Sam Maronies Entertainment Funhouse (Maronie Creative Services, LLC)
IT'S POP-CULTURE PARTY-TIME!

4-STAR FEATURE

May 8, 2015

HERE, THERE, AND EVERYWHERE

There were some fantastic costumes at ECC! Isn't this Wookie fantastic! Looks like he just stepped off the Millenium Falcon, doesn't he---or it?
On the steps of The Meadowlands in Secaucus, NJ. Even the Caped Crusader has to take a lunch break! I wonder if loyal Afred hand-tossed that pie Batman is chowing down on?

On the steps of The Meadowlands in Secaucus, NJ. Even the Caped Crusader has to take a lunch break! I wonder if loyal Alfred hand-tossed that pie Batman is chowing down on?

I thought I would take a breather from traveling and post a few facts and fotos from some of the events I’ve recently attended. We’re in the throes of convention season, and there now is scarcely a week-end without some sort of high-powered conclave taking place somewhere around the country.

First in my latest round of con-hopping was Cliff Galbraith’s fabulous East Coast Con, that took place April 10-12 at the Meadowlands in Secaucus, New Jersey.

 

Here i am with a true pop-culture MASTER---artist Basil Gogos. His work graced many a monster magazine purchased by your author during the 1960s and 1970s. Sorry to say Mr. Gogos is ailing as of late. We wish him the best!

Here i am with a true pop-culture MASTER—artist Basil Gogos. His work graced many a monster magazine purchased by Ye Blogmeister during the 1960s and 1970s. Sorry to report Mr. Gogos is ailing as of late. We wish him the best!

 

ECC was all-comics, all the time. There were no media ‘stars’ selling autographs or diverse attractions cluttering up the celebration of comics, comics, and more comics. It was a relatively low-key, manageable-size event that we really need more of nowadays. The atmosphere was a delight, compared to the overstuffed, overcrowded shows that seem to be the norm any more.

 

Kudos to superstar artist Arthur Adams for being one of the classiest professionals at the convention. He was polite to everyone and kept a good humor throughout!

Kudos to superstar artist Arthur Adams for being one of the classiest professionals at the convention. He was polite to everyone and kept a good humor throughout!

Funkadelic 1970s super-hero, Black Lightning, took a moment to pose with Ye Blogmeister during the course of the Convention.

Funkadelic 1970s super-hero, Black Lightning, took a moment to pose with Ye Blogmeister during the course of the convention.

 

My only criticism—and this is no fault of the promoters whatsoever—was that most of the artists in attendance would hardly do more for fans than breathe their same air without charging for it. OK, i realize we live in a world now fueled by Ebay and folks trying to make a buck off the professionals’ sweat. But really—? Even with all the great talent in attendance, I can’t believe that anyone’s autograph there could really be worth much–if anything at all.

 

There were some fantastic costumes at ECC! Isn't this Wookie fantastic! Looks like he just stepped off the Millenium Falcon, doesn't he---or it?

There were some fantastic costumes at ECC! Isn’t this Wookie fantastic! Looks like he just stepped off the Millenium Falcon, doesn’t he—or it?

 

Next weekend was one of my favorite events of the year–Windy City Pulp Con, held in Lombard, Ill, a suburb of Chicago.

I have a sentimental spot in my heart for all events pulp-related. My first convention of all time was at a pulp conclave held in St. Louis, in the prehistoric year 1972. It was there I got to meet legendary authors Edmond Hamilton and Leigh Brackett.  Two of my all-time favorite wordsmiths.

 

Two representatives of Pulp Royalty. That's Robert Weinberg on the left, one of the true experts of the pulp business. I first met Bob 43 years ago at St. Louis Pulpcon 1972. That's historian John L. Coker, Jr. on the right. John has devoted his life to studying and preserving science-fiction and fantasy from the earliest days.

Two representatives of Pulp Royalty. That’s Robert Weinberg on the left, one of the true experts of the pulp business. I first met Bob 43 years ago at St. Louis Pulpcon 1972. That’s historian John L. Coker, Jr. on the right. John has devoted his life to studying and preserving science-fiction and fantasy from the earliest days.

 

The vibe here is completely different from any comicon you may have atended. You have to be an avid bibliophile to really enjoy WCPC! There are pulp art displays, seminars, and most of all–lots of wheeling and dealing in the huckster room.  Most of the dealers are also long-time fans and buy and sell to augment their own considerable collections.  Ever year we all get a little grayer and some use canes now, but everyone remains devotedly passionate about their hobby.

 

Chicago commercial artist Douglas Klauba is always a welcome guest at Windy City Pulp Con. just take a look at his beautiful  work on display!

Chicago commercial artist Douglas Klauba is always a welcome guest at Windy City Pulp Con. Just take a look at his beautiful work on display!

 

There are no real guests who attend–all the original pulp artists and writers are long gone–but local Chicago creators pop in, like Doug Klauba and Gary Gianni.

 

St. Louis Superman Charlee Soffer appeared at the grand re-opening of Star Clipper, along with a phalanx of other cosplayers. Their presence turned the event into an impromtu street fair, attracting folks from other venues in the neighborhood.

St. Louis Superman Charlee Soffer appeared at the grand re-opening of Star Clipper, along with a phalanx of other cosplayers. Their presence turned the event into an impromtu street fair, attracting folks from other venues in the neighborhood.

 

Ah, but there was no rest for the wicked! On April 25 the venerable Star Clipper comics and fantasy shop celebrated their grand re-opening in a new St. Louis location. I swung by to wish the new owners well and support their new endeavor. There were artists from Lion Forge Comics like David Gorden, sketching for fans, cosplayers, live music and all the trappings of a street fair.

 

Three boys who made bad..... A trio of veteran St. Louis artists! That's Lorenzo Linzana, creative director at Lion Forge Comics; Don Secrease, and Rick Burchett. They were on hand to wish Star Clipper well at it's new location.

Three boys who made bad….. A trio of veteran St. Louis artists! That’s Lorenzo Lizana, creative director at Lion Forge Comics; Don Secrease, and Rick Burchett. They were on hand to wish Star Clipper well at it’s new location.

 

I had a week off, but then the following week-end it was back up north to the Chicago Hollywood Show. Here, a passel of out-of-work, marginal celebrities are trundled in town to sell their autographs. This was my third year for the show. It varies in success due entirely on the quality of ‘stars’ that they bring in.

 

Erik Estrada had a steady stream of fans lining up to buy his autograph. Women in their 50s were the major purchasers and gurgled with joy upon seeing their 1970s idol.

Erik Estrada had a steady stream of fans lining up to buy his autograph. Women in their 50s were the major purchasers and gurgled with joy upon seeing their 1970s idol.

The show three years ago was fantastic, with great guests like Barbara Eden, Tippi Hedren and Ron Moody, just to name a few. Last year’s was a disaster with multiple last-minute cancellations. I would give this year’s show a ‘C-‘. They like to promote ‘reunions,’ of casts, but frankly a regathering from  the film, A League of Their Own (with no Madonna, Rosie, Tom or Geena) was a yawner for me. It was interesting to see Larry Wilcox and Erik Estrada from CHIPS together; both have aged amazingly well.

I’ve had about all i can take of seeing Adam West and Burt Ward at these events, but i was clearly in the minority. Lines stretched to pay the Dynamic Duo $80 and $60, respectively, for the honor of their signatures.

A lot of the celebs there really need to learn to smile and be more engaging. Some clearly made it clear that they could not stand to be there and were grumpy and rather surly to some of their fans or—gasp–someone who dared to speak to them without buying something.

Photos from this event are skimpy, as you risk the Wrath of God from celebrities and/or their assistants if you dare to take a photograph that you have not paid for.

Obtaining an autograph at these events is purely a way to make a connection with some favorite star from an old tv show or film. Please don’t delude yourself that you are going to fund your childrens’ college education from reselling them. These signatures are plentiful and will likely never appreciate.

Why do I go? I enjoy the occassional celebrity with whom I have an interest in meeting—but most of all I attend for the great dealers who bring in their wares. I managed to score several vintage autographs, some dvds, and lots of lots of great stills, which I will ultimately share with you here on my blog.

If you would ask me, the best part of any of these shows —or any other—conventions, is meeting up with old friends and making new ones. Here there are gathered folks who are just as enthusiastic and passionate about these forms of pop-culture as I am. As mercenary as some of these events can be, I try not to be discouraged or pesimistic—this shared enthisasm is what the earliest conventions were all about. That fire isn’t gone yet!

All photos (c) Maronie  Creative Services

 






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