I’m Jealous!

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Not At A Convention!

I have to admit that I am super jealous of all of my friends that have been attending conventions this year.  Many of them went to Wizard World NOLA earlier this year, but this weekend a ton of them headed over to Pensacola, FL for Pensacon!  It’s one of my wishlist conventions to attend because they seem to bring the big guns every year as far as guests go.

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You don’t know how hard it was to see my friends taking photos with the likes of Sophie Aldred (frickin’ Ace from Doctor Who!), John Wesley Shipp (The Flash, the original frickin’ Flash!), and Lita Ford (a legend in hard rock and my ex-wife in way too many dreams).  It pained me to see Ming from Comic Book Men hanging out with my friends in Southern Geek and Southern Geek Fest.  It bruised my innards whenever I saw that the Nature Boy, Ric Flair, was also a part of the festivities.

To top it all off, Pensacon had the audacity to really rub it in my face by announcing guests for next year’s event (February 23-25) including Lou Ferrigno (The Incredi-frickin’-ble Hulk), Paul Blake (gosh darned Greedo from Star Wars), former WWE star Lita (she hangs out in my dreams with Lita sometimes!), and Frazer flippin’ Hines, Jamie from Doctor Who!  Don’t you dare click here to learn about this year’s event and to keep up with what’s happening next year!  Hopefully the scheduling gods will smile upon me and I’ll get to attend this wonderful event!

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You’re probably thinking:  Ken, why don’t you just go to one of your all-time favorite conventions, CoastCon!  Brilliant idea, you!  Except for the fact that I have work scheduled for that weekend!  CoastCon truly is one of my favorite conventions.  It’s one of the oldest fan-run conventions in the southern United States and it’s celebrating forty years this year!

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This wonderful event decided to stick it to me this year, inviting some of the coolest guests that they’ve ever had like Oded Fehr.  You know this guy.  He’s killed mummies in the flippin’ The Mummy franchise, taken on zombies in the Resident Evil franchise, and dominated in Showtime’s Sleeper Cell.  To make the fact that I’m going to miss this event even worse, they’ve added awesome authors like Claudia Gray and the Gothic Queen Supreme (and Facebook friend) Kimberly Richardson!  They’ve also thrown in stuntman, actor, and all-around cool guy (and friend), John Mangus!

This excellent event is taking place March 3-5 at the lovely Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center.  Visit their webpage for more information about this great, long-running convention.

Okay, okay.  So I missed Pensacon and won’t be able to attend CoastCon.  What about something a tad more local?  CyPhaCon, perhaps?

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Yeah, it’d be awesome to attend CyPhaCon, which has consistently put on awesome events in Lake Charles, LA and will do so again from April 7-9, but work is going to prevent me from attending the bulk of the convention.  Hopefully I’ll get to visit on Saturday afternoon and meet Julian Glover (Star Wars, Game of frickin’ Thrones), Chuck Huber (Bones from Star Trek Continues and anime vocal mastermind), and the lovely Luciana Carro (Battlestar Galactica).  I’ve met Luciana at CyPhaCon before, and she’s an awesome lady.

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To really bust my chops, CyPhaCon also added the very talented Jessica Von Braun, who happens to be one of my favorite artists.  My family loves her work as well.  There’s going to be awesome tunes, awesome authors, and all sorts of cool panels to attend.  Check them out here and see what all the fuss is about.

Despite missing all or most of some of these wonderful events, the month of May has graciously offered me a small window to attend another of my favorite events, Southern Geek Fest.  This one is close to my heart, as I’ve become good friends with many of the folks that are a part of this event and love the fact that Southern Geek, a Facebook group, gave birth to this wonderful convention.

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Southern Geek Fest will feature tons of awesome artists, authors, and panels, as well as a lot of celebrity guests and cosplayers as well.  One of my favorite wrestlers of all time, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, will be in attendance, as well as Peyton Wich of Stranger Things, Victor Gischler (who has done work on titles such as Deadpool and The Punisher), and one of the loveliest, friendliest cosplayers on the circuit, Kimberly Battista.

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Oh, and rumor has it that DDK will make his triumphant return to Hattiesburg, MS once again and turn it into Hottiesburg!  Visit SGF’s webpage to learn more about the event.  I promise that you’ll have a great time!

So, I might be jealous of all my friends at the moment, but whenever I return from SGF with an autograph and photo from Hacksaw and a pic with the wonderful Kimberly Battista, we’ll see who’s jealous then!

As always, thanks for reading.  If you happen to attend any of these events, especially CyPhaCon and/or SGF, be sure to drop me a line so that we can meet in person!

Give Monster Trucks A Chance!

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In An Almost Empty Theater

A couple of weekends ago I had the opportunity to spend an entire Saturday with my son and no one else.  The rest of my family was involved in an event that I was not obligated to attend and my son didn’t want to attend, so we had a Father/Son day.  We did the standard family things like eat at a restaurant, have ice cream for dessert, and buy one or two goodies just for ourselves.

We decided to check out a film as well.  The only problem was that there weren’t very many options for us.  Most of the films showing at our local cinema were either rated R or not at all interesting to the both of us. We settled on seeing Monster Trucks.  It was PG, family friendly, had monsters INSIDE of trucks, and looked like it would contain enough action to hold our attention.

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In all honesty I wasn’t expecting much from the film (and I don’t believe my son expected much either).  We were just happy to sit together at the movies, share Coke and popcorn, and get away for a little while.  After watching Monster Trucks, though, we left the theater feeling pleasantly surprised.

The film stars Lucas Till (X-Men:  First Class, MacGyver reboot) as Tripp, a young man who doesn’t like his home situation or his mom’s boyfriend (gamely played by Barry Pepper).  He helps out at a local scrapyard/tow truck service run by Mr. Weathers (Danny Glover), who gives Tripp parts from different vehicles to help him complete the construction of his own monster truck from the ground up.

Nearby, a company is drilling for oil when they come upon an underwater lake that appears to have a thriving ecosystem within it.  The company’s owner (Rob Lowe, in a wickedly fun small role) pushes his crew to continue with their drilling work.  This leads to three subterranean creatures escaping through the drill site.  Lowe has his crew capture two of the three creatures, but one of them escapes.  That creature eventually finds its way to Mr. Weathers’ scrapyard and after a humorous encounter, it befriends Tripp.  Tripp gives it the name “Creech” and he and a would-be love interest, Meredith (Jane Levy), team up to rescue the other creatures and return them home.

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The duo gets help from Mr. Weathers, Rick (Barry Pepper), one of the scientists (Thomas Lennon) that works for the oil company that captured the creatures, and a few others in order to save Creech and the other creatures.  What follows in a huge chase involving trucks with monsters for motors, a sinister henchman (Holt McCallany), the local sheriff, and lots of special effects.

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The film is lighthearted, sometimes silly, but ultimately a very family friendly yarn that will please most children under the age of ten.  I don’t even believe that one strong word is uttered in the film.  There’s a little violence and action, but none of it comes across as too unsettling.

The creatures are funny.  They tugged at the heartstrings of young and old audience members alike.  The special effects are excellent as well.

The cast is extremely solid, especially for a family film.  Lowe, Glover, Whaley, Pepper, and Lennon all deliver solid performances in supporting roles.  Till and Levy have great chemistry on the screen as well.

Ultimately there is nothing overly amazing about this film.  It’s just a simple, funny, family flick.  It’s the perfect distraction for an afternoon with the youngsters.

So, ignore the professional critics and the idiots on Rotten Tomatoes.  This film is worth a watch.

As always, thanks for reading.  I’ll have more movie reviews, Ten Burning Questions, and lots of other stuff.

Our Princess

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A Long Time Ago In A Galaxy Far, Far Away….

On December 27th of last year, Carrie Fisher, perhaps best known as Princess Leia from the Star Wars franchise, left this mortal world.  She appeared in nearly fifty feature films, and had almost fifty starring and guest roles on television.  She also authored multiple fiction and non-fiction books including Postcards From The Edge and The Princess Diarist.  She was a playwright, screenplay writer, and script doctor.  Fisher was also very vocal about her struggles with drug abuse and bipolar disorder.

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Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher

She also came from a famous family.  Her father, Eddie Fisher, was an extremely popular singer who charted multiple hits in the 1950’s.  Her mother, Debbie Reynolds, was an actor, singer, film historian and preservationist, and a businesswoman.  Reynolds’ acting career spanned almost seventy years.  She tragically died the day after Carrie on December 28th.

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Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher

As stated before, Fisher had roles in nearly one hundred films and television programs, but it was her role as Princess Leia (later to be known as General Leia) that put her into the hearts of nerds and geeks the world over.

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With the announcement of her death, fan and professional tributes took over social media, television, and radio.  The bulk of these tributes focused on her role as Leia and her outspokenness on the topics of mental disorders and drug addiction.  Some of them focused on her many relationships over the years.  A few even went so far as to say that we needed to forget the princess version of her and focus on the hardened general that she portrayed in Star Wars:  The Force Awakens.  Obviously those people knew her as a princess in title only, as Princess Leia was definitely one of the toughest, bravest characters in all of Star Wars canon and in the expanded universe as well.

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Sure, General Leia was a strong character, but Princess Leia, OUR Princess Leia, was the character that stood up to Darth Vader, called the mighty Chewbacca a “walking carpet” with absolutely zero fear, and took control of her own rescue as well.  Princess Leia stole the heart of a “scruffy-looking nerf herder” named Han Solo, and led the Rebellion and the Resistance in their darkest hours.  Without our Princess Leia, General Leia would have never been created.

Please, never, ever forget the princess version of Leia.  The character shows young girls and young boys that just because you might be a pretty little princess in name, you can be a fearless warrior in action.

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Carrie Fisher was a lovely woman both inside and out.  She was raw, honest, and exceptionally humorous as well.  Fisher’s death brought a tear to my eye.  Not because the world lost an actress that portrayed a beloved character, but like Leonard Nimoy, she was a  beloved human being, warts and all.

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Carrie Fisher will be sorely missed.  Few actors and actresses live lives that are bolder than those of the characters that they portray.  For a woman that portrayed the daughter of one of the most feared Sith Lords of all time and the brother of the Jedi that brought balance back to the Force, Fisher was truly a bold person in reality.

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May the Force be with you Carrie Fisher.  Rest in peace.

Burning With Style!

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Paper And Pencils On Fire!

Life can be a real jerk sometimes.  A few weeks ago I promised our latest heat-seeking answer man, Frederick Bernard Roseman, that I would post his replies to my latest Ten Burning Questions by the end of the week before Christmas.  Life derailed that plan, so I’m going to try and make it up to him by having his Ten Burning Questions be my first post of 2017!  He’s the man behind Kaz-Magic Arts, and he’s got something to say!

Here are his extremely awesome and thoughtful answers:

1. First off, tell us a little bit about Kaz-Magic. What is it all about?

Kaz-Magic is freelance art business I created back in 2009. It was originally just a signature I put on my work after I developed my artist name, Kazaa Kai. It ranges from traditional and digital art to photography, logo design, etc.

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2. Who are some of your biggest influences as an artist? How have they influenced you?

My influences would include Leonardo Davinci, Kenneth Rockafort, and Japanese manga artist, Oh Great! (that’s what he calls himself). They use such great colors and have a great flow of creativity. The details of their designs really sets up the inspiration of you wanting to grow more as you learn new things.

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3. Darth Vader, Darth Maul, or Darth Tyrannus? Who would you want to have backing you in a fight?

I love Darth Vader, but I would have to go with Darth Maul. I’ve learned four styles of martial arts and can work a bo staff. So to me thats kung fu chaos waiting to happen. Lol…

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4. Which medium do you prefer to use in order to create art?

I prefer paper and pencils a little more than digital. Although digital does help with lowering expenses on art materials, you never forget where you truly learned to create. Plus, I like for my fingers to get dirty when I conjure up something.

5. You can only choose one: Batmobile, KITT, or the A-Team van. Which do you choose and why?

Oh man. That’s actually a good one. I adore the Batmobile though. My father bought me a remote control Tim Burton version when I was a preteen. I felt like such badass. So my reason for that would be two words: ROAD RAGE!

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6. The Incredible Hulk’s tailor or Harley Quinn’s psychiatrist, which would be the tougher job and why?

I’m full of such bad influences. So I would have to go with Harley’s. I don’t mind helping people with their problems, but good lord I have my limits.  Lol…

7. Which characters (from any comic book) would be on your Suicide Squad? Why?

GHOST from Dark Horse comics. She was such an underrated heroine and I was very interested in seeing more about her when I had the opportunity to get a comic of her’s. Plus I just now thought of doing a fanart of her with my Black Cauldrun. So be on the lookout for that in the future. But my other picks would be, The Darkness, Angela, Bane, a couple of WILDCATS members, and Madam Mirage.

I think that would be a good match.

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8. Of all of your work over the years, what has been your most satisfying piece to complete? It would be my exclusive artwork I had done for JXN Con dealing with my Hybrid Children series. It will forever remind of my con debut and the path I continued forward with.

9. How many conventions, if any, do you attend in an average year?

So far its been two due to finances, but I am working my way to be able to go to more.

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10. If you could meet one artist, who would it be and why?

It would be Oh Great!. I am a big fan of his work in Tenjho Tenge and Air Gear. He has other notable works, but he really knows how to bring his characters to life. He is really inspiring me to become better with myself as an artist.

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Artwork by Frederick Bernard Roseman.

Super, mega bonus questions: Where can you be reached if anybody would like to check out more of your work? Please list any webpages or social media pages that you would like to share.

FACEBOOK: Kaz-Magic Arts

INSTAGRAM: kaz_m_arts

YOUTUBE: Kaz-Magic Arts

WEBSITE:  http://kazmagicarts.wixsite.com/kazmarts

So, there you have it.  One of the coolest Ten Burning Questions that I’ve ever posted in my opinion.  I want to thank Frederick for taking time out of his busy day to answer Ten Burning Questions.  He gave some great answers.

Be sure to check out all of his links above and if you see him at a convention, buy some of his work!

As always, thanks for reading.  I promise to post more often this year.  In fact, I still have to post a few thoughts on Carrie Fisher and on Star Wars:  Rogue One.  Until next time, stay cool!

 

Heating Up The South!

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Somewhere in Mighty Mississippi

The southern United States isn’t necessarily the first place that comes to mind whenever someone mentions geek culture, but geek culture is definitely thriving in key parts of the South.  Almost all of the southern states have successful fan-run conventions.  Some states, such as Louisiana and Mississippi, have multiple successful fan-run events.  Larger cities in the South have attracted the likes of Wizard World as well.

With that in mind, I decided to pose Ten Burning Questions to Tim Nicholas.  He’s one half of the dynamic duo that heads up Southern Geek Fest, a fan-run convention that’s celebrating its second year in 2017.  It takes place in Hattiesburg, and I was fortunate enough to attend the first SGF, and I have to admit that it was an excellent event.  You can read more about my time at that event here.  I’ve been friends with the second member of that duo, Rafe White, for quite a while now, but I’m still getting to know Tim, so I showed no mercy to him with these Ten Burning Questions!

Read on to find out some juicy tidbits about Tim and Southern Geek Fest!

1. You’re a big part of Southern Geek Fest. What exactly do you do with that convention?

Along with Rafe White, I am one of two promoters. At our last SGF, I was in charge of vendor relations, floor planning, volunteers and a hundred other things. Basically I do everything that Rafe doesn’t do.

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2. Rafe White or Snow White? Who is the bigger diva?

Rafe is definitely the biggest diva!! He is constantly needy. I think he made an SGF volunteer pick out all the yellow M&Ms before he would eat the bag.

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The Dynamic Duo of Southern Geek Fest, Tim Nicholas (L) and Rafe White (R).

3. Which celebrity have you always wanted to meet but haven’t had the opportunity to see in person?

Jackie Chan is probably highest on my list right now.

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4. What is the most fun part of running a convention?

It has to be all the women throwing themselves at your feet!! Wait, that was a dream I had. The fun when running a con happened for me after the show, getting the feedback from all the attendees and vendors that we put on a good show.

5. What is the toughest thing about running a convention?

The unexpected. All the multiple fires that had to be extinguished.

6. Black Sabbath with Ozzy or Black Sabbath with Ronnie James Dio? Who do you prefer and why?

Sabbath with Ozzy. I love Dio, but I’m all the way Ozzy!!

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7. Read any good comics lately? What is your favorite title?

I really haven’t read anything lately. I keep telling myself that I need to get back into comics, but I just haven’t done it.

8. What is your favorite fandom and why?

I’m a huge Trekkie and I love Fantasy novels . Star Trek was a favorite of my parents. I guess them introducing it to me as a child made me love it for my entire life. When I was in high school, a local video store went out of business. I took every dollar a could get together and bought the entire original series on VHS from them. I still have all those VHS’s.

9. In your opinion, has The Walking Dead jumped the shark? Why?

I don’t think so yet. This season has not been very good so far, but I think they are trying to move the show in a different direction. You can’t turn the Titanic on a dime, and I think the same thing goes for mega shows like Walking Dead.

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10. A volcano is about to blow and the only way to save the village at the foot of the mountain is to blast Miley Cyrus tunes at the lava? Do you crank up the Cyrus or die a painful death?

“Came in like a wrecking ball!!!”

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Mega, happy, deluxe bonus question: Is there a webpage or social media pages where folks can learn more about Southern Geek Fest? If so, share them here and I’ll include links!

Facebook group at Southern Geek 

Our webpage is southerngeekfest.com

@SGeekFest on Twitter and Instagram.

I hope that everyone enjoyed reading about Tim and Southern Geek Fest.  For the record, this is the first time that Miley Cyrus will be featured on a tag in one of my posts.  Thanks for that, Tim.  Be sure to click on all of the links above and follow Southern Geek Fest to get the latest on their wonderful event.

As always, thanks for reading.  I have a few more victims lined up for Ten Burning Questions, and I’ll be getting to them very soon!

A Galaxy On Fire!

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A Long Time Ago, In Mississippi

From Rancors to ghosts to Gotham’s toughest villains, the brave soul that’s stepping up to answer Ten Burning Questions, Karen Camp, has her hands full!  She faced down all ten questions with the bravery of Princess Leia, and gave me some great answers.

Here are Karen’s Ten Burning Questions:

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1. DDK found out that you’re part of the Mississippi Mandalorians. Could you tell us a little bit about this group?

The Mississippi Mandalorians are a Star Wars based fan group. We have members who cosplay and those who don’t. We try to help raise money with different charities anytime possible. Mostly we are just a bunch of geeks who like to get together as often as possible and geek out.

2. Who puts the “Man” in Mandalorian, Boba Fett, Jango Fett, or someone else?

Boba Fett, most definitely!

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3. Are you a part of any other groups, cosplay or otherwise? (click each group to go to their Facebook page)

I’m a member of : Dead South Horror, Gotham Rogues, Mississippi Metahumans, 501st Rancor Raiders, and I’m a member of Mississippi Paranormal Research Institute.

4. Darth Talon or Mara Jade? Who wins that fight and how do they do it?

Mara Jade wins. One good force slam into a wall, then a clean slice across her neck with her purple light saber.

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5. The zombie apocalypse has begun! Name three characters that you want by your side when it all goes downhill!

Daryl Dixon, Rick Grimes, Michonne.

6. Do you collect anything nerdy or geeky? If you do, what is it?

I collect anything Luke Skywalker. I have other Star Wars pieces as well. My main item is a life size Han Solo in Carbonite.

7. Should the Star Wars prequels be rebooted or left as they are, warts and all?

The prequels should definitely be left alone. The Phantom Menace was the first Star Wars movie I saw on the big screen. It is what made me fall in love with a galaxy far far away.

8. You’re stranded on a dark highway. Which of these characters would you rather have by your side: Batman, Rick Grimes, or Howard the Duck?

Rick Grimes.  Hopefully he will take me to Daryl Dixon.

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9. What are some of your favorite conventions to attend?

My favorite conventions are the Star Wars Celebration, Texas Frightmare, and of course Southern Geek Fest.

10. If you could live on any planet in the Star Wars universe, which one would you pick and why?

I would choose to live on Coruscant, but it would be the Coruscant from the EU. I know it’s not canon anymore, but I wanna live on the Coruscant with the Jedi Temple. The one with Luke Skywalker as the Jedi Grand Master.

Mega happy, super bonus question: Do you or the Mississippi Mandalorians have a webpage or social media pages that you’d like to share?  Karen provided links to all of the groups that she is a part of.  To visit any of them, simply click on the links in questions above.

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I want to give a big thank you to Karen for answering Ten Burning Questions.  I have two more interviewees waiting in the wings and will post their answers in the very near future.  I also want to thank all of you for taking time to read this post.

Not to steal any of Karen’s thunder, I also want to briefly address the death of Carrie Fisher.  As many of you know, our lovely princess passed away today, 12/27/2016.  She will be greatly missed.

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I plan on doing a more in depth post about Carrie Fisher in the near future.  Rest in peace, beautiful lady.

Again, thanks for reading.  See you all at a convention soon!

A Wolf In Flames!

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The Single Most Important Artist That I’ve Ever Met (I’ll get to why later)

Ten Burning Questions has returned!  I plan on having a few new question answering souls over the next few days, so stay tuned.  First up is Michael Granger, an artist, graphic designer, and a friend of mine.  He stepped up to the plate and let his artwork do the talking with his Ten Burning Questions!!!!

Here are his answers!

1. My readers may not know this, but you created DDK’s standard cover photo over on Facebook (it’s currently a Christmasy Spider-Man but will revert after the holidays). Have you designed things for other major celebrities and/or people of note?

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I’ve designed a banner for Southern Geek Fest 1 guest, actor John Mangus which was a pretty cool experience! Thanks to Rafe White & Tim Nicholas (of Southern Geek Fest), I got to do most of the guest announcements for Southern Geek Fest One as well as the guest/vendor/artist/admin badges. Scott Hambach is handling all the graphics for SGF2.  I also did the poster for Harvest Night, a horror short by Joey Crocker.

2. Tell us a little bit about LONEWOLF Designs. Whaddya do?

What little design knowledge I have I put towards making geek or horror themed designs for shirts, stickers, etc. mostly geek stuff from Star Wars, Firefly, Doctor Who, etc.

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3. Are you a lone wolf, or is that just a little intelligent marketing?

No one has ever accused me of being clever before lol. I’m pretty much a lonewolf. My first tattoo I ever got even says it. But I’ve learned to learn from my betters and to try to keep pushing the level. Ever since I was very young I’ve had this fascination bordering on obsession with wolves and it’s pretty much synonymous with me.

4. Who is your favorite DC superhero and why?

He may be overliked but I would have to go with Batman. He’s dark and troubled but also on a mission. Supes was born with power. Batman doesn’t have powers but instead uses tactics, stealth and martial arts prowess which I respect. That’s what makes him truly dangerous.

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5. You’re stuck in traffic. Your only source of entertainment is a radio that catches two stations. One station plays nothing but new country and the other plays contemporary jazz. Which one do you choose?

Jazz if I must. Not a country fan from any era, lol.

6. Beast Man (Masters of the Universe), Beast (X-men), or Chewbacca. Who would be the best spokesperson for Loreal?

While Storm liked what Beast did with his hair, I would have to go with the walking carpet, Chewbacca. He would be the perfect full body spokesman for the power of a good conditioner, lol.

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7. Doctor Doom, Doctor Octopus, or Doctor Strange? Which one would you rather receive a full physical examination from and why?

Doom. Not only is he a genius but he is skilled as a sorcerer and I imagine studied anatomy as a way to exploit the weaknesses of his foes. But the cold armor, brrr. No prostate exam this time Doom.

8. Do you collect anything nerdy? If so, what do you collect?

I have a few Funko Pops, but stuff from Star Wars to comics such as my boy, Wolverine (fav marvel character) such as a Wolverine #1 that’s totally legit, Ghostbusters comics and memorabilia, artwork from local artists such as Gavin Michelli, David Bain, Ken Davis, Courtney Vice and others. I’m also a console gamer.

9. What’s the last album that you listened to from beginning to end?

I usually float from Pandora station to station but probably the latest album from Killswitch Engage.

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10. Who is one of the biggest influences on your work? Why?

Pretty much every artist I’ve come across, lol. Yeah, that’s a vague answer, but one I consider my mentor is Jason Reeves. He helped me to see that it’s good to be geek and his work influenced my own.

Super-duper, double bonus question: Where can we find you on the web? Do you have any webpages or social media links you’d like to share?

Shameless plug time: www.redbubble.com/people/lonewolfdesigns and you can also search Facebook for my Lonewolf Designs page. Look for the blue tribal wolf logo or click here.

Well, that’s all of the questions that I have for now.  I want to thank Michael Granger for braving Ten Burning Questions.  In the very near future I’ll be taking on a few other people.

As always, thanks for reading.  Keep an eye on this page for more exciting stuff very soon!