Sunday, August 7, 2016

Event: Phoenix's Second Annual Jack Kirby Birthday Celebration!

August marks the birthday of one of comics' founding fathers: the king, Jack Kirby.  Jack co-created Captain America with Joe Simon in 1940, then later co-created many of the characters we love in the Marvel Universe, including the Fantastic Four, Thor, the Hulk, and the X-Men, just to name a few.  Afterward, for DC Comics, Kirby created the Fourth World, the cosmic epic that made Darkseid the Justice League's most formidable cosmic foe -- and this is just a very general summary of Kirby's contributions to comics culture.

Every year, fans celebrate the King's birthday, August 28, and this year Phoenix boasts an event crawl as epic in scope as one of Kirby's stories.

Phoenix Jack Kirby birthday Bonus Round comic books barcade Torch Theatre

Our event starts at noon, at the Torch Theatre in uptown Phoenix, where some of the Valley's best performers will dramatically read an issue of Kirby's seminal New Gods, in the style of a radio play.  At 2 p.m., attendees are invited to adjourn to Bonus Round, a barcade around the corner, which is opening early to host a special Happy Hour in honor of the King, with Kirby-themed cocktails, to boot!  Meanwhile, at All About Books & Comics (just next door), artists Dave Beaty (Batman Incorporated, Flashpoint: Wonder Woman, Red Skirts), the Janimal (Pronto Comics), and I will sketch to benefit the Hero Initiative.  Comics, cocktails, and camaraderie -- does it get any better than that?!

Last year, I organized a gallery show and an open mic here in Phoenix on Kirby's birthday, so performers that don't draw still had a way to express their love of Jack's work.  The open mic ended with a talk from Steve Rude, an amazing artist that studied with Kirby, and I didn't think it could get better than that.  This year, I wanted the same spirit, but with something different -- and I think we've achieved it.  If you're in Phoenix, please join us for a fun, special day!  If you're somewhere else, make one of your own! Nothing would honor Jack Kirby more.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Friend of Amazing Arizona Comics: John Derrick West

John Derrick West was one of the first local artists to surprise me with a drawing of Speed Cameron, and recently he continued the tradition with this incredible rendition of June Monsoon!

June Monsoon JDW John Derrick West Amazing Arizona Comics

June came on the heels of my asking JD to contribute to a Phoenix Tonight comedy bit, "rejected comic con cosplay concepts."  Here's Iron Deficiency Man!  (Apparently, clams are a great source for iron.)

Iron Man JDW John Derrick West cosplay

To see more of John's amazing artwork, visit his Facebook page.  Tell him Russ sent ya!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Speed Cameron's Final Fate...On Facebook!

Well, it finally happened!  For years, I've been able to enjoy Facebook as Speed Cameron, the star of Amazing Arizona Comics -- but, now, Facebook has demanded I use my real name.  Here's the strip that tells the tale!

Facebook name change Speed Cameron Amazing Arizona Comics social media Ocho Mengel
(Opening in a new window and zooming in will enhance your reading experience!)