The misadventures of a first time father

Monthly Archives: October 2013

Future NoteSometimes I do something that just pleasantly surprises me when I come across it later (as opposed to the things where I later ask ‘why in the world did i do that?!’)

In September, I took our air conditioners out of the windows. While one is small, the one for our downstairs is rather large and heavy, and comes with a bunch of extra items that need to be packed away (such as attachments for the window sill, and a remote control, the batteries). In order to make sure I never lose any leftover items that I don’t use upon installation, I pack them away in a Ziploc bag and place that bag a drawer in the room where the A/C is.

When I pulled the bag out this Fall, I was surprised when I came across a note to myself from the past to remind me about making sure I grab the right screen for the window out of the basement. My past-self apparently also wanted to check in on how the boy was doing, noting “P.S. – That kid is pulling himself up. He start running around yet?”

Yes, past-self. He certainly has.

It was actually a lot of fun reading that short note and thinking of how much of a difference there’s been between the start of summer and the start of Fall. At the start of summer, he was still crawling, and only learning to stand. Now, our little guy is walking, climbing, and getting more and more vocal every day. I think my past self would have been quite pleased. 🙂 So amazing what a difference just a little time makes.


Yes, every now and then I will do a shameless plug on this blog for other projects. Be warned, this is one.

DRAC GROOVE COVERThe latest issue of Holidaze, the comic book series I write about the adult lives of holiday icons at their favorite bar, hits digital newstands today.

I’m very proud of it and have no doubt saying it’s our best issue yet. We all know Dracula and his many changing faces and styles over the years,  but any time we’re a slave to trends and fashion, we quickly become outdated. That’s where this latest issue picks up Dracula’s story. Still thinking he’s the creepiest creature on two legs, Drac’ has a date with a waitress go horribly awry. When he can’t bite her and can’t even scare her, he starts to wonder just what has gone wrong that his image has become so ineffectual.

So, at the behest of his friends at the bar, he goes into therapy with noted Therapist, The Headless Horseman (all I can picture is Kelsey Grammer’s voice) to figure out just what happened to Dracula’s creature of the night image.

We really had a lot of fun making it. It’s a fun romp. At only $1.99 for a full 24 page digital comic book, I hope you’ll check it out.

Holidaze – “How Dracula Got His Groove Back” is available on the web, on iTunes (for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch), Kindle Fire, Nook, or any Tablet using the Kindle or Nook apps.

I hope you like it and a very Happy Halloween to you all!


Scrooge 124Remember your first?

No, no, no. I don’t mean that. (Get your mind out of the gutter.) I mean many moons before that, when some of you picked up your first comic book to give it a read. Chances are that if you’re like me, it stuck and you’ve been reading them ever since.

Everyone has a different story to tell of a different tale read.

I remember mine quite well. I was probably around 5 or 6 years old and was out of school, sick. Both my parents working, I spent most of the day under a blanket at my grandmother’s house. I remember it being very gray outside, the blanket of the clouds and lack of lights on in the house making it seem as gloomy inside as it was outside.

The day would have been pretty boring and forgettable if it weren’t for one moment – when my grandmother reached into the closet and pulled out a stack of comic books and plopped them in my lap to read. There was a wide array in that pile that I would eventually make my way through – a Richie Rich whose cover had him riding in a giant roller skate, a The Brave and the Bold featuring The Flash and Batman at the Disco of Death, but it was that one on top of the pile that would open the door for me.

It was a copy of Uncle Scrooge #124 from December 1975. Titled “North of the Yukon,” and was a reprint of a Carl Barks classic long before I would know who Carl Barks was. (For those of you wondering, he was a cartoonist who actually created Uncle Scrooge and you can read more about him here.)

Little did I know it at the time, but the story was the last that Barks would write of Scrooge’s adventures in the Yukon. It involved sled dogs and was inspired by a real life article Barks had read about a dog named Balto, who participated in the 1925 Great Race of Mercy in order to deliver an anti-toxin that could halt an epidemic of diphtheria.

From that one Uncle Scrooge book, I would dive into the vast world of Disney’s Ducks, making my way over the years  from Ducks to do-gooders, as Batman tangled with the Joker, Superman’s Lex Luthor went from Mad Scientist to Bald Billionaire, and me loving every minute of it.

It was my gateway drug into a lifelong love for comic books, and before long, I was forcing my family to stop by magazine kiosks in the mall or any bookstore where I caught a glimpse of a spinning comic rack in the window. This was all before I discovered my first comic book store, of course (an entire store devoted to comics?! A story of discovery for another time).

My reading list is pretty small these days when it comes to comics. Maybe it’s the simple joys that made for more discerning tastes as I got older. I expect to have a story that instills me with that same awe and wonder I did I had on that first read so many years ago.

It isn’t often (J. Torres’ The Copybook Tales did it, Darwyn Cooke’s New Frontier did, much of Sholly Fisch’s work on Batman: Brave and the Bold sure did, as is Batman 66′), but every now and then I’ll come across a book in my adulthood that brings about that pure sense of enjoyment I remember feeling as a kid when I sifted through the pages of a fresh new comic off the rack and in my hands. In other words, it makes you feel like a kid again.

ape-entertainment-sesame-street-issue-1bOn a recent trip to the store, I came across a copy of a Sesame Street comic book by Ape Entertainment and brought it home for my son. It was partly a joke – ‘hey, honey, look, a comic for him!’ – but it turns out that every now and then he’ll pull it off of his bookshelf and flip through the pages, pointing and laughing at his favorite familiar and fuzzy Muppet characters. Sometimes he’ll hand it to me, indicating he wants it read to him, and I’ll break out the Sesame Street voices I can manage (Grover, the Count, Cookie…I can’t get a handle on Elmo…) and we laugh and have a good time.

Maybe the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I don’t want to force anything on him, and I try to always restrain myself from going too far when presenting him with something because I liked it. But, who knows. Maybe one day he and I will be making a trip to the comic store together and looking through the racks for age-appropriate books he may find fun. Because that’s what comics SHOULD be about – fun.

Decades later, it’s pretty amazing to think that such a big part of one’s life all started with a single sick day on the couch and the richest duck in the world. Sifting through a box in my basement recently, I lit up when I discovered I still have that old book. It’s a little more yellow and a little worse for wear, but it’s still around. It’s probably been more than 25 years since I peered through those pages.

Maybe it’s time to give it another read.

Whether you started age 5, 15, 25, or 45, everybody’s got a first book that started them on their comic path. If you’ve got one, please don’t be afraid to share it with me in the comments. I’d love to hear about it.


the thin man powell loyThis is one of those posts that’s more dorky than daddy, so prepare thyself for a stop at the intersection where my love for comics meets my love of classic films.

In 1934, a great detective duo made their way into American pop culture, swigging drinks and jabs at each other like no married couple on screen before.

Five years later, in 1939, a great detective who offered up jabs on the chins of criminals would make his debut, dressed in an outrageous costume that resembled a bat.

40 years later, the three would meet, albeit briefly, and The Thin Man would come face to face with The Bat-Man.

Nick Charles was a hard-drinking, fast-talking, retired detective, who, with his beloved wife Nora at his side, constantly found himself pulled back into the crime solving business. Unlike any other couple on screen at the time, The Charles’ comedic rapport and crime solving adventures were such a hit, that they were featured in five sequels over the course of 13 years.

While the original novel that the first film was based on, “The Thin Man” by Dashiell Hammett was referring to the suspect in its title, “The Thin Man” quickly became synonymous with the character of Nick Charles (played by William Powell). It was so synonymous that it was used in the titles of all the sequels: “After The Thin Man,” “Another Thin Man,” “The Thin Man Goes Home” and “Song of the Thin Man.”

While the films blended comedy, adventure and mystery, they usually culminated with Nick Charles gathering everyone involved in the case in a room, and running through every motive and likelihood until the killer was revealed.

A favorite among move fans for decades, the original Thin Man film was added to the National Film Registry and Roger Ebert added it to his list of Great Movies in 2002.

In 1939, just a few years after William Powell and Myrna Loy left their indelible mark on Nick and Nora as well as pop culture, Bob Kane and Bill Finger introduced a very different type of detective in the form of Bruce Wayne, a billionaire playboy by day and a man who dresses like a bat and hunts criminals at night.

To try and sum up Batman’s place in pop culture could not even be contained to one article, let alone a single paragraph, as full books have been written on the topic. So it isn’t too surprising that, even if it was four decades after Batman’s debut, that the Bat-Man would cross paths with Nick and Nora Charles.

Thin Man Batman 02It was the late 1970s in Detective Comics #481, during the time when The Batman Family was prominently displayed on each cover of the comic, highlighting an adventure for everyone. Among those is “Ticket to Tragedy,” a tale written by Denny O’Neil and illustrated by the great Marshall Rogers. In it, Batman promises Alfred’s cousin, a renowned doctor in England that he can track down a killer and restore the doctor’s faith in humanity before he burns up his notes for a new technique in heart transplants.

Batman accomplishes his mission, of course, but along the way, while chasing the killer on a train bound for Gotham City, he comes across none other than Nick and Nora Charles. Nora instantly recognizes Batman and Nick asks Batman if he has a moment to compare crime solving notes. In typical loner fashion, Batman gives Nick the brush off.

Thin Man Batman 03

A quick, chance encounter, but one that both comic fans and film fans, no doubt enjoyed.

The Thin Man collection can currently be found in a boxed set or on Amazon Instant Video, while “Ticket to Tragedy” has been reprinted in the “Batman in the Seventies” Trade Paperback.



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