Salt Lake Comic Con FanX 2014 Day 1

Hey y’all!

Before I begin, I’m dedicating this first article to Pola Sanchez-Baker: “The writer is working, my friend.”

Well, another comic con has come and gone, blowing the minds of Fans, participants and, suits-alike. Now, that I’ve had a couple of days to reboot, regroup and recover (today, being a bonus day off, as I wasn’t on the schedule… Woohoo!), it’s time I get to work: I mean, I do need to pay my way, eh..? First-off, there are a few people I need to thank: Kenny Caldwell (SLCC’s PR Associate), for giving me press corps credentials; you gave me access to my dreams, and I won’t soon forget it. Next, I want to give a heartfelt “Thank you” to Aimee Sermon-Marchant, (my boss at SSI), who granted me this vacation time, so I could go out and play with my fellow-nerds. And, finally…Jeremiah Stewart, (whom – I met on the train at last year’s comic con), for his friendship, and for pointing me to the right people. I’m forever indebted to ya, bro: “Thank you.”

Guys, we broke records in the Beehive State, again, thereby cementing our place among the ranks of the ‘best-of-the-best.’ The 100,000-plus attendees, the cast of Star Trek: TNG, William Shatner, Karl Urban, Billy Dee Williams, the addition of Kid Con, and the last-minute arrival of Sir Patrick Stewart, were just some of the reasons the Salt Palace Convention Center was filled to capacity. The numbers came out today, in a press release I received, that said, besides exceeding anticipated attendance levels, we have become the 3rd-largest comic con in the United States and the largest in North America per-capita; plus-the Salt Lake Comic Con Facebook page reached 2.5 million people in one week. That’s staggering! It’s no wonder, then – that Governor Gary Herbert declared April 17th ‘Salt Lake Comic Con Hero’s Day’ at the opening-day press conference, (which, I had the distinct honor of attending).

When I asked Dan Farr (SLCC’s producer), why he started this epic, ever-growing event, he said: “I started this comic con because I knew there was a market and I thought we could show this regions interest.” Although, he’s not a ‘loyal’ Star Trek fan, himself, Dan did say he likes the shows; (Star Trek was the centerpiece of this comic con). He went on to say, “I enjoy meeting the fans, and I wanted people to have a place to go and meet, and have a good time.” And, meet, we did. Outside the Salt Palace, aboard TRAX and Frontrunner, though, I saw the curious looks of the older generation staring at the thousands of cosplayers, like muggles, in Harry Potter, seeing witches and wizards coming out of Diagon Alley. You must understand, the world headquarters for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the equivalent of the Vatican), sits kitty-corner from the Salt Palace; so, it was not surprising to see a few turned-up noses and imperious brow-raising, but, I found the looks of disdain rather amusing, nonetheless.

My first day (which, was beautiful, by the way), started like last Sept.: I boarded the train and made the hour journey to Salt Lake City. I met-up with fellow-journalist and podcaster Jeremiah Stewart and his wife Stephanie, who brought their four-week-old son, young Master Bruce; (he attended his first comic con as Batman, had his first photo-op in the captain’s chair of the Enterprise D (at the press conference, no-less) and Daniel Logan (young Boba Fett) didn’t want to give him back to his parents… We arrived early, grabbed our press passes (lifesavers), then, it was just a short wait for the press conference in the main ballroom.

Some of the stars in attendance were Barbie Blank and Maryse Ouellet (WWE Divas), Daniel Logan, Jeremy Bulloch (the original Boba Fett in Star Wars: Episodes IV-VI), David Jason Frank (Tommy Oliver/Green Power Ranger), Mickey Dolenz (The Monkees) and Charles Fleischer (Who Framed Roger Rabbit). We learned today, that the cast of TNG and William ‘James T. Kirk’ Shatner took to the stage (where the Enterprise D Bridge was set up) after the press conference closed.

Funny story… While everyone was interviewing the stars (for which I had zero interest, as I was talking with Dan Farr and meeting the governor), I slipped-up on the stage and I asked one of the professional photographers if he would get a couple of shots of me in ‘the chair’… Hey, why not? Everyone-else was busy schmoozing the Gov. So, I sit down and get my pix, then – I look over to the stage stairs, and there’s Gov. Herbert, and his entourage, waiting for me to move my ass out of the way, so they could have their photo-op. Herbert is a Republican, I’m a Democrat – soooo….I wasn’t too upset that the state’s supreme commander had to wait, for little-ol’ me. Hahaha! Now, don’t be sending me ugly comments about the political ties; it’s a joke. Governor Herbert is a nice guy and he opened the ceremonies with class; besides, he’s a geek! He did the Picard gesture when he took his photo in the captain’s chair: “Engage,” indeed! It was a great moment, I loved it, and it was part of my FanXperience.

The conference broke and it was our chance to hit the floor. Big, big difference, this year. First, the ticket-purchasing/registration area was relocated, freeing-up the main hall and giving people more room to mill about; then, the floor space was doubled and they brought in Kid Con. Kid Con was a new attraction and it had everything from mascots to face-painting, to music shows and magic, anime, celebrity photo-ops, science and fantasy sections; they even had an R2-D2 Builders Club. Also, in that area, they had the Adam West impersonator doing Batman and a replica of the ’66 Batmobile, there was the Back to the Future DeLorean, the T.A.R.D.I.S (VWORP VWORP), plus-the Seventh Fleet’s life-sized Starfleet shuttlecraft, and a whole-slew of other stuff. It was a terrific place to bring those cosplaying kiddies; which, to me, is what makes the cons so magical. Seeing the looks in their eyes, as they meet their comic book hero’s is priceless.

Another-shift, this round, was the placement of Artist’s Alley, which had more-than a few of these guys and gals (I won’t name any names…) plenty-pissed. If the floor-planners will accept some advice, you need to move these talented artists and authors closer to the front; I mean, it is a comic con, after-all… Right? Well – I will name one: Neal Adams, who I had the pleasure of chatting with on my stroll Saturday morning, said “Whoever planned this, was stupid.” Example: Joe Corroney had a four-foot table; it was laden with his wares, forcing this phenomenal comic-book artist to do artwork on his lap!! This is totally unacceptable, guys. I had planned to have Joe do a little sketch in my leather-bound Star Wars Trilogy book, but when I saw the tight area he was in, I didn’t even bother to ask. It was great meeting Joe, and he recognized me right-off-the-bat from my profile picture; (maybe, it was my trademark hat?); and, it was just another fantastic moment in my FanXperience. I’m now the owner of a (I’m told) rare R2-D2 print and 10 IDW Star Trek Joe Corroney comics, for which he was good-enough to sign, for me. (If you’re reading this, “Thanks, Joe. We appreciate ya comin’ to Salt Lake, bro. We’ll be doin’ it, again, Sept. 4-6.”)

So, other-than having a disappointing meeting with a fave author (which, was more-than reconciled, later), I had a great first day at the con. However, I left a bit early, as I had carried a shoulder bag full of books, comics, computer, etc. and by the time I left, it felt like I was lugging around a boulder, with a strap. I was ready to get home and soak in a tub… LOL! My first day on the press corps was everything I imagined, and – more. I was truly honored to be a part of this record-breaking event. It was good to meet-up with old friends and cosplayers, as well as, meeting new friends: Dan Farr and Kenny Caldwell, for instance. Picking up that ‘Press’ lanyard was a thrilling moment, for me, too. Wow! This comic con really-was, ‘the stuff of dreams’…

I’m going to break this thing down, now, but – I’ll be bringing you more in the next-few days, as I have plenty to tell. Day 2 was even-better… What a blast, guys!

Til-then, I’ll see ya ‘out there’…
Lt. Eric Cone







2014 Scribe Award nominees announced. Guess who?


I could give you a dozen reasons, why you should read ‘From History’s Shadow,’ but, here’s another… New York Times Best Selling author Dayton Ward, has been nominated for a 2014 Scribe Award for this brilliant time-hopping adventure and, rightly-so. It’s a fantastic read and it’s filled with all of the things that make Star Trek great. Dayton even changed my perceptions on a character, that I didn’t care for, in the DS9 episode ‘Little Green Men.’ I have been collecting ST books for nearly 24 years and ‘From History’s Shadow,’ now-ranks in my Top 5 Star Trek novels of all time. It’s become so beloved by the fans (of non-canon ST literature), that Dayton is seriously considering a sequel. I know, that it’s one of his favorites, too, (as-well-as, being a personal pet-project, that he ‘fought the hard fight’ to write), and I have no doubt, that it will become one of your top picks, as well. Do yourself a favor and do the time-warp with Kirk, Spock, McCoy and loads-more iconic favorites, aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise, while learning a thing or two about Earth’s history, in the process. You will NOT be sorry, you did.

Originally posted on The Fog of Ward:

Earlier this morning, nominees were announced for the 2014 Scribe Awards. Presented by the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers (IAMTW) , the Scribes “acknowledge and celebrate excellence in licensed tie-in writing—novels based on TV shows, movies, and games.”

And yet, there’s From History’s Shadow, right there on the list.

The 2014 Scribes Nominees:

Novel Adapted

Man of Steel by Greg Cox
Pacific Rim by Alex Irvine
47 Ronin by Joan D. Vinge

General Novel Original

Murder She Wrote: Close-Up on Murder by Donald Bain
The Executioner: Sleeping Dragons
by Michael A. Black
Mr. Monk Helps Himself by Hy Conrad
Leverage: The Bestseller Job
by Greg Cox
Leverage: The Zoo Job by Keith R. A. DeCandidoCover for From History's ShadowSpeculative Novel Original

Fringe: The Zodiac Paradox by Christa Faust
Supernatural: Fresh Meat by Alice Henderson
Star Wars: Kenobi by John Jackson Miller
Supernatural: The Roads not Taken by Tim Waggoner
Star Trek:…

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I, Enterprise

I’m currently sitting in my local Barnes & Noble Bookseller enjoying a very good artichoke and spinach quiche, a triple chocolate chunk cookie and a sweet green tea. This is my first outing using my new Mac Surface Touch and I’m experimenting with the WordPress on this new machine. I feel like I have come into the 21st century as I sit here, surrounded by people reading quietly, or talking in low voices over teas and espressos; a couple of other gents are also punching keys, and…I feel like I belong here. I may have to come here more often. Plus, I’m on Day 20 being #SmokeFree and it’s getting easier to write, now that the cravings are leaving.

So, I’ve finished the new Star Trek comic from IDW; Issue 31 in the ongoing series. This one is titled ‘I, Enterprise’ and like the two-parter before it, it’s different from the very start. It opens with science officer 0718, a being we saw only-briefly in Star Trek: Into Darkness’. He is Starfleet’s first and only humanoid mainframe interface; 0718 monitors every real-time process executed by the ship’s computer, alerting the captain to any potential complications. Now, you know this isn’t going to bode well, right? How many times have we seen machines become ‘freaky’, eh? Especially – when they’re called the brain. As the story unfolds, we learn more about 0718′s duties and get a sense of his mindset; he prefers to spend his off-time in the botanical lab.

The core of this story takes place prior to the events in the last big screen adventure. The Enterprise comes upon (what reminded me of a Dyson Sphere) a perfect spherical planetoid composed of unknown material. Spock is fascinated by the discovery, finding no clues to its construction or purpose. Captain Kirk orders a landing party and they beam down to a smooth, almost mirror-like surface. Chekov finds curious readings that suggest the planetoid may be a living organism. Aboard the ship, Uhura picks up surface noise and a repeating signal, that coincides with the party’s beaming down. They lose contact, albeit-briefly, but it’s enough to make Kirk leery, and he orders the team back aboard, as well.

On Enterprise, Chekov informs Spock of some curious readings he’s gotten, while trying to download the gathered data into the ship’s computer; the computer has quarantined the data, raising red flags. Of coarse, that’s when the ship begins exhibiting strange behavior; caused by a foreign program from the tricorder data that was downloaded into the computer. It’s nothing major, at first, but that doesn’t stay the situation, for long. Kirk wonders if the planet isn’t trying to communicate with the crew. The ship’s systems are becoming increasingly erratic, to the point where the ship even begins to separate on it’s own (threatening the integrity of the warp core); then freezes in mid-operation! As Scotty prepares to correct the damage and bring the saucer section back into its proper alignment with the main hull, he is incapacitated by a severe electrical shock and needs to be taken to the med bay.

Dr. McCoy gives the stricken engineer treatment, but that’s when they realize one of the surgical bays has locked itself and is performing some complex procedures…it’s creating a new life form! Well, is anybody surprised here, when this life form steps out, looking a whole-lot like 0718? Or – when this new creation declares: “I am the Enterprise.” Of course, not…we’ve seen this so many times before.

However…that doesn’t mean, that I’m not intrigued by where Mike Johnson is going to take this story. What will become of 0718 and how will the computer evolve, or be separated from this new life form? Who are the aliens who’ve built this sentient creation and how does it fit in with the planetoid from which it came? This is the JJ-verse, so anything is possible, and that’s not a bad thing, to me. Everyone keeps harping about this not being the Trek they’re used to… Damn right!

All-in-all, I gave this issue 4 stars, as I had some gripes about the likenesses of Kirk (especially – the cover), and Scotty seemed a bit off in some areas, also. Plus, we didn’t see Dr. McCoy a whole-lot, in yet, another-issue. Come on, Mike! Dammit, man! WE want to to see MORE of Bones! (Says everyone…) That said, go out and buy this new adventure, or download it onto your device…er – wait! That’s what started this hellacious mess in the first place; downloading foreign data into the ship’s computer, eh? Well, beware, I guess. I’m done here; I’m reading Ray Bradbury’s ‘The Martian Chronicles’ for the first time. WHAT?! Yep…but, it’s never to late, you know.

‘Til, next time, I’ll see ya ‘out there.’

Lt. Eric Cone


Happy Birthday, Batman!

Yep, Gothamites… Today marks Batman/Bruce Wayne’s 75th Anniversary and I would be remiss, if I didn’t give my favorite superhero a shoutout. (Yes, I know…I use Supes for this blog’s cover picture, but, only-because there isn’t a picture of Batman, with a Gator on his chest…)

I like Batman. He’s cool, cunning and his name-alone, sends fear through the hearts of his enemies. He relies on no superpowers; he is a human being. Bruce Wayne dons that cowl and cape and transforms into a vigilante who uses his brain, logic and, yes – some badass toys, to best the scourge of Gotham City.

And, Batman has had some really entertaining, if-not, persistant baddies to foil during his 75 year crime-fighting career: Joker, Catwoman, Penguin, Poison Ivy, Bane, Two-Face, Riddler…himself. It’s true, Batman and Bruce Wayne have battled one-another, at times; but Batman always manages to rise to the occasion, to patrol the rooftops and fly, again, through the dark streets and alleys of Gotham City.

Batman has had a lot of backup over the decades, as well: Robin, in his many incarnations, Commissioner Gordon and Chief O’Hara, Barbara Gordon, aka Batgirl, and – yes, even Batman’s foes will side with the Dark Knight, if it’s to their advantage… One thing remains true, though; Batman doesn’t need anyone, in the end, because, well – he’s Batman.

My favorite Detective Comics character has changed and evolved in many ways over these past 75 years, but he’s always remained true to his core, throughout: if you commit a crime in Gotham City, Batman’s comin’ for ya – and, he WILL find you. Make no mistake.

So, today, I say: “Thank you,” to Bob Kane and Bill Finger, for starting it all on March 30, 1939. Out of all of the superhero comics I own, Batman reigns supreme – (I just counted them and I have 75 covers and I just finished purchasing BATMAN: No Man’s Land a few-weeks, ago).




The Return Of The Six Million Dollar Man


James Kuhoric announced on FB today, that the first issue of The Six Million Dollar Man: Season Six has SOLD OUT. Dynamite Comics has ordered a second-printing of this breakout hit. My copies are ordered…

Originally posted on Go Gator 1's Grins & Gripes:

Well, Pals, I’m about to say something that is going to shock-the-living-Hell, right out of all of you…. Here goes: there’s something I love more than Star Trek .


Yes, you heard me right. From the earliest-days of my childhood, from the moment it debuted (March 7, 1973), I have loved The Six Million Dollar Man; (even-more than Superman, Batman and The Hulk combined). I was three-months shy of my 7th birthday, but it’s something I still recall vividly; my dad watched this groundbreaking pilot-episode with me and it’s impact on my young gray-matter was immediate; it’s been a mainstay in my life, ever-since. I was Colonel Steve Austin, Astronaut… The world’s-first bionic man. I had the Steve Austin action-figure, the Bionic Transport and Repair Station, as-well-as, Oscar Goldman (yup, with his exploding briefcase) and, of course, I had Maskatron. (You can keep your Star Wars toys…)…

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You’re Going To Try To Quit… Just STOP!


It seems I’ve inspired some people around this big rock, to STOP smoking those cigarettes. I HAVE STOPPED on FB and You can too…

Originally posted on Go Gator 1's Grins & Gripes:

I decided to stop smoking on Facebook. Why not? Seemed like the thing to do, as I tried to quit smoking on Twitter, last year, and…well, I didn’t quit . I’ve tried to quit countless-times in my life, only to fail every time I lit one up. So, why FB? And…why was I successful, this time?

I’d been at work and I had been on my 15-minute break (ya know, power-lunging those two cigarettes); afterwards, I had a meeting with one of the bosses. I noticed that they had discreetly put their hand over their nose, by their mouth and they had leaned away from me, as well. I could smell it, then, too; I fucking reeked! Now…I should back up a bit – I’d seen the Smoking Kids video back in January and it was pretty-powerful, in motivating me, then. This decision had been on my mind, see; the…

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Darth Vader’s Poop


This was a very informative, if not…uh – moving blog about Darth Vader’s biological functions, or – lack of them. You could say, this was an information ‘dump’, as it were. LEC

Originally posted on kessel korner:

I backed away from the biological questions after being lightly chastised for asking “ Does Darth Vader Need to Eat? ” I specifically placed the publication of this blog on hold because I care about your feelings and feedback!
I'd be angry too.

I’d be angry too.

But really only to a limited extent, because I’d written this out and had every intent of coming back to it.

(Side note: I appreciate all the comments lately. I’ve enjoyed having actual discussions on these insane topics and promise you this is all far from over! And of course if you want to pitch an idea for a blog question, let me know!)

But the next logical question about the Dark Lord of the Sith needing to eat is…

Does Darth Vader Need to Poop?

Every living thing creates waste. This waste must be expelled or sepsis sets in, because the toxins in the body…

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