Saturday, May 29, 2010

GARY COLEMAN 1968 - 2010

My old friend Mark Evanier introduced me to Gary Coleman once, and it's one of the saddest memories of my show business career. That same year, I heard stories from my friends on the TV series "Buck Rogers" about Coleman's perseverence and professionalism during his guest shot, despite great physical pain and hardship.

It seems most people mistake Coleman for another case of a former child star who lost everything because of his own self-indulgence and self-destructiveness. As entertainment writer Joal Ryan has pointed out so eloquently, Coleman didn't fit the profile because you can't throw away what you never had in the first place.

Sleep well, Gary. Most folk don't know that for you, life was like being run over by a truck. You've earned the rest.

Friday, May 14, 2010


Been getting a lot of questions about The Essential Superman Encyclopedia (cover at right). It's not due out till the end of August, but you can pre-order it from Amazon.

And, by the way, to my super-fan friends who won't buy anything if they think the people behind it are all about the money: I was paid a flat fee for this and I don't make a dime off how many copies are sold. Just tryin' to help you get it into your hot little super-hands, is all.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


(NOTE: No jokes today, no "going off" on the subject. He was born on April 1, after all, and this year he's already gotten his share of roasting.)

What are heroes?

In an increasingly cynical age, can they actually exist in real life? And if they do, what shape do they take? Where are they found? Do we need them? If so, why? And what does heroic pop fiction have to do with any or all of this?

This subject is important to me because I deal with heroic fiction for a living and have a 10-year-old daughter. I think whoever might be reading this might share my passion for this subject.

One of the most widely-read writers of super hero comics is Brad Meltzer, who is, as you probably know, also a NY Times best-selling author. He's written a book about real-life heroes, entitled Heroes For My Son, due out soon. You can find out more about it, and read an excerpt from it, here.

On Tuesday, 5/11/10, NPR's "All Things Considered" aired an interview with Mr. Meltzer, who offers some interesting insights into what motivated him to write the book and the effect the work had on his own children. A podcast of the interview is available here. under the title "In 'Heroes' From The Past, Lessons For A Son."

Give a listen. I wonder if you'll find it as fascinating as I do.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Look at me; I'm so out of it I even quoted Britney Spears. That's so 20 seconds ago (20 seconds is the new 15 minutes, Andy).

Every time I get involved with the Comic Book Resources Forum, I stir up a hornet's nest, then have to calm people down. See, I have this horrible, horrible habit of not taking anything seriously while among the context-deaf. And then I (gasp!) say it out loud, as it were. This is interpreted by some as being "rude," or -- God help us all -- candid.

Controversy (Really? We're talking about fictional people here, folks, and people I know can take a mild kidding)... "Controversy" is, apparently, a problem in a nation terrified by the threat of car bombs in New York City and an unannounced visit from the Census Bureau.

We have all become hyper-sensitive on top of the damage done by three generations' worth of Boomer-tastic Incessant Self Regard. It's now everybody's job to anticipate everyone else's possible indignation before it erupts. We must censor ourselves before the fact because, who knows? -- those we can't say "Excuse me" to in a way they can understand may not be taking their anti-anxiety meds by the fistful. The Statue of Liberty weeps.

Sadly, I don't love upsetting people, nor do I do it deliberately, but the obsessive-compulsive in me can't resist the siren call of that angrily buzzing hive. That's 'cause it ups the visibility, yo. So bring the hornet's nest. I'll bring the stick.

And remember, now that we're all superstar wannabes: It doesn't matter what they say about you, as long as they spell your name right.

And can tell humor from truth. Reality from show biz. And...

Oh, s***. I'm f****d.

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