Tag: Albany Comicon

May the Force be with … me

As I mentioned in the Albany Con post-mortem, I was made an Honorary Member of the 501st Legion, when members of the local Garrison Excelsior presented me with a plaque and badge, to go along with the patch the gave me last time. The plaque reads, in part: “…in appreciation of your contributions to the Star Wars legacy.”

Now, to be honest, I’m not much for awards and all that. But I’m very happy about by this one, because of the place that Star Wars holds in my childhood, and how much of an influence it had on me. I do what I do now, to a fair extent, because of the impression Star Wars made on me in the summer of 1977. The movie fired my imagination like nothing else. I still vividly remember sitting in the theater, my jaw hitting the floor when the Star Destroyer rumbled overhead and just kept going, and going, and going. I’d never seen anything like it.

I bought the trading cards and the books and the toys and the glasses at Burger King. And I bought the comics from Marvel that continued the story. I was transfixed by the comics, even that guy who was a giant green bunny. I kept up with those original Star Wars comics for a few years, even when my interest in other comics waned. So getting the chance to contribute to that mythology years later was a huge treat. I’m not prone to phrases like “a dream come true,” but it was pretty damn close.

I’ve written more issues of things like Witchblade, Green Lantern and Silver Surfer than I have Star Wars issues. But I don’t think I’ve ever had a signing that didn’t include some Star Wars books. I tended to want to write the established characters. That made it more of a chore to fit my stories into the established continuity, since the adventures of Luke and Han and Leia had been mined so thoroughly in previous comics and novels. It’s a lot easier to tell tales about the “third Stormtrooper from the left” rather than the icon characters. But, for me at least, not quite as much fun.

I was especially drawn to the villains, Vader and Maul in particular. My favorite jobs were the Darth Maul mini with Jan Duursema, the Darth Vader story with Claudio Castellini from Star Wars Tales, and the Vader vs. Maul slugfest with Rick Leonardi and Terry Austin from Star Wars Tales. Those last two are “non-canon” stories by virtue of appearing in Star Wars Tales, but I wrote them so they could easily fit into the existing continuity. Ironically, probably one of the few times in my career that I’ve been overly concerned with continuity.

I’m asked fairly often when/if I’ll be doing more Star Wars comics. And the answer is … I don’t know. I certainly wouldn’t mind visiting that universe again. But my schedule is pretty packed for the foreseeable future, and any extra time I can squeeze out is apt to be applied to creator-owned work. But never say never.

The recognition by the 501st is very flattering, and I’m truly thankful. But I got far more out of Star Wars than I ever contributed to it. I just hope the stories I wrote provide some inspiration for someone else, and we keep paying it forward.

May the Force be With You,


Convention in the capital city

I picked up my buddy Lee Moder at the airport this morning. He comes into town for Sunday’s Albany Comic Con, plus a visit to the Norman Rockwell Museum on Saturday. The Albany Con is a relatively new venture in my neck of the woods; this will be the fifth edition of the con, which is held twice a year. The con happens from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Sunday, at the Holiday Inn on Wolf Road in Colonie. The show site, with more information, is here

Admission is only $3, which I think is a crazy bargain for a show with a pretty hefty guest list, including me, Lee, legendary inker Terry Austin, writer/artist Matthew Dow Smith, writer Todd Dezago, and artists Joe Staton and Fred Hembeck, among many others. Con promoter John Belskis puts on the show for the right reason – to generate interest in comics locally. Attendance is trending in the right direction, and as word spreads, the show seems to attract people from greater distances each time. It’s very much a grassroots effort, and I’m happy to be involved.

A Halloween-themed Witchblade #131 variant cover by Matt Smith was offered at last year’s con in October. This time, Matt collaborated with Terry Austin and India-based artist Saumin Patel for a Magdalena #1 variant cover (the process of which was chronicled in this blog). Obviously Matt, Terry and I will be on hand to sign copies. I’m told there will also be a cosplayer decked out as Magdalena, posing for photos.

Lee Moder and I have collaborated on a few projects, including a Green Lantern Secret Files issue, Red Sonja #30, and the creator-owned, all-ages Dragon Prince mini. We’ve also begun work on another creator-owned project, Shinku, which is a mature-audiences project presented in a black, white and red format. Lee and I will have copies of the limited-edition Shinku preview book, containing finished story pages plus sketchbook pages, for only $1.

I’ll also be joining Joe Staton for a panel on the past and present of Green Lantern, moderated by Keith Dallas (author of “The Flash Companion”). I told Keith no questions were off limits, so we’ll see what secrets he drags out of us. The panel is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Sunday in the Hudson Room.

This isn’t even the complete guest list for the show, but it’s a good sampling:

Terry Austin
Matthew Dow Smith
Lee Moder
Todd Dezago
Joe Staton
Fred Hembeck
Dave Rodriguez
Nick Tapalanski
Joe St. Pierre
Saurav Mohapatra
Peter & Bobby Timony
Declan Shalvey
Bill Anderson
Keith Dallas
Paul Harding
Mark McKenna
John Hebert
Mike Borkowski
Paul Abrams
Ron Marz

There’s also a Magic tournament, and an appearance by Garrison Excelsior of the 501st Legion, for all your Stormtrooper needs. I mean, seriously, all that for $3? It’s almost a crime not to go. And since somebody asked on Twitter: I don’t charge for autographs, and there’s no limit on items. I’ll sign whatever you’ve got. Hope you can stop by.



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