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Tag Archive: Aaron Gillespie


Fans of pop culture and comics have one more day to attend the fourth annual Wizard World Comic Con in Des Moines this weekend.   Held at the Iowa Events Center in downtown Des Moines, thousands of attendees from Iowa and neighboring states toured the halls and giant celebrity autograph and photo-op room, many in cosplay garb Friday and Saturday.  Even more people are expected to turn out for the show Sunday as Wizard World rolls out a “bring a friend free” promotion.  The show continues today 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Check out the event website here for more information.  Wizard World continues its national presentation of comic book and pop culture conventions next week as the show moves on to Columbus, Ohio.  After the success of the first two days of this year’s event in Des Moines, the fifth Wizard World Des Moines show is already being planned by show organizers for next year, to be held May 10-12, 2019.

Doctor Who’s David Tennant and Black Panther’s Winston Duke, and many other celebrities talked with fans in the show’s celebrity row signing area.  Comic book creators talked about books, and autographed books and art for fans.  We loved this new Green Arrow print from guest comic book creators Phil Hester and Ande Parks (with color by Mouse Baumann):

Even more than 20 years after the last episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, James Marsters (Spike) maintained a steady stream of fans waiting in line to meet him all day Saturday:

Star Trek icon Nichelle Nichols returned to the Midwest.  Here she is being interviewed at the event for a local radio station:

Genre actor Jim Beaver (Supernatural, The X-Files, Deadwood, Enterprise) met and signed autographs for crowds of fans:

Nationally-known comic book creators were well-represented at this show.  Artist Phil Hester returned to Wizard World–here he is featured on the creator stage demonstrating illustration techniques:

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Wizard World has added some major celebrities from genredom’s biggest franchises to this weekend’s event in Des Moines, previewed here at borg.com earlier this month.  David Tennant, one of Scotland’s greatest acting talents, has joined the slate of guests at the show.  Tennant is probably the most famous of the 21st century era stars of BBC’s Doctor Who, plus he has appeared in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and Blackpool, as the villain in Season One of Marvel’s Jessica Jones, and he’s currently starring in Dean Devlin’s film Bad Samaritan, now in theaters.

He played the only Hobbit who could be trusted with the One Ring: Cedar Rapids, Iowa native, actor Elijah Wood is heading to Wizard World.  Wood starred as Frodo Baggins in both The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit trilogy, he appeared in Tron: Uprising, Sin City, Treasure Island with Eddie Izzard, and most recently he starred in Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.  Also from The Lord of the Rings, Billy Boyd is scheduled to attend this weekend’s show.  Boyd played Frodo’s Hobbit friend Pippin and he appeared with Russell Crowe in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, among other movies and TV shows.

Along with previously announced creators including Phil Hester, Ande Parks, and Chad Hardin, Wizard World has added guests Ant Lucia, DC Bombshells creator and artist, New Challengers and Bionic Man writer Aaron Gillespie, and writer Jai Nitz, El Diablo co-creator (with show guest Phil Hester) and writer of Dream Thief, Toshiro, and other comic books.

Wizard World Comic Con events bring together thousands of fans of all ages to celebrate the best in pop culture, movies, television, gaming, live entertainment, comics, sci-fi, graphic novels, toys, original art, and collectibles.  This is the fourth year for Wizard World Comic Con Des Moines at the Iowa Events Center in downtown Des Moines.

Show hours are Friday, June 1, 2018, 4-9 p.m.; Saturday, June 2, 2018, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; and Sunday, June 3, 2018, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.  Kids 10 and under are admitted free with paid adult admission.

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Six Million Dollar Man Season Six trade paperback

Following on the heels of the exciting espionage and intrigue-filled series The Bionic Man, this year’s The Six Million Dollar Man Season Six unfortunately didn’t pack the same punch needed to continue the series beyond its first six issues.  It begs the question of whether five seasons really was enough, or whether it’s just too difficult to grab a modern audience with the story of a cybernetic human from the 1970s and 1980s when technology has moved so far past that era.

The reboot via Dynamite Comics’ license for Steve Austin began with a script by Kevin Smith that was then taken over by Phil Hester and wrapped with Aaron Gillespie.  Their series retold Steve Austin’s story of a test pilot crashing and being saved from death via cybernetics in the modern day.  It was a great read that blended the best of the TV series with technology of today.  The mistake may have been discontinuing that series for a reboot aimed to leverage the current marketing hook that worked so well for other TV series continuing in comic book form, the best being Dark Horse Comics’ multi-season Buffy the Vampire Slayer Seasons Eight through Ten, and IDW Publishing’s The X-Files Season Ten.

SMDM6 interior A   SMDM6 interior B

Why weren’t readers pulled in for the Bionic retro-fix?  The fact the story was necessarily planted in the past?  The lack of photo-real interior artwork?  With a new Bionic Man movie in the works with Mark Wahlberg, it may be the next time we see a Steve Austin comic book series is an adaptation of that movie.

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The Bionic Man Volume Three End of Everything Gillespie Tadeo Mayhew Villegas Dynamite

Dynamite Comics’ The Bionic Man series, especially Issues #17-26, was among the best comic book reading of 2013.  They are now available in a trade paperback: The Bionic Man Volume Three: End of Everything.  Featuring a story by Aaron Gillespie, with art by Ed Tadeo and Rey Villegas, colors by Thiago Ribeiro, letters by Simon Bowland, and covers by Mike Mayhew with other regular edition covers and variants by prolific Dynamite Comics artists Jonathan Lau and Ed Tadeo.

The Bionic Man is a great read and recommended for comic book fans.  It features Aaron Gillespie’s storytelling, which we lauded on our borg.com Best of 2013 list last year.  It also has the whole package from cover to cover–story, art, covers, humor, action, and fun.  We won’t re-state what we said in our review last year–you can read that here.  Enough of the origin stories that bogs down superhero books, this Steve Austin was able to get out there and do something.

Bionic Man Issue 20 cover by Mayhew   JF Kennedy bread card 1976

The series featured some of our all-time favorite cover art, with a cover run on Issues #17-22 by The Star Wars artist Mike Mayhew.  Mayhew created a new, cool, young look for Steve Austin, who sported the classic track suit updated for a modern audience and fashion sense.  His Issue #19 cover has Steve holding a car over his head, and you get to really see the strength.  Probably his best cover is for Issue #20, an inspiring cover which reminds me of one of my favorite paintings of President Kennedy.

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Six Million Dollar Man Season Six cover 1

The new Dynamite Comics series that is intended to take over where season five of The Six Million Dollar Man TV series left off hits comic book stores next Wednesday.  We’ve previewed the book and are eager to see how the story develops over the coming year.  Written by James Kuhoric with art by Juan Antonio Ramirez, The Six Million Dollar Man Season Six wastes no time before featuring Maskatron–a great retro idea–in its first story arc with Issue #1.

The best feature of Issue #1 is undeniably the cover by Alex Ross, which is just beautiful.  Ramirez’s interior pages feature well done composition and backgrounds, outer space imagery and technology.  His character faces, however, could be improved with more detail so readers can follow who’s who.  Since this is supposed to be a continuation of the series featuring Lee Majors, it’d be great to see Lee Majors come through in the visuals.  It’s only Issue #1 so we’ll wait to see what future issues have in store for us.

Ramirez interior art Six Million Dollar Man Season Six issue 1

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Miss Fury Dynamite Comics

We tried on for size almost every new book that was released from comic book publishers like Dynamite Comics, Dark Horse Comics, IDW Publishing, Archaia/BOOM!, and Image.  We tried to sample the best of all that Marvel and DC Comics had to offer, too, and although we didn’t have enough time to review everything we did try to put out there for your consideration those titles we thought our readers might like to check out, especially those with a sci-fi, fantasy, or retro bent.  Our pull list included issues from Afterlife with Archie to Django Unchained, from Liberator to Larfleezeand from Velvet to The X-Files.  This past month we have reviewed the year-long run of the best of these titles, as we narrowed our selections to 21 of the very best entries in genre entertainment outside of TV and movies, which we revealed here yesterday.  So here are the rest of our picks for the Best of 2013.

Kane Starkiller borg by Mike Mayhew

Best Borg Appearance — Kane Starkiller, The Star Wars.  Borgs showed up everywhere this year, from the lead characters on Almost Human, to Doctor Who, to countless comic book series including Justice League and RoboCop.  Our favorite appearance came from the young mind of George Lucas as he created the original script that would later be edited into the original Star Wars trilogy.  And through Dark Horse Comics’ The Star Wars monthly comic book event we learned one of his best ideas was merged into other roles and one of his best characters entirely cut.   That character was Jedi Kane Starkiller, who would reveal his cyborg chest implants that kept him alive, later to heroically give up this life-saving technology to save his friends.

MissFury001-Cov-Renaud

Best Comic Book Series — Miss Fury, Dynamite Comics.  A uniquely crafted tale, a compelling and seductive superhero, great action panel after panel, sourced in a long-shelved classic character of the Golden Age of comics.  Rob Williams and Jack Herbert’s Miss Fury is a carefully rendered update that rings true to the edgy spirit of the world’s first female superhero.  Beautiful panels set up an ever-changing time and place and pull readers along for the ride.  And stuck-out-of-time Marla Drake and her alter ego Miss Fury could not have looked better, whether carving out her place in the 1940s or as she was teleported into the future.  It’s a series no one should miss.

Clint Barton Hawkeye by Fraction

Best Comic Book Writing – Matt Fraction, Hawkeye.  Last year revealed one of the best comic book series we ever read, focusing on that “other” superhero archer, the second tier Marvel Comics superhero Hawkeye.  Matt Fraction gave us the most interesting set-up and look into the daily life of a superhero who isn’t Captain America or Iron Man.  This year he kept up the momentum in his Hawkeye monthly series, providing stories that challenged readers, each issue taking a different peek into Clint Barton, another costumed superhero called Hawkeye, and their trusty dog.

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Bionic Man Issue 20 cover by Mayhew

If you like action-centric stories then in 2013 you couldn’t get much better than Dynamite Publishing’s Bionic Man series.  Beginning first as co-writer with Phil Hester then continuing the series as solo writer, Aaron Gillespie quickly made Steve Austin his own, bringing forward the best of the 1970s TV series and updating Austin, O.S.I. chief Oscar Goldman, and Bionic Woman Jaime Sommers for a new generation of fans.

The Six Million Dollar Man, and Austin’s experiences as the world’s first real-life cyborg, is a great franchise for today, and Gillespie has taken advantage of modern technologies in his Issues #12 through this month’s Issue #26.  The Bionic Man has encountered everything from good uses for bluetooths to unexpected side-effects of cyber-hacking, and the introduction of hacker Floyd was one of Gillespie’s great updates to the franchise.  He knows his characters and story, enough to play with the characters in a light-hearted way, while keeping with the spirit of the original source material.

Bionic Man 15 cover

Some of the best additions to Austin’s story include Floyd hacking into his brain computer and appearing as a pink My Little Pony inspired avatar that keeps perplexing the cyborg spy.  It’s a great (and hilarious) device to allow the characters to give jabs at each other, and it provides a relaxed moment for Jaime Sommers’ lost memories of her relationship with Steve to slowly begin to return.

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I-CON 2013 poster

The Iowa Comic Book Club’s annual I-CON convention will be back this Saturday, October 19, 2013, at Forte Banquet and Conference Center at 615 3rd Street in Des Moines, Iowa.  I-CON has been around for more than a decade and grows each year with more creators and guests.

Oddly enough I-CON has been one great way to access creators of favorite borg.com icons Green Arrow and the Bionic Man.  Past attendees have included Green Arrow writer/artist Mike Grell and classic Green Arrow writer Denny O’Neil, and this year two writers of the Bionic Man series are in the line-up.

Ant Lucia Superman and Lois Lane

Ant Lucia print.

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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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