This photo arrived from my old Mirage Studios amigo Ryan Brown this past week, and I thought some of you might get a kick out of it.
I'm the bozo on the left, scouring the bins for weird collectibles; that's toy and collectibles dealer Bill Bruegman dead center, and a youthful Kevin Eastman on the right.
Ah, a lot of water under the bridge since then. (BTW, as Marge and I unpack, a lot of old photos from the convention days are beginning to turn up -- I'll be posting them from time to time here, so let's favor Ryan's sharing of this photo as a harbinger of things to come as well as days gone by, shall we?)
Ryan writes, "Remember when we all boarded the Magic Bus for Mid Ohio Con and stopped at Bill Bruegman's Toy Scouts for a look at all his old toys? Ah... those were the days!"
They were indeed.
But that was then, this is now.
That was brought home in spades with this --
My 'Cash Flagg' reference and evocation of the great 'Cash Flagg' (aka Ray Dennis Steckler)'s magnum opus The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies prompted a couple of email jeers, but hey, here's the proof: yes, the film not only really existed, it's enjoyed a healthy (if odd, appropo enough) life on video and DVD.
(FYI, I mentioned the film when I referenced
I first saw the film under another title in a northern VT drive-in -- Teenage Psycho Meets Bloody Mary was the moniker it was re-released as, with "ax wielding maniacs actually in the audience!" as its ballyhoo. Drive-ins didn't serve this gimmick well: stooges in rubbery 'Cash Flagg' monster masks dashed around the grounds in the dark, waving cardboard axes. We could barely see 'em from our car, though everyone started honking their horns, making for high spirits and dissolving the narcotic effect of the film itself into drive-in delirium.
This film came up again recently, as a clutch of the CCS students plan their annual Easter zombie film fest. One of the programmers is pushing for The Incredibly Strange Creatures to join the lineup, but I cautioned him -- I mean, it's not a zombie movie (acid-scarred caged maniacs do not zombies make, whatever the title sez). Besides, though I love the film, it's deadly dull, dominated by mind-numbing stage musical numbers that kill any festive movie-viewing gathering (I know from experience!). That said, it remains Steckler's most famous and infamous film, bar none; The Thrill Killers is a far more entertaining followup, to my mind, and my personal fave of the 'Cash Flagg' pantheon, spiced with livelier lunacy and a dollop or two of then-shocking onscreen violence (decapitations) and a "where the hell did this come from?" B-western-like chase finale typical of Steckler's eclectic cineuniverse.
'Nuff said on that!
However, there was some tragic news that arrived this past weekend. Rick Veitch emailed me before the weekend with rumors that our old self-publishing 1990s tour amigo Drew Hayes had died --
Rick and I had let contact with Drew drift since the heyday of the Spirit of Independents tours of the mid-'90s, though Drew's Poison Elves soldiered on, beyond the collapse of Capital Distribution and the rise of the Diamond Monopoly, thanks largely to Sirius providing a sorely-needed publishing umbrella.
I don't know yet what happened, save for what's on the links posted above. My best to Drew's family and friends; it was a privilege to tour with him, and Drew poured himself 100% into his art and comics.
Damn, comics claims some good souls. Gene Day, Wally Wood, and too many others -- Drew went too young. He'll be missed.
Work on the upcoming April WRIF -- the White River Indy Film festival -- is nearing completion, too, so I'll have some announcements (and an active link) to share by the coming weekend.
We've corraled an extraordinary lineup of films, complete with visiting filmmakers, panels and special events. I'll be hosting a panel of Vermont filmmakers on April 27, and if you're up for it, my lengthy presentation on Green Mountain Cinema: Vermont Films & Filmmakers helps kick off the event with a special April 22nd fundraiser.
More info next weekend!
Yep, my old pal Rob Walton is a-comin' in, so I'll be barely blogging after tomorrow. Rob is staying over with Marge and I here in our new homestead, and since he's sleeping in our guest room -- where the computer resides -- I'll be offline for the bulk of the week.
See you here tomorrow, then likely no more 'till Friday. No worries, I'll be back at it next week.
Rob is coming in part to work the Center for Cartoon Studies students to little nubs. We've got two intensive workshops planned -- a lecture-based overview of editing graphic novels on Wednesday morning, primarily composed of Rob's analysis of his revamp and revision of Ragmop into the graphic novel that saw print just last November, followed by a two-part afternoon drawing workshop we'll be tag-teaming on. See what you're missing, not attending CCS?
It's been years since Rob and I got to spend any time together, so we're both really looking forward to the week ahead. In the meantime, you can savor Rob's creations yourself, here in virtual space --