Meeting a giant at vermont comic con

Last weekend on August 27th, I had the chance to attend the third Vermont Comic Con in Burlington. It was probably one of the better shows they've had since the last year. Lots of cosplayers that I've seen were very impressive and had a great time themselves. Especially the giant Jack Skellington costume and the 501st New England Garrison was a treat to see. I think there were more stormtroopers and imperial officers than the previous show I went to and their booth was just so much fun to be around at with a bunch of props and goodies on their table.

Especially one of the sith lightsabers that was so well built that I picked it up, just to see if I can fence with it. The saber has a knuckle guard hilt to it which is beautifully crafted. The image below shows the actual lightsaber held by the cosplayer of the Seventh Sister ( I believe ). My hats off to this cosplayer.

Vader' s Fist cosplayI also had the pleasure of catching up with several local creators and managed to get a copy of Oliver Kranichfeld's book Flatlander after being published from his successful kickstarter event. And especially Stephanie Zuppo's Belchville book as well which I've been meaning to get my hands on. Both books were beautifully crafted and bound to which I can't wait to get around reading them. 

But that's not the main reason I went to the Comic Con. That reason lies in the name of Ken Kelly, who's considered one of the old school greats in the field of illustration. And the kicker is he is the nephew of the grandmaster Frank Frazetta. As soon as I noticed Ken's name on the program list, I took a double take and recognized his classic work, especially the famous KISS album cover art that I remembered all so well years ago, one in which my cousin is a fanatic of. 

The Great Ken Kelly himselfThe original drawing based on a certain KISS album cover that any fanatic would instantly know from.His works from horror to fantasy was one I would not forget even the images of Conan, Manowar, Frankenstein, Vampirella, and so on. It's endless. The color palette, vibrant. The paint strokes, purposeful and focused.

In confession, as a child of the 70s and 80s, his work has been an influence on me even during my D&D and gaming days, looking at horror magazines, watching Dark Shadows and the like. And as an artist myself, I have nothing but respect and appreciation for the old school illustrators who still do it to this day regardless of the digital nature of the industry. I think I would view his work as 'classic hardcore' in the most old school manner. 

His table booth had a plethora of beautifully painted illustrations especially some of the originals that hung behind him. It was stunning to see them in person. I wanted them all but they came at a price which is expected. Another fellow illustrator named Matt Sylvester, whom I know, was talking to him as I watched Mr. Kelly show him an original piece, explaining his process which was so fascinating. Matt and I knew exactly who we were dealing with. Standing somewhat taller than me like a giant, he spoke in such a laid back manner and was very open about the nature of his creative work. 

When a giant like Mr. Kelly walks into a local convention, you don't dare miss a chance to meet him. 

I got two prints from him with his autographed. So inspiring.

Eventually, after their conversation ended, I got two prints from Mr. Kelly with the autographs due to a favor I did for him. It was probably the most epic thing I ever did by keeping watch over his booth while he was away for ten minutes.

In the booth of one of the masters!

I chose the two that spoke to me as an artist, fencer and metal music lover. I will never forget this for years to come. 

Thanks to Mr. Kelly for the excellent work as it continues to inspire me. 

Frank Black is Back


Millennium show logo aired by FOX network

Once upon a time, in the 1990s, there was a show called the X-Files which catered to my interests in UFO-ology and conspiracy theories which I shared in common with friends I hung out with when I was living in Cleveland. It was great fun discussing the show and at the same time, the internet was young as a digital 'wild west' as we would log on and chat into the wee hours of the night in old school BBS, or bulletin board systems, or jumping through other old school HTML websites reading up on conspiracy sites. 

But there was something else as I experienced a certain darkness. It was at that era when an old friend and I would chat about things of occultic nature that ties in with the history of humanity, and the feeding of ignorance abounds behind veiled curtains. He mentioned a book called Holy Grail, Holy Blood written by Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln. 

That book blew my mind which proved my friend right that it was intelligently researched and thought out within that ' cottage industry '. It was also the inspiration behind Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, which I'm not quite a big fan for reasons of my own. It pulled me deeper into the rabbit hole, devouring books on the Knights Templar, the Ark of the Covenant, mythology and symbology of the Holy Grail, and so on.

One rabbit hole after another.

Because I was questioning reality around me, that book could not have come at the right time. This was some time after the mid-1990s when I was reading up on the Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice and other dark tales, whom I've had the pleasure of meeting during her " Servant of the Bones " signing tour, and an experience I will never forget. Another author I should add that I met twice now, in that same time frame, is Neil Gaiman who signed two of my books.

And moreover, when a certain show " Millennium " created by Chris Carter was being advertised, I was intriqued. It was that time, I was in art school, while looking forward to each Friday nights of " Millennium " Season One. I was also reading a book titled " Foucault's Pendulum " by Umberto Eco which tied into the Knights Templar mythos.

By then, I delved into another rabbit hole reading up on " The Name of the Rose ".  by the same author as well. I used to haunt Squire's Castle in Cleveland Metroparks time to time when I tooks pics of the place and it became my spot to hide away from the craziness.

With Season Two of " Millennium ", things got more interesting and best of all, there was synchronicity between the show and the books I've been reading up. At one episode later on that year, it related to the Rosicrusians, which on that same day I was reading up on this very subject matter and I said " Hey! I was just reading about that secret society! ". 

The show 'understood' and spoke to me. Every Friday, I would sit on my father's reclining chair and my siamese cat would jump up and sit next to me, and the darkness of Frank Black would begin with the click of the tv remote. 

What was cool about the show, especially the second season which is my favorite out of all, is the way episodes built up the supernatural elements and how Frank Black, acted by Lance Henrikson, relates to it, in apostolic fashion working with Peter Watts and Lara Means to investigate. He would live in a yellow house in Seattle with his wife and daughter since that color symbolizes the light and of safety. The show was'nt about the " truth is out there " but rather in the conflict of man versus man, or versus himself until things got more involved than what it appears to be. 

It was mostly introspective in that sense and the darkness was also gnawing at Frank at his shoulders. The idea of the Millennium Group employing Frank Black as a psychic profiler like a 'hound' to sort out the events was neat. There were sequences where some Millennium members would utter the secret handshake code " This is who we are ", responded by " This is what we do ". It's especially noticable in the " Hand of St. Sebastian " episode which I recommend. 

Who could forget " Somehow, Satan Got Behind Me " which amused me greatly? Or the well regarded and more famous episode of " Curse Of Frank Black " which I will never forget and it actually aired on a Halloween night. Such perfect timing.

I won't go any further to spoil the show to anyone who never watched it.

It's one thing why I think my studio logo relates to the shape of the Ouroboros, famously shown in every episode's title sequence, beginning with biblical quotes and a flash. But also the symboloism of creation starting with the inner circle and the outer rim of the logo represents the cosmos. See it in another layer and it would also represent the inner sanctum of introversion. 

It was not until 1999 when the show was cancelled which disappointed me greatly because it was one of the greatest shows ever made and I think has more depth than the X-Files, if you knew what to look for. When it ended, I created an original illustration of Frank Black standing in front of his yellow house for a fan site called The Millennial Abyss. I sent it in the mail and the guy was appreciative of the fan art which was put up on there. That site also branched out as Fourth Horseman Press which published Back To Frank Black. I did a four page comic experiment of a scene between Frank Black and Peter Watts which was great fun even though it's been over ten years ago.

That fan site was a continued outlet for the small community of Millennium after its cancellation. There were fans who wrote the virtual seasons in script format to read which was fascinating and I had some ideas of how to contribute but never found the time to. Ideas that would have been controversial that could shake up the Millennium-verse somewhat. I wanted to contribute to it so bad.

And I thought at the time, it needed to become a comic book series despite the fact there were rumors going about that a film version would be produced.

It was not until years later in 2014, news would break out that the character would return in a Millennium mini series by IDW Publishing. I was so excited that I could'nt believe it. This is why I'm writing this blog to those who are fans of the show to support IDW Publishing and demand more of Millennium. 

Oh, and that yellow house he lived in? Well, interestingly enough, since I live in Vermont now, there is an actual yellow house across the street where I reside from. And it looks almost like the one from the show. 

Millennium never died.

This Is Who We Are.

Frank Black illustration I did in 2000.

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