Although the Covid-19 virus had already begun hitting the news – with many of us probably already walking around with it – we could never have guessed the 2020 C2E2 (Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo) would be our last major gathering before a social Apocalypse. Back then, Corona was just a side story and the only masks seen here were the kinds used to conceal one’s secret identity. If I’d known then what I know now I’d have done all three days of this event rather than just Sunday. But no-o-o-o-o. I had to give in to work demands while saving my vacation days for a Spring break road trip that would never happen. Sadly, “2020” would be an insane year rather than hindsight but it is what it is. So let’s look back on that carefree day that now seems like a lifetime ago.
Board games have sure come a long way since the days of Sorry and Monopoly. My family still enjoys those games from time to time but with my youngest now sixteen years old, we’ve been seeking more sophisticated games to bring to the table. A couple of my kids have formed gaming groups with their friends and I was just in the process of putting one of my own together when the Covid-19 virus hit. Pandemic aside, we’ve been living in an exciting era for board game enthusiasts with new releases being revealed each month. Not surprisingly, many of our favorites have movie themes or horror elements that make them even more enticing. Here are few in my collection we’ve been playing since the “stay at home” policy went into effect.
Regular horror con attendees have their own “A” list celebrities, ones the average theatergoer has probably never heard of. These include folks like Kane Hodder, Felissa Rose, and Tom Atkins – guests who treat their fans like friends. Us horror fans are nothing if not loyal and, in return, make multiple trips to their tables, support their external projects, or even dedicate vlogs and blogs to them such as this one. Amongst those hallowed individuals are the Soska sisters, Jen and Sylvia. These twin film-makers from Canada have a reputation for ramping up the excitement level at every show they attend while leaving with a legion of devoted followers. Somehow I’d never met them, but the 2019 Days of the Dead in Chicago gave me an opportunity to rectify this. On the morning of the convention’s second day, the two would kick off the day’s celebrity panels with a special Q&A. Needless to say, my friends Jason Schoolcraft, Ron & Angela Urban, and I made sure to take advantage of our VIP passes and get ourselves a front-row seat.
Chicago’s 2019 Days of the Dead took place at the Crowne Plaza in Rosemont; a new venue for this convention but certainly not for me. After fifteen G-FESTS and a handful of Flashback Weekends, I was well acquainted with the place as well as its monolithic manager, Don Johnston. This event took place last November; not the most ideal time for me but workable. Several months earlier, my friend Jason Schoolcraft generously purchased VIP passes for us and arranged to fly in from New England to join me. As many of you know, the man loves film and I always enjoy our pre/post-convention movie marathons. We arrived at the hotel around 3 PM that Friday and were greeted by my friends, Ron and Angela Urban. I was just introducing them to Jason when Richard Dreyfuss breezed past us. The Academy Award-winning star of JAWS and Close Encounters of the Third Kind was a bit shorter than I’d envisioned and had noticeably bad knees but there was no denying it was him.
Written by Jason Schoolcraft
A Brief History
In 2012, after two years of planning and preparation, Rhode Island was going to get its own comic convention – an East Coast taste of what San Diego enjoys each year. It got off to a rocky start due to safety codes and its venue unable to contain all the people it would attract but, if anything, it showed how underserved we New Englanders were in terms of our fandom. The Rhode Island Comic Con was an instant hit and has grown exponentially ever since.
Always like to start the new year with a horror paperback post. The movement started by Grady Hendrix’s “Paperback from Hell” back in 2017 has continued to gain momentum as more people seem to be interested in vintage (specifically ‘70s to mid-’90s) horror paperbacks than ever before. In fact, Valancourt Books has even begun reprinting some which I’d love to see usher in a new era of horror paperbacks with cover art comparable to the ones I grew up with. Can you imagine a whole new generation of killer kids, mutants, demons, and skeletons with eyeballs? Having just finished reading William W. Johnstone’s “Sweet Dreams,” I can honestly say these books are as outlandish as their covers. And speaking of which, I’ve been scanning mine as I go, hoping to use them for upcoming projects. I thought it might be nice to post them for your enjoyment as well. Today’s theme is “Skeletons,” which I suspect might end up with “Part 2” eventually. Although most horror PB publishers used skulls and skeletons in their cover art, none did so with the fervor of Zebra Books. In fact, their skeletons did just about everything. To quote Grady Hendrix, “Lazy bones? We think not. Zebra Books and other horror publishers showed us that if they put their minds to it, skeletons could do anything from lead a pep rally to earn an advanced degree.” See for yourself…
A deluge of rain wasn’t enough to deter fans from descending on the Museum of Broadcast Communications to celebrate Svengoolie’s 40th Anniversary. I met up with my fellow super fans, Ron and Angela Urban, who graciously allowed me to join them for the ride into the city – something a suburbanite like myself dreads even when it’s dry out. It was the same arrangement we had five years ago for his 35th. We stopped for a drink at Chicago’s famous Harry Carey’s – hoping the downpour would stop before our walk the museum. It didn’t. When we reached the building we were still too early and asked the young gentleman sitting inside the museum’s lobby if he’d let us have shelter inside. Thankfully, he agreed and we stood to wait next to ZZ Top’s famous car, The Eliminator. This was the official one seen in their humorous videos back in the ‘80s – usually featuring downtrodden individuals getting a much-needed boost from the band.