"Let the shows begin" (2012) (March 26, 2012)

The comic show season for 2012 started yesterday, with the first Charlotte Comicon promoted by Dave Hinson and Rick Fortenberry. The third straight great turnout; these guys are on to something. Had some problems with the truck, so had to take a reduced load in Nancy's car...

Help save John Carter (March 24, 2012)

John Carter is one of my favorite movies of the 21st century. However, tepid box office and a slew of bad-to-middling reviews have cast a cloud on the possibility of sequels (Edgar Rice Burroughs originally had a John Carter trilogy of Princess of Mars-Gods of Mars-Warlord of Mars, and added eight more novels to the Barsoom series).

"Gentlemen, I ain't a-going..."

This week marks the 100th anniversary of the Hillsville Courthouse Shooting (Tragedy/Massacre). Several people died in a Wild West-type gunfight that happened during a court proceeding in Hillsville, VA.

"John Carter, Virginia" (March 11, 2012)

I saw John Carter yesterday, and if I were a Thark, I'd give it four thumbs up!

Edgar Rice Burroughs'  Tarzan is far more famous, but his Mars novels may be the better series. Burroughs created many worlds; in addition to Tarzan's Africa (which eventually had an urban sprawl of lost civilizations) and Barsoom, he had a series set on Venus, one at the Earth's Core, as well individual novels set on the moon, in Cambodia, in the American West, and beyond the farthest star.

The Wright Stuff (February 29, 2012)

The Billy Wright Collection (or rather a part of it) sold at auction last week for $3.5 million. It was one of those rare childhood collections that surfaced at a relative's house in Martinsville, Virginia (just down the mountain from here). Billy had a knack as a boy in the 1930s and early 1940s of picking what would be winners far into the future. He had several of the most valuable issues, including the Holy Grail Action #1 ($300,000), a high-grade Detective #27 (half a million) and Batman #1.

The not-so-Super Bowl (February 7, 2012)

The Super Bowl has become a mid-winter national holiday. The most recent iteration was one of the more exciting, but I admit I only watched the last quarter and a third. Millions of people tune it out each year, walk the dog, read a book or watch another channel (Willy Wonka, anyone?) But I think I stand out because I am probably the only sportswriter in America that hasn't watched a complete Super Bowl in over 40 years. Part of that is my lack of zeal for professional sports; I'd rather watch college/high school football and basketball any day.

Virgil Caine is the name...(January 21, 2012)

40 years ago, when the world was younger and bigger, I did an LP record album with two other people. For several years I had played music and written songs with Eddie Eanes, and after he graduated from high school and left the area for work, I continued some of the ideas we'd worked on.

Lois Poff (January 5, 2012)

A few notes on neighbor Lois Sweeney Poff, who died at age 97 on December 31, 2011 at her home of 69 years on Harris Hollow Road in Floyd:

She was born in 1914, married Sam Poff in 1940. He died in 1988, leaving her a widow for 24 years. Mrs. Poff taught school for many  years.

2012 Show

The 15th annual Virginia Vintage Comics & Collectibles Show is now set for Saturday, August 18, 2012 at the Salem Civic Center in Salem Virginia. Show hours are 10 a.m until 5 p.m. Vendor tables are $50 and admission is $2, unchanged since our first show in 1998. A donation from admission charge will be given to a local community group.

There will be hourly drawings for door prizes and gas cards.

This year's show will also feature the debut of a VERY old original owner collection. Watch for upcoming details.

Everybody knew that he made moonshine... (January 4, 2012)

A new favorite TV show (for about a week, anyway) is "Moonshiners."

I watched three or four of the episodes in the Discovery Channel marathon Monday night. I had caught snippets of an original December broadcast, but wasn't much impressed until Neal, my son living in Albany, raved about the show during his Christmas visit. It takes place in Virginia, he said. Clandestine guys leave bags of corn and tanks of propane by the side of the road. "Copperhead Road" is the theme song.