December rambling #1: your first draft

Rebecca Jade & the Cold Fact – Gonna Be Alright (OFFICIAL VIDEO)

25mphPicture per HERE.

How Republicans Trumped Themselves. Still, I’m NOT convinced that FriendsWhoLikeTrump.com reflects true Trump supporters on Facebook.

How people respond to Bible quotes when told they’re from the Quran.

The Deadliest Mass Shooting Everyone Forgot.

Ikea’s Newly Designed Refugee Shelters.

Why Poor People Stay Poor. Saving money costs money. Period.

UN Fighting to make LGBT people Free & Equal.
Continue reading “December rambling #1: your first draft”

The FantaCo/Smilin’ Ed Kickstarter; the Wells Fargo refund

FantaCo owner/publisher/co-creator of Smilin’ Ed, Tom Skulan,, is organizing a Kickstarter to create The Complete Smilin’ Ed Comics. He’s trying to raise $7500 by Thursday, December 11, 2014 at 1:12 AM EST.

FantaCo_sign
Those of you who lived or worked in Albany from 1978 to 1998 might remember this sign, created by the late Raoul Vezina in the window of FantaCo Enterprises, the comic book store/mail order house/publisher/convention organizer at 21 Central Avenue; the sign has been digitally enhanced from the original by artist Bill Anderson. Raoul drew the logo rat for the store, the character eventually dubbed Smilin’ Ed Smiley.

A couple years later, Smilin’ Ed became the star of some comic books published by FantaCo, as well as in strips in Albany’s Metroland magazine and the Comics Buyers Guide. Continue reading “The FantaCo/Smilin’ Ed Kickstarter; the Wells Fargo refund”

The return of Smilin’ Ed Smiley

FantaCon 2015 will be held on Saturday August 29 and Sunday August 30, 2015 at the spectacular Rockefeller Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany, NY.

smilined
Those of you who frequented FantaCo in in late 1970s and early 1980s will remember Smilin’ Ed. The rat was initially designed as the logo for the comic book store/convention/mail order house based in Albany, NY. Eventually, there were four comic book issues, plus a story in the X-Men Chronicles. Well, there’s going to be a collection of these, plus items published in the Comics Buyers Guide, the weekly Metroland, and unpublished material.

You can expect narrative pieces, by Raoul’s sister Maria, FantaCo owner/publisher Tom Skulan, and me. Or so goes the plan Continue reading “The return of Smilin’ Ed Smiley”

Raoul Vezina: 30 years gone

I suggested that we try to put up a Wikipedia page for Raoul Vezina.

Here’s the weird thing about the death of Raoul Vezina, the comic book artist/musician/front man at the Albany comic book store FantaCo 30 years ago today; I STILL remember the day I found out, which was the day after he died, as well as I remember my daughter’s birth or my father’s death or the day JFK was killed. As it turns out Marc Arsenault has collected what I wrote five years ago. So let me tell you about a more recent event.

At FantaCon 2013, on September 14 and 15, there was a panel to talk about Raoul, held on each day, which I moderated.

Naturalist at Large

One participant was Raoul’s younger sister Maria Vezina, a nurse and professor in New York City, who talked about the natural talent he had as both an artist and a musician. Apparently Freddie Freihoffer’s direction got him drawing right on the TV screen. She doesn’t think she has ever known such a generous spirit.

Don Rittner, historian, environmentalist, and all-around bon vivant, was in several bands with Raoul growing up. They lost contact for a time, but when Don wandered into FantaCo and saw Raoul behind the counter, they began a collaboration on a series of cartoons called Naturalist At Large [VIEW], written by Don, drawn by Raoul, which appeared in the now-defunct (Albany) Knickerbocker News. Don was awed by the fact that he had ideas of what he wanted to convey, but he could not draw a lick. Raoul invariably captured the ideas Don was unable to fully verbalize. These strips apparently made their way to Washington, upsetting more than a few federal legislators.

Michael T. Gilbert met Raoul at college in New Paltz. He talked about trying to get a college comic book off the ground, which was promised then reneged upon. Finally, Michael put out New Paltz Comix out himself, featuring the art of Raoul. Michael wrote a beautiful tribute about Raoul that appeared in the Comics Buyers Guide in December 1983, and was reprinted in the FantaCon 2013 program.

Fred Hembeck, the Weird Al Yankovic of comic art, had backup stories in two of Raoul’s Smilin’ Ed books recalled working on a story with Raoul and appreciated his easy-going manner.

Joe Fludd, who was on the panel only the second day, was a FantaCo customer, but also a budding artist who Raoul encouraged. Joe told the story from his POV how the obit I had posted on the poster board – because I couldn’t say aloud that Raoul had died – was perceived as a sick joke on someone’s part.

Targeted audience

The audience for me in this presentation were Maria’s two sons, both born after Raoul died. Maria wanted for them to understand their uncle better, and they said we succeeded.

There will be a Kickstarter next year to get some of Raoul’s Smilin’ Ed stuff in print, including material that appeared in the CBG and the Metroland weekly arts newspaper.

Subsequent to FantaCon, I suggested that we try to put up a Wikipedia page for Raoul. Having never done so, I’m looking for any citations to his artwork, including his T-shirt designs; his musical gigs; or his work at either FantaCo or the Crystal Cave comic book store in New Paltz. Also looking for someone who understands the formatting. Please feel free to contact me at RogerOGreen (at) gmail (dot) com.

Photo of Roger Green, Maria Vezina, Michael T. Gilbert, Fred Hembeck, J.A. (Joe) Fludd, Don Rittner, taken at FantaCon, September 15, 2013. (c) 2013 Jim Whiting, used by permission.

One overstuffed weekend: Roosevelt, Vezina, Hembeck

At the FDR library, I saw a poster chastising “the Jews” for taking the jobs of “white Christian men”; some things never change.

ER and FDR
For whatever reason, I wasn’t sleeping well a couple weeks ago. When I booked our hotel for our trip to the Mid-Hudson for the first weekend in August, in my fatigued fog, I totally forgot that my wife had told me to secure a place for TWO nights, and that she had even arranged for a cat sitter. I was just so happy that I finally remembered to book it at all. We had made this sojourn a couple hours south a few times, and it had always been one night. This time, though, we had added a couple elements, so the extra time would have been helpful.

Instead, we headed out Saturday and went to Val-Kill, Eleanor Roosevelt’s home. There will be much more on this.

Then to Hyde Park to visit the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum. Continue reading “One overstuffed weekend: Roosevelt, Vezina, Hembeck”