Cornfield Meet

Things collide here.

In Which An Old Star Wars Fan Learns New Tricks. Sort Of.

Do I prefer the original-era Star Wars movies and toys to the saga’s post-1997 era?

Yes.

Lest I be accused of Hating All Things Modern Star Wars, however, I present here some clear evidence that in not all cases is The Force with the old-school side of things.

I met Bonnie Burton at Star Wars Celebration V last summer, found myself wowed by her craft skills and creativity, and was bowled over again by her talents on display in The Star Wars Craft Book, which I reviewed for GeekDad. (Spoiler alert: It’s good. If you’re a Star Wars parent, go order it.)

And while I was making my Admiral Sackbar puppet, I thought more than once about the Star Wars Activity Books we had back in the late ’70s.

Consider this display of some projects from Bonnie’s book:

Now, flash back with me to a page from one of the vintage Star Wars Activity Books – helpfully provided by fellow Rebelscum.com vintage forum member Chris Anthony:

Yeah, that’s um… okay. Maybe we’re being unfair here, showing off all those fancy-type crafts. Let’s just compare, oh, say, puppets.

The aforementioned Admiral Sackbar:

and the R2-D2 puppet (?) from the vintage book:

Bonnie’s AT-AT planter:

Bonnie Burton AT-AT

Photo by Bonnie Burton / The Star Wars Craft Book

and the old-fashioned X-Wing for which you’d run around the house pulling all the toilet paper and paper towels off the rolls, ticking mom off to no end:

And if you have a milk or juice carton around, which would you rather make:

Wookiee Bird House - Bonnie Burton's Star Wars Craft Book

Photo by Bonnie Burton / The Star Wars Craft Book

…or a sandcrawler which requires you to apparently visit a 1950’s soda fountain to find axles?

Utinni! Sandcrawler full speed ahead!

Sandcrawler, Phase 2

Here’s the thing: I actually owned a couple of those activity books, and seeing these pages still stirs that nostalgia.

But this time – this time

modernStarWarswinsNowGetOffMyLawn.

April 20, 2011 Posted by | 1980s, Books, Current Affairs, eighties, Film, geek, science fiction | , , , , | Leave a comment

Counting by summers.

CA21Bday

Technically, my lame manipulation of the classic Star Wars birthday poster – distributed back in 1978 – could be seen as overdue, since I announced the first release of “Collect All 21! Memoirs of a Star Wars Geek” on July 2, 2008. Still, its Amazon and Target listings both put the official publication date as July 14, so I’m going with it. (Barnes & Noble, meanwhile, is listing a publication date of April of this year, going with the revised edition, so, Yay, Two Birthdays For CA21, I guess.)

At any rate, piles of sincere thanks to everybody over the past year who has read it, bought it, downloaded it, talked about it, linked to it, halfheartedly glanced at it, stopped by to ask me about it, or even just looked at the cover photos for a moment of nostalgia. Or to laugh at the dork in the brown corduroys and white socks playing with a Y-Wing.

Ten-thousand-credits-all-in-advance thanks again to friend & editor Adam Besenyodi, cover re-design master Kirk Demarais, and Down Under smart and hilarious foreword writer David Morgan-Mar. (Someday I hope to meet Kirk & David and thank them in person by buying them refreshing beverages of their choice, but until then, I hope these digital thanks across state and international boundaries are sufficient.) Thanks also to my buddy Dustin, who shared news of this spring’s revised edition through TheForce.net and Rebelscum.com.

The best thing of all has been hearing from people that the book gave them a chance to spend a little time revisiting a fun past, and reminded them about why so many of us are still attached to the Star Wars saga three decades after it was born.

July 14, 2009 Posted by | 1980s, Books, eighties, Film, geek, Ohio, science fiction, Weblogs, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A day worth saving like an old proof-of-purchase

I had a hard time getting myself to sit at the computer this morning, since I spent an awfully humongous chunk of yesterday parked in this very chair and obsessively clicking and revisiting sites in wonderment and gratitude, and I’d like to spend some time with Jenn before she has to go to work, but …

Yesterday ROCKED.

Both Rebelscum and TheForce.Net posted stories about the new Collect All 21! revised edition, and Rebelscum added the info to its Jedi Journals database. I also added a fresh plug in the R’scum forums, which got some attention from fellow Star Wars fans – particularly the always-awesome Vintage Collecting gang.

Then stuff started happening:

For starters, the first few advance copies I ordered arrived in the mail, and They. Look. Sweet.

And then I got some print and download orders through Lulu;  and then at least a couple orders went through on Amazon (A reminder: I’m unsure about Amazon’s practice of updating the POD source files, as mentioned in the note at the bottom of my announcement post.). And then traffic to the blog started spiking, relatively speaking. My little Cornfield Meet cracked the Top 100 (No. 78 – woohoo!) of WordPress’ Growing Blogs list for the day.

All this was encouraging and steadying and humbling and adrenaline-inducing, and it was, I admit, difficult to re-focus for a short freelance assignment I was working on, but I managed to get it done amidst the constant clicking and refreshing.

By day’s end, Collect All 21! had its best sales day ever; I got a couple requests for signed copies once I get a good supply of books here at home (including one from Australia!); I’m working on lining up a podcast interview about the book; and I received an invitation to attend and sign at a convention.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m certainly not replacing a full-time salary with these boosts, and I’m still pushing hard for every freelance assignment I can get – I had a very promising phone call this morning – but to everyone who’s visiting, subscribing, ordering, downloading, emailing or sharing the link love, this space is woefully inadequate for expressing what your support means.

Thank you.


April 23, 2009 Posted by | 1980s, Books, Current Affairs, eighties, Film, geek, Ohio, science fiction, Weblogs, writing | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Collect All 21!” – New, improved, and stays crunchier in milk!

Updated:

Reviews, excerpts, podcast readings and more “Collect All 21!” information here.

Order it from Lulu, or from Amazon, or from Barnes & Noble.

Okay: The milk thing I made up.

But I am psyched about announcing two awfully cool changes to the book! First, the most obvious:

ca21newfrontmidsize

This is the new kick-ass cover by Kirk Demarais, creator of the awesomely time-stealing Secret Fun Spot, artist behind this inspired cinematic family portrait series at last year’s Crazy4Cult show in Los Angeles, and author of Life of the Party: A Visual History of the S.S. Adams Company, Makers of Pranks and Magic for 100 Years. (His book’s currently unavailable, but Kirk’s been running a fun retrospective this month of old pre-packaged gags. Have fun. Don’t get sneezing powder on your hands.)

I found Kirk’s blog awhile back and took about three seconds to get totally sucked in. Realizing we probably had some common interests, I sent him an electronic version of Collect All 21! and asked if he’d consider doing the cover of a revised edition. As you can see, he stuck to my original concept – not being artistically inclined at all, I was giddy when Kirk said he liked the homage to Kenner’s old Star Wars Proofs of Purchase, because I at least felt like my idea was good, even if my execution was a bit clumsy – but made the final cover totally his own, upping the old-school feel with the black backdrop, the textual echoes in the title, and the twin silver bar graphics. And I love the subtle nod to the CMYK offset printing process used in packaging, with the tiny slivers of magenta and cyan around the blue-and-white logo.

I told Kirk all this in a probably way-too-hyper email after he showed me the reworking, but this is his well-deserved public thanks: This. Is. AMAZING!

You have to look inside the book for the second Collect All 21! upgrade: It’s a new foreword written by David Morgan-Mar, of whom I’ve been a fan for several years now.

When I went looking for an independent voice to add an opening to my book, I wanted to find a fellow first-generation fan with a little, you know, Geek Cred. So, let’s see: David’s the creator of “Irregular Webcomic” – the hugely hysterical multi-layered comic which introduced me to his work – and the Star Wars prequel/roleplaying mashup webcomic “Darths & Droids.” He also writes and playtests GURPS roleplaying games, and for fun he’s done stuff like design computer programming languages for orangutans and evil necromancers. He’s got a Ph.D. in astrophysics, too.

So I sent him an email, and after getting a positive response, a PDF of the book. In return, David sent me an incredibly nice note about just plowing through Collect All 21! in sheer enjoyment. Within a week, he’d crafted a foreword that had me grinning for days and left me stunned at the wonder of living in a world where I can type to a guy I’ve never met, and who’s literally on the other side of the planet, and we can share similar experiences about growing up in the original Golden Age of Star Wars. (That goes for Kirk, too, by the way, minus the “other side of the planet” stuff, although we’re still several states apart.)

You’ll also notice that I tweaked the back cover slightly to match it up with Kirk’s design and incorporate a quote from David’s foreword.

I’m excited about sort of re-launching the book and reaching people who’ve either held off on buying or who haven’t heard about it lately because, well, I haven’t been talking it up much for the past few months. (Want to pass the word along? Here’s a PDF press release.)

Big, huge, massively supercolossal thanks to Kirk and David – and to everyone who’s supported me by reading and buying Collect All 21! since last July!

April 20, 2009 Posted by | 1980s, Books, eighties, Film, Games, geek, Ohio, Science, science fiction, Web/Tech, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

   

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