2007 Merchandise & Miscellaneous News Archives

Wizard World

March 23, 2007: Superman Homepage Wizard World LA Report: Closing Report (Neal)

By Neal Bailey


Three hundred and seventy-four pages of Ayn Rand is not the easiest thing to accomplish. It's not because she's a crummy writer, though there are many criticisms of her essential philosophy and character motivation I question. It's the fact that they give her itty bitty print, making each page like three.

It sustained me on the bus, however, and I spent a lot of time thinking about that last day.

We took the freeway and arrived slightly late because of LA traffic, which is much like Seattle traffic, which is much like the devil.

Arriving at the off-ramp, we saw again the Hillary Swank ad. WHAT HATH GOD WROUGHT? It reads, with bugs. Entertaining, ironic, and fitting as we popped into the line for the parking garage.

A loud purple car declared in sticker that the occupants were original gangsters, forcing a debate as to which of the convention center's two events they were headed for, the comic con, or the bride expo. You don't recruit gang members from a comic book convention, and straight-up G types don't exactly hitch it up, they're more into stables, at least to my meager understanding.

Nonetheless, entertaining.

Click "Read More" below to read the rest of Neal's closing report regarding Wizard World LA.


There's nothing cooler on the face of the earth than a Flaming Carrot comic book. For so long, I was a disbeliever, mostly because most of the people who I know who love flaming carrot are existentialists, and there's nothing that'll drive a pragmatist more nuts than an existentialist. I'd fist-fight them, if only they would concede that my fists exists. CURSE YOU, SUBJECT-OBJECT PARADIGM!

The Flaming Carrot covers areas of philosophy, willing women, baloney guns, pygmies who fight from baguette ears, evil babies, and it has just about the strangest, most seemingly random and chaotic scenes imaginable that all tie in together in the end.

They're put together by a man named Bob Burden. Bob is the lone creator I recognize, of the many I know, who I actually see walking around the cons I attend where he's at. He's honestly curious about the indies, he's an indie god, and he plunked down a dollar for my ratty old chapbook back in Chicago when most creators won't even give it a free look.

We chatted about Gumby, about his many ideas for new projects, all of which rule, and though I offered him fifty scant dollars I don't have for a sketch, he tossed me two epic pieces for free. I explained that I have two pieces of displayed comic art in my room, I'm really not wowed by the creator thing so much any more, but my hand still shook as I said hello to Bob.

He created the Mystery Men, and comes out of that group of guys like Dave Simms and Eastman and Laird, who put some great work out in the eighties. The turtles rose to fame, Cerebus led to swanky con craziness... but of them all, to me, Burden seems the one who has maintained his humble approach, and he made a hell of an impression on me.

Buy his books. Seriously. You won't regret it. You think Twisted Toyfare Theater makes you howl? Son, pick up a Flaming Carrot. Ut!


On the final day in the final hours of the con, a lone bugle sounded somewhere off in the distance from the general vicinity of the booth of Lou Ferrigno. He'd mustered every last bride from the bridal convention and brought forth an army of Persians bearing veils, brooches, and all manner of nuclear concoction to try and destroy my person, my merchandise, and break my arm like a dry twig.

He didn't even turn green, not really. He did have a residual made-up stink of cosmetics from the women who glommed to him after finding my "Nice shoes, I'm a nice guy!" comments ignoble and a lie.

David Mack had already departed the day previous, after scamming many a young woman out of dollars for books about feeling how you feel about how you feel... and again I caveat that I like the guy's work. I just tease.

Over the table came the armies of the formerly apathetic, and they clashed and fought while I chewed caffeinated gum. "You think you've got it rough, dying at a convention? Lords, wait until you see the bus ride ahead of me."


The bus ride was rough, but Jeffrey and company are like a second family now. They brought me into their home, we connected in ways you just don't connect with strangers, and heck, Jeffrey bought me that awesome Justice Luthor as a gift, making the new Smallville video (at the end of my latest review) possible. Many props.


When I am rich, the most famous author on the face of the Earth, when I command denizens and am given an honorary degree by the Uptight University of Elite Elitists, I will borrow my mannerisms from Adam Carolla, and light my cigars with hundred dollar bills, and throw quarters down the hall to scoff at poor kids as they chase after them. To quote Billy Bragg, that's entertainment.

The lynchpin of the whole affair was the singular moment of realization. I looked across the way at an artist whose booth was in front of mine, a guy I won't name out of respect who does good work and deserves what he gets for it.

As the day waned, and fewer and fewer people stopped, I saw, on the floor, beneath this man's booth, about two hundred dollars in fifty dollar bills just laying there. They'd fallen out of his sketchbook like some kind of ironic statement about the point and reward of art. I kind of teared up a little. Go ahead and poke fun at that in the comments, but it made me feel great, not because I knew I would eventually have that, but because I felt happy that I didn't.

The irony that stuck this in my brain, however, refuses to die. This artist, this GREAT artist, takes licensed trademarked characters, depicts them photorealistically, and for this, he gets booths at cons and is treated like royalty. He makes money off said trademarks, and the companies whose trademarks he uses don't see any of that cash. They don't try and shut him down. They give him book deals.

Pointy-haired lawyers have told me it's not okay to WRITE Superman on our booth, much less sell anything related to him beyond licensed products. I don't, nor have I ever sought to make a single penny off the Man of Steel. It's always been my assertion that I would write him or write about him for free indefinitely. And I would. If DC offered to pay, I'd be happy, but I would do it anyway. Eight years, you know, I already have.

But thanks to Wizard, and Mike Scigliano, the guy who helped arrange this affair and keep it legal, and make it fun, I can look beyond the corporate death and find the people who really matter, you guys, and meet you, and know you, and share this love of character. No money. No frickin' war with Lou Ferrigno can stop this.

What hath God wrought, and as I wrote on the table,


Which some cleaning person, when they rip the cover of my table off to throw away, might misinterpret to be jibberish.

In the bus, however, I recalled that it meant, "We can't stop here. This is bat country."

And so it is. But that doesn't mean the chronicle is not an interesting ride.

Thanks for all of you who came and helped make another of the great experiences of my life.


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