Saturday, September 9, 2017

The Desert Creature Chronicles: The Driftwood Man of Congress

Arizona's highways are home to some of the nation's most peculiar roadside creatures.  As the creator of a minicomic all about my state's strangeness, I've decided to meet these creatures face to face!  Behold, the first entry in my ongoing travelogue: The Desert Creature Chronicles!

A small population of people almost always guarantees that a monster or two dwells among them.  Well, Congress is a small town in Yavapai County.  On any given year, more people may be elected to Congress than might actually live in Congress.  

Let's keep the comparison going.  You've heard of a straw man in Congress?  How about a Driftwood Man from Congress?  He stands in front of the "Ye Ol' Trading Post" antique store, and the owner insists that he was made by a local artist.  I think that's only part of the story.

If I had to guess, I'd say a craftsman constructed the Driftwood Man to keep him company in the lonely desert.  A desperate spell turned the would-be folk art into a golem, so the Driftwood Man can actually come alive when given the right command. One can only hope that he doesn't fall under the employ of an evil passer-by.

This theory proves true, as just a bit further down the road, a horse made of similar driftwood stands outside of a lumberyard.  The horse was probably made so the Driftwood Man wasn't the only one of his kind.  After all, his maker knew well the consequences of loneliness.

The Driftwood Man may soon appear in Amazing Arizona Comics, especially since wood creatures like Groot have been a feature of superhero comics for a long time.  In fact, one of them just appeared on this list of nutty DC Comics covers!

You might expect a cactus man in a small desert town like Congress, but Arizona is a state full of the unexpected.  It's just a part of our roots . . . aw, c'mon!  You knew I had to say it sooner or later. 

Come back soon for more cool Arizona creatures, and the latest on Amazing Arizona Comics!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Jay Thomas, RIP

The end of August was busy with preparations of Phoenix's Jack Kirby birthday celebration, but now that we've honored the King, I'd like to acknowledge another cool, creative person that just recently passed away -- Jay Thomas.  

Jay is best known for his roles on Mork & Mindy, Murphy Brown, and Cheers, but I knew him best for throwing a football at a meatball on The Late Show with David Letterman every Christmastime.  In 2016, I wrote an article for Nerdvana Media about what the tradition meant to me, and much to my surprise, Jay actually read it!  One of his producers contacted me about talking to Jay on his Sirius XM radio show, and I was elated at the opportunity.

I'm sure I posted the interview here then, but I'm re-posting now so you can hear how gracious Jay was. Jay was a wry, tongue-in-cheek comedian, but he was kind and genuine with me.  He let me talk about Letterman and plug my stuff, which was a Christmas gift I'll never forget.  To Jay -- and his staff at the radio station -- thank you. We'll miss you, you hippie freak.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

We came, we saw, we honored!

It's over!  Phoenix's 3rd annual celebration of Jack Kirby's birthday has passed, and this year we honored the King's 100th birthday with a multifaceted three day event I won't soon forget . . . because I recorded the whole thing!

Firstly, I'd like to thank Drawn to Comics for hosting the 24 Hour Kirby Comic Challenge.  Drawn to Comics has come up a lot here lately, not just because I co-host a podcast with shop owner Ken Brown, but because he and his wife Susan are incredible supporters of local artists like myself.  Who else would let five weirdos lock themselves in a comic shop for 24 straight hours?  

One of those weirdos was me -- the rest were four of my favorite people in Phoenix (well, one of them is in Sedona, but that's Phoenix adjacent, so it counts).  Birdie Birdashaw, Derk Harron, the Janimal, and Zoe Sugg agreed to attempt the 24 Hour Comic Challenge to honor Kirby, while I documented the whole thing in an attempt to create a webseries of the day.  Here's a picture of them as the sun rose over Glendale, bushy-eyed but strong-willed -- as you'll see when that webseries drops on YouTube later this year!

That Monday, the 28th, the day of Kirby's actual birthday, 10 of the Valley's funniest people gathered to roast the King's first, and perhaps most important creation -- Captain America!  My thanks to Monkey Pants Bar & Grill in Tempe for hosting our event.  If you're ever hankering wings and/or karaoke near ASU, Monkey Pants is the place.

I'll post the roast on Phoenix Tonight's YouTube page soon, but in the meantime, here's a shot of me with the Avengers in attendance.  I guess Stark had an expo, or something.

My appreciation to the comedians that made the night hilarious, and particularly to the Captain himself, who made both the 24 Hour Comic Challenge and this roast some of the most memorable events in this fanboy's life.  Follow him on Instagram @stevenrogersusa.   

I'm scheduled posts for autumn even as you read this, and of course I'm working on the latest issues of Amazing Arizona Comics, so keep your eyes glued to this very blog for the latest!