These Year in Reviews are not, what I call, official “reviews”. They are a series of musings, learned lessons and stories of what I experienced through out the year. Of course, reviews are featured but they are blended in with everything. It’s a director’s commentary of my adventures during the year of 2018 in the Michigan Geek Scene.
2018 is still rolling on in the warm spring months. May had so much going on that it warranted it’s own article. Read on and enjoy.
Free Comic Book Day
I was originally supposed to interview Billy in 2017, but the interview was cancelled by a convention due to scheduling issues. While it sucked at the time, it worked out for the better since I revised the interview. I had a sneaking suspicion that Billy was going to arrive early to his table for the interview since he did that the last time I interviewed him. My suspicion was confirmed, because Billy was at his table 15 minutes before our interview. He remembered me from the first time we met. Thankfully, he was cool with starting early and it granted me a little more time for a comfortable conversation.
I’ve enjoyed talking to Billy (twice now) because he is a genuine and down to earth person. There is no BS with him. I would love to listen to him tell stories of his life. We dove into different topics this time around. How often does he get to talk about It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Sid Caesar, or Jonathan Winters? It was interesting learning about his musical background. Somehow, Harvey Fierstein impressions made their way into this interview too. After the interview, he told me that I ask good questions and that meant a lot to me. That is high praise. I hope to run into him again down the road.
Side note: Since I had my lanyard on backwards, it makes me look like I have a weird Big Trouble in Little China choker.
One of the nicest people that I’ve ever met. Just meeting the artist behind Top 10 would’ve been enough for me, but having an interview with said artist was a nice bonus too. I’m glad I got to have a casual conversation with him about comics, manga, and history. If you haven’t seen this interview, please check it out. Gene Ha is totally cool in my book.
This interview marked the only time that I began with a video interview and ended with an audio interview. I initially skimmed over his new comic book (Mae) at the end during the video interview. I felt I could do way better and I asked him if we could redo that portion of the interview. He obliged and I was able to walk away feeling better about giving his new comic some proper attention.
After the convention, he was a social media superstar. He tagged me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. He plugged the hell out of my website. I’m super appreciative of that.
Totally cool dude. Prior to this interview, I met him 3 separate times throughout the years. Thanks to C4, I finally had the opportunity to interview him. The last thing I wanted to do was talk about Clerks or Kevin Smith films. The poor dude seems to be bombarded with those questions in every interview that I’ve either seen, read, or listened to. Why beat that dead horse anymore? While doing research on him, I read Brain Droppings by the late and great comedian George Carlin. I brought up the book during the interview and I got to hear a cool story about Brian’s interaction with George during the filming of Dogma. Hopefully, I will be able to interview him again down the road because I have plenty of topics that aren’t related to the Viewaskew Universe.
After watching this, I realize that I looked very uptight. I guess it was because I was worried about going over my initial 10 minute allotment for the interview. We had to take a quick pause in the interview and I apologized for going over the time limit. Brian was super cool about. He told me that it was fine because I was asking him about things he normally doesn’t get to talk about.
Brian is the first guest that I ever got an autograph from. Since Brian was such a cool person, I bought a Dante (Clerks) decal off of him and he autographed it. While I was only interested in the decal, the autograph was a nice bonus.
This was the first time I ever interviewed an artist who was working on a commission while the interview was taking place. I held both microphones to make it easier on her. A pro wrestling match is the perfect analogy for this interview. We started off slow and worked our way to a big finish while telling a story in the ring. During the first 11 minutes of the interview, I didn’t feel that I was clicking with Jill. I felt that it was going to be one of those interviews that I didn’t really gel with the guest. By no means was she rude or standoffish. She was incredibly nice. We had to pause the interview in order for a young fan to meet Jill. Now, I could’ve edited that out but I wanted to leave the interaction in because it shows how nice of a person she is. At the 15 minute mark, things changed when I brought up the topic of anime and manga. Up until that point, she was working on a commission. When she was getting into talking about her love of and history with anime and manga, she put her pencil down. I successfully connected with her and we hit it off from that point on. At the 23 minute mark, that is when the chemistry kicked in. Jill actually stopped drawing as we marked out about pro wrestling. We truly bonded as we talked about our mutual love for the sport for close to half an hour. She even asked me a question about my favorite over the top entrance theme song for a failed gimmick. I was not expecting that but I had an answer in mind with Christian’s old theme song. I went from being ok with the interview at first to really loving it. Initially, it was supposed to be 30 minutes long, but we ended up going close to 56 minutes. It was a pleasure to interview her and I hope she comes back to Michigan.
Art used with permission from CR Warner
Big Shout Out to my friend Cassidy aka C.R. Warner Art for coming out to Cherry Capital Comic Con. She is a seriously talented artist and C4 was the second event that she vended at…..ever. Prior to the event, I was telling her about the Drink and Draw and the karaoke (Cherry-oke) contest. Initially, she seemed averse to the idea of going to either one of them. I told her that they would be a great time and a great way to network with people. I’m glad that she ended up going to both of them. Long story short, she had a great time and made a ton of good connections. Plus, she was successful for the weekend too.
Crying Whiskey Dick
C4 holds their annual Cherry-oke contest/fundraiser and I make it a point to attend because it’s a big hangout with everyone. I managed to secure a table with my girlfriend, Cassidy and her fiancé, and con friend K Lynn Smith. While we were talking, the strangest performance (at least lyrically) took place. Even though they were not the lyrics, while this gentleman was singing, I swore I heard him belt out the words “Crying Whiskey Dick”. I can’t make this up. I asked everyone at the table if they heard the same thing. Once I made that comment, that is all we heard when he belted out that same chorus. We weren’t poking fun at the dude, but it was a unique performance to say the least.
Kasey (above) wasn’t the one singing the song but she is awesome and you should support her work.
After the convention, I searched in vain to find those exact words in lyrical form. What song could possibly have those exact words as a chorus? Why was that first time I ever heard that song? Surely, something as ridiculous as Crying Whiskey Dick would’ve popped up onto my radar. Suffice to say, I couldn’t find anything.
Fun Fact. I ran into the guy at a different convention called JAFAX. I told him about the karaoke story and he laughed. Turns out he was singing “Brian Wilson” by the Barenaked Ladies. One of the lyrics were “Lying in bed, like Brian Wilson did.” You can’t fault me for my interpretation of the lyrics. I’m glad that I was able to bring closure to that story because it would’ve bothered me for years to come.
Overall, it was another great time at C4. My only regret is that I didn’t attend the after party. I was invited by staff and I had to turn them down. I was invited by Brian O’Halloran and quite a few staff members too. I had to turn them down. My thoughts were on the 2 hour plus drive home. I should have taken that rare opportunity to hang out with the staff and guests after the show. Next time, I will make it a point to do so.
That wraps up the Spring editions of the 2018 Year in Review. Be sure to check out the upcoming Summer editions.