Saturday, February 23, 2008


Quite a few years ago I was renting a house with my friend Ken Parker. It was great and we both respected each others privacies and had a lot of fun in Westside. Now here it is a lot of years later, and we're both married to two wonderful women. I have a daughter who's going to turn 12 this year and Ken and his wife Dawn gave birth to Melanie Parker earlier this month. She's a bit early, guess she wanted to come out and play with all of us. I just wanted to welcome her here on Barkings and hope all who read this, think of little Melanie. We've got a lot of time and we're all very patient for her to come join us in front of the big screen TV in her daddy's Man-Town, watching Captain Scarlet and some John Carpenter movies.

Mark & Kathy

Friday, February 22, 2008

Toy Fair 2008 recap

Toy Fair 2008 and it was quite an event. I had never been so when I contacted Mike Dobbs to see if we could travel together, he was more than happy to share the ride. Let me just say that I've been to the Javitts center in NY before, but I've never been to a show that takes up the entire building. Both exhibition spaces were full of vendors all try to tempt you with the latest and greatest. Now I wasn't just there to have fun, I did have obligations to the JOB because they were after all picking up my train fare and expenditures. Packaging was first and foremost and also a chance to get a peek at what the hot trends are for the upcoming year. I saw a few pieces of packaging that were interesting, but nothing that was awe inspiring. As for hot trends, Disney is still highly represented, but the other big boys like Hasbro and LEGO were well represented. Hasbro even went to the point where you had to have a special invite to visit their showroom outside of the Convention Hall. Of course the big thing for me from them is the Cloverfield collectible vinyl figure. Now not being a member of the press I did not get an invite, but Mike did and he said it is a truly odd, grotesque piece of sculpture. Look here.
As for other interests, HellBoy had some great pieces at Gentle Giant, and Wall-E was there, just as not as much as I would have expected, but we are also 4 months away from the premiere.

My wife and I are fans of Dr. Who and the Daleks were making their presence known.
We also had a chance to stop by and visit with Richard Gordon, a wonderfully warm, talented man who is still sharp, even into his 80's. We also managed to make it over the the Virgin MegaStore and spend some cash. All in all it was a great trip, very tiring, but I got to see very amazing toys.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Toy Fair, NYC 2008

Toy Fair is held annually in NYC and it's the place for toy manufacturers to show of the greatest and next big successes to the masses. This wil be the first year I'm going, but the 2-3rd year that my JOB will have a booth there so that means free entry forme! It's not a big deal, but ti will be nice to grab my badge and wander along with all of the other men-boys drooling at all of the new geek toys coming out this year. I'm taking the train with my fellow Springfieldian Mike "Mr. Animation" Dobbs. He's a managing editor for a series of local papers and he's got the pulse on the toy industry for New England. I think we're both looking forward to it and I hope to have some awesome photos of the toys coming out this next year, I personally want a shot of Hasbro's Cloverfield vinyl figure. We're also looking forward to hitting a few book stores and meeting with Mike's friend, movie director/producer, Richard Gordon., Fiend Without A Face being one of my all-time favorites of his! So stay tuned and look for a Toy Fair re-cap later this week.


Friday, February 15, 2008

Sad Justice

My wife and I watched Waitress this past weekend. A very funny, warm, entertaining movie that deserves the accolades it's been receiving since making a big splash at the Sundance Film Festival a few years ago. Sadly, the director and co-star, Adrienne Shelley was murdered in NYC before the movie was bought up at the festival so she never had a chance to see the response to her film. The murderer has been caught and finally tried and sentenced. I strongly recommend this film, not only for the film itself, but what it meant to the actors and producers of the film. Please watch the Memorial piece on the extras on the DVD.

Sad Justice

Friday, February 08, 2008

ODEN, or how I messed with Norse mythology

I've always been a fan of mythology. Greek, Roman, Irish, Welsh, Chinese and Japanese, but what really got me excited was Norse Mythology. Oden/Odin, Thor Loki, Baldur, Hela, Fenris the Wolf, all had a spot in my heart and imagination. A few years ago, Matt Greenia asked me to contribute a story to his Massachusetts comic, Cellar Dwellers. I did a three page story focusing on this eye-patched, mohawk wearing guy who had a thing for hats. He popped up in my dreams and I couldn't get rid of him so I put that story together. Along came the Norse myths and the eye-patch was the trigger to help the character develop and helped me add supporting characters and my re-imagined world of Oden developed.
I've also been a huge fan of Golems. For what they stood for, how they were made, and there are a lot of ways, and also how they have been represented throughout history and film, thank you Paul Wegener. I had to have them in this story, so I present after way too many years and finally colored and re-lettered, the first three pages of a new Oden story. There will be more too come. Enjoy.