As some of you may know I’m a HUGE Batman fan, and this year the TV show and I both turn 50 years old! My wife bought the show on DVD for my last birthday, and I’ve loved watching it in my own Batcave. As a kid I saw a bit of it when it originally aired, and later I would rush home from school to catch the reruns in the afternoon. When the ’89 movie came out they showed the reruns again. A couple years ago I saw a cable channel showing them before the BluRay/DVDs were released.
I was asked by head librarian Heather Lawson to do another display in the lobby of the First Regional Library in Hernando, MS, so I raided my Batcave collection earlier this month to do a display celebrating the 50th anniversary of the ’60s Batman TV show.
My wife Nicki and I have done several different displays over the past few years including DC Comics, comics/superhero movies, hockey, Star Wars, and Harry Potter.
We love our local library. They promote comics and have author signings. The John Jackson Miller and Daniel Wallace signings had appearances by 501st members. They have meeting spaces upstairs for local groups, and change out the lobby display cases quite often.
I love listening to people comment on our displays as we’re setting them up. I usually have a couple folks stop and either ask questions or tell me about items they have in their collections. We also have a lot of kids “ooh” and “ahh” and exclaim, “AWESOME!” as they walk by.
We’ve donated a lot of books and comics to the library- we had to after moving in together. I really need to go through all my VHS tapes, records, CDs, and DVDs to see what we have duplicates we still have that we can donate, as well as more comics. I still have several long boxes I need to go through. I have a lot of folks ask what they can do with comics they no longer want and can’t get any real money for from comic shops. I always tell them to donate them to their local libraries, or do like my friend Bob Bretall does- hand them out to kids on Halloween!
The library has two display cases in the west lobby entrance- one large one, and one smaller one (as well as a couple for promotional posters and flyers). I wish I had display cases with sliding glass fronts!
The larger case is divided into a left and right side. This was the left side…
…and this was the right side.
These are some of my favorite new Batman ’66 items- character busts. Hoping we get a few more. Would love an Eartha Kitt Catwoman, a King Tut, and a couple others. The Mego-styled Figures Toy Company’s 8″ figures are pretty batastic, too.
Oh, behind them are some sketchcovers I drew done in Copic markers. There’s also a Batgirl cover and an Egghead one I did on display which you can see featured a few photos down. I love drawing sketchcovers!
There have been lots of recent action figures- everything from the Mattel 6″ figures and Figures Toy Company’s 8″ ones. to the 12″ Hot Toys deluxe collector dolls, the the 18″ quarter scale Neca figures (the large ones above). In the left photo there’s a 12″ album from the ’60s with some of the Mattel figures. On the right there’s more Mattel figures with a Bat-computer, a Hallmark Batman ornament, Batman credit card, and a framed 20th Anniversary print.
Mattel also released a Barbie Catwoman and a Ken Batman– I have both of mine on display at the library. Wish they would do Robin and Batgirl dolls as well. Speaking of Robin, on top of the Mattel Batusi figure box that’s a signed resin replica Robin batarang autographed by Burt Ward/Robin himself.
I got it signed at AdventureCon in Knoxville, TN several years back. He was signing for donations to his Great Dane dog rescue. Over the years I’ve also met Adam West/Batman, Yvonne Craig/Batgirl, and Julie Newmar/Catwoman from the TV show.
On the right side of the large display case I added a lot of books, comics, and DVDs of the TV show and ’60s Batman movie. Since it’s a display in a library I like to have books in with the toys, movies, and other collectibles. Most of the books here are signed copies. Have my copies of the TV series and ’66 movie DVDs and BluRays, and VHS tapes, plus the soundtrack. There’s a small framed Batman movie poster in the bottom photo, and lots of Batmobiles- which is what I like to collect most. The large kiddie car in the bottom pic I picked up this past year at a small local toy car show. On this side I also have a couple older mug/cups, vinyl banks, and more ornaments.
The Catwoman statue on the left is a resin model kit I put together and painted a few years back. Picked up this awesome garage kit at Wonderfest in Louisville, KY. On the right in front of the vinyl Batman hand-puppet is the bat-collectible that started it all for me. I picked out that Batman figure for my 3rd birthday cake. I have a lot of bat-memorabilia I love and that are special to me, but if I had to pick one collectible to keep that would be it hands down.
The alarm clock in the middle is something I’ve always wanted since I was a kid. A friend had one and it would wake us up in the mornings when I would spend the night at his house. Unfortunately mine doesn’t talk anymore, but I hope to get it working again someday. The Joker is an older PEZ candy dispenser, and there is an older bat-ring, button, and bat-logo from a cake pan set I had as a kid. I also like collecting View Master reels The ones above are from a Catwoman episode.
The sign above is a replica made by Lee “The Batfan” Johnson. I have a matching Joker to go along with the suction-cup Batman below it. The blue and black Ideal Bat-helmet is one of my prize possessions. Another item I wanted as a kid but didn’t acquire until a few years ago. The squirt-gun on the right is an item that cracked me up the first time I saw it and I knew I had to have one. It’s just too weird to not have one in my collection.
On the opposite wall across from the big display is the smaller display. I put a lot of my smaller Batmobiles and other bat-vehicles in this one.
These two figures are my Hot Toys Adam West Batman and Burt Ward Robin. There are Eaglemoss bat-vehicles in the stacked plastic cases with them on the top shelf.
Those are a couple of Batman and Robin records, plus some Corgi, Corgi Jr., Hot Wheels, Matchbox, Avon, and Funko bat-vehicles on the middle shelf. Picked up the metal Batmobile sign at Hobby Lobby recently.
Along the bottom shelf there are a few larger plastic toy Batmobiles and Batboat, a Batmobile model kit, 45 record, lenticular Green Hornet disc, Pocket Heroes figures, buttons, slot cars, “Batman Meet The Green Hornet” trade paperback, and an awesome new George Barris car book- “King of the Kustomizers: The Art of George Barris“
The plastic Batman face in the left photo above is part of the superhero cake pan set that the oval logo goes along with. There’s a Superman face and shield as well. The photo on the right features many of my Corgi Jr. vehicles. They are Hot Wheels size in scale.
This is my Batcave studio at home. That’s where I sit and draw, update my blog, surf the net, or just watch some TV.
This side is where most of my Batmobiles are displayed, and that big white shelf by the closet is where most of my ’60s Batman merch is displayed at home. My wife Nicki and I built all of my shelves, bookcases, cabinets, and workspace. It’s my Man-Cave, and a great place to sit and geek-out or actually get some work done.
There are still a couple items I’d like to have- one big one especially..! 😉
Hope you can stop by our great hometown library and see a portion of my guano. It’ll be on display through the end of August.
First Regional Library- Hernando
On the first weekend of this monty my wife Nicki and I set out on a last minute quest to Murfreesboro, TN. Thankfully we didn’t set out on foot. We took her car and drove up I-40 E to TN 840, then 1-24 into Murfreesboro. Normally we just go straight up I-40 to Nashville.
Murfreesboro is the geographic center of the state of Tennessee. With the tall rock walls on either side of the highway, big green rolling hills and pastures, deep valleys, and a castle off in the distance (Castle Gwynn), at times it felt like we weren’t in Tennessee. Well, not the part of Tennessee I’m more familiar with. Memphis and the surrounding area is pretty flat. Nashville and Chattanooga are the closest to mountains I get to see these days. We were back that weekend to watch the Nashville Predators play the San Jose Sharks. Nicki and I try to make it up for at least one game a year. We couldn’t find a hotel at a decent rate in Nashville, or even the surrounding areas we normally stay in, but Nicki found a great hotel (at a good price) in Murfreesboro. We hadn’t been there since my niece Lindsay graduated from MTSU (Middle Tennessee State University) a couple years ago and looked forward to seeing the campus again. It’s a pretty quick drive from Murfreesboro to Nashville, and Nicki and I both drive about 45min each way to work during the week so we’re used to driving a lot.
The campus at MTSU (which is the largest undergraduate university in the state of Tennessee) has visibly grown over the past few years since I first went up to visit Lindsay there, and it’s really changed since Nicki went there! My niece Kristyn is going to school there now, but unfortunately for us she was back home with her folks this weekend. The weather was gorgeous and the trees and flowers were in full bloom. We parked near Nicki’s old dorm and went off to explore the campus. I was really impressed with all the new construction, especially the new student union where we did a bit of shopping. Nicki reminisced about how everything had been while she was a student there. It was great to stretch our legs and spend some time walking and talking.
We had worked up an appetite, and the Chick-Fil-A we’d had earlier was a distant memory to our stomachs. We had heard from my nieces of a pub/restaurant not too far from campus and the town square, so we headed back to the car and with rumbling starving stomachs did the quick drive to The Green Dragon Public House.
Knowing where it is now it would be easy for me to find again, but I’m glad we had GPS directions on our iPhones for our first visit. It’s fairly close to the Historic Downtown Murfreesboro district and MTSU campus, but you could easily pass by it. We were greeted by a moving dragon wind-chime as we approached the double front doors. As we passed through the doors we stepped out of Middle Tennessee and straight into Middle Earth.
Inside the place was small, but immediately had me looking around and exploring the space as we made it to our table. By the front door was a long, large table. The bar wad to the right and as we got to the end of it we passed a smaller section marked “Hobbits Only” (special kids section). Although I almost meet the height requirements to be considered a Hobbit, we sat at a table in the corner. Turns out The Green Dragon is family friendly and that’s a special place for the kids, and according to their website, “Middle Earth garb is welcome and encouraged. This includes elves, hobbits, dwarves, men and women of Gondor and Rohan.”
There was a reading corner with books, games, toys and more.
And of course there were plenty of J.R.R. Tolkien titles on the shelves, and lots of Tolkien themed photos and art on the walls. We were told some of it had been given to them by customers. The Hobbit was always one of my favorites as a kid. Loved the book and the animated movie, and had the Read-Along book and record.
Lots of stuff to keep little kids and big kids entertained. We saw tables with checkers and decks of cards, and a couple comfy looking high-back chairs for reading.
And if you’ve already read these, then you could always play a game of darts down at the end of the hallway past the bar.
We timed it well and missed most of the lunch crowd and got there before the dinner rush started. Our back corner table gave us a great vantage point for checking out the decor and people watching.
The atmosphere was very warm and cozy, and I could see how this could be a fun hangout for the locals. We were told they are working on putting in their own small brewery in their warehouse space. For a small space, they do have quite a selection of beers, ciders, ales, meads, and wine.
Since I’m not I beer drinker I decided to stick with my usual- half sweet/half un-sweet iced tea to drink. For lunch Nicki had a roast beef with gravy sandwich and chips. I had the half French Dip sandwich and a bowl of the soup of the day- “Meal In A Bowl”. The food was quite tasty, and I enjoyed the soup a lot more than I thought I would and almost wished I had just gotten a bigger bowl of the soup. Would love to try some of their other soups. You can see more of the soups on their blog here.
The staff was great and we had a great time. Look forward to going back the next time we’re up in Murfreesboro. I don’t know if everyone would appreciate this place, but we did and have plenty of friends who now want to check it out. I could see how this location would be a frequent hangout if we lived in Middle Tennessee, or Middle Earth. If you like pubs, beer, unique soups, and Tolkien then this place is one you need to take the journey to.
Thought this time I’d go a bit lighter and post some cosplay and panel pics from the con. That’s me and Nicki above with John Biefuss (writer for the Commercial Appeal) and Josh Plock on the Batman V Superman panel, which was WELL attended.
This was Nicki and me with Josh again after our Wonder Woman panel. We had a Wonder Woman and Cheetah attend the panel.
Me joking around on the Psychology of the Joker panel with Robert Brogden, James Weakley, Brittany Bailey/Dr. Quinnzel, Adam Mendelson-Bush/Joker.
The amount of cosplayers has grown at MSC, and so has the quality of costumes. I didn’t get to take a lot of shots since we were on panels most of Saturday, but here is a sample of some of the ones I saw over the weekend.
Kylo Ren VS Rey
Rey-Rey. I love that we have more and more female Star Wars characters for fans to cosplay.
Skeletor and Wreck It Ralph.
Thor and Loki.
Most politicians just shake hands and kiss babies while campaigning..!
Lobster Johnson and Harley Quinn.
Mass Effect (L) Storm, Captain Spiderman, and Spider-Gwen (R).
Cap’n Spidey and Deadpool chill out- cosplaying can be a lot of work!
Hawkgirl and The Dynamic Duo.
Loki and The Red Skull…a deadly duo!
Ursula and King Triton from Little Mermaid.
Captain Hook and Peter Pan.
Nice sentiment, Cause-Play Memphis!
Wow, even the dogs cosplay at MSC!
Some people might have thought cartoonist Greg Cravens was cosplaying, but that’s just how he dresses.
If you’ve seen a cartoon in the Memphis Flyer chances are it’s a Cravens Toon! He was on the Quick Draw Sketch panel and did caricatures on Pro Row.
And you can’t have a sci-fi lit con with out some sci-fi writers. Our friend John Jackson Miller was back in his home town and brought a ton of his Star Wars and Star Trek books he’s written. JJM’s philosophy is why just write Star Wars OR Star Trek books- why not write them both..?!! He’s also worked on several comic properties and written his own novels, too.
Oh, and congrats to my friend and radio personality Wes Yahola on his first novel- The Artifice Conspiracy. Wes is on the morning show on 98.1 The Max here in Memphis. Comic Guest of Honor was Bob McLeod. He was set up in the dealers room and has worked on a lot of my favorite comics. Bought a couple prints from him and got a comic book signed by him for my co-worker Brandon.
We had a great time, but as usual the weekend flew by way too fast!
This past year I’ve been working on a ‘War Doctor’ costume my first Doctor Who cosplay and it’s finally coming together. Okay, so it looks more like Kevin Smith/Silent Bob than Sir John Hurt/War Doctor right now, but that will soon change.
Growing up, I was a big fan of Tom Baker‘s 4th Doctor. I loved the hat, the scarf, and the wackiness of that version of the character. It was on PBS and it’s the only version I had ever seen on screen until David Tennant/10 in the new WHO. Yep, I had missed Christopher Eccleston‘s season of the 9th Doctor when the series was brought back and had to go back and catch up before moving on to Matt Smith as the 11th Doctor.
Since then my wife Nicki has picked up a lot of the older series on DVD. It’s been a lot of fun to see how the the show has evolved over the years, but how they’ve also managed to keep a lot of it the same for over 50yrs now.
We’ve traveled to Hunstville, AL the past two years for ConKasterborous (2014 and 2015). It’s a great con and we’ve had a blast there. It’s a smaller con, but growing. It’s actually the size con I mostly prefer these days. Less crowded and more face time with guests.
I’ve set up in Artists Alley each time we’ve been (just going as a fan/cosplayer this year).
We had great table neighbors, bought some cool stuff, enjoyed meeting other fans, and even met a couple of the Doctors (Paul McGann and Sylvester McCoy).
They’ve also had some folks there dressed as the War Doctor. I really loved the look of this Doctor, and thought of all the ones running around in the cosmos, this one I might could pull off.
I love the audio book Doctor Who: Engines of War and listened to it in the car on my way to and from work for about a week last year. I’m a big fan of John Hurt (Aliens, Space Pirates, Harry Potter, Hellboy, The Elephant Man).
Thanks to Christopher Eccleston not wanting to reprise his role as the Doctor and appear in Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor (2013), ‘The Name of the Doctor“, “The Night of the Doctor“, and “The Day of the Doctor” all have Sir John as a regeneration between Paul McGann‘s 8th Doctor and Eccleston‘s 9th.
I started collecting reference photos and pieces for my costume after attending ConK2015.
We stopped in at the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, AL. It’s about 45min or so away from Huntsville, AL. There I found pants and a shirt, plus an extra pair for a future steam-punk cosplay.
The shirt wasn’t exactly the same as the one on TV, but it had the same feel and look, VERY comfortable, and at a good price. I figured it was close enough and going to be covered up by a vest, scarf, and ammo bandolier and if I find a better one later I can switch it out. I also figured the War Doctor wouldn’t be wearing the same shirt everyday of the Time War. It went on for quite a while. 😉
I went online to look for a scarf and a sonic screwdriver. As far as I could tell the screen used scarf was cashmere, and the ones I found were $60-80 or more. I found the same pattern in a throw from Target for around $20-30, and it’s big enough that I can make a few scarves out of it. The sonic I searched for on Amazon and Entertainment Earth. I honestly don’t remember which place I found the best price- but it was around $20. It’s a toy replica, but does make sounds. I’ll probably age it up a bit.
Next up, I actually lucked up! I stopped in at our local Goodwill here in Hernando, MS one day after getting my hair cut in the same shopping center. I love to shop there for Halloween costumes and other items I may need to look worn or don’t mind distressing/aging/ripping/bloodying myself. I had stopped by several times before looking for a long leather jacket and black boots, but had no luck. Looked online and saw some for $80-200 or more. $80 was doable, but wanted to keep looking before I bought a new jacket. I had some short boots that could work, and found some Magnum boots online (around $80), but thought I’d keep looking and hopefully get lucky at Walmart, Target, or Goodwill. Getting my haircut proved to be a very lucky day indeed! I not only found a long leather jacket and a pair of black SWAT boots, but they both fit and were a great price- $29.99 for the jacket, and $14.99 for the boots (steel toed, too!). I did my happy dance and took them up to the check out counter.
The jacket isn’t brown like the War Doctor’s, but it has a slight brown tint to it, and I had seen someone else paint a black one to look like a well worn brown one. I’d airbrushed leather jackets before when I worked in t-shirt shops so this is something I’m familiar with. His lapels are a bit wider, but the length and fit was what I needed.
For the vest and gaiters I found some great material at Jo Ann’s in Murfreesboro, TN, and at Hobby Lobby in Bartlett, TN closer to home. Found the buttons and buckles at Hobby Lobby, too. Be sure to double check the price of your material- they can be put in the wrong spot. One leather I was looking at while shopping at Jo Ann’s was marked $10.99yd but when I looked at the ticket it was $34.99! I wouldn’t have minded a dollar or two difference but 3X the price marked…uh, no.
The suede (at Jo Ann’s) and leather (from Hobby Lobby) I ended up picking out both ran about $9-10yd. The suede isn’t the same color as the Doctor’s vest- been hard to tell exactly what color it really is from photos, and I’ve seen cosplayers with everything from brown, to red, to green. I thought this would contrast nicely with all the dark browns and red and it has a nice soft hand feel to it. I really dug the texture of the dark brown leather for the gaiters/spats.
Won’t take a lot of aging for them. Also, the vest and gaiters will work for any steam-punk costumes I’d like to do later. I’m really liking how the colors are all working together and will feel a bit aged and worn.
The vest lining and back had cool spirals on them and reminded me of the opening of Doctor Who. It’s also lightweight and has great color variation in it which gives it an aged look. I liked the buttons because they looked aged, too. Bought some wooden ones I’ll paint to replace the smaller plastic ones on the jacket. Did some counting after I got home and it looks like I’ll need one more 3pk of vest buttons, and another pack of wooden ones. Should give me a spare or two if I need them for repairs later. Will keep the plastic ones in case I need to paint them for future costumes.
Bought a couple pocket watches, too. The one on the left I found online for around $10 or so. The one on the right I bought from Odd Duck Studios at the River City Comic Expo in Little Rock, AR. I think it was around $20. I really dig both, and my just swap back and forth on them at cons.
Next up I need to buy a 3 prong belt, an ammo bandolier, which I’ve seen a few online. I’ve asked my sister help me sew the scarf, gaiters and vest (she made my Beetlejuice costume).
Last thing left to do will be to age and detail everything, and watch John Hurt again as the War Doctor to get down his voice and mannerisms. I’ll be back in Part 2 to talk about all of that.
Oh, and below are some links to past blogs about ConKasterborous and my cosplaying.
See ya again soon!