Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Few Comic-Con Moments .....

So .... I've been trying to get this going for days now - a synopsis of my 2008 Comic-Con experience .... and I've come up blank. Blankety-blank, matter'n fact.

There's so much to convey, it's mind-boggling. And probably would be painfully boring to most that will read this. Suffice to say the entire event was fun-filled, frantic, overwhelming, exhausting .... yet completely satisfying.

So, what I'll do in my overwhelming-enormitousnous will be to simply jot a few notes, post a few photos and blather a bit of commentary. Otherwise, I will be blogging for a week. And if'n I do that, it'll be inconsiderate.

But I do have to highlight a specific moment that made The Con special for me. Bear with me - I will point it out detailingly and glaringly.

The Con began with a Wednesday night Preview Night and went on through Sunday.

My buddy I went with - who I go with every year - turned to me Saturday afternoon and made the first move:

"Whatter you gonna do?"

"I dunno.
Whatter you gonna do?" I asked.

"I dunno," was the response.

"You done?" I queried.

"Yup" came the reply.

He and I do this every year. It's an ESP thing.

There comes a point where we've seen all we need to see, gotten all we've needed to got, met everybody we've come to meet and that's all there is to it ..... even if there is another day or so left. (In recent memory, I can't remember having stuck around for the final Sunday of The Con .....)

So ... it was off to Dick's Last Resort for the conclusion of a spifficated, long weekend to quaff a few beers. (But that's another story .....)

But, how 'bout a few photogs 'n' stuff?

Of course, there were amazing busts and creations that were drooled over. Below are a few I gawked at, covetously .....

Asajj Ventress and Count Dooku from Star Wars .....

A spiffy rendition of a Storm Trooper .....

Ursula from The Little Mermaid
(Available early next year. S'on my list of "things to get" .....)

There were, of course, numerous Tom Foolery costumed characters to be seen and bumped into .....

Some were so realistic looking,
it was as if you were transported right back into the '60's .....

Others, not so much.
(Proof that "Elvis Is Everywhere". He's even in Storm Troopers .....)

And I have no idea who these guys were,
but they'd been wandering 'round for days.

So I had to get a picture with'em .....

Then, there was frolickry and monkey business to commit:

Sketches from redheads to snag .....

Icons to get photos with .....

Daring-do costumed (and rackified!) super-heroines to be conquered by .....

Security personel to lend a restful back to .....

Luchadores to be chided .....
(Yes, that's my buddy in the red mask .... asshat)

And, naturally, celebrities to snap pictures of .....
(Zachary Levi from Chuck and Zachary Quinto, Sylar from Heroes ...
Zack Q. plays Spock in the upcoming Star Trek film, by the by .....)

Of course, there were a few comics to acquire .....
(This'un ("Hot Mexican Love Comics") was "hot off the press" ...
... as you can tell from the oven mitt being worn)

"Hotels" to be slept in .....
(Yes ... the first night we stayed in a room of a house
with nothing but a light and a floor to sleep on ... literally ...

... and it wasn't a terrible sleep at all.
The bathroom, however, was un-walk-in-able .....)

As well as ravenous zombies wandering the streets to be eaten by .....
(I'm on the ground, barely in the picture,
with entrails being spilt on the sidewalk.

Damned zombies ..... always hungry, always attacking)

Good times all around.

Now, the defining highlight of The Con for me:

The gentlemen in the photo above are Jim Warren (left) and Verne Langdon (right). (I've no clue who the guffawing bonehead is in the middle.) I was passing by and noticed Jim, the publisher of Famous Monsters Of Filmland, an old monster magazine I frequented in my youth. I had to meet him, tell a quick story and get his autograph.

While in line, a security chick came by handing out one dollar bills. She explained they were from Jim Warren. He was concerned by all the fans waiting in line. He knew the wait was taking some time (there were a few asshats that wanted everything under the sun signed by Mr. Warren) and he wanted to show his appreciation.

As I finally got up to the front of the line, I didn't notice who Verne Langdon was right away. I'd never seen him previously. Verne was the creator of all the spiffy rubber monster masks that graced the "Captain Company" ads in Famous Monsters. What a thrill! I remembered reading Famous Monsters as a lad and being envious of those Dracula and Frankenstein monster adornments, but didn't have the funds to afford them.

Welp ..... up I went to meet Verne firstly. He was gracious and warm and a big bear of a guy, genuinely thrilled to be there. I told him my tale and he took time to listen considerately. I asked if I could get a photo with he and Jim once I was done talking with the both of them. "It's expected!" he cried.

I moved on to Jim Warren. I extended my hand warmly and told him: "Mr. Warren, I have two things to tell you ....."

He got up out of his seat, leaned over the table toward me, put both his hands on my shoulders grandfatherly-like, looked deeply into my eyes and asked kiddingly with a smile: "Are these going to be long stories?" I cracked up and assured him they were not.

I told him Famous Monsters was a forbidden read by my mother those long years ago, but I snuck them in my room after clandestinely purchasing them at my local 7/11. And I read them voraciously, I told him. I remembered his name on every issue and wondered who this guy was that published this wonderful magazine. So it was a thrill to meet him.

I went on to tell him I've been to many conventions and not once, not one single time, had I ever had anyone supply ME with money to get an autograph. It was always the other way around.

"So ... what's the deal with handing out free money?" I asked.

He regaled me:

"Let me tell you something: All those artists and celebrities that charge outrageous amounts of money to give out their autographs have forgotten who it was that made them famous in the first place. I'm thrilled to have you come up and grace me with a request for a John Hancock or a picture. You, sir, are MY fan ... and that's why I give out money to you."

Un. Freakin'. Heard. Of. I was thrilled to hear this from him. I thanked him mightily for his time and consideration, shook his hand warmly and told him I wasn't leaving without a photo of he and Verne and I if it was all right. He insisted.

Around the table I went. I told Verne to keep seated (he was severely handicapped and it was difficult for him to stand) but he wouldn't hear of it. I helped him up and, while doing so, Jim stood on the chair he was sitting in to let everyone know who was boss. I turned to put my arm 'round him once I'd assisted Verne upright and doubled over in laughter at Jim's theatrics.

The result is the photo you see above.

It was a defining moment for me. Noteworthy and special as all get out. Jim even signed that dollar bill for me.

There's tons more to tell, but that's enough. A "Part Two" might be in order later.

Naturally, 2009 is anxiously being anticipated .....

......................................... Ruprecht (

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Brand New Andy Prieboy .....



Andy's got brand new tunes for sale on his website. The first new stuff from him in years. Click the knife-fighters link above and go wild in the streets, folks.

Bonus! Bonus! Bonus! The "Bands" link above will get you a taste of one of the new tunes! Spifficated ... !!! "This band that band every damn band, every damn band known to either God or man ....."

Just reading the lyrics to the tunes in enough to make you want to buy'em .....

............................... Ruprecht ( STOP )

Monday, July 28, 2008

Keith Walendowski Rocks .....

Someone please get this man a beer .....

In this photo provided by the Milwaukee County Sheriff's department, Keith Walendowski is shown. Walendowski is accused of shooting his lawn mower because it wouldn't start. According to the criminal complaint, Walendowski said he was angry because his Lawn Boy wouldn't start Wednesday morning, July 23, 2008.

'I can do that, it's my lawn mower and my yard so I can shoot it if I want,'
he told police.

(AP Photo/Milwaukee County Sheriff's department via the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

.............................................. Ruprecht ( STOP )

Monday, July 21, 2008

Down To San Diego .....

It's that time again ......

Time for Rupe's annual visit to San Diego for Comic-Con, a Mecca of wonder and people and joy and costumes and back slappin' and jokery and stuff that just needs seein' to be believed .....

When The Con is mentioned, many roll their eyes. Words like "geek" and "Nerdfest" and "dork" and "freakin' no-deodorant-wearin' weirdos" pop up frequently and with conviction.

And it's true: There are those that attend.

Rupe isn't one of'em. Or so he likes to think.

But that's okay. Rupe gets lost in all the hubbub and excitement the four and a half days afford. 125,000+ people last year, an
Entertainment Weekly feature article (out this week!) and a sold out 2008 convention of comic book loving fans says something, I don't care what you're readin' otherwise.

It's not all about the comics. It's about the blood drive. It's about the stars and premieres and sneak peeks of the coming year. It's about our governor The Arnold popping out from behind a curtain unexpectedly when no one is expecting it to promote the new Terminator flick. It's about getting that autograph to complete your collection. It's about jaw dropping artwork at an art show. It's about heading to Perry's for a big breakfast to get you through the day and Dick's Last Resort in the Gaslamp District to cut loose at night. And so much more .....

Last year was probably the ultimate Con year for Rupe. Rupe finally got to meet one of his top-list heroes. A kindly gentleman by the name of Mike Ploog.

(... flashback ...)

Rupe was iller than ill and bedridden one elementary school day. In comes Mom with a motherly look of concern on her face and a handful of comic books to help get young Rupe through his illness.

A "How do you feel?", a warm kiss on the forehead and Rupe was left with his pile of kiddie books to flip through.

Now .... Rupe had never before read a comic book. And the wonder that unfolded before him as he began opening pages was otherworldy. Who was this Conan The Barbarian? Cool! Bugs Bunny, in panel form! The Batman! The Hulk sure was formidable!

But it was The Man-Thing that caught Rupe's young attention.

There were several Marvel Man-Thing books to peruse and, as they began to be digested, the artwork of one Mike Ploog was what really caught Rupe's eye. The lines and curves and unique style were impressive to Rupe and Mr. Ploog's artwork would not only influence but be a delight to Rupe for the remainder of days.

(... flash forward to last year's Comic-Con ...)

Going over the on-line schedule of the upcoming fest, Rupe noticed gleefully there would be several panels featuring Mike Ploog at the 2007 Comic-Con - one devoted exclusively to him.

Long story short, the panel was spectacular. Rupe sat rapt in attention. Rupe learned tons about this long-sought-after artist and film storyboardist, more than out of any book Rupe's read on the man.

Afterward, Rupe got the opportunity for a one-on-one with Mike Ploog - a 45 minute chat that culminated in a prized sketch and a commitment to commission a black and white ink piece from him.

The final, ultimate thrill was the photo below Rupe took with Mike Ploog.

See that giddy grin on Rupe's face? That's the kid in him - glowing, ecstatic and thrilled beyond happiness .....

(... today ...)

Onward to
The Con! One big, goofy, awe-filled long weekend of bliss and camaraderie and old friends and escape from the everyday.

*... now ..... where in the world did Rupe put his geek hat ... ?!?!?*

........................................................ Ruprecht ( STOP )

Monday, July 14, 2008

Fun With Telemarketers

It’s the middle of a much anticipated showing of some program that Rupe has wanted to watch for eons. (Okay … maybe not eons, but Rupe’s been anticipatin’ it for a long time. That’s all you need to know .....)

Rupe’s phone rings. Luckily, Rupe has the show DVR’d, so it’s not a problem to pause the show to get up and answer the phone. (A’sides, Rupe needs something cold and refreshing to drink whilst watching his show …..)

“Hello?” Rupe answers.

“Good evening! Is this Mr. Ruprecht?” a way too cheery voice queries.

“It is!” Rupe answers back, checking a nearby mirror.

“Mr. Ruprecht,” the telemarketer begins: “I’m from the Flagrant Man-Handling Umbrella Company and I would like to …..” But Rupe cuts’em off at the pass.

“Pardon me, but would you mind holding tight for a quick minute? You caught me right in the middle of doing something important, but if you can wait a sec, I’ll be right with you. Can you do that?”

“Well, certainly Mr. Ruprecht” the salesman accommodatingly states.

“Great! Be right back,” Rupe responds with an upbeat flair.

Rupe moseys on over to the fridge to pour hisself a nice glass of cold water, plunks a few ice cubes inside it and heads back to the waiting phone.

“S’aight! I’m back!” Rupe gushes, energetically.

The telemarketer begins anew. “As I was saying …..” But Rupe again doesn’t let him get far.

“Hey, wanna know what I was doing? I had to feed my fish. I forgot to feed’em this morning and the poor things were hungrier than skeeters in Florida at a mid-summer's night potluck. Wanna know what they’re names are?” Rupe asks Mr. Telemarketer.

“Well … yeah … sure, I guess.”

“Great! Well, lessee … there’s Pete and Jimmy and Pete and Pete and Pete. They’re all brothers .. I think. And then there’s Wolfy, Crabs McGowan, Pete, Pete, Pete, Little Pete, Pete Jr., Finnegin Floyd, Little Joe and Petey Pete. Sharky’s in there too … he’s the one that always causes lots of problems, but if you just flick’em on the top of the head with your finger, he usually straightens out right quick. I got Earless Lilo, Fish Sammich and “The Deadly Scum Sucker” to round out the bunch. They’re all just one big happy fish family in that tank, lemme tell you. They hardly ever get nasty with one another – that is ‘cept Sharky. Whatta card he is! Thinks he’s the king of the tuna fleet, he does. And they’re real easy on the eyes, too. Barely need tendin’ to.

“Oh! Oh! Oh! I almost forgot! Sally’s in there, too! She’s like the big mama that keeps’em all in line. Though, she really doesn’t keep’em all in line … s’more like she just swims around and minds her own business, but I like to SAY she keeps’em all in line, if’n you know what I mean, y’unnerstan …..

“Then, in the OTHER tank, the BIGGER tank, there’s …..”


That telemarketer doned hung up.

Rupe takes his water and heads back to his chair to watch his paused program …..

................................... ( STOP )

Drama .....

It's all over the place.

And, of late, it's been comfortably housing itself within the spare bedroom at Casa De Rupe.

The World Of Rupe is oft overflowing with Three Ring Circusry! Everyday, it seems, for the last several weeks there's been acrobatic drama up the nose!

Clowns and elephants and 'splosions and musical accompaniment in spades!

Zounds! Admission should be charged!

Onward .....

Rupe has a good friend from school. He's a good guy, but he's got strange things bippin' & boppin' about in his noggin, Rupe thinks.

Rupe's wife gets a call from Rupe's friend's mother who lives a few hours distant. "Heard from 'Tall Drink 'O Water'?" she asks Rupe's wife in a message left on voicemail. (Henceforth,'Tall Drink 'O Water' will be referred to as 'TDOW')

Rupe's friend's mother reveals: "'Cause we haven't ... and this's been goin' on for the last week or so ..... Father Of TDOW and I have called numerous times and can't get hold of TDOW, Wife Of TDOW or Mother-In-Law Of TDOW."

Rupe's wife informs Rupe. Rupe jumps on the phone and dials up TDOW. Nuthin'. Answering machines. At TDOW's home, cell and Wife Of TDOW's cell as well. Rupe leaves messages all over the place, wonderin' what's goin' on. "Give Rupe a call," Rupe requests ... and a bit heatedly at that.

Rupe calls Rupe's friend's mother. "How'za doin', Mother Of TDOW? Tell Rupe a story," Rupe offers.

"I've'n't a clue, Rupe. We call and call and call to no avail. Have you heard from either of them?" Rupe confesses he has not. But he's left messages and if he hears anything, Rupe'll be on the horn to Mother Of TDOW posthaste.

It's not like TDOW to NOT return calls, especially when messages have been left. And now, it's been a week of days past ... with no word.

Rupe considers taking a jaunt to TDOW's house to see what Rupe can see.

Rupe has visions aplenty of what could've come about or happened, all of which are blog worthy fiction, of course ..... but Rupe won't allow his 'magination to get the better of him just yet ..... (At least ... not 'til Rupe gets to the heart of the matter and finds out wasabi .....)

Discussing the situation with Rupe's wife, the best plan of action may be to skedaddle to TDOW's abode for a looksy.

It's been hours since the original phone call to Mother Of TDOW. Rupe decides to give her a jingle in the event any new news has surfaced and to let Mother Of TDOW know what Rupe intends.

But, just before Rupe can pick up the phone, Rupe's phone rings. It's Mother Of TDOW. It seems the mystery has been solved. TDOW and Wife Of TDOW have come to a collective decision. Neither will be answering the phone in the evening time anymore.

This is an excellent idea on their part, they surmise, to keep the accumulated stress levels of the day to a minimum ..... and to keep any additional invading drama at bay .....

Mother Of TDOW discloses Brother Of TDOW finally got hold of TDOW and discovered this goofy bit of information.

Brother Of TDOW gave TDOW a tongue lashing that may make news in the morrow's paper, she reveals. Rupe offers to do same, 'cept with some well placed backstrokes to the reverse of TDOW's head with a canoe paddle.

Mother Of TDOW thinks that's a spiffy idea and grants Rupe her blessing. "Just don't wake the children if'n you're there after hours," she cajoles mildly.

There you have it. Drama.

Most excellent drama ... rife with Three Ring Circusry .....

.................................. Ruprecht (STOP)