Posted on 17 Comments

Mexico — To Be or Not To Be?

I have a dilemma here, a subject on which I would like your feedback.

I’ve been invited to be a guest at a comic convention this summer in Mexico City. I love Mexico and its people. I’m a notorious foodie, and Mexico has the finest, most varied and oldest complex cuisine in the world. My family and I have done extensive travel around various parts of Mexico and lived in Mexico City for most of a year while making Conan the Destroyer. We have had incredible times in Mexico.

Sadly, since those visits, Mexico (especially in recent years) has become a very dangerous place to visit. Kidnapping has become a cottage industry in Mexico City. My friends who still live there warn me not to return, even for a quick visit. The teen son of friends of friends was kidnapped. After the ransom was paid, the kidnappers left their son’s body for them in an abandoned car. Yes; after they paid the ransom.

I live in Los Angeles and have spent some extended periods of time in New York. I know that folks outside these cities consider them to be very dangerous. I don’t. Having lived in both places, I know where the bad neighborhoods are and avoid them. No reasonable person would judge all of L. A. solely from a visit to a bad stretch of Compton or New York from a visit to the worst parts of Harlem (to Harvey Kurtzman’s horror, Harlem was the first place I visited in New York; I found it wonderful). The news loves heinous crimes (“If it bleeds, it leads”), so that’s often what gets reported — not the nice things that happen in those cities on a daily basis. This makes me wonder if my newly established fears of visiting Mexico are perhaps a bit exaggerated and unfounded.

I’d be taking my wife, a beautiful blonde who surprisingly (to the Mexican natives, anyway) speaks fluent Spanish. We have been in one extremely scary situation (with the Mexican police in Merida; another story for another time) in the past, but my wife and I consider that an aberration, especially considering the wealth of positive experiences and people we have encountered throughout Mexico.

I hate the thought of giving in to the Mexican criminals and allowing them to control where I can and can’t visit — or who their own people can or can’t see and meet. It is not in my nature to succumb to that type of bullying; it’s more natural to me to defy and stand up to it.

Of course, if I’m a guest and there is any publicity in that regard at all, that could easily make me (or my wife) a potential target.

As you can see, I am conflicted here. What do you think? Give in to a somewhat reasonable fear or take the risk on behalf of my fans down there?

Posted on 6 Comments

William Stout TARMAN Action Figure from RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD!

TARMAN Action Figure

“They’re Back from the Grave and Ready to Party!”

The first ever RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD Action Figure, officially licensed from the designer, William Stout! This Tarman Zombie features ball-jointed neck and shoulders as well as an opening jaw. The base has Bill’s Trioxin cannister (with Bill’s pre-melted Tarman inside) and a bitten brain! The Tarman figure is beautifully sculpted and is approximately 7 inches tall.

WARNING! If you are purchasing this product for a child, the following warning applies to this product: WARNING! CHOKING HAZARD — Small parts. Not for children under 3 years of age.

Comes in a protective sealed blister pack ––– just $22.00 plus shipping! Why buy it here? The box of each figure we sell is personally signed by William Stout (the designer of Tarman, the cannister Tarman and the RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD logo; he was the production designer of the original film as well).

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Kerry Conran’s John Carter

Dejah Thoris and Banth

Whenever I am asked about the forthcoming John Carter movie from Disney, I tell people I am cautiously optimistic.

So far, the trailers for the film have not given me a sense of the Edgar Rice Burroughs books, nor do they invoke in me the “I gotta see this NOW!” feeling I got when Iain McCaig showed me the demo reel/pre-pre-production trailer that was directed by Kerry (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow) Conran to convince Paramount we had an incredible film and that we knew how to pull it off (I say “we” because I worked very briefly on this version, among others).

Kerry’s inspirational bit of footage (clocking in at nearly seven minutes) is finally available for everyone to view on YouTube:

Remember, you’re not watching a finished trailer here. It’s conceptual paintings (none by me but many fine pieces by Iain McCaig) tied with experimental CG animation footage. Nevertheless, I find it breathtaking.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

Posted on 7 Comments

Kidney Stones – Aaargh!

Sorry about the paucity of postings recently. I’ve had kidney stones for the last couple of weeks. I think I’m on the verge of passing the last one – the biggest, of course.

Those of you out there who have had them know how painful they are. It’s playing hell with my work schedule. I’m either in too much pain to draw or paint, or I’m too doped up on painkillers and just want to sleep.

This, too, shall pass, as they say.

I can’t wait to get back to the easel…