Monday, September 22, 2008

Crossing Over

Awhile back I mentioned that I had donated my bizarre Super Hero Food Collection to the Toy & Action Figure Museum in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma. Well the best part of making charitable donations is shamelessly bragging about them in a public forum...which is what brings us here today. I finally got to visit my old food in its new home:

Yes, not only is this rare photographic evidence of CBL director Todd Kent (I usually prefer to stand behind cameras, not in front) but it's also a look at the greatest assembly of super hero related food products in Central Oklahoma. A recent road trip to the Sooner state gave me an opportunity to bask in the super hero foody-ness contained behind museum grade glass. Nothing exudes significance like being enclosed behind glass. See for yourself:

Yeah, the gang's all there. Spider-Man Candy Canes. Superman Orange Drink. Hulk Gumballs. Batman Bottled Water. And so much more. I just hope that the collection can bring a little bit of "WTF" to the museum visitors' experience.

And as I've said before, the museum itself is worth a visit. It's not huge but it is densely crammed with every kind of action figure related whatnot in creation. Of note on this trip was the (I assume custom made) life size Green Lantern statue.

As eye catching as that was, there was a somewhat more subtle, yet maddeningly genius display hidden in plain site amongst the 12 gazzillion action figures locked in eternal battle. Look closely:

At first it appears to be the USS Enterprise-D being attacked by the combined might of the Klingons, the Romulans and the Borg. Picard's crew seems to be aided by Captain Kirk, Captain Sisko and Odo. That might be enough for the casual crossover fan...but wait. The Romulans brought reinforcements. Alien, The Terminator, Edward Scissor Hands and Cyclops from the X-men are all looking to get their hands a little dirty.

Fortunately it looks like Starfleet enlisted the help of the Guardians of the Universe, the Flash and Captain America (or possibly U.S. Agent) mans the helm. The robot from Lost in Space looks on in a fairly useless fashion, as usual...but in a stunning field promotion, the first officer's chair is occupied by Alf.

A seemingly arbitrary arrangement of random collectibles or a blockbuster in the making? You be the judge.

And for those of you in the "everything must have some kind of explanation" club, it looks like that's Q standing on top of the bridge. So we can all assume he put this little party together. Happy now?

Find the museum online here:

Also, I had posted this awhile back but it's worth another look. It's a video we made about the museum after we had shot there for the Comic Book Literacy Documentary:

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Latest Shoot: POW!

Believe it or not, we actually got some production done lately. Thanks to our old friends at the Hero Foundry. Take a look at some pictures from "POW!":

"POW!" stands for "Pictures on the Wall" and was a live art show and auction to raise funds for the Hero Foundry which donates comic books to schools and libraries.

Live art, live music, live food....well I guess the food wasn't alive but the crowd certainly was. Especially when it came time to bid on the artwork generously donated by local artists.

For information about how you can help the Foundry get comics into the hands of kids, find them online here:

Special thanks to Paul and Brian from the Foundry and Jeremy and his staff at Titan Comics, the greatest comic book store in the world. Find them online here:

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Kid Stuff

The wild west was full of surprises. Most of them were decidedly unpleasant. A sleeping bag-nested rattlesnake here, a touch of tuberculosis there. Life came fast and hard and pleasant surprises were few and far between. It's that frontier styled expectation that kept my hopes low regarding the Billy the Kid Museum in Canton, TX.

Best case scenario, I thought, was a kitschy roadside gem. Worst case scenario: a boring building with nothing in it. Well, my friends, the Billy the Kid Museum did not disappoint. And it offered a surprise that did NOT lead to a slow and/or painful death. You can't ask for more than that in your wild west experience.

I had driven past the ominous site a hundred times on various trips to East Texas. It's located in Canton, TX whose claim to fame is "First Monday Trade Days" which may or may not be the world's largest flea market. Suffice it to say, if you are looking for a particular item, it can be haggled for at First Monday.

The exterior of the Museum had always been, at the very least, attention grabbing:

So on this trip my curiosity won the battle it was having with my sense of self preservation and I made the stop.

Inside, amongst the livestock remains, wanted posters and a lengthy dissertation linking LBJ to the Kennedy assassination, I found what can only be described as "the best Billy the Kid Comic Book collection in the world." There was even a laminated piece of paper that said so. And you know if it's laminated they mean business.

I have to admit to only having a marginal knowledge of western comics. I know they were big in the 50's and that they starred both real and fictitious protagonists. It was something of an eye opener when I saw not one, but EVERY wall plastered with Billy the Kid comics.

And not just the Kid, but the Texas Rangers, the original Rawhide Kid, the Cheyenne Kid and even Zorro. If it rode a horse and had a predilection towards shouting "yeehaw" then the odds are that it ended up in comic form at one time or another.

While the main focus of the museums seems to revolve around the legend of an elderly Billy the Kid retiring and living out the rest of his days in a small Texas town (instead of being shot and killed by at a young age as most "traditional" historical accounts claim), other Texas legends get coverage as well. The afore mentioned Kennedy assassination garnered its own room and mini-exhibit. Legendary Texas gangsters Bonnie & Clyde are also included with these eerily lifelike representations:

But for me it was the comic book collection that really set this place apart from other roadside attractions. There's something to be said for for the element of surprise. And there's nothing better than finding a niche comic book collection where you least expect it.

Find the museum online HERE

And tell 'em, "Brushy Bill" sent ya!