Mike Tyson Mysteries at NYCC

Mike Tyson Mysteries

I had the excellent opportunity to interview Mike Tyson, as well as producer/writer Hugh Davidson and writer/actress Rachel Ramras of [adult swim]‘s MIKE TYSON MYSTERIES which premieres OCTOBER 27th, 2014 at 10:30 PM EST (or your equivalent to that).

Do not miss this one.  It is hilarious.  I have seen the first two episodes and they are great.

Pop-Culture Spectrum’s Pre-NYCC: Get this party started!

nycc-logo-low-res

This Thursday the Jacob Javits gets crazy again. It’s really hard to ever truly prepare for New York Comic Con and in 2014 it gets even crazier. More people, bigger guests, some seriously big panels and with construction on the main parts of Javits mostly finished, more floor to navigate and lose your mind at.

I am not really here to help you not lose your mind. Actually with some of the links I shall be providing you it’ll only make you lose your mind more in trying to determine where to go and what to be at while also being at this other awesome thing you want to go to or be at.

There are some truly important things that everyone seems to forget.

HYGIENE! Hygiene should be a common sense rule. You are going to be in a room with over 20,000 people. Probably more. They are excited, they are nervous, just like you. We will all be tired, sweaty, smelly, but general upkeep will allow us all to have a good time.

COMFORTABLE SHOES. The Jacob Javits center is unpaved bumpy concrete and manholes. They did a ton of construction but I don’t think ANY of that construction was paving the floor. You will be on your feet a lot. The convention center runs around 34th-37th street. It’s a big place and you’ll be running from booth to booth, panel to panel up and down stairs over and over again. Protect those feet.

And to borrow from  the new harassment policy.

BE NICE, BE COOL, RESPECT EACH OTHER.

Do yourself a favor though, new or old to comic con, read the newly built policy and really keep it in mind. We are all people and should respect that and some of us don’t identify that way and also deserve respect.

Now here comes a bunch of links of schedules and cool things happening at Comic Con that Pop-Culture Spectrum feels a little extra attention. I’ll be mentioning some not miss panels too, but firs this stuff.

Here’s what video game company BANDAI NAMCO is bringing to the show floor

First Second Books Panel and Signing Schedule

Andrews-McMell GO Comics Division schedule

Penguin Books schedule:

TOR‘s schedule:

One of PCS’s FAVORITE publishers in the world, QUIRK Books schedule.

Insight Editions Schedule

Here’s what awesome artist Christopher Jones has going on at the show.

Mimoco has some really limited power tube/battery extenders available:

But those are just scratching the surface.

Cartoon Network with Adventure Time, Steven Universe and more, Adult Swim with Rick & Morty, Robot Chicken, and the highly anticipated untitled Jack McBrayer/Triump the Comic Insult Dog show and Mike Tyson Mysteries, the new Star Wars cartoon Rebels, the entire cast of The Walking Dead, the first look at Netflix presents Marvel’s Daredevil, video game booths from Ubisoft, Activision, Bandai Namco and more, an occolus rift style ride based on How to Train Your Dragon 2, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the upcoming film Birdman, and just much more.

Then of course there’s still actually comics. Marvel and DC both going hard in presentations with panels, signings, and a presence around the entire show just through its properties in movies, television, video games and toys. One of the best mainstream companies Valiant has already announced their future lineup but will be going into detail and pushing hard. Then of course there’s Artist’s Alley with all the great indy artists, self publishers and more.

On top of that you still have The Block with all the vinyl toy artists, street artists and graffiti artists. Then the fringe. You never know what you’ll find at NYCC. It’s a great place for a product to debut designed for the new fan.

Last year, Einhorn’s Epic Cookies made their debut at the show. While they have a truly saavy connection to comics through their branding as well as having original comics developed by Kyle Starks and Jacob Chabot it’s their awesome cookies that make them awesome and I am glad they are back as should you be!

NYCC starts tomorrow. You can think you’re ready, you’re never ready, but you’ll have fun thinking so!

 

What Women Wants, God Also Wants from Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz’ Mütter’s Marvels

Pick up Cristin’s fabulous book now!

(review and more forthcoming)

Get Lost with Adi Alsaid (You’ll be glad you did)

At the end of July 2014, Adi Alsaid‘s first mass market novel for teens, LET’S GET LOST, hit shelves.  I was first introduced to Adi at Book Expo America a few years ago when randomly at a panel he sat next to me and we struck up a conversation.  He handed me his self-published book SOMEWHERE OVER THE SUN which I loved and I saw a future for Adi.  Fast forward a few years and that future is here, published by Harlequin, National tour and a marketing campaign that actually featured a physical car decked out as an ad.

LET’S GET LOST tells the tale of a single amazing girl through the eyes of the various people who meet her.  Adi Alsaid has an excellent handle at different voices and does so deftly.  He is truly a fantastic writer as I originally discovered with his first book.  He has an incredible use of word play.  You owe it to yourself to seek out both books, but definitely do not miss Let’s Get Lost.  It’s the true start of what I think can be a great writer’s career.

Adi was willing to take questions for me for an interview and he provided some really amazing answers.  I was able to come up with what I felt were four very meaty analytic questions that also provided more review structure and statements from this fantastic young author.

1.) In your many travels and life through Mexico, California, Vegas and Israel. can you name actual singular favorite locations. Such as favorite restaurant, quiet spot to read, etc.

My favorite bench in the world is in Pacific Grove, California, facing out at the ocean beneath a beautiful tree. An ice cream shop in Tel Aviv called Iceberg has lines out the door past midnight. Vegas has incredible spots to view the sunrise and the sunset. Mexican breakfasts are the best, no matter what kind of restaurant you go into.

2.) What was the journey from writing and self publishing to being picked up by Harlequin? Is there anything you miss from self-publishing? What do you enjoy most about being with a large publishing house?

I went to BEA a few years ago as a struggling writer, just trying to see what the expo was all about, maybe make some connections. At the time, my ex-girlfriend, who’d helped me edit the first book I wrote, SOMEWHERE OVER THE SUN, was working at Simon and Schuster. She invited me to a Young to Publishing party, where I ended up meeting Emilia Rhodes, who would later be my editor at Alloy. A few months, maybe a year, after that party, Emilia and I got in touch and not too long after that I’d written the first half of LET’S GET LOST and a proposal for the second half, which was how Harlequin picked me up.

I’ve been incredibly fortunate to garner a ton of support from Harlequin TEEN. They really believe in the book and the reach that they’ve had as far exceeded anything I could have possibly done on my own. I know self-publishing works for a lot of people, but it was not a good fit for me, and I’m thrilled to be where I am now.

3.) You’ve written two books now with multiple perspectives. Although you switched from first to third. Do you have a preference? Was there a particular decision making process of your narrator/perspective decision on LET’S GET LOST compared to SOMEWHERE OVER THE SUN?

I’ve always been drawn to multiple perspectives, as a reader and a writer. I like getting inside people’s heads, and I think my natural inclination is to use as many voices as a given story will allow. I usually prefer third person, although it’s never really a conscious decision, just something that naturally happens when I start writing.

4.) You seem to have a focus on road trips and that experience. How much of your own life has found its way into your work? Do you have any road trip experience (experiences) or people you’ve met you’d still write about? Anything or anyone you’d care to share?

That’s something else that isn’t necessarily a conscious choice. Like Mario Vargas Llosa writes in LETTERS TO A YOUNG NOVELIST, ” The novelist doesn’t choose his themes; he is chosen by them. He writes on certain subjects because certain things have happened to him.” Life experiences definitely work their way into my writing although I usually dress them up in fiction to make them fit the context or be more interesting.

This one I haven’t yet written about, although the character involved is too bizarre to leave out of my writing forever. When I was traveling across the country visiting friends last summer, I was enjoying a cup of coffee in Pasadena when a homeless man started insisting to everyone around the he was the world record holder for thumb pushups. Which is not a thing. Eventually, after lots of ranting on his side and some good-spirited chiding from a group of construction workers nearby, the homeless man, who goes by the name Ohio, whipped his shirt off and started assuming the push-up position, his thumbs stuck out like a hitchhiker’s. The construction workers and I prepared to witness a man breaking his thumbs on the sidewalk of Pasadena. A security guard stood by, a hand on his walkie-talkie. Tourists stepped into the street to avoid Ohio. “We’ll give you a quarter per thumb push up,” the construction workers say, elbowing each other in the ribs, winking behind sunglasses.

Turns out, thumb pushups are a thing, and I fully believe he holds the world record.

Thumb pushups… sound like there’s an entire book in there somewhere.  Homeless World Record Olympics?  Maybe not the book for Adi, but with his flair for penmanship, I’m sure he could pull it off.

 

Special Edition NYCC photo essay

Cos-Play was definitely a thing at the scaled down, Special Edition: NYC. The new venture for Reed Pop!. the organizers of such events as UFC Fan Expo, New York Comic Con and the recently launched BookCon that took place on June 14 & 14th of 2014 was definitely a mini success with as I was there a quite more than I expected crowd and lots of quality comics creators promoting, selling, doing sketches and greeting fans. It was assortment of everyone as Marvel and DC both represented well, as did Dark Horse, Valiant, Image and a slew of self publishers, independent press and people just starting out through deviant and webcomics.

Among people there were Danny Fingeroth, former Marvel editor and writer, editor of WRITE NOW! and an educator in comics writing. Also, Laura Lee Gulledge, Harvey and Eisner award nominated writer/artist of the graphic novels Paige by Page and Will & Whit, who was also promoting the currently workshopping musical version of her second book. Valiant Comics has also been on a role since they returned to the world of publshing, hiring some amazing talents and doing top notch series… but they also got marketing and merchandising down with plushies.

NYCC is a huge show with major celebrities and a big part of this year looks to be pop-culture nostalgia. Already announced so far has been a Karate Kid reunion, a panel focusing on LOST and a U.S. appearance by the creator of Death Note and Bakkuman. Special Edition allowed for a focus on comics which can at times get ignored at the big show even if the big guns do come out firing. I hope the show did well enough so it can become something even larger yet kept as a comics focused and only comics focused event. Marvel and DC bring some mega booths to SDCC & NYCC each year and I think there are fans who would love to see that without having to experience the insanity of a everything in pop-culture event.

Photos from BEA/Book Con

A few weeks ago the 2014 Book Expo America happened and as every year I had an amazing time and scored many books and took not enough photographs.  Being a pop-culture blog I will READ most anything but when it comes to photos I mostly stick to the pop-culture end of things and that means movies, music, television, comics and in cases culinary (as I am a trained chef).

Top Row: Actor Neil Patrick Harris signs previews of his upcoming memoir “Choose Your Own Autobiography”.  Author Daniel Handler AKA Lemony Snicket promoting his newest “FILE UNDER: 13 Suspicious Incidents” and upcoming “All The Wrong Questions Book 3″. Christian Rudder of the band Bishop Allen and co-founder of OK Cupid with copies of his upcoming “Dataclysm”.

Bottom Row: Gabrielle Corcos & actress Debi Mazar of Food Channel’s EXTRA VIRGIN, cook book out now.  Signmaker and artist Stephen “ESPO” Powers signs his Love Letter.  Winner of MASTERCHEF season 4 Luca Manfé with copies of his cookbook My Italian Kitchen.

 

A Very Belated Post MOCCAFest 2014

Life has caught the old Pop-Culture Spectrum by the whirlwind lately. Work, acting jobs, and more. Here are a few more portrait photos from MoCCAFest showing some of the amazing and wonderful talent the event brings forth.

Dean Haspiel
Artist extraordinaire Dean Haspiel

Seth Kushner
Writer/Photographer and all around ass kicker as he fights leukamia, Seth Kushner

Selina Briggs - The Jelly Empire
Artist & Toy maker Selina Briggs aka The Jelly Empire

MoCCA Fest Quick Day 1 Round Up with Photos

Long and crazy day with some wild crowds.   Moccafest 2014 so far seems like a great success.

I got to see a lot of old friends, help out, see some incredible comics, have great conversations and all that jazz.

There’s so much new amazing stuff at MoCCAFest this year but I like to acknowledge things that are directly offered to me and turn out to absolutely awesome.

HENCHGIRL by Kristen Gudsnuk has a kinetic energy and is mega funny. If you’re at the show today, seek the book out.

Here’s some photos from day 1:
art spiegelman talks with Peter Kuper
living legends Peter Kuper and art spiegleman talk who knows what… this is what MoCCAFest is all about!

Jess Ruliffson
This is Jess Ruliffson… an awesome artist and a winner of one this years MoccaFest Awards of Excellence winners.

and finally here’s me and James Kochalka (Superstar) with a bunch of his new book Glorkian Warrior Delivers a Pizza:
James Kochalka and I

Be at MoCCAFest 2014 this weekend!

If you come on the internet and live in or near NYC and hit PCS and are reading it. Stop! Just go to MoCCA Fest on Lexington Avenue between 25th and 26th street on the Island of Manhattan inside the 69th Armory… a military training ground and host to amazing events like Fountain Art Fair. It’d be an awesome place for a wrestling show too.

This year James Kochalka Superstar, R. Williams, Alison Bechdel and many others are guests. The MOCCA EATS restaurant has amazing menu. WACOM is going to be a presentation. The Charlie Brown Macy’s Thanksgiving Day float will be flying over head.

This is one of the busiest weekends of the year for someone like me. It’s Wrestlemania weekend. There are tons of art events. Last year Green Day was in town. Yet, since 2002 I have not missed MOCCA ever and this year will be no different and you shouldn’t miss it either.

UPCOMING & PAST 2014 Excitement in the world of Pop-Culture Spectrum

While much of 2014 has been quite slow and quiet over here at PCS, the upcoming year promises lots of upcoming news, articles and reviews (including of some of the exciting happenings of 2014 so far)


MoCCAFest is coming up on April 5-6th and should be another amazing show. Last year the Society of Illustrators took over and turned this show upside down and re-energized it. This year should be no different especially with lessons from last year learned.


In May I have quite a bit of excitement as I head to Easton, PA for the premiere of season 14 of CHIKARA. This sold out event is the indy wrestling mecca of 2014 and should be the start of excellence. It actually kicks off when the films The Ashes of CHIKARA launches world wide on April 9th, as advertised in many comics recently.


A week later is Book Expo America and the new addition to the event BookCon.  This should be another amazing event and this year some of my favorite celebs will be there.

Upcoming reviews include:
Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith.
Earthward by Bryan Q. Miller and Marcio Takara
i like you: the movie (directed by Fritz Donnelly)
A look at Telltale’s FABLES and The Walking Dead: Season 2
Fountain and SCOPE art fair 2014
and much more!