Cornfield Meet

Things collide here.

Akron Comicon – Saturday, Nov. 10

Collect All 21 Memoirs of a Star Wars Geek by John BoothI’ll be spending Saturday, November 10 at the inaugural Akron Comicon, hanging out at booth A12 shamelessly promoting Collect All 21! Memoirs of a Star Wars Geek and Crossing Decembers.

Adam Besenyodi will be sharing the table and selling Deus ex Comica: The Rebirth of a Comic Book Fan. He may even have some copies of Exo-1 and the Rock Solid Steelbots on hand. (And if he won’t, I’m sure he’ll let me know soon enough.)

There will also be many cool creators and guests, and several neat panels and groups at the convention.

I believe I speak for all both of us at booth A12 when I say it would be excellent for you to come by and nerd out for a few minutes.

November 4, 2012 Posted by | 1980s, Books, Current Affairs, eighties, Fiction, Film, geek, Ohio, science fiction, writing | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Star Wars Celebration V: T-minus One Week

Star Wars Celebration V begins a week from today! Watch for my vehicle on Interstate 77 southbound:

There's a Post-It on the dashboard reminding me which side the gas tank's on.

Image: Jim Carchidi, photographer extraordinaire.

It’s been almost five-and-a-half years since the last Star Wars Celebration I attended. As I wrote in Collect All 21

The biggest, best, craziest part of the Episode III build-up was the trip Jim and I made to Star Wars Celebration III in Indianapolis, just about a month before the movie’s May 2005 premiere. We planned this sonofabitch for more than a year and got ourselves a freelance assignment for four days of web coverage and a print feature on the movie.

I had just started a new job, and my first few weeks, Jim and I emailed back and forth constantly, ironing out details about what to cover and how to handle it, setting up deadlines, checking the event programming to see who was going to be there and figuring out how to drink it all in. We were seriously, ridiculously psyched.

A lot’s changed since that spring: That new job is the same one which landed me in the role of full-time freelance writer in March 2009, thanks to staff cuts, and these days, I’m the parent of a recently-minted teenager.

But here I am again, a week from Star Wars Celebration V – which is literally right down the road from Jim’s house in Orlando – and even without the buzz of a saga’s conclusion to drive the hype, I’m awfully excited about the week to come.

For lots of the same reasons, of course: Geeking out with Jim, being among fellow Star Wars fans, checking out props and artifacts and old toys.

But I’m also excited for a few different reasons. For one, Kelsey will be spending a day at the convention with me. (Just one, which I absolutely understand. She has a friend in Orlando she’s excited to visit, and relatives we only see once a year, tops, and while she does enjoy Star Wars, one day immersed in the fandom is all she’s looking for. Now, if this were a Kids in the Hall convention…)

I’m also providing coverage for GeekDad this time around, and I’ve already got what should be some fun interviews lined up.

Then there’s this Pre-Celebration V party and trivia contest from 3-10 p.m. August 11 at Heroes Landing in Clermont (a quick & easy drive from the Orange County Convention Center). I’ll be there with copies of Memoirs of a Star Wars Geek, and Adam Besenyodi is signing Deus Ex Comica: The Rebirth of a Comic Book Fan. Cris Macht, director of The Force Among Us, is supposed to hang around awhile, and the gang from the Star Wars Action News podcast is hosting a trivia contest to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Central Florida. (Where Jenn used to work, as it happens.)

So that should all be fantastic fun and a nice pre-con psyche-up.

Mostly, though, I’m looking forward to meeting people in person whom I’ve only met either online or through interviews or through Collect All 21! The best parts of my previous two Star Wars Celebration trips – I did a whirlwind 36-hour trip to Celebration II in 2002 – were the ones that just grew out of moments spent in the company of friends, talking Star Wars and nostalgia and expectations and life both here and in that galaxy far, far away.

August 5, 2010 Posted by | 1980s, Current Affairs, eighties, Fiction, Film, Games, geek, science fiction, Travel, Weblogs, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Loganberry Books and the Larchmere Festival

It should be a gorgeous day in Shaker Heights, OH tomorrow for the annual Larchmere Festival – and I’m looking forward to spending the afternoon taking part in the Loganberry Books Author Alley from noon to 4 p.m.

I’ll have Collect All 21 on hand, and Adam Besenyodi will be there with Deus Ex Comica, and there are something like 40 other writers scheduled for the book tables, too, so even if you’re not a Star Wars fan or a comics geek or a child of the totally awesome 1980s, you should still come out and wander around and buy books and poke around the festival and bask in the über-gleam of the Euclid Beach Rocket Car. (Yes, Euclid Beach & the Rocket Car’s origins are before my time, but retro space age styling + amusement park ride = I want one the next time I drive across the country.)

July 2, 2010 Posted by | 1980s, Books, Current Affairs, eighties, geek, Ohio, science fiction, Travel, writing | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pittsburgh Comicon: Enough Star Wars to fill a space cruiser

Pittsburgh Comicon 2010

I’ll be nerding out ’77-’83 style for good portions of today and tomorrow, getting my Collect All 21 reading/presentation/Time Travel Belt ready for the Pittsburgh Comicon this weekend.

Star Wars looks to be well-represented at the show, with a dozen saga-related guests and artists. The biggie on the comics side is, of course, original Marvel Star Wars writer Roy Thomas – yes, he’s way more than that in the comic world, what with being Stan Lee’s successor as editor-in-chief and all, but for me he’ll always be the guy behind the only comic books I owned as a kid.

Two Star Wars actors –  Dermot Crowley (General Madine from Return of the Jedi) and Nalini Krishan (Jedi Knight Barriss Offee from the prequels) – are supposed to be there, too.

Artist-wise, you’re looking at a long list of varied names and their visions of the saga:

David Michael BeckStar Wars: Republic and Star Wars: Empire comics

DaxiongStar Wars Adventures: Luke Skywalker and the Treasure of the Dragonsnakes

Sean Forney – Very nice guy who I run into a couple times a year; designed these T-shirts for 2009 Star Wars Weekends.

Ron Frenz – Another respected Marvel veteran with a ton of cool credits, he worked on Star Wars later in its Marvel run.

John Haun, Brian Kong, Mike Lilly, Monte Moore and Tod Allen Smith have all done impressive pieces for lines like Topps Star Wars Galaxy, Heritage, Clone Wars and Empire Strikes Back as well as sketch cards and prints – and yes, they’re all scheduled to be in Pittsburgh this weekend, too.

So, yes, that’s a lot of Star Wars to run around and take in over the three-day stretch (to say nothing of all the rest of the stuff going on), so may I suggest that on Saturday afternoon, if you’re at the show, why not give your feet a break and join me at 1 p.m. for a trip down vintage Star Wars memory lane and into the prequel era and fandom from a Dad perspective. Naturally, I’d also suggest that you should also stick around for the 2 p.m. book publishing panel Deus Ex Comica author Adam Besenyodi and I are sharing with Paul Anderson. Thanks to the Science Fiction Alliance of Pittsburgh for the invite!

Come on out and say hello!

April 22, 2010 Posted by | 1980s, Books, eighties, Film, geek, science fiction, Travel, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Road trips, readings, cons and prose

My calendar checked itself out this morning and honestly seemed a little surprised: “You know,” it said, “I don’t look half-bad the next eight weekends.”

“Don’t sell yourself short,” I said. “Four of those weekends look fantastic.” I did my best Peter Venkman (which isn’t very good) and added, “I love this plan! I’m excited to be a part of it! Let’s do it!”

First, there’s this coming weekend, which begins for me on Thursday with a road trip to kick off PAX East, and while there’s no direct Collect All 21! tie-in, the topic of growing up on Star Wars and sharing it with the next generation seems awfully likely to come up on the GeekDad panel (Friday night – 7 p.m.!) which I’m lucky enough to be a part of. To say nothing of the rest of the weekend. Can you tell I’m a wee bit thrilled about all this?

Then I’ve got three weekends off to get ready for April 23-25 and the Pittsburgh Comicon, where I’m doing two panels thanks to the members of the Science Fiction Alliance of Pittsburgh: First up is a Collect All 21! presentation/reading, Super Deluxe Special But-Han-Still-Shoots-First Extended Edition, and that’s followed by a publishing panel which also includes my friend and Deus Ex Comica author Adam Besenyodi, and writer Paul Anderson, too.

Bonus Points: Adam went to last fall’s Pittsburgh con and met Stan Lee, so for me, the incredible thing about this edition of the con is that Roy Thomas is going to be there – and while I didn’t grow up a comic-book addict, I most certainly did read and re-read and re-re-read the early-run Marvel Star Wars comics. (And I don’t care what anybody says, Roy, JAXXON RULES!)

The weekend after that includes Saturday, May 1, which is Free Comic Book Day, and I should be spending the day alongside Stormtroopers and the Batmobile and a bunch of other pop-culture coolness at The Toys Time Forgot in Canal Fulton, Ohio.

Finally, on May 15 I’ll be at the Fairlawn-Bath branch of the Akron-Summit County Public Library to celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back with a 1 p.m. presentation, Memories of an Empire: Reminiscing and Readings from Collect All 21!

So, to sum up: Eight weeks. Four weekends of gaming, comics, toys and Star Wars. I like those numbers.

March 23, 2010 Posted by | 1980s, Books, Current Affairs, eighties, Film, Games, geek, Ohio, science fiction, Travel, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Weekend: Avatar, The Big Bang Theory and Star Wars

Quick Monday morning catch-up on weekend stuff:

Jenn & Kelsey were out of town Friday night, and after some brief waffling over an evening of videogaming or catching a 3-D showing of Avatar, I went for the latter. (After which, of course, I came home and played video games.)

I went into the movie with expectations set to medium, and those were exceeded on most counts.

From a visual and immersive standpoint, there is absolutely nothing like this movie, and I’m glad I shelled out the extra bucks to see it in 3-D, because it was absolutely incredible, as advertised. Story-wise, well … look, I’m going to skip all the heavy overtone drama discussion because, frankly, it’s all been said elsewhere and I went into this thing for the ride, because that’s what you get in a James Cameron movie.

The story is decent enough, though there’s never any doubt where it’s going, and how it’s going to end, and given the rich setting and environment, I was pulled in pretty easily, though I never reached that pit-of-your-stomach connection you get with a really well-written story and characters. As opposed, say, to District 9 – also a science-fiction movie with a too-easily-trumped-up-and-heavy-handed-allegory and, at its heart, the story of one human’s literal and metaphorical transformative journey – which absolutely did hit me in that fantastic, unexpected sock-in-the-gut way.

I won’t be surprised if Avatar wins the Best Picture Oscar, and while part of me thinks it would be great to finally see a science fiction movie take home that trophy, it will also bug me because it will mean epic visuals and a wave of hype will have – not for the first time, either – beaten better storytelling.

Now to the small screen for just a minute: Last week, I picked up The Big Bang Theory season one DVDs from the library to do a little flashback test and see if the early shows were as cringe-inducing as I remembered. I had fun writing up my thoughts in a  Friday morning post for GeekDad, and got a nice Twitter reply about it from one of the show’s writers. (Incidentally, it’s very difficult for me to write that and adequately express how neat a feeling it is. Even the briefest note of appreciation for something I’ve written never fails to move me. And when it comes from someone whose own work has inspired and entertained me, well damn, that’s something to keep tucked away for those “Hey, You Suck” kind of days.) Saturday morning, I woke up to find that the GeekDad post had gone popular on Digg, which is a first among my contributions to the site and another nice surprise.

I spent Saturday afternoon in Hudson for a shared Collect All 21! and Deus Ex Comica reading at The Learned Owl, and hanging out with Adam and catching up with some friends I hadn’t seen in a few years. This marked the second time I’ve done a presentation based on my Star Wars memories, and I built on the reading I did at JediCon WV last October and had a lot of fun doing it. I’ve got another one on the calendar in May around the 30th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back which I’ll share details on as it gets closer.

Which brings me back to the Quest for 1,000 Star Wars Fans & Friends I decided to shoot for about two-and-a-half weeks ago. I’ve gotten a lot of great notes of support and sharing on Twitter, for which I remain inexpressibly grateful, and on the advice and encouragement of friends, I built a Facebook page for the book. I’ve also added a direct-buy button for the PDF version of the book on the Collect All 21! home page, which includes, as a bonus, the front and back cover images that the Lulu electronic edition lacks.

Adding up distribution sales estimates plus Lulu buys plus the copies I sold over the weekend and last week at the Harper Comics Akron-Canton Comic Con, I’m up to 1/67th of my goal and thankful for every reader and supporter and friend along the way.

February 15, 2010 Posted by | 1980s, Books, Current Affairs, eighties, Fiction, Film, geek, Ohio, science fiction, Television, writing | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Comics and Star Wars at Learned Owl

I’m awfully excited about this.

Learned Owl Book Shop in Hudson, Ohio is one of those great independent local bookstores that everyone should be lucky enough to have close by, and the folks who run it are generously hosting Adam Besenyodi and me for a double-shot-of-geek afternoon on Saturday Feb. 13 from 3-5 p.m.

Adam’s going to read from and discuss his book Deus Ex Comica: The Rebirth of a Comic Book Fan, while I’m bringing Collect All 21! Memoirs of a Star Wars Geek: The First 30 Years to the party. So look for a couple hours of total 1980s pop culture nostalgia mixed with the joys of sharing this wonderful stuff with our kids. We’ll also have copies of the books on hand to sign and sell.

Hearing Adam get all excited about comics and read from Deus Ex Comica is just plain fun and entertaining, and I’d drive to Hudson for his talk even if I wasn’t on the schedule myself.

My own readings from Collect All 21! will be accompanied by some suitably embarrassing childhood photos, so if you’re of a certain age, feel free to listen and snicker at my vintage 1982 brown corduroys even while deep down in places you don’t like to admit, you had a pair just like them, or maybe even in avocado green.

Learned Owl is at 204 N. Main Street in Hudson OH  – 44236 – and it’s within super-easy reach of the gloriously accessible Interstate 80, meaning with less than a two-hour drive, you can zing in from even far-flung locales like Sandusky or Pittsburgh or Mansfield and spend a nice day in Northeast Ohio.  (Hey, if you have young kids? Make a day of it – there’s storytime and crafts with Olivia the Pig from the Ian Falconer books at the shop the same day. With pizza, no less.)

January 13, 2010 Posted by | 1980s, Books, eighties, geek, Ohio, Travel, writing | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Akron-Canton Comic Con: Save the Date!

Thanks to West Coast comic book enthusiast Michael Hamersky for this nice weekend mention about the June 28 Akron-Canton Comic Con. I’m looking forward to setting up my table and catching up with Molly Durst (Symphony of the Universe Volumes One and Two now available on Amazon!) and, of course, hanging out with Adam, who’ll be there signing and selling copies of Deus ex Comica.

I’ll have copies of the shiny new edition of Collect All 21! Memoirs of a Star Wars Geek on hand.

Jeff Harper does a fantastic job running these local shows and supporting independent creators, and since admission is just $3 (seriously – three bucks!), that leaves plenty of extra cash in your wallet to, you know – buy books and comics and stuff!

Chapparells Community Center is  just off Interstates 77 and 76 in Akron, so it’s ridiculously easy to find from just about anywhere – so come on in and say hello!

June 15, 2009 Posted by | 1980s, Books, Current Affairs, eighties, Fiction, geek, Ohio, science fiction, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Support Independent Publishing This Weekend!

There are five good reasons to shop this weekend: From today through May 25, grab the discount code off the front page for five bucks off an order of $25 or more (before shipping costs – I already checked for you!).

So, let’s see, to hit that magical $25 plateau (and then knock it down to twenty), you could order:

Two fun-filled nostalgia-packed 1970s-and-80s-flashbacking copies of “Collect All 21! Memoirs of a Star Wars Geek – The First 30 Years,”


One “Collect All 21!” plus one alternate reality/love and friendship/phantom train story in the form of “Crossing Decembers,” a novel of “well-written weirdness,”


go for the Magnificently Bargainic DRM-free electronic download editions of both books (just a virtual five-spot each!) plus a print copy of Adam Besenyodi’s superb “Deus Ex Comica: The Rebirth of a Comic Fan.”

I mean, you really can’t lose here. There’s a lot of good stuff on Lulu. Wil Wheaton has distributed his last two works through the site – and as it happens, he just did an intervew about it with The Washington Times; Julian Dibbell’s “My Tiny Life” is there, too, as is the big ol’ prank “Atlanta Nights,” which has a great backstory.

Don’t be afraid! Visit Lulu! Buy stuff! And have a great weekend!

May 22, 2009 Posted by | 1980s, Books, Current Affairs, eighties, Fiction, Film, geek, Ohio, science fiction, Weblogs, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hey, I KNOW that guy!

Tim O’Shea at Comic Book Resources has posted an interview with Adam Besenyodi about “Deus ex Comica: The Rebirth of a Comic Fan.” You should go read it, then maybe order a book or five, and then make a road trip to Bills Books & More in Canton, Ohio this weekend to get it appropriately signed on Free Comic Book Day.

Just a thought.

April 27, 2009 Posted by | 1980s, Current Affairs, geek, Ohio | , , , , | Leave a comment

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