Pictures from Connecticut’s ComiConn

 

By Jason Harris

 

The 8th Connecticut ComiConn took place in the Mohegan Sun Convention Center this weekend. It was my first time attending this convention even though it has been going on in different locations in Connecticut over the last seven years. Read more on the Bleeding Cool website here. I have attended many conventions over the years and I have also been a vendor too. I can say I will be attending this one again next year, which happens Aug. 19 – 21, 2016 at Mohegan Sun under the name, TerrifiCon.

Adrian Pasdar (Agents of SHIELD, Near Dark).

Adrian Pasdar (Agents of SHIELD, Near Dark).

The Incredibles.

The Incredibles.

Chase Masterson (Star Trek: DS9).

Chase Masterson (Star Trek: DS9).

The Batmobile.

The Batmobile.

Comic book artist Bob Camp and Michelle Ford.

Comic book artist Bob Camp and Michelle Ford.

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Greg Grunberg (Big Ass Spider!, Heroes, and Heroes).

Greg Grunberg (Big Ass Spider!, Heroes, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens).

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Batman.

Batman.

A Jedi and Game of Thrones' Daenerys Targaryen.

A Jedi and Game of Thrones’ Daenerys Targaryen.

Disney Frozen's Anna and  Elsa.

Disney’s Frozen’s Anna and Elsa.

Fantastic Four's The Thing.

Fantastic Four’s The Thing.

Kevin Conroy (Batman: The Animated Series).

Kevin Conroy (Batman: The Animated Series).

The Joker.

The Joker.

The Penguin and Harley Quinn.

The Penguin and Harley Quinn.

Booster Gold and a friend from the Capsule Corp.

Booster Gold and a friend from the Capsule Corporation.

The Baroness and Snake Eyes.

The Baroness and Snake Eyes.

Author Stacey Longo with members of Kiss tribute band, Kiss Forever.

Author Stacey Longo with members of Kiss tribute band, Kiss Forever.

Aquawoman.

Aquawoman.

Author Matt Herring.

Author Matt Herring.

Wolverine, Joker, and Deadpool with Spiderman photo-bombing in the background.

Wolverine, Joker, and Deadpool with Spiderman photo-bombing in the background.

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Ke Huy Quan (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, The Goonies).

Ke Huy Quan (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, The Goonies).

Green Arrow and fellow archer.

Green Arrow and fellow archer.

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Indiana Jones.

Indiana Jones.

"Rowdy" Roddy Piper.

“Rowdy” Roddy Piper.

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Author Stacey Longo with Shield agents.

Author Stacey Longo with Shield agents.

Author Talks about Writing and ‘Spies of Revolutionary Connecticut’

By Jason Harris

 

Author Mark Allen Baker talks about his book during his visit to the Colchester bookstore, Books & Boos.

Author Mark Allen Baker talks about his book during his visit to the Colchester bookstore, Books & Boos. Photo courtesy of Books & Boos.

Author Mark Allen Baker, who lives in Connecticut and has written 17 books, spoke to Jason Harris Promotions about a number of topics including writing and his current book, Spies of Revolutionary Connecticut: From Benedict Arnold to Nathan Hale.

JH: Mark you have written 17 books, when did you start writing and when was your first book published?

MAB: As a corporate executive for the General Electric Company, I began writing articles on graphics software and hardware; our division was involved with numerous early developments in graphics, most of which people are familiar with today as Microsoft PowerPoint. As an avocation, I have always been interested in baseball. After writing and publishing a number of articles on the 1980s boom in baseball collectibles, I was approached by a publisher to write a book. I accepted and wrote the Baseball Autograph Handbook for Krause Publications in 1990. While the word autograph is in the title, much of the information was historical.

JH: What was the impetus behind your latest book, Spies of Revolutionary Connecticut: From Benedict Arnold to Nathan Hale?

MAB: Having visited numerous historical sites here in Connecticut, such as the Nathan Hale Homestead (Coventry, CT) and the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum (Wethersfield, CT), the word spy kept creeping into my conversations with historians and volunteers. It intrigued me so much, that I instigated a bit of my own primary research and found that there was much more to many of the stories. Like my previous work for The History Press, the material filled a genuine need: a single resource that would answer a majority of questions any concerned individual might have. In this case, it was visitors to a historical site.

JH: When you were at Books & Boos in March, you mentioned that some of the spies you have written about are in the video game Assassins Creed. Can you elaborate more on this?

MAB: As most know, Assassin’s Creed III is a 2012 video game developed by Ubisoft Montreal for a variety of systems. The fictional plot is set in the 18th century, before, during and after the American Revolution. Benedict Arnold, who is featured in Spies of Revolutionary Connecticutis also included as part of the exclusive missions, available on PlayStation 3. Other individuals included: George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Sam Adams, General Israel Putnam and Benjamin Church.

JH: How long did it take you to write Spies of Revolutionary Connecticut?

MAB: This work took me about nine months.

JH: How much research did you do for the book?

MAB: Since my interest in the topic goes well beyond the scope of the book, I conducted more primary research than usual; I easily could have written a dozen volumes on the topic. As far as locations, I visited numerous libraries, historical societies and landmarks. I was even in the attic at the Nathan Hale Homestead and inside the War Room at Versailles, France. Always believing that a writer must get as close to the subject as possible, I tried to visit where my subjects worked and lived, and even where they were buried.

JH: What draws you to writing about history?

MAB: The people are what draws me to history. They are more than two dates on a tombstone, far more. It’s my job, or so I believe, to bring them back to life and acknowledge, at least in most cases, their achievements. While most know the names of Ethan Allen or Nathan Hale, few are unaware of heroes like Daniel Bissell and Noah Phelps.

JH: What does your writing process look like?

MAB: The process depends upon the work. For Spies of Revolutionary Connecticut: From Benedict Arnold to Nathan Hale, I began with a full investigation of the topic. This ranges from books and manuscripts, to scarce articles and even pension testimony.  Since I stay in the period that I am writing about, my ‘downtime’ includes only related items, period books, videotapes on the subject, university lectures and even music. Only when I feel I am ready, often months into the contracting, do I finally draft, revise and edit.

JH: What is your least favorite part of the publishing/ writing process?

MAB: Editing. Having to extract so many individuals from this work-Spies of Revolutionary Connecticut: From Benedict Arnold to Nathan Hale-was difficult. For example, I had no other choice but to edit out some (minor characters) individuals from the chapter on The Culper Ring. Choosing 35,000 words to express any topic is a challenge.

JH: You started a sport’s bar. Where was this, how did it come about, is it still there and what was the name of it?

MAB: Upstate New York, Liverpool, to be exact. It was called “Bleachers.” It came through my participation in another business. We, the four of us, believed the timing was proper to undertake an investigation or market analysis. As a former Market Research guru for a Fortune 500 company that became my task. It took me about six months to complete my research. It confirmed our feelings, guided us to a site and composed our business. I sold my shares three years into the business. I believe it lasted about four years longer before shutting its doors.

JH: Have you been involved in any other businesses?

MAB: Having worked for a large corporation for the bulk of my professional life, I began exploring other options when I was still in my thirties. A mail-order business, along with a sporting goods store, prepared me for the sports bar. That being said, having had managed three fast-food restaurants, before I started my own, certainly helped.

JH: How did your involvement come about in the New York music scene? Can you describe some of your experiences?

MAB: From 1975 until 1979, I supervised the shows at the university I was attending. During that period I promoted, or assisted, over fifty regional shows including: Aerosmith, Boston, Peter Gabriel, Genesis, Billy Joel, KISS, John Mayall, Queen, Bob Seger and Bruce Springsteen. My experiences could fill a book, and eventually will.

JH: Besides writing, history, and music, do you have any other interests?

MAB: Gardening. Organic fruits and vegetables are a favorite of mine.

JH: Are you working on any current projects?

MAB: Yes, I am currently working on a follow-up to Spies of Revolutionary Connecticut: From Benedict Arnold to Nathan Hale, that will be available in the fall of 2014.

JH: Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?

MAB: Ernest Hemingway, David Halberstam, David McCullough, John Updike, Joseph J. Ellis, Ron Chernow … there are so many.

JH: What book do you wish you could have written? And why?

MAB: The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. Because it’s perfect.

JH: Are you there any upcoming promotional events you are doing for your current book?

MAB: Yes, I will be at Nathan Hale’s New London Schoolhouse on Saturday, August 16.

My Time at the Rhode Island Comic Con

My Time at the Rhode Island Comic Con

by Rob Watts

Myself, Jason Harris, Stacey Longo, Scott Goudsward and Kristi Petersen Schoonover began the task of painstakingly arranging our table in a manner of which patrons would … oh, who am I kidding? We threw it all together and if something fell on the floor, then it probably didn’t belong there in the first place. Our booth did look pretty diversely kick-ass! In addition to our own books, we had action figures, DVD’s, movie adaptation novels and of course, comic books. We were prepared for anyone and anything that came our way that weekend. Or were we?

Well, nothing could have prepared me for the 9am stroll through “Celebrity” alley just prior to the show’s opening. Stacey and I took it upon ourselves to stalk a couple of former stars while attempting to flee from a couple of others. “Oh boy, time has not been generous to that one” was uttered more than a few times. But there were a couple of highlights during that brisk wander. For instance, did you know that Mitzi Kapture (of TV’s Silk Stalkings) is married to Seinfeld’s The Soup Nazi? Well, she is and they are both wonderfully kind people. Also wonderfully kind, yet extremely happy, was Gil Gerard of the classic 1970s sci-fi series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. He was very gentlemanly as he reached out to shake both our hands but was quick to point out that he was selling Buck Rogers coffee mugs, baseball caps, lunch boxes, toilet paper and anything else you could put the name Buck Rogers on. As big of a turn off as this might have been, I still couldn’t believe “Buck Rogers” was in front of me, talking to me and trying to sell me a bunch of worthless crap. I couldn’t wait to see what other surprises were in store.

The doors opened to everyone at 10am and within 15 minutes, the aisles were flooded with convention goers. The booth blocking rule had a moratorium placed on it for the weekend due to the fact that people were streaming past us left and right all day long. We were perfectly happy behind the table all day, in our “safe haven.” People watching was a perfect ten as every super hero, comic book, anime, movie or TV character you could ever imagine was represented. To my delight, a different Captain America walked by me on an average of every 22 minutes. Star Wars characters were high in attendance and Jason Harris and I spent much of the two days debating on which guys at the con wore the best Bane character get-up. Of course, I can’t forget to mention the best dressed guys at the convention. Kristi’s all-time favorite tribute band, KISS Forever!

Venders were plentiful, and although their tables became repetitive after a while, they did have some amazing items for sale which could make even the least sentimental person nostalgic. I for one was tempted to plunk down fifty dollars for a near-mint Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle, but don’t judge me. The toy venders, however, had some competition at the NEHW booth. Scott unloaded a fair amount of his action figure collection throughout the event’s two-day run.

Some cool cars were on display in the lobby such as the Ghostbusters Mobile, the Adam West era Batmobile and two Delorians from the Back to the Future films. Speaking of Back to the Future, I got to meet and chat with actress Claudia Wells who played Michael J Fox’s girlfriend in the first film. She’s still very lovely and very cool. Speaking of cool, we got to chat it up with former pro wrestler Hacksaw Jim Duggan. He had some interesting stories about his glory days in the ring, including the “Montreal Screw job” and his relationship with Vince McMahon. Bottom line, he was very likeable.

Word at the convention was they had sold around 5000 tickets in advance. 12,000 people attended the convention just Saturday alone. This was RICC’s first year and it went off with a bang. Although it was a long two days for us in Providence, I think it’s safe to say we all had a great time. Kristi finally got to meet Dirk Benedict, I met my now-current co-writer on an upcoming project, Scott finally sold his giant King Kong action figure, Stacey got to hang out with Jake “The Snake” Roberts and Jason learned never to order a 30 dollar Filet Mignon from McCormick & Schmick’s when he’s starving. That’s a different story for a different day.

Rock and Shock 2012

My Experience at Rock and Shock 2012

by Jason Harris

Another Rock and Shock has come and gone. The New England Horror Writers were there once again. We have been there for the past four years. This year saw less atttendees then last year, but last year’s guest line-up included Robert Englund, whose line went on forever and never seemed to get any shorter, and Ace Frehley, former lead guitarist of KISS. This year had Heather Langenkamp, of Nightmare on Elm Street fame, Anthony Michael Hall, of televison series The Dead Zone and movies The Breakfast Club and Weird Science, and another former KISS member, Peter Criss.

Before getting to Rock and Shock, the wife and I went to fellow NEHW member Trisha Wooldridge’s house, where we were staying over the weekend. We were also going to be joined by another NEHW member Kristi Petersen Schoonover, who would be arriving later that night. It’s always a party when the NEHW members get together.

After leaving Trisha’s house, we drove to Annie’s Book Stop in Worcester to talk to the owner about her bookstore. The wife and I were picking her brain since we’re opening our own bookstore called Books and Boos in Colchester, CT. It was a very informative 40 minutes.

I was there the entire weekend and Saturday was the busiest day. Friday started off with Breakin’ into the Biz panel, which included myself, T.J. May, Matt Bechtel, and Kristi Petersen Schoonover, who ended up as moderator since there wasn’t anyone from Fangoria magazine there to do the job like there were for the other panels during the weekend. The panel went well and there were a lot of suggestions and advice given to the people in the audience.

Heather Langenkamp, Tracy Carbone, Stacey Longo, Trisha Wooldridge, and Lisa Marie on the Women in Horror panel. Photo by Jason Harris

The audience grew a little bit for the Women in Horror panel, but that was to be expected since Langenkamp and Lisa Marie (Ed Wood, Mars Attacks!) joined NEHW members Tracy Carbone, Stacey Longo, and Trisha Wooldridge. This panel had Jack from Fangoria, moderating the panel. One thing surprised me was that the audience didn’t asked two many questions when that time came. Four questions were asked of people on the panel and two of those questions came from me. I asked Heather how was it working on Just the Ten of Us and if she would do another television show. She said, she would love to do another tv series. It was also nice to hear that she will be in the next Star Trek movie titled Star Trek into Darkness, but she couldn’t say what character she’s playing. It was also great talking to her and Lisa Marie when the panel was over.

Tracy Carbone, Sean Whalen, and Stacey Longo. Photo by Jason Harris.

On Friday, it was great talking with Sean Whalen who was in The People Under the Stairs and Twister, and many other movies. Check out his credits on the Internet Movie Database by clicking here. He gave Carbone, Longo, and myself some good ideas.

I introduced myself to Doug Bradley, who portrayed Pinhead in most of the Hellraiser movies except the last one, since I conducted a phone interview with him a few weeks ago. You can read the article here.

I was hoping to interview Hall on Sunday since that was the day his manager, John Boitano, said would be the best day since it’s the slowest of the convention. On Friday, I had the feeling it wouldn’t happen since there was a sign on Hall’s table stating he wouldn’t be at the convention until 2 p.m. on Saturday. When Saturday came, he didn’t show up at his table until 3 p.m. Later on Saturday evening, he took a break and a sign said he would be back at 5:45 p.m. He didn’t get back from his break until 6:15 p.m. Seeing those signs, physical and figuratively, told me that Hall wasn’t going to keep an interview with me on Sunday. It would have been cool to interview him, but it wasn’t disappointing. I did interview another filmmaker, Ryan Convery, on Sunday about his movie Mourning Wood, which is about “humping zombies.” There will be an article and a movie review coming in the near future.

It was great meeting Tony Todd (Candyman), Brian O’Halloran (Clerks), and Sig Haig (House of 1000 Corpses) this weekend. I won’t get autographs since I am not paying $20 or more for an autograph unless they are selling a movie or a book. I will shake their hands and tell them I love their work.

There was a Horror in the Movies panel on Sunday, which Rob Watts, Bracken Macleod, myself, and Stacey Longo were on. Longo ended up being the moderator when Jack from Fangoria couldn’t do it since he had to do something else. It was attended by a good number of people.

There will be another post with pictures tomorrow.

Celebrities Coming to Rock and Shock

Celebrities Coming to Rock and Shock

by Jason Harris

Rock and Shock is lining up the celebrities for this year’s convention and it seems a new one is added every day. In the last two days, Heather Langenkamp (Nightmare on Elm Street)and Danny Trejo (From Dusk till Dawn, Machete) were added to the line-up. They join Doug Bradley, who portrayed Pinhead in eight Hellraiser movies and Lylesberg in Nightbreed, Sig Haig and Bill Moseley, who both appeared in House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil Rejects, Brian o’Halloran who portrayed Dante Hicks in the two Clerks movies and Anthony Michael Hall (The Dark Knight), who has been in the John Hughes’ classics The Breakfast Club and Weird Science and in The Dead Zone television series. These are just a few of the celebrities appearing at Rock and Shock.

If you are not into the movie celebs, there are also a star of the written word appearing at the convention. Author Jack Ketchum will once again bring his talent to Worcester. The writer of such novels as Red, Offspring, The Woman and The Girl Next Door, which all have been made into movies.

Wrestling star turned actor Diamond Dallas Page (The Devil’s Rejects) will be at Rock and Shock too.

It seems like the organizers of Rock and Shock can’t get enough of the music group, Kiss. They invited Ace Frehley, former lead guitarist of KISS, to last year’s convention. This year Peter Criss, the former drummer of the band, will be on hand signing autographs.

For a list of the other guests appearing at Rock and Shock, click here.

Rock and Shock takes place at the DCU Center, located at 40 Foster St., in Worcester, MA.

Thousands Attend Boston Comic Con this Weekend

Thousands Attend Boston Comic Con this Weekend

by Rob Watts

Finally, the time had come! The weekend where comic geeks all across Massachusetts could gather together and not hold their heads down in shame for enjoying sci-fi, fantasy and adventure. Myself included. This was a major event.

Over the years, this con had gone from being held in small hotel function rooms, to small-scale expo centers, and finally inside the widely popular Hynes Convention Center located in the heart of Boston’s Back Bay. Judging by the attendance, an even larger facility may be necessary in the future. Literally, thousands of people flowed in and out of the hall throughout the day, many dressed as their favorite film and comic characters. It’s always cool to see parents bringing their young children to events such as this. It’s a wonderful bonding experience when the older generation can expose their kids to pop culture from their youth, as well as the parents learning about the newer culture through their kids. I actually witnessed a young child asking his dad who the two guys in makeup were (2 guys dressed up as KISS), and as he explained who they were, the kid begged to have his picture taken with them because they looked “so cool!” They actually did so I had to follow suit.

Rob Watts with two convention-goers dressed as KISS musicians.

Oddly enough, there were no celebrity appearances at this event, as large of an event as it was. With the exception of high-profile illustrators, there were no “celebrity” signings to speak of. Last week’s Toronto Comic Con, in which I was in attendance, had many celebrity appearances, such as Scott Bakula, Jeri Ryan and Jeremy Bulloch. This isn’t an important selling point for me, I’m just curious as to why celebs (and the con) wouldn’t take advantage of such a largely attended event. I did have the pleasure of talking to some of my favorite illustrators such as Anne Cain, Ming Doyle and Ken Kelly, who designed a few KISS album covers and he was kind enough to give me a sneak peek of what may turn out to be KISS’ next album cover.

Artist Ken Kelly. Photo by Rob Watts.

Of course, the coolest booth of the day was the good folks over at Sci-Fi Saturday Night. They had an ideal spot by the entrance and had a lot of visitors stopping by to chat with the cast. Dome, Kriana, Illustrator X, The Zombrarian and crew were cool enough to include me in their promo package, highlighting my book, CD and theme song I created for their show. Thanks guys. All in all, a fun day with amazing energy. If I don’t get to the Comic Con in San Diego this year, this one will certainly hold me over for a while.

From left to right: Zombrarian, Dome, Rob Watts and Kriana.

Editor’s Note: I want to thank Rob for writing this entry for the NEHW website and for his Live Journal page. Check out his page here for other entries.

Facebook 101

This funny take on learning about Facebook comes from the blog of  the Co-chair of the NEHW, Stacey Longo, which can be found on her website.

Facebook 101

by Stacey Longo

My sister finally gave in and joined Facebook this week, or, as she succinctly put it, “I’m drinking the Kool-Aid.” Tasteless Jim Jones reference notwithstanding, I was crazily excited to have my sister on Facebook—which is a little bit ridiculous, really, since we talk on the phone every day. But now I could talk to her online, too! And put up photos of shamrock shakes and tag her in them! Oh, the possibilities were endless! I spent two hours walking Kim through her first tentative Facebook steps. She navigated her way through the privacy settings, discovered how to leave her wall and successfully return to it later, and even gave the search bar a shot. “I can’t find O____ B_____,” she complained, trying to look up an old friend from high school as I sat with the phone propped up to my ear, tagging photos of her. “Don’t worry about it, she just found you,” I said, watching as O.B. ‘liked’ the picture of Kim I’d just put up and left a comment. Within moments, Kim had a friend request. “That’s a little scary,” she admitted. And it is. Which is why I’m offering these tips to my sister and the other 36 people in the world who are just now joining the Facebook nation:

1.  Remember that creepy guy from high school, the one who wore plastic vampire fangs to class and stared at you all day? Yup, he’s on Facebook too, and he’s about to send you a friend request so that he can finally confess to you that he was in love with you 30 years ago and that you are still just as beautiful today. Feel free to ignore his friend request.

2.  Remember your younger cousin, the one who set off firecrackers in the chicken coop and it caught on fire? He hasn’t changed. Ignore his friend request, too.

3.  People will tag random pictures of you. They do not care if you were thirty pounds heavier in that photo or had just had your hair done like Gene Simmons of KISS for a costume party. They also don’t care if your mother is on Facebook and will not find it as hilarious as your friends do to tag you in a picture of a bong shaped like Elvis’s head. You do have the power to un-tag yourself in those photos. Do it.

4.  Good news!  Your mother is not on Facebook. Yet.

5.  Some of your Facebook friends are quite vocal about their political views or feelings on social issues affecting our nation. Some of these people are, in fact, crazier than fruit bats. Choose your battles wisely. Sometimes it’s better to just bite your fingers instead of commenting.

6.  Yes, if you post something on someone’s page, all of their friends can read it. So if you want to tell your friend Jeanie that you still regret not marrying John Taylor of Duran Duran, send her a private message instead of posting it on her wall where your husband might see it.

7. Of course Duran Duran has their own Facebook page! You can only ‘like’ it once, though.

8. Don’t keep updating your status every five minutes. Honestly, nobody cares if you just found a great deal on toilet paper at Target. (Wait. How great of a deal was it?) Also, why do you want creepy vampire fang guy to know where you are at all times? Facebook can be a little scary for newbies. Personally, I’m thrilled to have my sister on there with me, mostly because my cousin Lori keeps ignoring my Farmville requests, and I want someone to play with me. Plus, it’s better that she figures Facebook out now…before her children do!