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The Tampa Film Review for November áby Nolan Canova and Chris Woods
The Tampa Giant Comic Con and Toy Show for November áby Nolan Canova
MOVIE REVIEW
"Before The Devil Knows You're Dead" áby Mike Smith
RETRORAMA
DVD Review: "Mothra vs Godzilla" áby ED Tucker
ODDSERVATIONS
Tampa Comic Con Report - Nov. 11, 2007 áby Andy Lalino
MIKE'S RANT
Next Week .... Passing On .... Now I Can Concentrate On World Peace .... Golden Globe Time .... Should I Get In Line Now? .... Whatever Happened To--? Chapter 33: Sean Connery áby Mike Smith
LETTERS
Nolan's Pop Culture Review
Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our eighth calendar year!
Number 399  (Vol. 8, No. 46). This edition is for the week of November 12--18, 2007.


The Tampa Giant Comic Con and Toy Show for November
Sunday, November 11th, 2007
The DoubleTree Inn Hotel
4500 West Cypress St.
Tampa, FL

by Nolan B. Canova


The third and final of the three "DoubleTree Cons" (my shorthand for Tim Gordon's shows) for 2007 happened last Sunday. A few of us from PCR managed to make it, but our ranks were a little smaller in number than in past shows (neither Brandon Jones nor Corey Castellano could make this one), and coincidentally, the public turn-out at this show was also much smaller. We scratched our heads wondering why the usual shoulder-to-shoulder body traffic was missing and could only speculate on competing events, lower-profile celebrities, or simply the current economic situation (gas prices, etc.). What the hell, we had a good time anyway. We pretty much always do.


My ride for this outing was PCR senior staff writer/associate editor/message board moderator Terence Nuzum, who left work a little later than expected placing us at the DoubleTree at about 11:15am or so (the doors opened at 10:00am). Before we even got to the door, we ran into Chris Woods and Simon Lynx (filmmakers/Icon Film Studios), so we proceeded together. Just inside the door, we would meet up with fellow PCR columnist Andy Lalino (Oddservations). Securing some press passes for Terence, Andy and me, we entered the outside main dealers area.
I know I said in the August convention coverage that Tim Gordon's show is on the verge of possibly outgrowing the DoubleTree Inn. While I still feel that's generally true, this particular show's lower turn-out wouldn't convey such an idea, but I wouldn't call it representative, either. However, I must say to be able to navigate the aisles at a casual pace without the "excuse me, excuse me" mantra of crowded conditions was a welcome relief.

I also remember verbally drawing you guys a picture of the new layout of all the dealers areas in August's issue, please refer to that for more detail about how much is happening in this 10,000 square foot area.

Click on images to enlarge. A new browser window should open.
Some Stormtroopers and their tall, dark imperious leader lurk around the entrance lobby the DoubleTree Inn.
Me on the left with the always adorable Andrea Dean Van Scoyoc. We chatted about the movie adaptation of her book, A Man of Two Words.
In their traditional spot right next to Andrea, Tony and Glenda Finklestein, really nice folks. I was finally able to see their movie, Perfect Copy, based on Glenda's short story.
The photog must've accidentally covered the flash with his finger, so this shot of Joel Wynkoop's table is less-than-stellar. But this is the first time he's occupied a lobby spot. Joel's in the gray T-shirt about center
The rascally Jesse Hansen of Cadre Corner. He's among the most talented artists I know anywhere. Very personable guy, too.
Bob Andelman, aka, Mr. Media. I've been on his email list for months. I don't remember how I got there, but I'm grateful I am because it's packed with interesting pop culture fan info. This is the first time we've met face-to-face.
Actor Jeffrey Breslauer on the right, with me. We talked about films he's starred in (like Swamp Thing) and films in general.
Moving out of the lobby area, we head into the main ballroom dealers area.
The man of the hour, promoter Tim Gordon, left, with yours truly. He's always been super to work with.
Comic artist Joe Leone, Jr., left, mans the Demolition Comics booth and talks with his friend Terence Nuzum, right.
Some of the Demolition Comics display.
Nutty Don, owner and proprietor of the legendary Greenshift Comics & Music store clowning around for the camera. I've known Don for decades.
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Pinellas underground comics fixture Greg Vondruska, left, with comics artist celebrity, Fran Matera.
An excited comics fan speaks with the voice of Space Ghost, George Lowe.
George Lowe mugs for the camera.
Sometimes the rogues walking the halls are even more intersting than the heroes. The Riddler seems to have something up his sleeve!
Joe Staton, forefround, legendary co-creator of E-Man. I think that's Chuck Dixon to his right.
The winners/stars of Who Wants to be a Super-Hero speak with fans.
Lurking the hallway near the Creature Indie Fest, one of the scariest man-reptiles I've ever known: John Lewis.
Andy Lalino, left, stops for a quick pic with John Lewis before daring to enter the Fest.
Nearing the end of our stay at the DoubleTree, we made this attempt at a group shot. Left-to-right: Simon Lynx, Nolan Canova, Chris Woods, John Lewis (partially obscured), Terence Nuzum, and Joel D. Wynkoop.
Creature Productions' John Lewis, left, Indie Fest operator Doug Vaters, center, and of course, the irrascible Joel D. Wynkoop.
Lisa Ciurro (FANGRRL) joins us just in time for lunch. We were disappointed that the Players Lounge was too crowded and the Durango Steakhouse has closed for business. Instead we wound up at Chilli's, which was a short drive and a perfectly acceptable destination. Good times with good friends.

After first taking an isolated picture of a couple Stormtroopers talking to Darth Vader, I resumed my traditional first stop at the table of goth-princess / horror authoress Andrea Dean Van Scoyoc (Michael, The Two). She always welcomes me so wonderfully and the feeling is mutual. She caught me up on her latest adventures, including a clarification on some rumors I'd heard regarding pre-productions status of her book-into-movie, A Man Of Two Worlds. According to Andrea, it was always going to be a Creature Productions/John Lewis movie, and pretenders to the throne are hereby admonished! She had nothing but good things to say about John. (Which is good because John himself was frustratingly tight-lipped this day -- couldn't get much out of him except some thinly-veiled contempt aimed in my direction. But...I digress.)

Next to Andrea was Glenda Finklestein and her husband Tony. She also has books out (Nemesis Rising, The Edge of the Universe), but like Andrea has made a move into movies. Her first effort, Perfect Copy, starring Glenda herself, was showing at the Creature Productions Indie Fest this very afternoon. Whereas I could not see this movie when it "premiered" at August's fest, today would be different. I definitely planned to see it, and I was told I'd get the screener copy when they were done with it. Yay! (More about the movie in a bit.)

On the other side of Andrea was actor Jeffrey Breslauer (Swamp Thing, The Muppets Take Manhattan. Jeffrey has also broken into the field of children's books with "Abner the Clown" (looks like a charming read). I had the weird experience of being the first to tell Jeff that he had been included in the ScreamFest '07 Chris Woods video. When I told him it was playing at Wynkoop's table, he bolted straight over!

Much of the rest of the "dealers lobby" was occupied by independent comic artists/writers/publishers. Last August, indie comics artist Joe Leone, Jr. and Terence Nuzum enjoyed a reunion of sorts as they had attended high school together. For this show, Joe was acting proprietor of the Demolition Comics booth inside the main dealers area. We had a nice, brief visit with Joe.

A pleasant surprise was running into Bob Andelman, whose newsletters I've been getting for months. They feature celebrity interviews and all kinds of wonderful pop culture info, expecially regarding The Spirit graphic novels and information on Will Eisner. Bob is the author of A Spirited Life on Eisner, in fact, and was selling copies at the Con. It was great meeting Bob.

Jesse Hansen of Cadre Corner was also here (but not the rest of the Cadre gang). Jesse's a trip. Very friendly and outgoing. He filled me in a little bit on the movie status of Bubba the Redneck Werewolf but in all the excitement I lost the details except that it's still winding its way through pre-production.

Of course, no Con experience would be complete without a stop by the table of Joel D. Wynkoop, local actor and general-purpose madman. His dozens of movies were laid out for sale and something was always playing on his portable DVD player. For this show, he was located in this ever-growing dealers lobby area and not in the main room.

Back to the main dealers room. We were pleased to see Don from Greenshift Comics back after a long absence.

There is always an impressive array of comics dealers here and that's to be expected at this show of this size. Frequently, it's the video and toy dealers who fluctuate somewhat. Chris, Terence, and Andy tend to gravitate towards the DVD dealers. Once in a while there are good movie poster dealers as well, but I don't remember seeing any this time -- if I overlooked you and you're a poster dealer, my apologies.

Making my way back to the "celebrity artist" section towards the back of the hall, I saw some actors from Who Wants to Be a SuperHero signing autographs and meeting with fans.

At the artists' table were Pinellas-based underground comics publisher Greg Vondruska sitting next to Space Ghost himself: George Lowe! George is amazingly friendly, very outgoing, and you can't miss that familiar basso profundo voice of his. He's great with fans. Only problem is he's always moving around and it's hard to get a random still picture of him!

The very friendly Chuck Dixon (writer for Marvel and DC comics for decades) and Joe Staton (co-creator of E-Man along with Nick Cuti) were here as well as Fran Matera and Alex Saviuk who are pretty regular attendees. Only disappointment: Pat Broderick apparently was unable to attend. I was looking forward to seeing him again, it's been, like, 20 years!

INDIE FILM FEST
If John Lewis was being secretive about his projects, it reflected on any Indie Fest info being pretty secret as well. No film lists were posted and everything seemed improvised with the exception of the Finklestein's Perfect Copy which I'd agreed I'd make time to see. Evidently, John has completely relegated management of Indie Fest to Doug and Wanda Vaters. (Ashley Lewis was not present, but this is the first absence for her at Indie Fest.) I barely managed to talk Terence into going with me to Perfect Copy and succeeded when I assured him it was only half an hour long. (I believe Andy came in about halfway through as well.) It was the only movie I was able to stay and see.

Perfect Copy
Destiny Productions
Directed by: Joseph Tolley
Starring: Glenda Finklestein and Debi Storm, with a special appearance by Kenny Miller
30 minutes


After the death of her mother, Angel Gibbs (Glenda Finklestein) searches for a past she's never known. On her quest for the truth she encounters towing truck shop owner Ned Portman (Kenny Miller of "I Was A Teenage Werewolf" fame) who reveals a dark secret about her parents. Dark forces and secret agents are out to reclaim and silence Angel in an attempt to continue the experiments and contain any information that could leak out.

The Finklesteins are really nice people and they really wanted me to like this. All things considered, it's got a lot going for it and just a few disappointments. But I did like the movie.

The film is based on a short story by Glenda adapted for the screen, so, of course, the plot is pretty solid. The secret government, black ops projects, and cloning experiments all hit me where I live. The pacing is steady and I loved Kenny Miller. Tony Finklestein's cameo as a judge is fun.

The film has some rough edges as any first-time effort is bound to have. The acting borders on amateurish in spots and a lot more could've been done with lighting to establish mood. The camera used, a Canon XL2, has features that could've really been exploited, but weren't (at least not that showed up on the projector used, a frequent sore point). For some reason, this exhibition had bad audio syncing problems (I was told there was a technical problem with that). First-time director Tolley will, no doubt, improve as he gets more time behind the lens. There are some decent make-up effects used in Perfect Copy, but they're not always shown in their best light.

But that's the worst I can say about it. It's worth noting that Perfect Copy was nominated as Best New Drama at the Melbourne Film Festival.

I look forward to the next production from Destiny as well, because this venture, no doubt, was a learning experience for all involved.

PLAYERS / CHILLI'S
At the 11th hour, the always delightful Lisa Ciurro (FANGRRL) arrived just as we were discussing lunch. The Players Lounge, conveniently located in the DoubleTree itself, was too crowded with sports fans for us to seriously convene. So we tried out the old traditional Durango Steakhouse at the Best Western Hotel on Westshore Blvd. OH NO, IT'S GONE! It is being re-modeled as "The Westshore Hotel" as is the built-in restaurant and lounge. No entry. (Although the new floors and carpet are beautiful! Haha.)

A decision was made to try Chilli's on S. Dale Mabry and that's where we wound up. We had a good time and yours truly downed the two-for-one margaritas with aplomb as the others jumped head-first into fan talk. Good times.

Hope to see you all later next year at The Tampa Giant Comic Con and Toy Show in April!

For another look at our DoubleTree Con experience, check out his issue's Oddservations by Andy Lalino.

For more information about the Tampa Giant Comic Con and Toy Show, please visit their website.



"The Tampa Giant Comic Con and Toy Show for November" is ©2007 by Nolan B. Canova.

All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ę2007 by Nolan B. Canova.

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