Happy Summer Everyone!
I’m back in Los Angeles and having a great summer so far. What a whirlwind the past few months have been. As most of you know, I’ve finally released a print version of “Super Indian” that compiles all of the online comic issues. The hardest part was having to fully complete issue #4, “Technoskin.” Yep, 23 pages of story to flesh out the 64 page book. That was a lot of sketching, pencilling, inking, coloring, lettering and set-up. Sure hope you’ve taken advantage in ordering a book either through the “Super Indian” website or through Amazon. I sure do appreciate it!
Some folks have asked what happened to Issue #1. Yes, there is an Issue #1 and the story is called “Origins.” It pretty much follows the storyline of the first episode of the “Super Indian” radio show, “Commod Bod.” You’ll see the ill-fated Derek Thunder birthday party where the boys ate the tainted commodity cheese…and the mayhem that ensues.
I’m still tweaking the “Origins” storyline and it will surface eventually!
Prepping “Super Indian” to head to San Diego Comic Con next week with 100,000 of my best friends. AAAY!
Comic Con is pretty much the biggest thing going in comics and pop culture and I don’t want to miss it. There will be another gathering of the Native American comics group, the Indigenous Narratives Collective, but it will be unofficial. We hope that at next year’s Comic Con our group will be part of their programming. Baby steps!
Janet Miner (Wacky’s CEO and the editor of the “Super Indian” comic book) and I will be handing out promo postcards and talking up “Super Indian” and the Indigenous Narratives Collective. We’re also going to meet up with Native artists Jacques LaGrange and Teddy Tso and hopefully others.
One of the many benefits of living in Los Angeles is the wealth of screenings and talk-backs that take place practically every day. Think of it — UCLA and USC have film schools, there’s the American Film Institute, the Academy of Motion Pictures of Arts & Sciences, not to mention all the professional guilds located here in LA. In the past few months, I’ve been able to see screenings featuring cast members of “The Walking Dead” and George Clooney and the gang promoting “The Descendents.”
As many of you know who read my blog and my website, I’m a long time fan of Brian DePalma’s horror classic “Phantom of the Paradise.” I first saw the movie back in the day….and have seen it hundreds of times. Know all the songs, quote the dialogue. One of my favorite websites is “The Swan Archives“ which details the production in loving detail. What surprised me were other die-hard fans of the film — like well-known movie directors Guillermo Del Toro (“Pan’s Labyrinth,” “Hellboy”), Edgar Wright (“Shaun of the Dead”) and Quentin Tarantino (“Pulp Fiction,” “Kill Bill”).
How much do I love “Phantom?” Fans of the film might remember this dialogue from the “Welcome to Sing Sing!” speech that I referenced in Issue #3 of “Super Indian.”
Nice to know you’re not alone!
Growing up in San Diego, California, the group of friends my sister Gay and I hung out with were also massive fans of “Phantom of the Paradise,” including Janet and Pam Holmberg and Janet Miner and her sister Ellen Perry.
Although we didn’t know it — this same group of kids saw multiple screenings of “Phantom” at the local multi-plex, then watched it dozens of times on the new cable movie channel, Channel 100. [I know by stating that…I am way back dating myself! AAY!] I always loved the music from the film.
Our group were all fans of Bowie, Queen, Elton John and the Beatles at the time…and it was shocking to learn all the cool music was written by Paul Williams.
Paul Williams? The guy who wrote “We’ve Only Just Begun” — as sung by the squeaky clean (yet awesome in every way) group The Carpenters?
I bought a few Paul Williams records, the “Phantom” soundtrack, loved Three Dog Night singing “An Old Fashioned Love Song,” and watched Paul on many of his TV appearances. He was all over the place in the 1970s and 1980s.
My first Paul Williams sighting was at the Roxy Theater a few years back. There was a night of “Phantom” music put on back in 2007 by Donovan Leitch that had a mash-up of glam-styled stuff. Yes, Paul Williams was there, singing “The Hell Of It” — with a marching band. Very cool stuff!
Then, Paul became the President and Chairman of the Board of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), which is the performing rights group I belong to. I thought I was gonna faint when I got my first ASCAP check signed by….Paul Williams!! I almost didn’t want to cash it….even though it was a stamped signature. Oh, what a brush with greatness!
I even saw Paul working out at Crunch Gym one afternoon….but didn’t dare bother him on the treadmill. That Crunch Gym in West Hollywood was quite the hotbed of stars. You could see everyone from Fabio to Carrot Top working out there. Bob Harper, from “The Biggest Loser” does a once-a-week spin class that I saw his former co-trainer Jillian Michaels and her friend Vanessa Marcil escaping from. [I never got up the nerve to take his class — it was challenging even for the super fit!]
When the notice from the Landmark Theaters came announcing they were having a screening of “Still Alive” at the Nuart Theater with a special appearance by Paul Williams, you know I got right online and bought tickets. I had read in the papers that there was a documentary coming out about Paul Williams…and knew it would bring back some memories and answer the question — “Whatever happened to Paul Williams?”
The film, “Still Alive” was written and directed by Stephen Kessler. As the movie begins, he reveals he was also a super fan of Paul Williams and “Phantom of the Paradise.” The film is a loving, yet unflinching look at celebrity, substance abuse and redemption. There were fantastic clips from many of those shows I saw as a kid (even the episode of “Baretta!”) and his many talk and game show appearances. Both Kessler and Williams answered questions after the packed screening.
There aren’t many celebrities who get it right and treat fans like people. Paul Williams stuck around after the screening and gave folks who lined up an autographed poster and a few minutes of his time. I was able to give him a big hug, thank him for signing my ASCAP checks and tell him thanks. The one other superstar who was like this to me was country legend Garth Brooks. He took time to listen, smile and be appreciative of the folks who waited to get their moment.
Here’s my moment with Paul Williams!
Arigon with the legendary songwriter/actor Paul Williams at the screening of Stephen Kessler’s documentary “Still Alive.”
If you get a chance, go see “Still Alive.” It’s making the rounds and it’s a well-done documentary. You can read more about it here:
The Official Paul Williams Website
The Swan Archives