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Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Dalek Treat

Pocket: Look, the pumpkins are out!  You know what that means.
Denim:  Pumpkin Pie!!!!
Pocket: No, it's Halloween and time to Trick-or-Treat.  Get your costume on and we’ll go.
Denim: I hope we get Pumpkin Pie later.

Pocket: Okay, I'm ready.
Denim: Nice costume.  What are you, Eyesore Dalek?
Pocket: Don't be a smarty-humanoid-mutation-in-a-pepper-pot-shaped-travel-machine.  I'm your friendly neighborhood Spider-Dalek.  Where is your costume?
Denim:  I don't feel like dressing up.  I'll just go as an ordinary Dalek.
Pocket: No, this is Halloween.  If you want to Trick or Treat, you MUST wear a costume.
Denim: All right, hang on a minute, I'll go change.

Pocket:  Are you ready to go?
Denim:  What do you think, tiny Dalek?
Pocket: Uh, we'll talk about your attitude later.  Just remember the Mistress said it is Trick-or-Treat, not Exterminate-or-Treat.
Denim: Hulk Dalek thinks Smash-and-Treat is best!

Denim:  That was fun.  
Pocket: Aren't you glad you dressed up?  Everyone loves the Hulk!
Denim: You were right, sir.  Lets check out the candy we scored.

Pocket:  Wow, that's a lot of chocolate!
Denim:  Yeah, it's not bad.  But remember, Mistress said that any Snickers we got are hers.
Pocket: Still, I enjoyed Trick-or-Treating.  I hope we can go again next year.
Denim: Next year?  Why worry about next year, when we've got all this candy to eat tonight?

Pocket & Denim Dalek

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Stan Lee Returns This Weekend: Part 2

As I mentioned yesterday, circumstances prevent me from attending this year's Comikaze.  (That's okay; they're good circumstances, as you'll soon realize).  The main reason I learned about last year's Comikaze, and decided to attend, was because Kevin J. Anderson announced that he would be there on his blog.  

I really love this guy.  His stories take me to so many interesting places.  And, like Stan Lee, he always seems so happy to see me.  I picked up his most recent book, Clockwork Angels, and started reading it that weekend.  It's a great story, based on the Rush album of the same name, and one day I'll have to blog about it.  The links below will take you to what I wrote about Kevin J. Anderson's appearance at last year's Comikaze.  I'm sure other fun and fascinating authors will be there this year.

The Perils of Transmedia Storytelling in Star Wars
Kevin J. Anderson Explains the Star Wars Prequels

My Dungeons & Dragons period definitely lacked sparkle.  I just never had friends around me who wanted to play role-playing games that much.  So we'd start a game, but never finish it, and the few games I played on my own were interesting, but not half as much fun as they could have been had I played them with others.  Recently, I've learned from author Jane Lindskold that she and Roger Zelazny (another literary hero of mine, sadly deceased) had a regular group they played role-playing games with.  Imagine what that might be like, to play Dungeons & Dragons (or another role-playing game) with one of your favorite authors!

If you're into gaming, you may find the following three posts of interest. They're about people I met at the convention, and a woodworking company that makes fabulous furniture for gaming.  

The Games People Play: Part 1
The Games People Play: Part 2
The Games People Play: Part 3

Did you realize that Quidditch was a real sport?  I thought play was limited to the characters in the Harry Potter stories, but now I know that's not the case.  If you'd like to learn more about this growing sport, and where you can find a game, check out the link below.

Quidditch: J. K. Rowling's Sport

Well, enough of my blab about Stan Lee's Comikaze.  For some real authoritative blab on this weekend's convention, check out their website:, and be prepared to meet interesting people, play a few fun games, and see witches on broomsticks!  

Dragon Dave

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Stan Lee Returns This Weekend: Part 1

Last year's Stan Lee's Comikaze gave me greater insight into aspects of fandom I had formerly been ignorant of.  It demonstrated how powerfully different aspects of Fiction spoke to people's lives.  And, perhaps most importantly, it renewed my love of comic books. Now how and where I'm going to store my growing comic book collection is a question I must address.  

If you're a new reader to this blog, or simply wish to reacquaint yourself with a particular aspect of fandom, the following links will give you an idea of what surprised, intrigued, and delighted me at last year's Comikaze.  Sadly, I won't be able to attend this year's event, but if you live in Southern California, head over to the Los Angeles Convention Center this weekend.  Some guests I'd have loved to have seen include humorous songmeister Weird Al Yankovic, Star Trek's Levar Burton, The Incredible Hulk-like Lou Ferrigno, and lots of comic book authors and artists.  I don't know about you, but this year's event sounds like the triumphant return of Stan Lee's Comikaze!

Everyone Wants to See Stan Lee

Cosplay at Stan Lee's Comikaze

My Meeting with Oscar Goldman

I Want My Own R2-D2

More Than Just a Diorama

For more on this weekend's convention, check out their website:, and be prepared to have a ton of fun!  

Dragon Dave

Monday, October 28, 2013

Dinosaur Knitting

A guest blog by Dragon Dave's wife

While travelling in England last year I came across a book I thought would be fun to own.

Imagine my delight when I received the book as a birthday present.

Wow!!! Look at all those dinosaurs!

After opening the book, and looking at all of the magnificent beasts that I could knit, I went to my yarn stash to see what would be suitable for the chosen project. 

Well, I did find purple and yellow in my yarn stash.

Hear my needles click and clack as my fingers move the yarn over the needles.  Knit, knit, knit and soon a body is nearly finished.

 I think more yarn will be needed to finish the beast.

A little more work and a little more yarn and soon a dinosaur is waiting to be assembled.

So now assembly time has arrived and I do wish the book would give a little more instruction on the placing and securing the parts.

Caution!! Steggy gets a little prickly while being assembled.

Soon the assembling is completed and a handsome dinosaur is ready to meet the world.

Steggy showing off his good side.

Steggy finds some new friends to play with.

Now, which dinosaur shall I knit next?

Dragon Dave's Wife

Friday, October 25, 2013

Iron Dalek Vs. Triceratops

Oh, hey, you caught me a little early today.  Okay, I know I'm late, don't rub it in.  But I suppose I can talk while I put the last finishing touches on my picture.

People have asked me why I've chosen to draw two pictures involving Daleks and Dinosaurs.  Well, as a beginning artist, I tend to draw what I know, and my friends and I have visited a lot of planets.  Some were clearly at prehistoric periods, and we met (and occasionally fought) some amazing and fearsome monsters.  My Master and Mistress also love Doctor Who (Okay, he's on the Daleks' Most Wanted List, but they like him), and one of their favorite stories is "Invasion of the Dinosaurs." Also, I recently finished the Ray Bradbury collection Dinosaur Tales, so perhaps I've drawn inspiration from stories and illustrations in that volume.  But why a artist does something isn't always clear.  Believe it or not, sometimes we just put our pencils to paper, with a vague idea of what we'd like to create, and we're as surprised by the end result as everyone else.  

Phew!  There we go.  Finished!  (Finally).  It's not a perfect picture, but I suppose every creative venture we undertake is a learning process. Occasionally someone like da Vinci or J.R.R. Tolkien will devote a decade or more to a painting or story.  For me, as a beginning artist, I'm just trying to master the basics in each drawing, and then moving on to the next.  At any rate, I'm glad I finished this drawing, and got to share it with you.  I hope you like it, and that my work (of greatness) inspires you to pick up your own pencils, and draw a picture of your own.  

Maybe even a picture involving Daleks and Dinosaurs?

May your day be filled with discoveries and adventures!

The Dalek Artist

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Life & Times of the Great Stan Lee

As a young man, Stan Lee etched his name into the annals of comic book history.  For it was then that he created characters who will live forever in our hearts, such as Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four.  He proved such a dynamic, creative force that Marvel kicked him upstairs, so to speak.  "So what has he done with the rest of his life," you ask?

Well, after he moved into editorial roles, he oversaw all the different magazines Marvel produced.  For example, along with Roy Thomas, he was instrumental in bringing "Conan The Barbarian" to Marvel.  He also served as Marvel's spokesperson.  As he had created so many great heroes, his was a name we could trust.  If Stan Lee said we needed to buy something, or that we would enjoy reading a particular story, well, it was time to raid the piggy bank, and head out to the store.

Today, Brian Michael Bendis is a major writer for Marvel Comics.  When he was just starting out, he made up signs for a Superman Parade and Comics Convention, and welcomed the celebrities as they arrived.  He describes how he met Stan Lee in his book Total Sell Out.

Stan Lee may not have superpowers, but he possessed the keen wit to look at Bendis' name tag, which is how he welcomed the aspiring writer and artist so warmly.  Then again, perhaps he does have superpowers. In "Super-Skrull," an episode of the 1990s animated TV series, The Fantastic Four, he pauses the action to welcome viewers, and then activates his English/Skrull translator device.  

When the action resumes, everyone can understand what the Skrull are saying.  This allows our heroes to discover the nefarious plot, and us to enjoy the story.  

Most ninety-year-olds would spend their days relaxing at home.  But not Stan Lee: he's got too much enthusiasm for life.  While he still advises Marvel, spearheads projects, headlines comic book conventions, and appears in Marvel movies, he insists on keeping active and serving others.  He maintains his youthful fitness, nurtures young adults, and protects New York City by working as a janitor at Midtown High School.  

In "Stan The Man," a recent episode of Ultimate Spider-Man, Stan risks his life to help Spider-Man and Mary Jane rescue Harry Osborn and Principle Coulson from the evil Lizard.  In doing so, he shows off his incredible fitness, and demonstrates how the tools and skills of a custodian can be used to protect and defend others.

No wonder Spider-Man loves and admires his creator!  Just don't expect Stan Lee to expound on all the amazing ways he's benefitted our lives. For as he says in the episode, "My greatness is only overshadowed by my modesty."  

We can all learn something by studying the incredible life and times of the great Stan Lee.

Dragon Dave

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Internalizing Hulk & She-Hulk: Part 2

Yesterday, I spoke about the different ways the Hulk is portrayed in comic books, in TV, and in the movies.  Marvel's new show, "Hulk and the Agents of SMASH," portrays Hulk as a wise man, and a team leader.  It's a refreshing take on the classic character, one that views him as a person, and not a monster.

As we searched through the old comic books, the manager walked through that area of the store twice.  The first time he asked us if we had any questions, we, like the others in the shop, told him “No, we’re fine.”  The second time he asked, I asked him about this dichotomy.  While he had not seen “Hulk and the Agents of SMASH,” he agreed that different writers treat the character differently.  Some make Bruce Banner less intelligent, or less moral than traditionally depicted.  Some glorify in Hulk’s violent capabilities, while others treat him as a thinking, reasoning person.  He mentioned several recent series he had particularly enjoyed, as well as others that he had not.  He also mentioned how characters like Captain America and Iron Man might act in radically different ways, depending on how a particular author approached him. 

So often I hear people speak dismissively of comic books, suggesting that the authors of such stories dumb down characters, situations, and subjects.  Yet most of us look to any form of Fiction as entertainment: we look for content and surface-level enjoyment first.  If we like a particular character or setting, we may invest deeper thought in aspects of the story.  If we don’t immediately enjoy it, most of us discard the story, and move on to another.  After all, there are plenty of stories out there to be discovered.  Why spend time ruminating on aspects of one you didn’t enjoy?

What struck me as the man spoke was how he had weighed the merits of the stories he had read.  He spoke in terms of his philosophy about what the character should be—how Hulk, Captain America or Iron Man should act.  What his responsibility to others should be.  Never once did rank a story in terms of its art, or revel in depictions of action and violence.  Never once did he say, “This is a particular scene I wanted to see played out, and the writer gave it to me, so I’m satisfied.”  He had internalized the stories, thought deeply about them, and judged them in terms of his own morals and worldviews.  In other words, he had mentally and emotionally processed the stories just as literary writers hope their readers will.  He had accompanied those characters on their journeys.  The situations they had faced together, and the choices his heroes had made, had informed his own responses to real-world situations.

While we were there, a man came in with a young boy.  The man told the boy (presumably his son) that he could read any of the comics in a particular area.  Unlike most of the children who have waited in the store while their parents searched through the comic book boxes, this boy didn’t make noise.  He didn’t wander, play with toys, throw things, or beg his father to leave.  Instead, he read the comics his father had recommended to him.  As I finished my conversation with the manager, and my wife and I left the older comics area, I heard the man begin instructing the boy on the proper way to hold a comic book. 

I didn’t glance back to watch, but I wish now that I had.  I wonder what stories the boy will grow to love, who his heroes will be, and how they will shape him into the man he becomes. 

Dragon Dave