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WizWorld Summary

Hello True Believers!

Well, two major cons in 3 weeks and I am officially fried. And my feet still hate my ever-lovin' guts. Wizard World, Chicago was okay, I guess. Sales weren't as brisk as years past and that seemed to be the general concensus amongst my noble peers. That was also, sadly, the general concensus with those I polled at Comic-Con. A bit of a headscratcher. Perhaps it's the enormous costs to travel to these events? Gas prices? My shaving of my beard after ten years of having one? Who knows...perhaps I will never know.

Had a few laughs whilst there, though. Hung with my good pal, Jim Droese and his pack of loyal minions, Dave, Matt and two other fine lads whose names escape me right now but the laugh-filled memories never shall. The highlight of our hotel room time together was the eating of the Spam sandwich...I have just finally extradited that mysterious substance from my intestinal tract after its 3 day stay there...where God knows what long-term damage it has wrought!

I also had the distinct pleasure in meeting with my editor over at Marvel for the first time face-to-face, Mr. John Barber. Never had a chance to buy John that beer (or ten) out at the bar so I'll have to owe him on that. Sorry, John!

I couldn't believe how many people at the con knew of my gig with them and were excited for it and me. Thanks to all for stopping by and letting me know. And remember kids!...the first issue of MCP is going to be worth friggin' MILLIONS some day so stock up on copies now! I would say that, conservatively, you should all be ordering somewhere in the neighborhood of 500-1,000 copies each for the best investment opportunity possible. Conservatively!!! Feel free to order more.

Met a few crazy and hilarious chaps/fans of THE 3 GEEKS (one of whom wanted to fight me for canceling 3 GEEKS years ago...for real!) who are now putting out webcasts and dvds of their show "Hero Envy". Funny, funny stuff. Check it out if you get the chance.

I will end this short blog by saying this...I am very great. I realize this now--well, that's not entirely true...I've known it for quite some time--I am great. There is simply no need for "false modesty." False modesty rings false and most people are pretty perceptive. They don't want to see a great one like myself playing all coy and acting all modest when they thrust their compliments upon me. No, I think not. They have chosen to tell me how great I am and I think that their compliments are very well-deserved on my behalf and that their intelligent recognition should also be justly recognized with a nice, "Yes, that is true. I am great. And thank you for noticing. And kudos to you, sir (or madam), for your astute observational skills in recognizing greatness when you see it." The ones that recognize greatness need their "recognizing of" to be recognized as well! And so I deem to do this by calling it like it is and forgoing with the "false modesty."

And you're all welcome.

Word!

r

P.S. My book, THE LIST, has finally shipped to Diamond Comics Distributors and will hit the racks of the comic shops very soon. If you can't find them there order them off this very friggin' website. I am here for YOU!

P.P.S. Check out this nice review I just got home to...http://www.comicbookbin.com/thelist2007.html

QUICKIE!

Hi Kids!

Long time no blog...er, that was lame. Anyhoo, been kinda busy lately what with the all-consuming, all-encompassing Comic-Con International--which if any of you have gone as an exhibitor know that it completely takes over your life for the week it's on and the weeks preceeding it and following it. No lie. I'm still trying to recover from the 12 hour days, then partying at night (still part of the work!), and the walking! I kid you not when I say that in the 6 days I was there I probably walked 3-5 miles a day and stood behind the booth 90% of the time shilling my wares. My tootsies are screaming hateful diatribes at me still...at the show they merely begged me for sweet mercy. I got my excercise there, folks.

Comic-Con has become less and less of an actual "comic book" convention every year since I first started attending 11 years ago. Now it's 60% movie companies and computer games, 10-20% various other things involving toys, t-shirts, trading cards and about 30ish% comics. Kind of sad, really. BUT! We of the comic book crowd kind of know this going in. And, even though it costs a small fortune to even set up there we go...WHY?

Hope.

Hope keeps us little comic creators going. The hope that one of the many "Hollywood scouts" that attend the show take a liking to your property and see potential in it. Many a poor comic geek have become overnight sensations with one stroke of the pen! And so we go. We hemorrhage our bank accounts and stress ourselves to the point of nervous breakdowns. We smile even when our poor feet scream at us and our backs ache so bad not even 6 martinis dull the pain (I know, I tried). The hangovers don't stop us. The 100,000 people streaming by our booths with nary a glance as they frantically tromp through the showfloor looking for that oh-so-awesome and ever-so-important cardboard promotional "shield" that says "300 DVD coming July 31st!"...they actually donned these cardboard shields with pride after wondefully trampling small children to obtain them. I wonder if they fit in the overhead of the airplane?

Anyways, I gripe but it was a pretty solid showing for yours truly. My new book, THE LIST, went over very well and I managed to get it into the hands (and impress) quite a few of those aforementioned "Hollywood scouts." I even had the great pleasure of meeting, and having a nice 25 minute conversation with Frank Darabont (director of one of my "TOP TEN" favorite movies of all-time, SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION) about his shoes, his latest movie (THE MIST. Another Stephen King adaptation), and my new book. I'm not trying to namedrop here, just pointing out what kind of "heavy hitters" walk the showfloor at Comic-Con and, again, why us little guys keep going. You just never know who you're going to meet and whose hands you might get your stuff into. Mr. Darabont may very well have pitched my book in the nearest trash bin--although I truly don't think so as he was a genuinely nice dude--but I never even would have had a chance in Hell of ever even dreaming of getting it into his hands had I not been there. That's why we go.

It has been said that people can survive without food for up to 30 days. Water for a week, maybe...but Hope? Without Hope we die immediately.

So, again, I hope.

Off to bed now. Just finished sealing the deal on my first MCP issue at Marvel and it rocks! And next weekend is WizardWorld, Chicago...

HOPE.

Word!

R

COMIC-CON HAS ARRIVED! (Add thunderous drum SFX)

Hello all!

Yes, it is that time of year again for all us comic book junkies to tap our veins and inject our minds with the sights, smells and tactile sensations that only those pulpy printed pages can provide!

It's COMIC-CON time! The world's biggest freakin' pop culture mindhigh! Over 100,000 freaking freaks packed into a hall so enormous that it has it's own black hole (I hear whispers and rumors of the dozens that mysteriously vanish every year within those hallowed walls)! And I'm talking 100,000 freaks every day! No lie. It's really truly unreal. Last year on Saturday the line to get in was over a mile long and people were in that line in 90 degree heat for hours. And some were turned away due to overcrowding. This show is big people. BIG.

And my being there only makes it all THE BIGGER!!! HA HA HA! (insert booming drum sound effects here again).

Seriously, though...I am great. And I will be there. So, if you know what's good for you you'll show up at my booth in the "Independent Publishers Pavillion (the "I.P. Pavilion" for those of us in the know). I will be debuting my new book, THE LIST, there (plug) and also have new original art, new prints and also be talking about my new gig over at Marvel Comics. It'll be great stuff people so don't miss out.

I really am great.

Other than that... We won our softball game last night and it felt great to be alive! I had a couple nice hits and a catch in the outfield that made me feel 20 again. It was cool.

My buddy, Big Tim, was put off by a comment I made about Brewer's ace pitcher, Ben Sheets. He got kind of mad. Here's the dilly...a few days ago we were at a party and the Brewers were on the tube. We picked it up in the 10th inning...it was tied and into extra innings. Neither of us had a clue what had transpired before the 10th. We started talking basebal, the team, the playoffs, etc. giving our opinions on the Brewers chances this season. At some point the subject of Ben Sheets (ace pitcher) came up and I "got on him" for all the injuries--he's had many and varied in his short career. Tim defended Sheets a bit. I said "I guarantee he doesn't make it through the season without going down again!" To which Big Tim gave me heat for being negative. Maybe he was right about being negative, but I defended my prognostication by loudly exclaiming, "Hey, I'm only using history as my guide...he gets hurt every year! Why would this year be any different?" To which Big Tim gave me a "look" of disdain and quite possibly a little disappointment.

Mere minutes (maybe even less) went by and the Brewers won...then we got the game recap where they informed us that starting pitcher Ben Sheets went out with a finger injury in the third inning!!!! I went nuts..."See! SEE!! He's done!...He's out for the year!" I really laid it on thick. Big Tim, a little stunned by my magnificence, I think, sheepishly retorted, "It's probably just a blister...he had one of those the other day." I kind of smirked, said some crap and got another beer.

So, a few days later the injury report comes in and Sheets sprained his middle finger on his throwing hand. Out for 15 days. HA! I called Big Tim right away...to gloat. I admit it. I rubbed it in a little. Just because I "called it" you must understand. I found the timing very ironic, that's all. I wasn't gloating about him being hurt. Just my greatness at predicting this calamity...the crazy timing. It was uncanny you know.

So we get to our game last night and I see the Big Man walking up and right away say, "Hey, Tim...you hear about Sheets...he's out for the season!" I was kidding. I hadn't heard any updates but I was just trying to get a rise out of him. He laid into me. Said I was "Gleeful" about it. He was ticked. Said I found some perverse joy at the Brewers bad luck. Now it was his turn to "lay it on thick." And he did. I was stunned into a stammering, babbling, ineffectual defense. I think I maybe even wet my pants a little. A few nervous squirts. It was not my intention to anger my large friend. No. Nor was it my intention to sound gleeful about a Brewer player being injured. (He's not out for the year BTW, only 6-8 weeks!) My only intention was to get his goat a little...tease a little again about my prognostication a few days earlier. He went pretty "Wrath Of Khan" on me.

I probably had it coming a little. I do tend to be the "Devil's Advocate" when it comes to Wisconsin sports teams. But it's a defense mechanism, man! Our teams generally fail. And for a looonnnng time. It's tough being a Wisconsin sports fan. You learn to "not believe" because they've given us so many reasons not to. It wears you down and then cynacism and skepticism creep their ugly ways into your sports soul, man. I don't wanna be that way. I don't. I just can't help it. I can't.

What the Big Man should've done was embrace me...just hold me. Couldn't he see my pain masked in sarcasm and spit? Can't he see I have a disease...that I'm sick? That I need help? I am a Wisconsin sports fan, dammit! My cynacism is a symptom of that fandom...of that disease!!!! It is as it is.

I am a Wisconsin sports fan. There I said it.

I need help.

Word.

r

OWNING A HOUSE SUCKS!

The damn bathroom has become the bane of my miserable existence these past 2 weeks. What started out as a simple, "Hey, let's spruce up the bathroom, honey...shouldn't cost more than a few hundred bucks" has blossomed into a complete gut job that's gonna run an easy 2 grand! Of which I don't have. So any of you Kumbaya guitar singing hippies who think that all landlords (yes, I own a duplex) are "The Man," and are just here to take the "little guys" money, can go straight to hell!!! Most of the tenants I've had make more money than I do. Fact.

Sad fact, actually.

Moral of my story? Never buy a house that's older than ten years old. You open up a wall and you open up a can of friggin' worms. You simply want to change a faucet and you usually open up a $500 can of goddammed worms, man!!! Every time I turn a stinkin' nut on a stinkin' bolt I wince in fear for what calamity is sure to follow. Said calamity always costing at least $130 at the Home Depot. The gas going back-and-forth 6 times a day alone is hitting the $100 mark and I live 2 stinkin' miles away!!!

Damn!

I'm going back to renting from some other "Man"...I think I'll take up the guitar while I'm at it. I should have plenty of time to learn it since I won't always be fixing shit. Yes, that was another facitious shot at you Kumbayaers! Take that hippie bastard!

In other news...

My newest book THE LIST is printing as I write this and will be shipping on Monday, July 16th to a store near you. Or get it here on this snazzy little site right now! Yes, right now. You read about my bathroom right? I need your money. Seriously.

ALSO!

My writing for MARVEL COMICS is in full swing so look for MCP (Marvel Comics Presents) in September!

And!...

I'll be at Comic-Con International in 2 weeks so stop by my booth in the "Independent Publishers Pavillion"! Then I'll be at Wizard World Chicago in August in Artists Alley.

And again!... Look for the latest issue of ARSENIC LULLABY cuz I just did a sweet little pin-up in Doug Paszkiewicz's hilarious and extremely irreverant book.

Quick movie recommendations...

In a past article I rated some animated movies and pretty much summarized that of the past 3-4 years there have been very few good animated films. And alot of turds! Way more turds than gems. We went to see SURF'S UP! and RATATOUILLE in the last 2 weeks and both were very good! The former was geared a little more for older kids as Stella (5) was a bit bored at times with the very clever "documentary" style--that Sandy and I LOVED! Jeff Bridges was awesome as the voice of the recluse surfer and made the film. The latter was more of a true "all ages" film and was equally enjoyable. Not Pixar's best but still a very enjoyable film. Both were well worth seeing. Two good animated films in a row!!! It's been a looonnnng time since that's happened.

Word!

r

SPX Summary

Just got back from the SPX (Small Press Expo) that's held annually in the lovely, and lively, Bethesda, MD. This con showcases the best of the small and independent presses and indy creators. They moved the show this year to a larger venue just a few miles up the road from the old location. I miss the intimate setting the old location had but I must say the new hotel/convention center was impressive. This was a massive, state-of-the-art Marriot Hotel located in White Flint, MD and nary a speck of dust was to be found...the all-you-can-eat seafood buffet was outstanding as well. And this little geek got his $28 bucks worth let me tell you! The SPX crew always puts on a great show and if you are at all interested, intrigued or like to see how the vagabond artists are all dressing these days, I highly recommend you attend this show. PLUS! There was some absolutely kick-ass goodies there. Here are but as few of the highlights I picked up/perused...

James Kochalka's newest installment of his absolutely hilarious SuperF***ers! There are very few artists in this industry who can write profanity with James' certain flair. His cursewords make me laugh hysterically. This may sound like an odd critique but I'm telling you, sometimes it just seems that writers add profanity for the sake of adding profanity. James does it with style! Not to mention that his take on teen Super-Heroes is drop-dead hilarious as well. This is James' best stuff to date. And I love the majority of his past efforts.

I also picked up a slew of books from Drawn and Quarterly. I always do. These guys consistently produce some of the finest books in the market––comics, graphic novels, books; all of the above. Their books fit all these genre descriptions. I usually stear clear of anthologies but their D&Q Showcase is absolutely incredible. They don't fill it up with a lot of garbage. They pick three quality, 20ish page stories by very promising new talents and, well, "showcase" them in a high-quality, prestige format graphic novel anthology. I read it and loved it. This is truly a book that showcases these three particular artists and makes me want to seek out their other works and look forward to their works in the future. Other pubs who do anthologies should take a good look at D&Qs template here.

Another interesting book I purchased was The Spindletons by Josh Johnson. This book was the eyecatcher of the show as Josh brilliantly packaged the hardcover version of his graphic novel in a gorgeous, hinged pine box (similar to a cigar box) that had the Spindletons logo branded into the boxes top. Inside the beautiful box was a limited edition signed print and limited signed hardcover version of his book. As I took my first quick lap around the show I was immediately drawn over to his table because of this beautiful book/box/limited print combo. It was $80 for the box set (perhaps a bit pricey for this show but will rock at bigger shows like Comic-Con, I'm sure) but I couldn't resist. I was also a bit peeved at Josh because I've been planning a Wine box set of my own which would be similar to what he has. A nice limited box set containing all my 3 Geeks issues and an original piece of art. I guess great minds think alike.

I have a whole slew of other goodies I picked up at the show but haven't had a chance to read them yet.

In other SPX news...My pal, and SPX roomie Wayne Beamer, now holds the title for world champ in the "most annoying snore" division! This title was previously held by my mother but Wayne has dethroned her. I simply cannot describe the unique nuances of Wayne-O's snoring. Not only does he have the usual rattling crescendo we've all heard at one time or another but he has these little gurgles and high-pitched squeaks worked in on occasion making his a truly eclectic symphony from the snotlocker! I always bring my earplugs on the road...had them for this show...didn't do me a bit of good with the Wayne-O! His decibal level not only attacks the ear it attacks and encompasses the entire body. His soundwaves enter through every pore in your body and, seemingly, assails your entire central nervous system. I had the plugs, pillows, and my arms wrapped around my head and still clearly heard every rattle, squeak, cough and nasal dripping sound. In the three nights we shared a room I probably got about 4 hours of solid sleep. And, amazingly, our other roommate, Rich Henn, said he slept like a baby. I hate them both.

'til next week! I'm going to get some friggin' sleep.

Word! R

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