Wednesday, April 27, 2011


XOMBI #2 is available today at a comic book store near you.

Here's the solicitation text from DC Comics:

Written by JOHN ROZUM; Art and cover by FRAZER IRVING
David Kim has a choice: Join his companions in battle against a horde of murderous creatures or abandon them to their fates while he sets off alone to tackle escaped killer James Church. Plus: Nuns with guns!
  • DC Comics
  • 32pg.
  • Color
  • $2.99 US
On Sale April 27, 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Good Comic Books - Xombi #2 Preview plus Interview

Joe Innes at Good Comic Books interviewed me about Xombi past, present and future. You can read the interview by going here.

Xombi #2 Preview plus Interview

Xombi #2 will be available tomorrow at a comic book store near you. For those of you who can't wait Comic Book Resources has a preview of that issue as well as an interview with me conducted by Josie Campbell on the series as a whole with some tidbits of what's coming next.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Haunted Mansion Hitchhiking Ghosts Makeover Video

Here's a video showing a behind the scenes look at the new interactive hitchhiking ghosts upgrade at Disney's Haunted Mansion. It looks like it's going to be a change I can live with.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Recent Interviews

This month has been an incredibly busy one for me and some things I'd meant to mention here have somehow fell by the wayside.

Here are a couple of interviews with me, mainly pertaining to Xombi.

Eric Shirley conducted a two part interview with me for Yahoo!  Part one can be found here. Part two can be found here.

Over at Broken Frontier issue #23 of The Frontiersman contains an interview with both Frazer Irving and myself regarding Xombi. You can download a copy by going here.

Remember, Xombi #2 goes on sale next Wednesday. If you missed issue #1 ask your local comic book retailer to order you a copy.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Brooke Shields: Agent of Fury

I recently uncovered some old pitches from my early years at Marvel Comics. These were all short humor pieces (of which I did quite a number) for titles such as What If...? and What the...? Because of the nature of them I often pitched them in rough cartoon form rather than as written pitches. This one was probably for What the...? but was never used. I don't recall the reason. My initial suspicion was that there were fears of litigation from Brooke Shields, but that sort of thing was still uncommon back then. Certainly it was nothing like it is now where you can't even mention a public figure or product by name in a comic book, and new character names are often changed anyway just in case.

Yes, at the time I did notice that I left the "e" off the end of "Brooke." Since this was just a pitch sketch done in felt tip marker, I wasn't going to redo the whole thing, or white it out just for a gag pitch that no one else would see besides the editor I was pitching and, if sold, the artist who would redraw it and the letterer who hopefully would spell "Brooke" correctly.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

RIP Elisabeth Sladen

I'm very saddened to learn that Elisabeth Sladen has died at the young age of 63. I began watching Doctor Who during the Jon Pertwee years when Jo Grant was his companion, followed by Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith who continued on through part of the Tom Baker run as the Doctor.

I think the reason that Sarah Jane Smith had such tremendous appeal to so many fans of the show (aside from how cute she was) is that Sarah always seemed a bit scared during her various adventures with the Doctor. The show could be a bit frightening for kids watching it and Sarah's visible unease made the frights seem more genuine and at the same time made it okay for young viewers to feel a bit frightened by what they were watching. No matter how scary things got, or how frightened Sarah became, she always found the strength and courage to rise above her fears and do whatever it was that needed to be done to help the Doctor save the world. If Sarah was scared, it was okay for the kid watching to be scared, and if she could be brave enough to overcome her fears, so could the child watching, even if that meant simply making it until the show's cliffhanger ending.

She remains my favorite of the Doctor's companions, and I was pleasantly surprised when she returned to the series in a recurring role during it's current incarnation looking very much the same as she did decades ago. She is also the only companion to receive their own spinoff series, a testament to her popularity. Given how great she looked I was taken aback to learn that she'd been fighting cancer for some time and finally succumbed. Doctor Who remains inspirational to me, in large part because of the well rendered characters on the show, a combination of the talent of the writers and the actors who have brought them to life. While the Doctor has travelled with many companions before Sarah Jane Smith, and since, she's the one I always use as the high standard to which I compare the others.

For a full account visit the BBC website.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Upcoming Haunted Mansion Art Show

I'm excited to announce that I'll be participating in the 2nd Annual Tribute to the Haunted Mansion  Group Art Show at the Parlour Gallery in Burbank, CA, which will run from June 4 - July 3,  2011. As anyone who has paid any attention to this blog knows, I hold the Haunted Mansion at the Walt Disney theme parks near and dear to me. It's a great resevoir of inspiration for me, and I make sure to ride this great attraction as many times as possible when visiting one of the parks, never tiring of the familiar comfort and excitement I feel each time I pass through its portals.

I'm still not sure what aspect of the attraction I'll be focusing on, but am really looking forward to putting my pieces together for this show.


Xombi Podcasts

Xombi #2 will be in stores next week, but before that happens I'd like to once again thank all the reviewers, journalists, and readers who have been enthusiastic about issue #1. If you want to check out some of the reviews I've provided links here and here.

At this time I'd like to give a shout out to the folks at 11 O'Clock Comics Podcast for all the love they've given Xombi #1. I greatly appreciate it. You can listen to their Xombi related podcasts by clicking on the links below.

Episode 154

Episode 155

Episode 156

Friday, April 15, 2011

Walt Disney World Leftovers - Part 2

As promised yesterday, here are a bunch of photos I took at Walt Disney World that didn't fit into in the other recent posts I'd put together to cover aspects of my trip this past February. You can find links to those previous posts at the end f this one. The photos in this final post cover Epcot and two of the resorts, Pop Century where we stayed for a single night when we extended the beginning of our trip, and the Beach Club where we stayed the rest of the time. All images can be enlarged by clicking on them.

This is the dock outside the Beach Club where you can catch a "friend ship" transport to Disney Studios or Epcot, though this is a bit silly since you can actually walk there in less time.

A sitting room off the lobby of the Beach Club Villa. As a night owl, I made great use of the sitting rooms at the Wilderness Lodge on my previous trip. Generally unused by guests, especially at night, they make for a pleasant refuge to read quietly.

In contrast, the Pop Century was garish and a bit tacky. The budget resorts aren't much different from staying at a hotel. The pool area is very noisy, even at night and as one of my kids noticed if someone in the hotel flushes their toilet everyone can hear it. On the other hand I have nothing but praise for the staff, especially the young woman who took a lot of time to help us when some complications arose when we tried to purchase our park tickets and my bank's overzealous fraud protection kicked in on a Sunday, of course. It was not a good way to begin our trip, but she fixed everything that she could so that it wasn't close to the disaster it could have been.

This is what my son dubbed the "tron-orail" and evaded my every attempt to get a photo of it. I even rode it twice. Promoting the recent Tron sequel, the outside of the monorail was decorated to look like a light cycle with a wall of light streaming behind it. If anyone got a good photo of the tron-orail I'd love to see it.

A few shots taken from Mission Space. I think this is a really great simulator ride, but really wish it were in Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom, the land that I always wished were one of my favorites, but always feels like it's been abandoned, or having an identity crisis.

I really love this mounted samurai statue in the Japan pavillion in World Showcase.

I was also really taken with these great retro t-shirts featuring the Orange Bird, but alas, they were only available in women's shirts.

I also really liked the explorer's study tucked away in the back of one of the shops in the England pavillion.

In case you missed them, here are links to my other recent WDW posts:


Walt Disney World Leftovers - Part 1


For my final two posts covering my recent visit to Walt Disney World I present a batch of photos of elements of the various parks and resorts that didn't fin in my other posts. Today covers the Magic Kingdom, and tomorrow will conclude with Epcot and two of the resorts. Click on the images to view them larger. 

Here are some window displays on Main Street. It was the only time I could get them. The park was completely empty when I took them, but unfortunately the early morning glare kept me from getting better shots. 

I don't think these characters require an introduction. 

It was great to see Horace Horsecollar, I just wish he was in glorious black and white. 

Here's the Golden Outpost at the edge of Adventureland and Frontierland without a crowd of people in front of it. 

Floral topiary displays inside the Crystal Palace. 

Chip and Dale at the hub. 

I don't think I'd ever seen the remote controlled model Jungle Cruise boats that guests could pilot before this trip, so I'm not sure how long they'd been there. Usually the area outside the Jungle Cruise is so congested I head out of it as quickly as possible. My son really wanted to practice his skipper patter with these, but the wait was too long. 

Deer on the Rivers of America. 

The Mad Tea Party remains one of my favorite attractions. 

The Liberty Belle at night. The blue building in the background is the Haunted Mansion. 

For those of you who missed my previous posts in this series, here are some links that will take you to them:


Monday, April 11, 2011

WDW Pirates of the Caribbean Gift Shop

The Pirates of the Caribbean remains one of my favorite attractions at either Disneyland or the Magic Kingdom. Almost as impressive as the ride is the attention to detail that goes into the theming of the gift shop at the end of the ride in Magic Kingdom. 

Here are some photos of many of the design and decorative elements to be found in the gift shop. These were taken when I was able to do so without anyone else in the gift shop except for the cast member manning the register. Now I only wish that more of the merchandise to be had here was based on the attraction and not on the series of movies which the attraction spawned. 

Click any image to make it larger. 


Saturday, April 09, 2011

Cryptids in the Magic Kingdom

Cryptozoology, the study of hidden animals, ie; the search for animals not yet proven to exist, such as bigfoot, is not something typically associated with Disney. This summer's Winnie the Pooh will feature the animated short, The Ballad of Nessie about how the Loch Ness monster came to live in Loch Ness. Previously, Nessie could be found in Man, Monsters and Mystery, a fake documentary set out to prove whether or not the Loch Ness monster is real, also starring an animated lake monster set into real backgrounds. This segment was originally featured on The Wonderful World of Disney and can be found as an extra on the Pete's Dragon DVD. In 1971, the Wide World of Disney featured the two-part episode, "The Strange Monster of Strawberry Cove" based on the story "The Strange Sea Monster of Strawberry Lake" a Mad Scientist's Club tale by Bertrand R. Brinley about a group of smart kids who construct a hoax sea monster. I really hope this shows up on DVD some time as it was a favorite of mine when it was shown on tv. 

Beyond that, there wasn't a whole lot of cryptozoology to be found in Disney Entertainment. Imagine my surprise at how much cryptozoology could be found at Walt Disney World. Given that we are talking about animals, even though they have not been proven to exist, most of the cryptids were found in Disney's Animal Kingdom including three very visible, very live, very real, former Cryptids; the okapi, komodo dragon, and gorilla. Like the sasquatch, these three animals (along with the giant squid and giant panda, among others) were believed to be the fanciful creations of local folklore. 

The most famous cryptid to be found in Disney's Animal Kingdom is the yeti. Once you enter the part of the park representing Asia, the yeti dominates in signs and decor. There are themed structures, shrines, statues, stores, and even exhibits from a non-existent yeti museum (very difficult to photograph as they line the congested queue to the Expedition Everest thrill ride which also features a gigantic yeti represented in projected 2-D animation, and sadly in a blink and you'll miss it audio-animatronic representation towards the ride's final drop.

It was great to see so much yeti material in one place, both folkloric, scientific, and utterly fantastic. It was also great to see cryptozoologist,  Loren Coleman's book on oilman and cryptozoology expedition funder, Tom Slick not only on sale in the gift shop, but part of the yeti museum display. Sadly, most of the other yeti souvenirs on sale were of a cute and/or cartoony nature, so no realistic or folkloric art  inspired yeti statue came home with us.

At the Norway pavillion in EPCOT' s World Showcase there were some examples of sea serpents to be found. Norse mythology has provided us with two famous sea monster's, the Kraken, and the Midgard Serpent, which circle's the world. The viking dragon ships also evoke the appearance of a sea monster and no doubt that's what inspired the two representations below. Non-cryptid folkloric creatures such as trolls, were the centerpiece of the Maelstrom boat ride in Norway.

The following images come from a previous visit, but can still be seen in Walt Disney World. 

Above is the sea monster seen in the nightly Electric Water Pageant, a water parade of barges carrying fanciful aquatic animals composed of lights. This can be seen on the Seven Seas Lagoon at the base of the Magic Kingdom, or from resorts, such as the Polynesian lining the lagoon.

The above sea serpent made of Lego bricks can easily be found in Downtown Disney. It is pretty enormous and impressive to see. 

If there are other cryptids in Walt Disney World, like their real world counterparts, they remain hidden, at least to me. If you know of any more please let me know what they are, and where to find them.