March 2008 - Chris Ullrich dot net
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March 2008

I write stuff

When sitting down to write a blog post, sometimes its kinda difficult to think of something to write about. As most of my writing these days is about things I really like, that leaves fewer of those things to talk about here at my own blog.

So, rather than bore you with a lot of nonsense and try to fill, vamp or otherwise make stuff up, I’m just going to plug some of the articles I’ve done recently at other sites to which I contrbute. So, without further to do, here goes:

Dark Horse Comics Editor Scott Allie talks about Serenity, Buffy, Joss Whedon, Mike Mignola and potential new Serenity comics (pitched by yours truly).

Writer Brandon Jerwa talks about his comic book: Battlestar Galactica: Season Zero

Also, here’s a couple photo galleries from the recent Wizard World show in Los Angeles:

People, Places, Events

Costumes

Speaking of conventions, I’ll be heading to New York mid-April for the New York Comic Con, which takes place April 18-20 at the Jacob Javits Center in NYC. If you happen to be attending, be sure to say hello if you see me. And, if you happen to be a comics pro looking to plug any of your upcoming projects, feel free to contact me as I am in the process of scheduling interviews during the show.

Last, but not least, the search for an artist to collaborate on my two comic book projects is almost over. I’ve narrowed it down to the final ten and will be doing some interviews next week in LA and perhaps one or two in NYC following.

Then, I’ll make the selection and that lucky person will be able to get to work helping me create some very cool comics. More on that as it develops. Meantime, have fun watching these New York Comic Con videos.

Cool Art and Wizard World stuff

Sometimes in my travels I come across cool things and want to share them. Here’s an example of that:

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These panels were part of the ‘Mondo Marvel’ presentation at Wizard World LA this weekend — which even though it was pretty small was still a great time. I attended the panel for ComicMix and was pretty impressed with this Thor artwork by Patrick Zircher. This guy rocks and I think will have along career in comics.

I also got a chance to interview a bunch of other cool people at WWLA including another artist whose work I like very much: Jacen Burrows. That interview is already up over at ComicMix. Here’s a couple of things from him including a page from 303, which he did with Garth Ennis, and a Blackgas cover, a book he did with Warren Ellis:

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I also had a chance to talk with X-Force and Dark Tower writer Peter David, Battlestar Galactica Co-Executive Producer Mark Verheiden and superstar screenwriter Zak Penn. Look for those articles soon.

You know, its pretty cool to work in the business I work in. This writing thing is pretty darn fun.

Wizard World LA and Other Stuff

I’ll be at Wizard World LA this weekend checking thing out, doing interviews with some cool people and generally getting into trouble. So, if you happen to be going yourself, feel free to say “hello” if you see me. Or, look for me on Twitter @chrisu.

I’ll be hitting the show floor and visiting a few panels in particular. Among the panels I’m most interested in are the Marvel Ultimates panel, Mondo Marvel, DC Nation, X-Men, anything Indiana Jones and Star Wars related, the Screenwriters panel on Saturday and anything else that seems interesting, unusual or worth a look.

Also, during the show I’ll be interviewing some cool writers, artists and other creatives, mostly for Comicmix, so stay tuned for those to show up during and after the show. Its gonna be pretty fun.

In other news, I recently went back home to Encinitas for a few days to help Mom look through some stuff. Mostly boxes that were stored in the various places my father used to keep things that I asked him to hold onto for me.

While going through some of this stuff, I was thrilled to discover some of my old comics that I thought were gone long ago. It was great to see them again and think back to a simpler time when I was a kid and first started reading the adventures of Captain America, Green Lantern, Superman and Spider-Man.

Finding these comics was also great because some of them featured the work of one of my favorite artists of all time: Jack “King” Kirby. The ones I liked the most were for Kirby’s Captain America “Mad Bomb” story, starting with issue #193 and leading up to Caps’ 200th issue.

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I’ve since brought all those recovered gems back with me to LA and they are currently enjoying a place of honor, complete with new bags and boards, in my current collection. Seeing the old and new comics together really shows how far comics have come in terms of print quality and presentation.

However, that doesn’t take away anything from my older “classic” comics at all. In spite of their age and less-advanced printing and presentation, they’re still a great read and the art still packs as much of a punch as it ever did.

Why says newer is always better?

Late Night Decisions

This whole time change thing has got my internal clock messed up or something as I’m normally, at least these days, tired at this time of night and ready to go to sleep. Yes, its sad. I know.

You wouldn’t think one hour more or less would make that much of a difference, but apparently it does. Anyway, it gives me a chance to do a blog post and also watch some great (or not-so-great) TV shows or movies.

Right now, I’m choosing between ‘Disturbia’, ‘Open Water 2: Adrift’ or ‘Executive Decision’ and am leaning towards the first one, mostly because its an updated version of one of my favorite Hitchcock films: ‘Rear Window.’ Here’s the trailer, just in case you’re interested.

Or, there’s probably something already recorded on the Tivo I could watch. At the moment, the Tivo is filled with shows like the series finale of ‘The Wire’, episodes of ‘The Tudors’ and probably a couple ‘Reaper’ episodes too. Also, probably a few movies as well including ‘Torn Curtain’ (another great Hitchcock film) and ‘Last King of Scotland’ starring Forrest Whitaker as Idi Amin.

Oh, I almost forgot about all the stuff on the Apple TV that streams from my media iMac in the office and also has been downloaded fro the iTunes music/TV/movies store. On that device, I believe, are episodes of ‘Weeds’, ‘Baslisk’, ‘Babylon 5’ and movies like ‘Eastern Promises’, ‘Shoot ’em Up’ and ‘Live Free or Die Hard.’

So, more things to consider when trying to decide how to keep myself entertained while I can’t sleep. With all this media and entertainment basically at my fingertips 24/7, why am I worried about trying to sleep? Maybe I should just enjoy being awake and catch up on all my movie and TV viewing.

Choices, choices, choices. I guess its a good thing but really, I probably watch too much TV. Maybe, instead of sitting here and watching programs created by other people i should get back to creating some of my own?

I think that’s a good idea . . . right after this show’s over.

RIP: E. Gary Gygax 1938-2008

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Sad news today. E. Gary Gygax, the man widely considered the “Father of Role-Playing-Games,” has died. He was 69 years old. I already wrote a piece about Gygax and his death over at ComicMix. What I didn’t mention in that piece was that, like ComicMix’s Glen Hauman, I also had a personal connection to the man.

I was fortunate to meet Gary Gygax after some friends of mine and I decided to have a D&D marathon at my house one Summer weekend in the late ’70s. We decided to invite Mr. Gygax to join us by writing him a personal letter. We even enclosed an article from the local paper (the Coast Dispatch in case you’re curious) featuring our upcoming marathon in order to try and entice his participation a bit more.

Sadly, he wasn’t able to attend, but he did write me a personal letter with his regrets and also graciously included several D&D adventure modules, as yet unpublished, for us to use during the game. We used them and had a great time, all the while praising Gygax for being cool enough to not only respond to us, but for caring enough to send us stuff to help make our marathon D&D session a success.

Several years later, I was able to actually meet Gygax in person at GenCon after I had convinced my parents it was a good idea to drive me across country so I could play D&D with a bunch of other kids in Wisconsin. My parents were cool like that and did it not only once, but twice.

When I met him the first time at GenCon we spoke for several minutes and he even remembered me from when I had invited him to our game. He was a great guy to talk to. Over the years I would run into him again at various events and each time he would, somehow, remember me and we would have another very nice conversation. At each and every meeting he was gracious and generous with his time.

The magnitude of Gygax’s influence on gaming and pop culture, both directly and indirectly, isn’t something that can easily be measured. He was extremely popular among those who played his games, of course, but his creations, particularly D&D, also had a profound effect on kids of my and later generations.

D&D helped us learn to think logically, to solve problems, to work as a team and, more importantly, to use our imaginations. As someone who has the privilege of using his imagination on a daily basis and gets paid for it, I , for one, have a debt to Gary Gygax that can never be repaid.

I feel confident there are others out there working away creating the current and next generations of games, comic books, movies and TV shows that feel the same way I do.

Thanks for the help and inspiration Gary. We need more people around like you. You will be missed.