Friday, April 6, 2018, 10:15am – My daughters, Leia and Jade, and I arrive at McCormick Place just after the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2) begins. This year they had security checkpoints set up like the ones they have at airports which created some delay. While approaching the metal detectors, I notice a Wonder Woman cosplayer in front of me holding a sword and a guy behind me with a laser gun. I swear this is the only Security Screen in history where folks walk in proudly brandishing weapons!
Though I enjoy ghost tours and ghost stories, I’ve never been a fan of ghost hunting TV shows. It felt like if I’d seen one I’d seen em’ all and there was no way even the most gifted ghoster can capture something on a weekly basis. Despite an open mind, I have little patience for “Wow, did you feel the room suddenly get cold?” or someone claiming they’re nauseous after entering an alleged haunted site. I’m not calling these folks liars or anything, just that these plot devices kill my suspension of disbelief. Continue reading
C2E2 (Chicago Comics Entertainment Expo) reminds me of how Christmas felt back when I was a kid (and Halloween is now). You start preparing a full month in advance as the excitement builds to the big day. Or, in this case, a full weekend. This year I’ll be attending all three days which is a first for me. As usual, covering national horror host, Svengoolie, remains priority #1 and he’ll be there an extra day as well – signing autographs on Friday afternoon in addition to Saturday. Another C2E2 first is his participation in a “Svengoolie Spotlight” panel Saturday too. Sven and his Producer, Jim Roche, are graciously allowing me to hang with the crew at this event as with past years. I’m far from worthy but truly appreciate it.
We arrived at our hotel in Connellsville, PA that Friday and spent the remainder of the evening watching my son’s favorite show, Ghost Adventures. The following day I’d planned for us to see the Pittsburgh Zoo but worried we’d never get back in time for the Weird Al Yankovic concert that evening. Rather than risk being late, I decided to let the kids sleep in and looked for things closer to do. I was surprised to discover our hotel was only twenty-five minutes from the Kecksburg UFO which I’d visited almost exactly four years earlier. This development inspired me to hold off on my originally planned story for Scary Monsters Magazine #109 and feature this locale in the next WEIRD USA column instead. Since I’m saving all the details for the magazine (which is your cue to subscribe to it) I’ll just share some photos taken that day…
Last week, I took a mini Spring Break road trip from Chicago to Pennsylvania. I brought along my two youngest kids; Jade (16) and Luke (14) who were both with me last summer when I made a pit stop at the world’s biggest twine ball in Minnesota. I love bizarre roadside attractions and that one had been memorialized in song by the great Weird Al Yankovic, himself. This adventure would also feature Weird Al as I had VIP tickets to see him outside of Pittsburgh. It was one of the stops of his “The Ridiculously Self-Indulgent Ill-Advised Vanity Tour” with Emo Phillips and my tickets granted a meet and greet with the multi-Grammy winner afterward. To plan a road trip around something like this without a bunch of strange stops along the way would be downright irreverent. Our first stop was the Toledo Zoo to see their prehistoric flying reptile replicas before making our way to Cleveland to see the actual house used in A Christmas Story – fully restored to its on-screen appearance.
Continuing on with my recent horror paperback finds. In case you missed the last one, there’s a great site called Book Sale Finder that lets you know all the big ones taking place in the US throughout the year. These books are from two such sales as well as a Chicago bookstore called Bucket O’ Blood as well as eBay. They aren’t going to get any cheaper than a local sale so take advantage of that site! Here’s the final rundown of my latest haul…
Last Christmas, I mentioned my newfound enthusiasm for vintage horror novels and my crusade in tracking them down. It seems like Grady Hendrick’s book, Paperbacks from Hell, has inspired many of us horror fans and though it made them harder to find, I’m pleased to see it. Perhaps it will encourage publishers to give those romance books a rest and start churning out a new crop of pulpy horror – especially if they mimic that vintage cover art.