Friday, November 22, 2019

AuthorFest in Newton, MA

On 11/6/19, I had the privilege of being one of about 25 authors to participate in the first AuthorFest of Newton, MA, organized by Creative Arts & Sciences. 


This gave me the opportunity to do the following:

  • return to the state where I attended and adored college (Brandeis University)
  • speak at Day Middle School, where the students were great and where I got the chance to see a college friend who teaches there for the first time since college; she appeared in a play I wrote (based on various tellings of Frankenstein) and directed
  • meet students from other schools at a collective book signing held that afternoon for several hours


  • meet in person authors/illustrators I’d previously known only through email; this included Scott Magoon and Matt Tavares
  • catch up with author friends I all-too-rarely see in person; this included Josh Funk
  • make new author friends 
  • get honked at a lot more than usual (a Massachusetts tradition)


They sent one cool thank you card:


Thank you again to Stacey Moriarty and your team for including me in what I feel was a smashing success!

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Other Bill Finger-esque stories to be told

Since Batman & Bill premiered in 2017, people who learned of my efforts to get credit for Batman co-creator and original writer Bill Finger have contacted me with stories of other unsung creators, inventors, and pioneers (some of whom, like Bill, were cut off from their legacy). 

Some of these folks reached out to me just as an FYI. But most are asking for one of two things: advice on seeking a resolution for their cause or an author to write a book on the secret(s) they know.


The list of people/concepts I want to write about is already too long for me to finish in one lifetime, so while plenty of these proposed subjects seem worthy, I don’t plan to pursue any at the moment. 


Therefore, though I’m not a licensed matchmaker, I’m posting a list. If any journalist, lawyer, or fellow writer would like to look into any of these stories, email me and I’ll see about making an introduction. 


NOTES: 


  • I’ve researched none of this so make no claims to the authenticity of any of this.
  • I included the name of a creator/innovator in question only when that name is already publicly connected to the IP/incident in question.
  • This is only a partial list of subjects I’ve been pitched. (I did not include ones that seem more like conspiracy theory than viable claim.)
  • As more subjects come in, I will add to this list.

characters:

  • G.I. Joe doll
  • Kimba the White Lion (as unacknowledged inspiration for The Lion King)
  • Spawn
  • Super Mario Bros.
  • Power Rangers/Gene Pelc
  • The Walking Dead/Kingdom Hearts (allegedly from the same creator)
  • Gladiator (2000 Academy Award for Best Picture)
  • Finding Nemo (2003 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature)
 
creators/inventors/pioneers:

  • George A. Wyman, first person to cross the U.S. by motor vehicle (motorbike, 1903)
  • Lotte Reiniger, director of one of the earliest animated feature films (released in 1926, 11 years before Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs)
  • a person whose photographs of writer Robert Graves and poet Laura Riding are being used without permission in a film
  • Rear Admiral Husband Edward Kimmel, commander-in-chief of the U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor on 12/7/41
  • J. Warren Bowman, pioneer of the baseball card industry 
  • Larry Shinoda, designer of the 1963 Corvette Sting Ray
  • Gene L. Coon, Star Trek writer
  • Otis Davis, first person to wear a Nike tennis shoe
  • Boston (the band)
  • singer of many pop songs including “Girl You Know It’s True,” released by Milli Vanilli (a group that, as you probably know, hid its own secret)

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Passing the Bat-on: advocating for Bill Finger from the 1960s to today

When people thank me for my efforts to get Bill Finger credited on Batman, I thank them right back, and also make clear that it was not a solo effort, nor was I the one who got the ball rolling.

I often say “Without Jerry Bails, there’d be no me.” He did not formally pass the baton after he introduced Bill to fandom in 1965, but others in scattershot formation picked it up where it lay.

Below are those whom I consider the VIPs in the decades-long push to officially acknowledge Bill Finger. (So many more have championed Bill; the people on this list took on the challenge in a particularly concrete way, i.e. writing about Bill.) They are in loose chronological order and rather than describe each again here, I’ve linked to a previous post about him or her. (If deceased, the year of passing is in parentheses.)

Monday, November 4, 2019

Visiting Beatles sites in Liverpool, England

In 12/18, I cobbled together my own Beatles tour of Hamburg, Germany, where they first played outside of the UK.

But I failed to mention that 25 years earlier, on 4/20/93 to be precise, while in college and traveling Europe for the first time, I had already done an ad hoc Beatles tour...of Liverpool, England, where it all started.

 251 Menlove Avenue ("Mendips"), 
where John Lennon lived 1945-1963

 The Cavern Club, 10 Mathew Street; 
the Quarrymen (first band Lennon and McCartney appeared in together)
first performed here in 1957; as the Beatles, they first played here
in 1961 (where future manager Brian Epstein first heard them) 
and last in 1963...with 273 times in between; 
the original closed and was torn down in 1973; 
it was rebuilt (in part from bricks of the original) 
and re-opened in 1985 
(but would go through more closures/reopenings)

 Eleanor Rigby, lonely no more.

 One end of Penny Lane.

 The barbershop mentioned in "Penny Lane."
(Squint to make out the photo I'm looking at.)

Strawberry Field, the children's home on whose grounds 
a young John sometimes played. 
It closed in 2005; the grounds opened 
to the public for the first time in 2019.
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