Los Angeles


What’s the best idea you’ve ever had? Regale us with every detail of the idea — the idea itself, where it came to you, and the problem it solved. Photographers, artists, poets: show us BRIGHT.

Hollywood / Western, Los Angeles

Hollywood / Western, Los Angeles

The best idea I ever had was to make the cross-country move to Los Angeles, California from snowy Buffalo, NY.

After graduating from University, I knew I wanted to travel and I did just that working as an actor in the professional regional theatre scene. It was an amazing, eye-opening two and a half years of my life. But like any actor eventually experiences, there came a time in late 2009 where I had no gigs lined up. Instead of waiting around a half-year for the big regional auditions, I decided to bring myself closer to the entertainment hub.

So I considered my options: New York City, Chicago or Los Angeles.

To be honest, I was initially leaning towards NYC, but an hour-long conversation with one of my best buds who had moved to LA immediately after graduating gave a convincing argument. Then one of my other best buds who had lived in LA close to a year was also persuasive.

So I took a swing and moved.

But I didn’t come alone! My now-fiancee and mother of my daughter joined me in the adventure (we were only dating a few months at the time) and now almost five years later, it’s clearly the best decision of my life. I’ve unexpectedly changed fields (but not before booking a lead role on Spike TV’s “Deadliest Warrior!”) as I now work in publishing, but it still fuels my creative spirit being around passionate, energetic people who share a common interest — to make awesome comic books! I didn’t just jump in to a career shift, rather it was the result of energetic networking, going with the flow of life and not hesitating when opportunity arose. Luckily, living in LA still provides plenty of performing opportunities, but at the moment my focus is on improving myself in what I now do for a living.

I do miss the charm of my hometown — yes, Buffalo certainly has its charm — as well as the family and friends I had to move away from, but Western New York didn’t offer a whole lot of upward mobility in what I wanted to do with life. I’m not the type of person who’s ever content with where they’re at — I’m always trying to get to the next level and Los Angeles provides endless opportunities to reach those power-ups.

Plus, there’s something seriously therapeutic when you walk outside in the middle of January and it’s 72 with clear skies and a bright, warm sun.

My first ever NBA game was unforgettable — not only because the home team Los Angeles Clippers won in dramatic fashion (120-116 in OT), but it was an experience I shared with my Dad, a man who has taken me to more Buffalo Bills/Sabres/etc. games than I can count (when I lived back east, he used to have season tickets). Add to it the fact that he attended Buffalo Braves games in the ’70s (who eventually moved to San Diego and became the Clippers, later relocating to LA) and hasn’t attended an NBA game since, I could not think of a better way to commence this Holiday break!

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GO CLIPPERS!! (I now own a hat)

This weekend was the 5th annual Long Beach Comic & Horror Con at the Long Beach Convention Center in California. It was a mellow show with a consistent stream of excited fans who were interested in the BOOM! Studios and Archaia line-up, and indie stuff in general. Below is a small gallery of my favorite photos of the show, taken from behind the BOOM! booth!

I took pictures of Alyssa Milano with fans at the BOOM! Studios/Archaia Entertainment booth during Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo this past weekend in Los Angeles. Scored a quick selfie!

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Alyssa was promoting her upcoming comic book with Archaia, “Hacktivist,” due out in January 2014. And scope this — when I humble bragged about this photo on twitter, Alyssa tweeted back:

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Word.

Dudes, everything about The Dudes’ Brewing Company’s Double Trunk Double IPA is 100% win — especially the taste, color, gorgeous label design and 10.8% alcohol content! Man, that label though — it’s what caught my attention and as an elephant lover, I had to give it a swing. Plus, the name of the brewery itself sounded inviting. Nice work marketing guy! The 4-pack was well worth the price and I’m looking forward to trying out the line-up of this local brewer here in Los Angeles.

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A couple weeks ago in Los Angeles I attended Neil Gaiman’s talk on his latest novel, “The Ocean at the End of the Lane.” It was a great experience as I’ve never heard him speak live before, and he even dished on his upcoming “The Sandman: Overtures” series out in October. Can’t wait for that one!

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“Gaiman Talks ‘Sandman,’ Walks to ‘The Ocean at the End of the Lane'” — Click to read the full article

“Neil Gaiman took the stage at the Alex Theatre in Glendale, California for an intimate and lively discussion of his newest novel, ‘The Ocean at the End of the Lane.’ While the award-winning writer focused mainly on the autobiographical origins and construction of the New York Times #1 bestseller, Gaiman also covered a myriad of other topics, including his upcoming highly-anticipated ‘The Sandman: Overtures’ miniseries from Vertigo Comics, reflection on the original ‘Sandman,’ adding new stories to his ‘Neverwhere’ universe, his marriage and relationship with musician Amanda Palmer, odd writing rituals and many more stories from his long and successful career.

Gaiman, who reads a chapter from his book during tours, opened the event by explaining how satisfying it is for him to experience an audience’s reaction to hearing his words for the first time. ‘The fantastic side of doing something like this is, the entire writing process is ridiculously lousy,’ he said. ‘You come up with a great line, write it down and the room is quiet. My wife and kids make fun of me when they catch the facial expressions I make while writing. It’s a wonderful moment, reading a line out loud that I think is funny to an audience and they make the appropriate noise.

‘The best noise I ever heard from an audience was here in LA for ‘The Graveyard Book’ tour,’ Gaiman continued. ‘I read a moment from chapter 7 of ‘Graveyard,’ where somebody you think up until that point has been a nice person reveals himself to be a dangerous person. I got to that point, and the entire audience gasped dramatically. Then I closed the book and they all went ‘Awww!’ It was the best!’

The ice broken, the author began to reveal the mosaic of life experiences leading to the creation of ‘Lane,’ beginning by reminding the audience that he wrote ‘Coraline’ for his daughter Holly, Gaiman said ‘Lane’s’ dedication is to his wife, musician Amanda Palmer. ‘I had gone to Florida to work — which included a ‘Doctor Who’ script — and I missed my wife, dearly, who was making an album in Melbourne, Australia. This particular time wasn’t like when we’d check in on the road with long phone calls, because she was making an album. She’d send daily ‘I love you’ texts that closed with, ‘But I’m making an album.’ I missed her, so I started writing her a short story,’ he explained, evoking a collective good-humored sigh of endearment from the crowd.”

…I’m the best Dad in the sea! My fiance texted me this photo today while I was at work — apparently the Boon Monster was carrying around this picture all day of me reading comics in Hawaii. I must be doing something right!

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And the other night I added some new photos to the Boon Monster tumblr. My favorites are below — a retro shot of the first photo ever taken of the Boon Monster seconds after she was born over 2 years ago, and a shot from this past weekend when we had a family lunch at Tender Greens restaurant in Pasadena. The Mom and I look really tired, and I think there may be lettuce in my teeth, but that’s OK because the Boon looks so cute!

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Wrote a fun piece on DC Comics’ New 52 “Red Hood and the Outlaws” character, Roy Harper being a Los Angeles Kings fan based on his hat’s logo. Kenneth Rocafort, the artist who designed the logo, even weighed in with his thoughts!

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“DC’s Roy Harper: Los Angeles Kings Fan?” — Click to read full article

“DC Comics’ Roy Harper confronted his past and old mentor Green Arrow in ‘Red Hood and the Outlaws Annual’ #1, and this Saturday, Darryl Sutter, the head coach of the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings is facing something out of his own history as well — his former team the Chicago Blackhawks, who the Kings face in the Western Conference Finals of the Stanley Cup playoffs, a club he played left wing for from 1979-1987, then later commenced his coaching career with from 1992-1995.

On the surface, Roy Harper and the Los Angeles Kings don’t have any direct correlation, but upon closer examination something becomes obvious — the arrow slinging outlaw of the DC Universe is an LA Kings fan.

Since DC launched its New 52 continuity, Harper is often seen wearing a baseball cap with an ambiguous logo, but in certain images it strongly resembles a LA Kings logo, granted one that has been retired towards the end of this post-lockout NHL season. Check the evidence provided below!”

The Boon Monster’s ready for the Los Angeles Kings to take on the San Jose Sharks in Game 7 of the NHL’s Western Conference Semifinals tonight at Staples Center!

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Tonight the Boon Monster dines on Shark stew! GO KINGS GO!!

Now we know who Batman’s pulling for in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs!

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The Los Angeles Kings begin their series against the San Jose Sharks tonight at Staples Center.

GO KINGS GO!!

UPDATE: Gotta love the fan interaction of the @LAKings twitter account!

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The Boon Monster’s ready for the LA Kings to close out the St. Louis Blues tonight in round one of the NHL’s Stanley Cup Playoffs!

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Look at her proudly wearing The Dad’s hat! GO KINGS GO!!!

I have to get this out there today since the Los Angeles Clippers face an elimination game against the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the NBA playoffs tonight: if you are from Buffalo, NY you must cheer for the LA Clippers this post season!

Yes, you absolutely 125% have to, otherwise you’re betraying your hometown sports heritage.

This is why:

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The LA Clippers are indeed the Buffalo Braves. Founded in 1970, the Braves were an up and coming NBA team during their later years in Buffalo, making the playoffs 3 seasons out of 8 and advancing as far as the Conference Semifinals in the 1975-76 season. Then through a weird deal, they moved to San Diego and became the Clippers at the start of the 1978-1979 season. Their tenure in San Diego was a short one, as the team relocated for a second time to LA in 1984 and the rest is history.

As a Buffalonian I know how passionate the natives can be about their sports teams — the Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bills have been stinking it up in both the NHL and NFL respectively for nearly my entire life, yet the fans remain dedicated. I include myself amongst this loyal lot. I can’t even begin to tell you how many jokes I rebuff on a yearly basis while wearing any Bills or Sabres gear here in Los Angeles. I have witty retorts up my sleeve for practically every other sports franchise in preparation — this is what it’s like being a relocated Buffalo sports fan. Sure the AFC Bills were awesome in their twilight years, and the Buffalo Bandits professional lacrosse team have won a few Championships, but the real pro sports teams of Buffalo have been taking swift kicks to the nuts year in year out for decades.

The Clippers emulate Buffalo sports teams in many ways — they were once the laughing stock of the league, they choke in big games and the banners hanging at home court are limited. They’re the underdog even when big, well-paid names are wearing their colors.

So Buffalonians, I implore you — invoke your sports history and pull for the Los Angeles Clippers to even their series tonight against Memphis, prompting a deep playoff run. You’re essentially rooting for Buffalo when you pull for the red, white and blue.

Go Clippers!

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I do own a Buffalo Braves Shaun Livingston throwback jersey (that’s LA Clipper Elton Brand pictured here), and it’s cool to see how the Buffalo Bandits based their colors off of the Braves. A lot of Buffalo fans wonder why the Bandits’ color scheme is so radically different from the Buffalo Sabres’ blue & gold or Buffalo Bills’ red, white & blue — this picture provides the answer! John Tavares was the man for that lacrosse team. Such a badass.

Robot 6 has been nominated for the 2013 Eisner Award for Best Comics-Related Publication/Journalism! R6 is produced by one of my employers, Comic Book Resources. In a nutshell, the Eisner’s are the Emmy Awards for the comic book industry, with the winners announced annually at Comic-Con International in San Diego.

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click to enlarge

Congrats to the whole R6 & CBR team — I’m honored to be a part of it!

Actors Matthew Mercer and Clare Grant spoke with me about voicing Tony Stark & Black Widow in Marvel Animation’s “Iron Man: Rise of Technovore” anime.

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“Mercer & Grant Give Voice to ‘Iron Man: Rise of Technovore'” — Click to read full article

“With the anticipated arrival of ‘Iron Man 3’ in theaters May 3, Marvel is thrusting Tony Stark in the spotlight early with the animated feature ‘Iron Man: Rise of Technovore.’ Releasing April 16 on DVD & Blu-ray, ‘Technovore’ is an English dub of the anime directed by Hiroshi Hamazaki, presenting an edgier take on the Marvel Uninverse than other Marvel Animation projects like the ‘Ultimate Spider-Man’ cartoon.

The English dub voice actors are headlined by ‘The Walking Dead’ star Norman Reedus, who plays The Punisher in ‘Technovore.’ Matthew Mercer plays Tony Stark, fresh off of voicing Tygra in Cartoon Network’s ‘ThunderCats’ and Leon Kennedy in the video game ‘Resident Evil 6,’ while Clare Grant of Team Unicorn gives life to Black Widow.

CBR News: Who or what, exactly, is the Technovore?

Matthew Mercer: It’s from a storyline in “Iron Man” #294 from the ’90s. The Technovore’s a character from Tony’s past who went through a transformation experimenting with bio tech armor that wrote itself into this individuals DNA. It’s a living suit of armor that makes it extremely dangerous and completely unlike anything they’ve ever seen before. Things get weirder considering this individual has a strange, almost psychotic philosophy he adheres to.

The scope gets very big — there are parts that remind me of “Akira” and other thought-inducing anime from the early 90s.

Clare Grant: I love the animation for this movie. It’s beautiful. It’s broody.

In playing to that, I tried to keep Black Widow grounded, solid and tough. I didn’t let her get in my girly voice — I kept her in my ‘I will kill you voice.’ [laughs]”

A couple weekends ago I attended a Disney XD event to interview Drake Bell, the voice actor of Spider-Man in the new “Ultimate Spider-Man” cartoon, and Cort Lane the show’s Supervising Producer to talk Season 2 (which debuted January 21)!

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“Drake Bell & Cort Lane Swing into ‘Ultimate Spider-Man’ Season 2” — Click to read entire article

“CBR News: Cort, let’s start off with you giving us something exciting Spider-Man fans can expect to see is Season 2 of “Ultimate Spider-Man?”

Cort Lane: It’s Season 2, so we have to go bigger and we’re going to make a lot of people happy — you’re going to see a number of classic Spider-Man villains. The first six episodes lead up to, and reveal, our version of the Sinister Six. There’s one member we can’t tell, but the rest of the team is Electro, The Lizard, Kraven the Hunter, Rhino and Beetle. When the Sinister Six comes together, it’s a whole lot of trouble for Spider-Man. As a teaser, Hawkeye guest-stars in the Beetle episode.

This show is a pure Marvel production, and it often pulls from comic book lore. In using the Sinister Six, have you utilized the classic comics as a resource for this season’s stories?

Lane: That’s a good question. We can pick and choose from classic storylines, the “Ultimate Spider-Man” comic series, the “Ultimates” line of comics and put our own twist to them. People will be surprised with how we have taken Rhino, a character without a personal relationship to Spider-Man, and in this second season we’ve made that relationship more personal — I think that’s where the stories work best for him. What we have been able to do with Norman Osborn in this season is tell some stories similar to those told in the last ten years of comics. I can’t give too much away, but you will see iterations of Norman in this season that have been in the comics for the last few years.”

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