honey! It’s John from The Dukes of Hazard and Smallville in Stallone‘s booth.” Sly saw him too and went over to say “hello” and take some photos with him. How cool is that? (Smallville meets Rambo.)

Both of my kids had on their Planet Hollywood jackets and they wanted Sly to sign them, but it was very tough to get them close to Sly.

So we went over to say hello to John and told him we all love Smallville and of course we loved The Dukes of Hazard.  We asked if he would sign the kids’ Planet Hollywood jackets and he said, “sure” and that they were beautiful.

Then we saw Jennifer Stallone!

We went over to say, “hello” and ask if she would sign the Planet Hollywood jackets. Jennifer said, “I’m no star. Let me have them I will take them to Sly and have him sign them for you. Is that ok?”  YES!

Jennifer went right over, laid the jackets on the back of the Bentley and she interrupted Sly to sign them. IT WAS COOL. Jennifer came back and said, “Those are beautiful jackets.” We thanked her. Jennifer looked at my kids and asked, “Do you really want me to sign these?” and they said “Yes.”

I told Jennifer my wife was her profit center from Serious Skin Care and she laughed. Than she said, “Did your kids get a picture? Come on over and get one with Sly.” We took a few and watched as other people took pictures.  Mrs. Stallone is very very down to earth and is just a nice person. She deserves the best.  No Hollywood attitude found. Just a real person.

Sly signed autographs, posed for pictures and shook hands with everyone for over two hours. What a treat for his fans! It’s no wonder he has lasted for so long. Before leaving I took some pictures of the new Rocky slot machines. What fun they are to play! They have different levels to pass and cartoons from Rocky in the ring and they play scenes from the film and blast the Rocky theme. – Randy Rousseau


Randy, What a great report and pictures! Thanks for sharing. And now without further commentary, more of Randy’s photos! – Craig

Believe it or not, Randy sent in even more pics that we’ve been able to post in this report! We’ll try to get the rest of them up by next weekend.

Randy, thanks for sharing!

best – Craig


Sometimes one word says it all. StalloneArnoldMadonnaShannon.

Shannon? Yep, Shannon is all that need be said to identify another major talent.

I first became aware of Shannon‘s art when I picked up the 20th Anniversary stamp set for the “Rocky” movies. I was impressed by the five stamp series. I would later learn that Sly was also impressed. He even owns a couple of Shannon‘s originals. Sly again worked with Shannon when she was chosen to do the International “Driven” poster.

Shannon has created other successful celebrity stamps including those for James Dean, Elvis, Muhammad Ali, Princess Diana to name just a few.   Shannon was crowned the “Greatest Beatle Artist in the World” and with that the job of creating over 120 murals for the “Hard Days Nights” Hotel. You can check out Shannon‘s art at her website, but you may want to check out StalloneZone‘s exclusive interview first!


Craig: Could you tell us a bit about yourself, how you got your start as an artist and your artistic influences?

Shannon: I have been drawing since the age of 2 (As mom told it). My start took place when I discovered what a pencil was and what it did. Seemed to come as natural as getting up in the morning for me. In the past 10 years, I have taken my craft and worked it to perfection. I acknowledge my talent as a gift and respect it for what it is. To this day, it still baffles my mind as to what I have accomplished.

Unlike my peers, who are influenced by other painters, my influences come from my childhood heroes, such as John Lennon and The BeatlesElvis PresleySylvester StalloneBilly HolidayMuhammad Ali, and Charlie Chaplin. I do greatly respect Norman Rockwell. These are people that beat most of the odds thrown into their path.

Craig: How did you get and prepare for the “Rocky” 20th Anniversary stamp set?

Shannon: I’d just finished the European version, and answer to the US Postage Stamp featuring James Dean, I had created 9 Dean stamps for the project. Although it was my first postage stamp series, it was very successful and earned me some serious clout and leeway on future projects.

So, fortunately I was asked the big question, “What would you like to do on your next project, Shannon? Any ideas?”  The first person to jump into my mind was Sylvester Stallone. He was impactful, handsome, sexual, popular, and I had a small Stallone connection. Having been more a fan of Rambo than Rocky, I clearly had no idea where this would go…if indeed it did go.

So, I called my connection and asked they get in touch with Mr. Stallone (who already knew the quality of my work) and see if he was interested. I was told to wait a couple weeks for the answer.

I put the phone down and went into “anticipation mode”. Within 5 minutes I started to think myself into a nervous frenzy, then the phone rang. I picked it up and the voice said, “OK, he’ll do it. Not of Sylvester, the man…but as Rocky, the character.”

I couldn’t believe it happened so quickly. I was told Sly needed this project to coincide with the 20th Anniversary of Rocky, the movie. Good news: I got the project!

Bad news: I had only six weeks to bang out 5 Rocky illustrations for 5 Stamps. One for each movie.  The anniversary was that near.

Craig: Did you work closely with Sly during the project’s conception and preparatory phases? Did you show Sylvester sketches as the project developed?

Shannon: I was sent a various array of slides and photos of the “Rocky” movies. Honestly, they were all useless. So I jumped in my shiny red Corvette and missioned my way to book stores, libraries, and memorabilia shops. I had no choice, the project had to make it’s deadline.

Lucky for me, the “Rocky” Anniversary 5 pack had just hit the stores. I found what I needed and went to work. First thing to do: Watch every “Rocky” movie, in order, back to back…as if it was one movie.

Sly saw all paintings as they were finished, via Fed Ex. I hadn’t met the man yet, but during a phone conversation with his PR personnel, I heard his voice in the background, explaining only one change he would like taken care of. It was pretty cool.

Craig: Of all the possibilities, what made you decide on one particular image for something as iconic as a Rocky Balboa stamp? Did the man himself have some say in that decision?

Shannon: I tried to look at it this way: I have to create one finished illustration to represent one major movie. Five times! The impact had to be there. And I had but one shot to do it. Again, timing was everything. As the deadline drew nearer, I watched the movies over and over. Then listened to them while I painted. Their influence was phenomenal.

Sly had no real decisions, except for the one, in the project. I believe it was because of the impact of the Anniversary and a full schedule that needed all of his attention. I would also like to believe he trusted my work. I found, in the future, that was the key element…he trusted me.

Craig: Were you nervous when the time came to reveal the finished work to “Rocky”?

Shannon: Not really. I knew they were all good. Plus, it was a major turning point in the evolution of my work. My passion for this job seemed to trigger a whole new me and I was 80% content with the work I was creating. And that is a lot of percentage for me. I am my toughest critic.

Nervousness came the day Sly and I unveiled the “Rocky” stamps at Planet Hollywood in New York City. Keep in mind, I still had not met him. But to someone’s craziness, it was decided it would be magical if we met on TV. I, myself, could think of a better word other then magical. I remember sitting in my seat waiting to be called up. I watched Sly unveil each of my creations one by one. It seemed as if it would take forever and I could swear my heart was jumping out of my chest and hitting the back of the person’s head sitting in front of me. When I was finally called and was walking up to finally meet “the man”, a warm sensation went from my head to my toes and suddenly…I was fine. No nervousness, no shakes and no heart coming out of my chest. I was even able to be a bit “camp” with Sly in front of the cameras. It was a great ending to a grueling 6 weeks.

Craig: What are your thoughts on creating another Balboa stamp, to compliment the possible theatrical release of Rocky‘s 6th and most likely final chapter ?

Shannon: I would love it! I heard, through the Hollywood grapevine, it will indeed be a Broadway play. But a 6th stamp gives it a nice round number. I am ready for the challenge if it does arrive.

Craig: You also painted the poster used for the “Driven” international release and for the Rocky animated “doll” box. How did those come about?

Shannon: I heard Sly was doing this fast paced, on the edge, racing picture. Being involved with racing myself (I raced Motocross for about 5 years in my youth and my Dad built racing cars in his prime), I found this very appetizing. I still have a beautiful 57 Chevy hard top that I built from the ground up. Nitrous, 400 small block with a destroked 350 crank, fuelly heads, high compression pistons, racing cam, etc. Ummm, you get the picture. It’s in the blood, you know?

So I wanted “on” this project in the worst way. Well, I pushed and pushed until I finally got word to Sly that I wanted a shot at the movie poster. As usual, he received word near the end of the project. Sly contacted me and we talked quite a bit. He asked me up to his place and we discussed the possibility of a European poster. It was too late for the U.S. illustration. Sly sent me over to Warner Brothers in Los Angeles, where I live today, to go through the Driven library of photos. Again, as before, most of the photos were already taken and I got the last of the batch. Some were good, but the car shots were bad.

I was “off” to the libraries and book stores once again. Sly was quite involved with this project and I found myself up at his beautiful home countless times. Sly gave me some great, needed photos he had at his home. His wife and family are wonderful people and treated me and my talents with great respect. I was asked for Thanksgiving dinner, at Sly‘s home, a few months later. Word had gotten back to the Stallones I was going to be alone for the holidays. This shows you what wonderful people they really are.

As for as the Rocky Doll art…It is actually the number 5 Stamp on the box. That simple.

Craig: Are there any other Sly Stallone projects that we haven’t mentioned?

Shannon: At present time, I am working on three coffee table books that represent different aspects of my work. They involve one on The Beatles, another on KISS, and the third is a book on my celebrity art which will involve Sylvester more than any other celeb. I will use Sly for the cover and when the time is right, ask him to write the forward.

Craig: What kind of “personal art” do you do for yourself?

Shannon: My personal work has a lot to do with the people I am influenced by.  Being donned “The World’s Greatest Beatles Artist” (in England) has given opportunity for a very nice catalog of Beatles art….which will be in my book. Also, portraits have been painted of Bette DavisSteven Spielberg and ETVan HalenTom CruiseElvis, and Charlie Chaplin, to name just a few. Most recently, I have been involved with painting female erotica….Vargas style. Truly painted much like the old masters, but with today’s twist.

Craig: Where can fans find your work?

Shannon: You can see the wide variety of my work at There’s also a listing of tour dates for the future, which are quite helpful.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has my 10 foot tall Fender Stratocaster Guitar, I created, on display for the next year.

I will also be creating 120 giant murals, which will be part of the structure of The Hard Days Night Hotel, in Liverpool, England. This hotel is the world’s first Beatles themed establishment. One mural for each room. Quite the project!

Craig: Wow! You have quite a few projects lined up. We’ll keep an eye out for them. Thanks for taking the time to talk with us!

SZ E-Mail #1

The StalloneZone receives a lot of e-mail of all types. We recieved two pieces this week that we want to share with all SZoners. I think that you’ll understand why after you read them.

E-Mail #1
Jul 26th, 2003, 04:20am

Hey Craig,

I have been a member here on and off for the last 4 years. I just now got my new account. I have been in the Middle East for the last 6 months and our commanders just unblocked message boards recently. I have missed being able to be an active member on this board. Anyhow, just wanted to say thanks for your great site. When I get back home, I would like to make a donation to the site, in order to show my appreciation for all the work you put into it. Can you let me know what I need to do and how much would be appropriate?


Matt Atkinson

BTW, I got to see Avenging Angelo on big screen in Dubai, UAE. I wore my SZ t-shirt there too. Just spreading the SZ to the middle east and our new capitalist country, Iraq!

Now how cool is that? I wrote Matt back thanking him not only the kind words about the SZ but for the service he is giving to our country and the free world. It humbles me to think that the SZ is one of the things that he misses while overseas in such a dangerous situation. I’m proud and happy that we’ve been able to create such a community of fans. And how cool is it that Matt‘s wearing his SZ shirt in Iraq! Hopefully Matt will get us a picture with him in it… before he comes safely back home!– Craig Zablo