Thursday, December 27, 2012

Happy 90th Birthday, Stan Lee!

Friday December 28 is the 90th birthday of Stan Lee!
(It used to be that when Stan Lee was mentioned, most people outside of comics wouldn't have a clue who he is, while everyone in the world of comics would definitely know that Stan Lee is the co-creator of too many Marvel Comics characters to count, let alone name. 

Working with such stellar Hall-of-Fame talents like Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, along with John Romita, Don Heck, Dick Ayers, John Buscema... and so many more, Stan and crew created the foundation of the comics we still read and enjoy these days.) 

Back on Stan's 83rd birthday, I wrote a bit about how I was personally introduced to him after being a fan for the 20 years before that.   
Stan & Joe at Flying Colors in April 1990

Stan and Joe at the Cartoon Art Museum's Sparky Awards in 2001.
Here's the deal--- many others will be much more rhapsodic than I could be in talking about Stan on this milestone occasion.  The fact is, I rarely talk to him anymore. Probably been two years, even if we have traded a couple of emails. Approaching him at conventions is also a daunting task these days, with his entourage of bodyguards and handlers escorting him from appearance to appearance. 

Instead, let's go back to 1989's WonderCon, when I was his bodyguard and escort and his PR guy and his interviewer and his chauffeur! Have a look at this video:

Stockton Record headline typo!
The fact is, Stan Lee was my ticket out of a dead-end radio career and my entry into a profession I still love after more than 25 years in the business. Radio was just entering a brutal phase after broadcasting was deregulated by the Federal government. Family-owned radio companies were being bought up at astronomical prices by broadcasting conglomerates, leading to the awful state of local radio we have currently. When I got out of radio in 1988, locally owned broadcasting companies were in their death throes.

I feel like I escaped from one independently-owned business (radio) into another (comics) that is still home to thousands of entrepreneurs running their own comic book stores, not because the money is necessarily great, but because we're doing it for a good living.

Stan on the air at KJOY-AM, Stockton CA
I am indebted to Stan for his kindnesses along the way:
• He allowed me to "work" for him in promoting his wife Joan's first novel when her publisher was not doing a good enough job.

• He was my guest at WonderCon from '88-'90 to repay me for the work I did with him.

• When Flying Colors first opened in October of '88, Stan was on my store's answering machine with congratulations for the opening of the store and best wishs for my family.

• In early 1990, Stan agreed to come to Flying Colors to see this store I had talked about so much, though I'm fairly sure he wondered why in the world anyone would get out of a broadcasting career to get into comic book retailing! (He wasn't alone in that thinking--- I had to convince my father and my father-in-law that it was a rational thing to do)
Joan & Stan Lee with Joe

• He was willing to accept my invitation to attend the Cartoon Art Museum's Sparky Awards to receive their Hall of Fame Award, even if that meant listening to me give his introduction speech!

More than anything though, I am indebted to Stan because the writer-editor-creator I admired as an 11 year-old kid in 1967 has always been kind to me, and always inspired to me to do the best I can in this comic book world.

Now at 90, Stan Lee is still out there, making deals, working long hours and more than ever loving the spotlight he has. He spent the better part of 40 years finding that spotlight--- and you can bet he doesn't want to get out of it any time soon.

90 years young, you, Stan, are still "the Man!"
At Al's Comic Shop in Stockton, February '86

Happy Birthday!

Joe "FlyCoJoe" Field

Y.E.S. Event NOW @ Flying Colors!

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Thien Pham: Sumo & Slam!

Please join us Saturday December 15 at 1PM as we welcome back artist & writer THIEN PHAM to Flying Colors. 

Thien's new graphic novel is called SUMO and it tells the tale of Scott, a washed-up football player whose girlfriend abandons him along with his dreams of playing pro football. But then a new chapter begins in Scott's as he is offered a position in a Japanese sumo training "stable." He abandons his old life--- everything--- to become an aspiring sumo wrestler. When he does, he begins to find some kind of center in himself...a center that had seemed lost forever.

Thien Pham, the acclaimed illustrator of Gene Luen Yang's Level Up, returns as the writer and artist of a unique new graphic novel. Highly poetic and structured to echo the slow build and sudden clash of a sumo match, Pham's SUMO is an unusual and beautiful book. It's nearly a contradiction in terms: a delicate, deft, tender tale about...sumo wrestling." 
SUMO is highly and heartily recommended! Flying Colors will also feature an exclusive bookplate for Thien Pham to sign. 

And just to make it an even crazier day, Thien Pham has agreed to take part in another of Flying Colors nearly famous COMIC SLAM!© events.

COMIC SLAM! is like beat poetry except using comic book dialogue. We'll have members of the Flying Colors Retailing Brigade ---and Thien Pham--- perform short monologues and character soliloquies from favorite classic comics. 

If you would like to be a COMIC SLAM! participant, we will may have a couple of openings for performers. Please sign up in the store with the monologue you would like to perform. We'll choose a few from those who sign up with the hopes we'll have enough time to squeeze in all the ones that are chosen. 

And if we're lucky, we'll also get Thien to do a couple of quick draw demonstrations! 

Don't miss it! 

Sumo and SLAM! at Flying Colors, Saturday December 15th at 1PM.