Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Memorial Day Pushes New Releases This Week to THURSDAY

Due to the Memorial Day holiday on Monday, we'll be running a day late late this week, so THURSDAY JUNE 1 will be New Releases' Day this week at FLYING COLORS (and every other comic shop in the U.S., for that matter).

Libby and I took in the Oakland A's game on Memorial Day evening and it was a beautiful night at the old ball-park. The A's dropped another one, despite the home runs of Frank Thomas and Nick Swisher. The two pics here are from last night's game and the "Pyro-Spectacular" fireworks' show after the game (lame as my pic here is, it was a good show).

As for comics (and other cool stuff) what a week it will be!
Here a just some of the highlights of this week's New Releases:

* A strong week for ONI Press with Brian Wood's LOCAL #5 and Sam Keith's MY INNER BIMBO #1 leading the way.

* 52 Week #4. The more you know about the DC Super-heroes, the more you will love this series. Still, it's a series that everyone should check out as lots of future stories in other continuing series will spring from it (like the upcoming first appearance of the new JUSTICE LEAGUE of AMERICA).

* I want everyone to pick up a copy of SUPERMAN/BATMAN #26 (pictured here). For one thing, it's an INFINITE CRISIS tie-in, giving us a little more behind the relationship of SUPERBOY and ROBIN. More than than, it's a star-studded issue with work from a Who's Who of Great Comic Talent. Writers include Jeph Loeb, Brian K Vaughn, Joss Whedon, Brad Meltzer, Allen Heinberg and Geoff Johns (and more!) Artists include Jim Lee, Joe Madurueira, John Cassaday, Michael Turner, Pat Lee (and more again!)

Most especially, you need to pick up this issue because it truly is special. Series writer Jeph Loeb's late son Sam, plotted the story and was slated to write it until he succumbed to sarcoma last year. In his stead, the all-star roster of talent stepped in to finish off the issue and show their respect for Sam Loeb. Sales of this issue will benefit the SAM LOEB SCHOLARSHIP FUND. A fun read, the biggest assemblage of talent on a comic book in years--- and it benefits a good cause. Sounds like a no-brainer pick-up to me...

So much more will be in-store THURSDAY JUNE 1--- be here, willya?

(Due to the Memorial Day Holiday, our store hours for this week are Tuesday, Wednesday 11am-7pm. We will be open 11am-8pm on THURSDAY for New Releases' Day.)


Sunday, May 28, 2006

A Giant Day: #715

I really wished the Giants would have won today. That would have made the day even more special.

As it is, Libby and I were among the 43,000 fans basking in the sunny glory of seeing Barry Bonds career home-run #715, moving him past the immortal Babe Ruth to become the most prolific left-handed homer hitter in Major League baseball history.

When Barry took Byung Hyun Kim's 3-2 pitch and rocketed it over the center field wall, some 440 feet away from home plate, the crowd (hey, we were *already* on our feet) erupted in a cacophony of noise that no doubt left many a Giants' fan hoarse with happiness.

There's a good chance some of the throng at the SF Phone Booth were not dyed in the wool Barry fans, but I hope at that moment of impact between bat, ball and history, Barry converted a few more baseball fans. The Giants organization knew how to celebrate, too. No on-field interruptions save for a couple of sustained curtain calls.

But as Barry trotted around the bases (that's him heading for 3rd in the #715 trot in one of the shots here) two huge banners unfurled on either side of the scoreboard in center field. One celebrating Barry---the other one of Hank Aaron, still towering over every power hitter in the history of the game at 755. (Though as provincial as this may sound, I'm in the camp that believes Willie Mays easily lost more than 100 home-runs to his two years of military service when he was with the NY Giants, and the fierce and unforgiving Candlestick winds during his San Francisco tenure.)

As a baseball fan my whole life--- my Dad taught me to read sitting in his lap looking at baseball boxscores when I was a toddler--- I've been fortunate enough to see so many power-hitting Hall-of-Famers, those who played for the Giants and cross-bay A's and those who played against them. Mays, McCovey, Cepeda, Reggie Jackson, Aaron, Harmon Killebrew, Mike Schmidt, Frank Robinson (!), and others. Despite the allegations, Bonds has passed them all, no asterisk needed.

It takes a heck of a lot more talent than clear and cream to tattoo a baseball like Barry has for the last 20 years. Once again, I feel fortunate to have witnessed Barry's historic blast.

But I *really* wish the Giants would have won the game...

Peace 'n' Home Runs!

(...and I'll be out there tomorrow night rooting on the A's against the Royals, while hoping the Giants hook the Marlins in Florida.)

Friday, May 19, 2006

Pictures Worth More than 1000 Words!

I'd like to share a few of the original art pieces I received for my recent 50th b-day. I'm not gloating--- I'm really just so appreciative of all the thoughtful cards, letters, drawings and good wishes---and I'd like to share some of them with you.

I've been a big supporter and fan of Jeff Bonivert's singular style for many years. He puts a lot of humor and a lot of heart into everything he does. Notice the gang in the background? That's part of the Flying Colors' Retailing Brigade---Jenny, Mike and Brian.

This piece comes with a story---- and I'll let you read it when you visit the store next, OK?

Jeff also did for me a cover recreation of Amazing Spider-Man #39---and one of the cool things about it is, while my fave comic artist John Romita did the original cover, Jeff's rendition has a lot more Ditko-style twists to it. Right now, I'm displaying this piece on our artboard in Flying Colors. On the same board are some very cool pieces by Jenny (that's her Greg Land-ish Storm), Flying Colors' Retailing Brigade member Andy (who did the Blob-ish looking piece) and Andy's significant other/girlfriend/all around cool gal cartoonist Kat (who did the ultra-cool Superman art shown here) and Keri (FlyCo regular and the world's biggest Captain Marvel--Shazam!-- fan Darné's beautiful daughter) did the very sweet Ms Marvel page.
Like I said, I'm a lucky guy!

Dan Brereton was living in Walnut Creek when Flying Colors first opened in October '88. At that point Dan had his first work published in the Eclipse magazine called "Merchants of Death" (with a title like that, it didn't last long). Anyway, Dan's star was just starting to rise because his next project was "Black Terror", also from Eclipse. It was one of the first fully-painted comic series on the market and it was just a hint of the talent to come from Mr. Brereton. Locals have really been snapping up copies of Dan's GIANTKILLER which takes place on Mount Diablo and other recognizable Bay Area locales.

Anyway, Dan painted this piece from an old photo of a 12 year-old me. It was the only photo from my youth showing me reading a comic book! Wow! Thank you, my friend!

One of my mentors and good friends in the comics' biz was Bill Liebowitz, the "Big Kahuna" of Golden Apple Comics in Los Angeles. The comics' industry lost a giant when Bill passed away a year and half ago.
Over the years I knew Bill, Libby and I also became close with Bill's wife Sharon, and Bill & Sharon's son Ryan and I worked together for a couple of years when I had a hand in hiring Ryan to be the general manager of WonderCon. Anyway, the roots go deep between the Liebowitz and Field families.

So it was with honor that I received this piece of art from Sharon, originally done by Kevin McGuire at DC Comics when Bill turned 50 in 1991. Sharon sent it to me for my 50th with a note mentioning that Ryan, who is now at the helm of Golden Apple (as the "L'il Kahuna"--- all 6'5" of him!), turns 50 in October 2024! Guess what Ryan's gonna get for his half-century b-day?!

Sharon, this means a lot to me---and it is now hanging in my office to keep inspiring me with fond memories of Bill and you and our friendship. Thank you!

Peace, all---


Thursday, May 18, 2006


Here are another couple of shots from Free Comic Book Day.

The first is sort of an aerial view of Jenny at the counter where we gave away the comics. The second is a shot of me with Libby and Bill Morrison---and if you're paying close attention, you can see the plate of Libby's amazing creme de menthe brownies.

Maybe FCBD was your first time coming to Flying Colors--- it was for more than 200 of the 1100 people who came here on May 6.

If you're still somewhat new to reading comics or need recommendations for what to buy readers (of any age!), please know that the whole Flying Colors' "Retailing Brigade" is ready to help you! Every week we post a list of staff recommendations right next to the New Releases" board. But there is soooo much good stuff available these days, that the picks' board barely scratches the surface of all the good titles we can recommend for your sublime reading pleasure.

A lot of guys will bring their wives and girlfriends with them when the guys come to get their comics, but I've got to let you knwo that there are many comics and graphic novels that have a lot to offer women who are willing to give the comics' medium a chance. Jenny is sespecially a good staff member to talk to to find something special for female readers.

Remember--- Comics are even better when they are shared!


Tuesday, May 16, 2006


It's been a crazy couple of weeks...

First, some FREE COMIC BOOK DAY business to attend to here.

Thank you to the more than 1100 new and returning comic fans who showed up at FLYING COLORS on May 6 for the 5th Annual FCBD. We gave away thousands of comics and we really hope everyone is enjoying them. Read 'em and then come back to FLYING COLORS for more! Woo-hoo!!

More big thanks to BILL (Bongo Comics) MORRISON for being such a great guest. Bill dazzled fans with sketches and he must have signed more than 500 copies of the BONGO "Free For All" FCBD Special Edition comic book.

Since you were here on FCBD (right?), you know we were taking registrations for a prize drawing, so I'd like to announce the winners:
* GERALD TAMAYO won a pair of tickets to see the Oakland A's!
* TIFFANY SUTHERLAND was the big winner of a Shopping Spree for $100 worth of comics & other cool stuff at FLYING COLORS!
Congratulations to Gerald and Tiffany!

As many of you know, last Sunday May 14th was my 50th birthday. I had no idea what my sweet wife Libby was up to, but she quietly spread the word for friends and family to send me cards. The first thing she set up was a little surprise party at the end of Free Comic Book Day.

I was pretty delirious by the end of the day to begin with, but when we went next door to Round Table I was greeted by friends and family. My life-long pal Steve (the guy who got me into comics when I was 11) was down from Washington, the first Flying Colors' staffer from 1988, Mark Parsons, flew up from L.A., my dear friends Jerry & Kim came out from Stockton, my brother and his family were here--- and then there was a contingent of Flying Colors' regulars and staff, too! It was quite a deal.

Libby presented me with a Spider-Man decorated cake ---and along with daughter Jenny and friend Jonathan, they put together a video montage of photos from the first half-century (*gulp*) of my life, with a soundtrack of some of my favorite power pop music (Beatles, Shazam, Chris Von Sneidern, Glen Phillips). It was awesome, even if some of the photos used were, shall we say, a tad embarrassing.

Now all of that was on May 6, a full week before my actual b-day. Since then, Lib and I took a short trip to Southern California to see our favorite band, SPOCK'S BEARD, perform in Hollywood on Friday night and Santa Ana on Saturday night.

SPOCK'S BEARD's music combines the classic elements of progressive rockers like Genesis and Yes, along with the melodic sensibilities and soaring vocals of the Beatles. I kid you not. If video hadn't killed the radio star, this band would be HUGE! And they still will be if I have any say in the matter. I'll soon be posting some pix from the two shows here (and on the "Music" page, just a click to the left away from here).

Thursday we spent a really great day in Disneyland and the Disney California Adventure. With the Pirates ride closed, we hit every other major attraction at the two parks from 9am-6:30pm, with nothing longer than a 20 minute wait for "Soarin' Over California". It was our first visit to California Adventure and it was a blast.

Finally, Sunday was Mother's Day and my b-day--- a day I'm happy to share with my Mom and Libby. This was also the day I was presented with another of Libby's big surprises: a scrapbook full of cards and letters from so many great people, including my friends from Flying Colors, from the wider comic industry and friends from my former life in radio, as well as lots of other friends.

More to share--- I received original art cards from some of the most wonderful (and my favorite) pros in the comics' biz: Dan Brereton (long-time friend and FlyCo supporter), Joe Sinnott (long-time friend and the hugest SF Giants' fan ever!), Sergio Aragones (fastest cartoonist in the world--and one of the truly good guys I've met in my time in comics), Bill Morrison and the gang at Bongo Comics ("Carpe Crustum", indeed! You rock!), Dick Ayers (great guy---you should check out his totally engaging autobiographical graphic novel series!) and Stan "the Man" Lee even sent me an original poem (what a guy!).

As if that wasn't enough already, I also got cards from maybe 60 other friends from all phases of my life and some thoughtful gifts--- and I'm left with the feeling that I've truly led a blessed and wonderful life. And it is the ever-wondrous Libby who orchestrated the whole celebration. I know I've used a lot of words here, but really, I'm speechless.

Big heartfelt thanks to one and all!


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Free Comic Book Day: You Gotta Be Here!

That's JENNY welcoming everyone to FLYING COLORS COMICS for FREE COMIC BOOK DAY this Saturday May 6.

It's the 5th Annual FREE COMIC BOOK DAY at Flying Colors Comics & Other Cool Stuff in Concord, CA--- as well as close to 2000 other comic book specialty shops all over the US and in 20 other countries around the world. If you can't be here, we urge you to visit a comic specialty shop near you--- there's a handy store locator at FreeComicBookDay.com.

Our BIG event here features Special Guest, from BONGO Comics--- BILL MORRISON!

Besides being the Creative Director of Matt (Simpsons) Groening's comic book company, and being the #1 Simnpsons comic artist, Bill is also the biographer of the late great ARCHIE Comics' artist Dan DeCarlo. Bill is scheduled to sign the BONGO Comics FCBD edition, as well as other BONGO comic books and compilations from 11am-3pm!

Along with our special guest, FLYING COLORS always rolls out the red carpet treatment for all our store visitors, especially on FREE COMIC BOOK DAY. Along with your FREE comics, you can also score some great deals on tons of comics-related cool stuff we have in stock.

I really loved getting your feedback on the "What was your first comic book?" entry--- and you can still respond to that by scrolling down to the April 25th entry on this blog.

I'd also love to get your feedback about FREE COMIC BOOK DAY. Whether you're a long-time fan or brand new to comics---- no matter who you are, I'd love to hear from you about your FCBD experiences. Post a comment to this blog, if you would, OK?

FCBD is almost here! C'mon Saturday!