Attending Wizard Con last week prompted me to dig through my old comic collection where I stumbled upon a little known title called “ROM Spaceknight.” When people mention Marvel Comics they will, no doubt, immediately be reminded of “The Amazing Spider-Man,” “The Uncanny X-Men,” or “The Mighty Avengers” – to name but a few. All of these classic titles have (or soon will see) big screen adaptations and have generated lots of merchandise. Sadly, one of their best characters never will. ROM has the distinction of starting out as a Parker Brothers toy before making his way into the Marvel universe.
I remember, months back, seeing the trailer for this movie and rolling my eyes in disgust. To me it represented the marriage between two highly annoying Hollywood trends; 1) remaking older movies and 2) presenting them in 3D whether the added effects were warranted or not. After picking up the latest issue of Rue Morgue, however, I changed my mind. They did a retrospective piece on the original PIRANHA as well as an article featuring the new one. Needless to say, I was hooked (no pun intended).
It’s very rare these days to have a horror host present a Japanese giant monster movie. How ironic considering that many of us were introduced to the these films via weekend Creature Features and late night hosts. For the past ten years, however, the opportunity to see these films on commercial television has become few and far between. TOHO (the Japanese studio that owns Godzilla) has made the films less accessible – their legal team hungry and eager to feed. To me this is a terrible error on the studio’s part. By making them harder to acquire, they are blocking many potential new fans from the genre.
On the final day of the convention, we packed our belongings and loaded the car before making a final sweep of the main hall. The Vampira Tribute began mid day and I stood in line to enter the event. In the distance, I could see all the hosts talking and joking around with each other. After spending the previous days moving about the convention, attending to all their individual commitments, this was the moment that would bring all the participating hosts together.
This past weekend, Chicago celebrated it’s annual Wizard Con at the Donald E. Stephen’s Convention Center in Rosemont. This is the Midwestern version of the famous San Diego Comic Con – largest of all fan events.
It’s been a long time since I collected comic books and about 12 years since my last Wizard Con (or whatever they called it back then as it has changed ownership periodically over the years). Upon discovering that THE EXORCIST star, Linda Blair, along with a few alumni from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” would be in attendance, I decided to give it another shot.
Growing up in the 70’s was an awesome time to be a kid. The toys were cool, Saturday morning cartoons were alot of fun and we had a regular dose of monster movies every week on the Creature Double Feature. I was a huge monster movie fan and every Saturday afternoon I could be found glued to the television watching such movies as WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS, RODAN and all of the GAMERA movies (as well as all of the classics we have grown to love). For us, the Creature Double Feature was not a hosted program (though a scary voice was used each week to introduce the movies). Then something happened in the early 80’s…all of a sudden the CDF was being hosted by some guy named the Son of Svengoolie. This started my love of horror hosts.
Jeff Carlson is a name that many Svengoolie fans, like myself, are familiar with. Not only had the 42 year old Chicago artist been a regular contributor to the former Svengoolie Web, but also the current Svengoolie YAHOO group page. You can often see Jeff’s work shown by Svengoolie himself during mail segments thanks to his regular submissions.