Tag Archive: Ande Parks


Ant Lucia

In addition to great creators from outside the Midwest, like Black Widow artist Phil Noto (as we mentioned here at borg.com yesterday), the great thing about returning to a Con year after year is running into all our friends who write, sketch, or paint incredible works for a living.  Planet Comicon 2015 was no different.

Take for instance Des Moines artist Ant Lucia (pictured above).  Three years ago Ant was just beginning to put together great genre characters like DC superheroes and Star Wars characters in a unique retro style of poster art.  Flash forward to 2014 and an entire month of cover art at DC Comics was devoted to his creations, and statues based on his DC Bombshell designs are selling off the shelves in every town across the country.  Ant’s beautiful designs are second to none, and there’s not a more deserving guy to achieve such success from his ideas.

Other creators at Planet Comicon this weekend with national success included Jason Aaron, who had his own rock star sized line of fans getting his new Star Wars series autographed, as well as artist Freddie Williams II, drawing sketches for fans and signing copies of his Legendary Starlord series, among other works.

Jordan and Fyffe

Pictured above are artists Damont Jordan and Bryan Fyffe.  Damont had a new “spirit fox” print available that blew us away, and he churned out sketches for fans all weekend long.  And we noticed other artists at the Con were coming to Bryan’s booth to buy his framed art for their own homes.  Bryan has the best eye for design of anyone we know, and creates a variety of inspired multi-media works.  His most recent commercial illustration was for some major franchise properties, as well as the cover of John Renehan’s new novel The Valley.  Check out some of his work at his website here.

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Planet Comicon banner 2015

The biggest pop culture and comic book convention ever in the region begins today.  It’s the third annual Planet Comicon to be held in its new venue–the Kansas City Convention Center at Bartle Hall.  This year is even bigger than last year’s show, with more vendor space and more creators in Artists Alley.  Set-up began yesterday morning and continued until late last night.

We discussed some of the media guests previously here at borg.com.  You can get a current line-up at the Con’s website here.

Don’t know where to begin?  Start here, with this short list creators and attractions to check out:

  • Amanda Lynn Chainmaille Creations, Booth 812
  • Elite Comics, Booth 2214 at the Pillar
  • Kansas City Costume Company, Booth 928
  • Wildman Drinking Horns, Booth 1017
  • Writer Jason Aaron, Booth 153
  • Artist Rob Davis, Booth 1036
  • Author Kevin Dilmore, Booth 323
  • Artist Bryan Fyffe, Booth 2740
  • Artist Greg Horn, Booth 2730
  • Writer/Artist Phil Hester, Booth 536
  • Artist Damont Jordan, Booth 2739
  • Artist Ant Lucia, Booth 2745
  • Writer Jai Nitz, Booth 540
  • Artist Phil Noto, on the wall past Booth 2745
  • Writer/Artist Ande Parks, Booth 538
  • Writer Seth Peck, Booth 139
  • Artists Nathen and Keven Reinke, Booth 1436
  • Artist Greg Smallwood, Booth 542
  • Author Dayton Ward, Booth 323
  • Artist Freddie Williams II, Booth 2776
  • Artist Darryl Woods, Cosplay Showcase

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Green Arrow issue 100 cover   Green Arrow 101 cover

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

It’s a line by Alexander Pope in his 1709 poem, and Oliver Queen played out the saying fully in Arrow’s mid-season finale.  Unwisely confronting the League of Assassin’s far more powerful Ra’s Al Ghul and covering for sister Thea by posing as the killer of Sara Lance, Oliver met his end.  “Where Angels Fear to Tread” is also the title of the story arc that took the original run of DC Comics’s Green Arrow one hundred issues to get to–the original fall of the Emerald Archer.  In the mid-season TV finale it was literally a fall–off a cliff after a pretty undeniable death via Ra’s Al Ghul’s sword.

But we all know that the death of a superhero is short-lived 99 percent of the time.  In Issue #101 of DC Comics’ long-running Green Arrow monthly series Ollie met an untimely death in an exploding airplane, and yet the series continued for 36 more issues–without Oliver Queen.  Series star Stephen Amell may have given a clue to a similar direction for the return of the series in January via a Facebook post after the show:

“Despite the title, our show is bigger than any one character.  We’re going to prove that to you.”

Death of Green Arrow

The original, explosive death of Oliver Queen.

So we may see a period during the last half of Season 3 without Ollie.  But a note to the show writers: just don’t take it too far.

It feels like the series has barely begun and the writers have taken the big leap.  Where can we go from here?  Taking a superhero book forward without the title superhero in the 1990s comic book series was a risk, and split those fans who were loyal to the classic Green Arrow and those willing to accept a second Green Arrow–Connor Hawke, Oliver Queen’s son, as a new Green Arrow.  Three years was a surprisingly long run without Ollie, but ultimately the series was cancelled.  Oliver was to be resurrected years later by Kevin Smith, Phil Hester, and Ande Parks in a second successful Green Arrow series.

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FreeCon poster 2013

It’s a big Con weekend in the Midwest with annual shows in Iowa (see our earlier preview today here) and Kansas.  The eighth annual Free State Comicon will be held this Saturday, October 19, 2013, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in Lawrence, Kansas.  It will be held in Building #21 of the Douglas County Fairgrounds at 2110 Harper Street where it was located in previous years.  Admission is $5.00.

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After a crazy day of an insane volume of fans storming Bartle Hall in Kansas City Saturday for the biggest Planet Comicon event in more than a dozen years of events, it seemed like everyone came back Sunday for Day Two with aisles jam-packed again.  And for fans of all things borg like us, it was a banner day, meeting up with the original Bionic Woman herself, Lindsay Wagner, and the current writer on Dynamite’s Bionic Man series, Aaron Gillespie.

First up–Bionic Man cosplay.  The idea was inspired by my own large-sized action figure as a kid.  Originally planned by DW and me for SDCC 2012, it seemed a great fit for a borg.com tie-in, too.  Always looking for something original for other fans to enjoy, we’d never seen anyone re-create Steve Austin, the Bionic Man, at any convention ever, or posted online anywhere.  As the idea developed we decided it needed something more–and we moved from the character to the 1970s action figure itself.  With bionic eye, inserted arm circuitry, a pair of classic red and white striped Adidas Dragons, the classic red track suit, and the key identifier–the patch that was used as the official fan club badge and stuck on the chest of every Bionic Man action figure, which makes sense for the toy but would never make sense on the show–we had all but one thing left.   Decades ago you could find plastic hair at costume or theatrical shops but go searching and you’ll come up empty.  So we searched for full face masks that could be altered and came up with a JFK mask that could be cut and repainted, which seemed to do the trick.  Add some spirit gum (which may never ever come off my face) and temporarily lose the goatee, we found contact lenses from a UK retailer, made the patch from transfer paper using Web images and interfacing, and temporary tattoo material, and we have the Six Million Dollar Man large-sized action figure.  We got some good reaction to it at the Elite Comics Halloween event last year, and when we saw Lindsay Wagner as a guest of this year’s Planet Comicon it was obvious I was going to wear it to the show.

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Planet Comicon logo

Planet Comicon announced this weekend that advance tickets for Planet Comicon 2013 are now available for sale.  This year Planet Comicon is Saturday, April 6, 2013 at 10:00 AM – 7 PM and Sunday, April 7, 2013 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM at downtown Kansas City’s giant Bartle Hall, a switch from the show’s home at Overland Park International Trade Center from past years.  The relocation was the result of the growing numbers at the event in the past two years requiring an expansion to this larger venue.

Use the below link to purchase a single day or weekend pass.  There is no limit to the quantities you may order.

ADVANCE TICKET PURCHASE

Advance tickets will be sold until midnight on Sunday, March 17, 2013.  After that time, they will only be available for sale at the event.

Weekend passes for adults are being sold at a discounted rate of $35.00.  All other prices will be identical to on-site pricing.

Advance tickets are available for sale only through Paypal, which accepts all major credit cards and bank debits.

Advance tickets will also be made available soon through the event facility and certain area retailers, including Elite Comics, located at 11842 Quivira in Overland Park, KS.

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As the world’s biggest Green Arrow fan I have seen it all when it comes to the Emerald Archer.  My preference has always been for the 1970s Oliver Queen by Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams, but I soon grew to love Mike Grell’s urban hunter version set in Seattle, and later became a believer in Phil Hester and Ande Parks’ run, especially when joined by Judd Winick’s new spin on Speedy.

I spent the entire night awake waiting in line at San Diego Comic-Con this summer to see the preview of the new CW Network series Arrow, about a younger Oliver Queen.  I think it is going to be a successful series that will rival the CW’s Smallville or Supernatural.  Admittedly I have not enjoyed the first year of Green Arrow in the New 52 for various reasons I’ve discussed here before.  So I was looking forward to seeing the Captain Atom team of Judd Winick and Freddie Williams II taking on Green Arrow in the one-shot Green Arrow #0 released this week.

And I wasn’t disappointed.

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The seventh annual Free State Comicon will be held this Saturday, September 8th, 2012, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm in Lawrence, Kansas.  It will be held in Building #21 of the Douglas County Fairgrounds at 2110 Harper Street where it was located in previous years.  Admission is $5.00.

The event created by KC Fancon who used to have the catchy slogan “Get your Freak-on at the Free-con” is well worth the five bucks admission and is a fun event focusing on the Kansas City area comic book scene.  Featured creators at this year’s show include penciler/inker/writer Ande Parks (Green Arrow, Antman, Capote in Kansas, Union Station, El Diablo, Kato, Lone Ranger), writer Jai Nitz (Kato, Silver Star, El Diablo, Tron: Betrayal, Blue Beetle), penciler/writer Steve Lightle (Classic X-Men, Legion of Superheroes, The Flash), and writer Seth Peck (Fear Itself: Wolverine, ’76).  Get sketches of your favorite characters from artist Damont Jordan, and chat about and purchase copies of the newest Star Trek novels from Kevin Dilmore and Dayton Ward.

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By C.J. Bunce

One of the Midwest’s best pop culture and comic book conventions was this past weekend, Planet Comicon, which has been Kansas City’s largest fan convention for more than a dozen years.  The show seemed to be bursting from its seams this year with thousands of guests, and appears to be outgrowing its venue at the Overland Park International Trade Center.

The film and TV headliners for this year’s show included Edward James Olmos, best known to sci-fi fans for his role in Blade Runner and as Adama in the Battlestar Galactica reboot series.  He signed autographs and took photos with fans both days of the show.  Here he is with Erin Gray, who appeared with other actors from the 1979-1981 TV series Buck Rogers and the 25th Century: 

Gray also appeared on an episode of the Syfy Channel’s Hollywood Treasure last year.

The other featured major guest from film and TV was Billy Dee Williams, best known as Lando Calrissian in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, but also as Harvey Dent alongside Michael Keaton in the 1989 Batman film.  His current work includes a stint on USA’s White Collar.

Billy Dee also appeared at the show both days.  (I offered a woman in line $5 to say “Billy Dee, Billy Dee, Billy Dee!” when she finally met him but didn’t take me up on it.  And it’s OK if you don’t get that reference).

Early Saturday morning legendary comic book artist Michael Golden is getting fueled up before embarking on a sketch of Green Arrow:

Green Arrow by Michael Golden. How cool is that?

Michael is known for his work on such titles like Marvel Comics series The ‘Nam, GI Joe Yearbook, Star Wars, and Micronauts.  He is also the co-creator of the X-Men character Rogue.

I’ve been a fan of the different styles Mike Norton uses in his art for quite a while.  Here he is signing one of his comic pages for the Green Arrow/Black Canary series, where he did the pencil work and comic book legend Bill Sienkiewicz provided the ink work:

Mike is working on a creator-owned project currently and has previously worked on Runaways, Gravity, the Young Justice animated series comic book.  He was actively sketching pages for fans at the show and produced probably a dozen at least over the weekend, including this great image for me:

Unfortunately Bernie Wrightson wasn’t sketching at this year’s convention, but he was signing plenty of shirts and books for his Frankenstein book.  Wrightson’s horror artwork goes back several decades, with his first published comic work with House of Mystery in 1969.  He co-created Swamp Thing in 1971.  His work has appeared in Creepy, Eerie and Vampirella, and Batman: The Cult.  Here Wrightson is at a signing table with Freddie Williams II and his wife Kiki:

Freddie is well known for his work on his Robin series, and is currently one of the DC Comics top artists.  We reviewed his and JT Krul’s Captain Atom series here at borg.com a few weeks ago.  Freddie was busy creating sketches for fans and speaking on panels at the show.

Currently working on projects for Dynamite Comics, Bionic Man writer Phil Hester and Lone Ranger writer Ande Parks had pages of original artwork as well as copies of their books new and old that they were signing for fans, including a lot of low-priced original art from their run on the DC Comics Green Arrow series:

It’s great that these guys have tackled both the writing and illustration sides of comic book creation.

I got to catch up again with a couple well known Kansas City authors.  Here, Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore, two of the best known authors of Star Trek novels, talk with fans at the show.

The NBC TV series Heroes co-creator Tim Sale was signing books and art at his booth:

Sales’ past work includes art in Batman: Dark Victory, Batman: The Long Halloween, Daredevil: Yellow, Hulk: Grey, Spider-Man: Blue and Superman For All Seasons.  (What’s with these color titles, anyway?).  His unique stylized paintings on Heroes featured into the plot of the series.

I spent time chatting with Rob B. Davis, currently providing illustrations for a Sherlock Holmes series and past artist for Malibu’s Deep Space Nine comic book series, writer Jai Nitz, who was juggling signing copies of his Kato and Tron: Betrayal series while moderating different comic book panels at the show, borg.com writer Art Schmidt, local writer Justin Cline manning the front of the convention, and Todd Aaron Smith, who sketched this great Black Canary image for me:

Smith had provided storyboards for Family Guy and other animation art for shows like South Park and various DC Comics and Marvel Comics TV series.  Current Marvel Comics lead writer Jason Aaron could be found with some good lines of fans waiting to get copies of his various Hulk, Wolverine and X-men series signed:

The facility was packed wall to wall with plenty of booths selling everything from graphic novels to collectible action figures, original comic book art, and comic book back issues.  Here, Elite Comics comic book store owner William Binderup appears to be raking in some cash from sales of comics at his booth:

Show producer Chris Jackson seemed pleased with the success of this year’s convention.

And of course there were plenty of cosplayers.  Here a few Batman characters huddled for a photo:

But I think the best was this “Hello Kitty meets Stormtrooper” mash-up:

No doubt it would have been a far different Star Wars had Luke showed up to rescue the princess with this outfit.

Review by C.J. Bunce

My exposure to the Lone Ranger was via Saturday movie serials featuring Clayton Moore’s portrayal of the masked lawman and his partner Tonto, played by Jay Silverheels.  I watched these with my dad, and he had watched them in the theaters as a kid.  My exposure to Zorro was via Guy Williams’ portrayal in a similar series I watched with my dad.  Williams, of course, later played Will Robinson on Lost in Space.  Moore and Williams looked alike to me, and I’ll admit if you told me George Reeves (who portrayed Superman in the 1950s alongside these other shows) had starred as Zorro or the Lone Ranger I would not have been surprised.  I mention all three together here because they all could be the same forthright hero played by the same lead actor.  So from my view it is a no-brainer that you would hook up the two Old West characters from this period of classic TV.  I also was familiar with the Antonio Banderas films The Mask of Zorro and The Legend of Zorro.

   

The Lone Ranger: The Death Of Zorro Issues #1-5, published last year, was released this week in a trade paperback edition and it’s definitely one you’ll want to check out if you like Westerns, especially the old Lone Ranger and Zorro serials, or if you’re just looking for something different.

This is not a team-up in any shape or form.  It is more like The Godfather, Part 2 in its structure with Don Diego/Zorro as Don Corleone and the John Reid/The Lone Ranger in the Michael Corleone role, of sorts.

A fully realized historical fiction novel is lurking somewhere between the pages of this book, held back only by the required page count for the comic book format.  Expect something much more complex than, say, the current All-Star Western series by DC Comics (which is brilliant in a different way).  Unlike the Jonah Hex story, this is a shoot ‘em up only secondarily.  Like Jai Nitz’s work on Dynamite’s Kato Origins series, Ande Parks delves deeper into the characters we only know on the surface.  In fact I have been getting the vibe reading Dynamite Comics titles in the past year that this rich writing of background and relationships is becoming a hallmark of the publisher’s writer choices.  Along with that, this trade paperback features another stellar retro homage to Zorro and The Lone Ranger by cover artist Alex Ross.

Note that this is not a Zorro book as much as Lone Ranger book, as the Spanish masked hero dies early on, which should be no surprise based on the title.  But his spirit and legacy fuels the actions of the Lone Ranger and the rest of the story.  The audacity of killing off one of the heroes so early was surprising, but in a good way just as Steven Seagal had shared billing in the trailers with Kurt Russell in Executive Decision, yet was eliminated within minutes of the opening credits.  You could see Parks and artist Esteve Polls branching off on some past Zorro stories.  Polls’s artisitic style for this book is very classic Western.

Look for themes of honor, loyalty, racism, brutality, corruption, Civil War aftermath, Spanish influences in America, the legacy of Native Americans–there is a lot that is woven into this story.  Parks even works in a subplot involving bushwhackers much like the James brothers into the story.  Plenty of strong-willed characters can be found here, and villains who are not just the guys in the black hats, but characters with their own rules and motivations, however clouded or deluded with the hindsight of the modern reader.

You need only have a passing interest in the Old West to get looped into this story.  Those who wouldn’t think to give the genre a try are missing out, and I would place this story alongside DC Comics’ El Diablo: The Haunted Horseman as a good entry point for new readers (Parks served as inker on El Diablo, BTW) as Dynamite currently has several title featuring The Lone Ranger available.

Ande Parks will be known here to fans of Green Arrow as inker for several years on the DC Comics title along with artist Phil Hester.  he also has written several works, including Capote In Kansas, Union Station, and The Green Hornet: Blood Ties.

The Lone Ranger: The Death Of Zorro is now available in bookstores and online.

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