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Last Town Bypassed

I had never been to Williams, AZ. At least I don’t think I had. Maybe I went through it as a kid with my parents, or drove past it on the I-40, not buckled up in the back of the big Ford van with my siblings sipping on cans of Big K soda and eating generic brand cookies from the grocery store.

It’s a cool looking little town. One of those postcard towns. One of those built in the late 1800s, Old West, railroad kind of towns. The kind of place I like to visit now.

Williams is a last pit stop of reliable lodging and amenities before heading up to the Grand Canyon. The launching point of the Grand Canyon Railroad tours. The last town on historical Route 66 bypassed by the Interstate 40. This is where they get the tourists. This is where almost all of the stores on the main drag celebrate and capitalize on the nostalgia of 1950s America with knick knacks and signs and memorabilia and magnets of the Route 66 Highway sign, or Marilyn Monroe, or Elvis, or John Wayne, or Coca-Cola.

I spent the night there with my friend Eric and his family in a little Route 66 motel. He, his dad, and I went out that night after we got back from the Grand Canyon and had dinner and beer at the Historic Brewing location there. One of the few places that takes advantage of the location and old architecture without being a tourist trap. Plus they have damn good beer, and if you’re ever there, or in Flagstaff, you should stop in.

Walking around that night, everything looked so neat and photogenic. But I didn’t have my camera on me, so I stayed a little longer the next morning to explore and take photos after I said goodbye to Eric and his family after we had breakfast. Mind you, exploring was just walking down and up the main drag and over to the railroad station, soaking in the two industries that keep the town hanging on a little better than some of the other Route 66 stops. It didn’t take long, but Williams is a cool place worth seeing.

 

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Views From the Rim

Here are some photos from when I accompanied my friend Eric and his family to the Grand Canyon back in April. I know, I’m very timely with my posts.

If I remember correctly, which I probably don’t, these photos were taken from Mather Point, Grandview Point, Moran Point, and Desert View.

It was a wonderful day hanging out with good people and sight seeing at one of my favorite places. We saw many haggardly looking Elk in the process of shedding their winter coats and felt from their antlers. I didn’t get any pictures of those since I was sitting in the back. Just thought I’d share that we saw them and not provide any proof.

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Amazing Arizona Comic Con 2015

Another great weekend at the Amazing Arizona Comic Con! Not just great, the best yet! Some of the best comic book creators were in attendance this year, and not just any creators, the guys who created the first comics I read back when I was a kid in the early 90s:Ā Greg Capullo (Spawn, the New 52 Batman run with Scott Snyder), Rob Liefeld (Deadpool and X-Force), Adam Kubert (Wolverine), Mark Bagley (The Amazing Spider-Man). And some of the newer guys were there as well: Steve Epting (Captain America), Steve McNiven (Old Man Logan, Death of Wolverine) and writer Chuck Soule (Death of Wolverine).

I saw two of the best comic-book-focused panels ever: Greg Capullo and Rob Liefeld. They each had insightful and entertaining stories to tell about how they got started in the business. It was also educational listening to them talk about leaving Marvel, Leifeld starting Image, and each of them working with Todd McFarland.

I have to pay respect to Capullo. The guy is one of the most genuine, down-to-earth, appreciative artists I have met at a con. A lot of these guys who have achieved fame and fortune come off as irritable and arrogant if you ask them for an autograph. Not Capullo. He saw the line of fans waiting to meet him and walked down the line shaking hands and giving high fives and thanked everyone for showing up. He took the time to take photos with people and signed whatever they brought. That alone makes me want to continue buying his work.

I also chatted a bit with some other legends, Adam Kubert and Mark Bagley. Kubert has a long list of work most of us have seen, including one of my most cherished issues, Wolverine #75, with the hologram cover. And Bagley was penciler on just about every issue of Amazing Spider-Man I read back in the early-mid 90s.

I spent some time talking with cute cosplay girls. I had conversations with both AZ Power Girl, Cara Nicole, and Vegas Power Girl. Both of whom did not cosplay as Power Girl that weekend, but were still gorgeous nonetheless. Cara and I talked about costumer (not customer) etiquette because of a blog she wrote. It was an enlightening piece and you can read it here. Vegas Power Girl let me play with her blunderbuss :o

In my opinion, Amazing Arizona Con outdid themselves. Now it’s on to Phoenix Comic Con!

Honorable Mentions

 

Phoenix Comic Con: Fan Fest 2014

This past December, the wonderful people who bring us the epic Phoenix Comic Con every year brought the fans a convention to satiate their appetite for an event in the winter AND on the West side of the valley. They brought us Fan Fest!

This was the first year they did it, and are already planning next year’s. It was a fun and decent show. It probably didn’t need to be a three day event, but was still a lot of fun. I met artist Jae Lee and caught up on some old issues.

I apologize about the quality of the pics. I wasn’t paying attention to the settings on my camera and a lot of them were washed out. But the turn out of costumed fans was impressive. Most impressive.

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A Los Angeles Weekend

I recently took a trip to L.A. to see some old friends. The last time I went to Los Angeles I was carrying this negative, preconceived notion of the cityĀ that was based off hear-say and imagination that weighed on my mind and my mood . That poor attitude affected my experience of that trip and the people who were with me. That’s not a good way to travel. You have to keep an open mind. You have to take things for what they are and try to find a positive quality in them.

I tried that approach this go-around with L.A., and suffice to say, I had a much better time. I think it was a good step in the direction I’ve been taking to fix my outlook on life and create a more promising future for myself.