The World Series of Birding 2017, please help!

My special message and request for Earth Day! Two weeks from today, Saturday May 6th, is the annual outdoor escapade and fundraiser known as The World Series of Birding. I’ve signed up with the Cape May Bird Observatory Century Run team as I have many times in the past. It’s the only fundraiser I participate in. Along with lots of other teams we will attempt to spot as many bird species as possible on that day. The top teams will go from midnight to midnight, and cover the entire state of New Jersey. Our Century Run team’s goals are a little more relaxed: we go from 5 AM to about 10 PM and stay within Cape May County. It’s still an exhausting marathon to test one’s determination and stamina, but usually a lot of fun, too. Each participant pledges a minimum of $1 per species seen, which one can supplement with pledges from friends and family. And that, gentle readers, is where you can participate!

As in the past, I’m encouraging you to make a pledge for my WSB big day, to help me raise funds for the Cape May Bird Observatory, part of New Jersey Audubon, and their valuable mission of conservation, education and research. Current and proposed trends in our government do not bode well for environmental issues and groups, or for the birds, animals, insects and plants we share the planet with, so causes and organizations like this are more important now than ever. You can pledge any amount, but the usual method is to pledge per species seen. Last year our total was 134 species, a little better than average. A more typical total is 130 species. If we tally 130 species, a pledge of 50 cents per would result in a monetary gift of $65. A pledge of $1 per species would mean a gift of $130. As a bonus, I’m offering any of my Signed Prints as incentives: for a pledge of 50 cents per species, the print of your choice, for $1 per species, any two! Higher pledges are welcome and will garner more prints in the same ratio. Pledges lower than 50 cents will get you a signed comics trade paperback that I lettered, my choice, if you would like that. Pledges of any amount down to 10 cents per species are welcome, or if you’d rather make a flat rate donation, that’s fine, too. All pledges will support education about and preservation of New Jersey wildlife and natural resources, as well as garner my enduring gratitude!

Here’s a LINK to my blog about last year’s WSB Century Run, if you’d care to read it. And if you’d like to pledge, click the CONTACT ME link here or in the right column of this page and let me know by email. I’ll be collecting pledges until May 5th. Or, if you’d prefer, an easy way to pledge is right on our TEAM PAGE, just let me know if you’ve done that. Our team will be out there tallying on the 6th, rain or shine, hoping for good weather and lots of migrating birds. Who knows, maybe this year we’ll hit the ever elusive goal of 150 species. That would be amazing!

Incoming: SUICIDE SQUAD Vol. 6

Image © DC Comics.

Perhaps thanks to the successful movie and probable sequels, this reprint series keeps rolling along. Though I lettered most of them, I have to admit I don’t recall very much about it. I know there were characters I liked, and I enjoyed the writing by John Ostrander and Kim Yale. Looking at them now, the art seems pretty average for the time, and I don’t like the coloring very much, often too dark, but that may be caused by using the original colors on brighter, less absorbent paper. There isn’t much in my lettering that I would boast about. A few nice sound effects and titles, but most of it is pretty average too. I have to put the success of the series (and the reprints) squarely on the writing in this case. The on-sale date is May 15th.


This and all images © Marvel.

Continuing my ongoing series about the cover lettering of Danny Crespi at Marvel Comics, mostly from 1974-1979. Photocopies of saved cover lettering from Danny’s files were compiled into a collection by letterer and friend Phil Felix during the 1980s when he worked with Danny on staff at Marvel, and Phil sent me copies. This time I’ll look at pages 41 (above) through 44. Everything on this page is by Crespi except “The Trial of Colossus,” which is by Gaspar Saladino. Sources follow. Continue reading

And Then I Read: ASTRO CITY 42

Image © Juke Box Productions.

Black Manta was an aquatic super-villain with lots of high-tech gear he invented, a gang of minions, and the intelligence to run a string of successful high-seas robberies. Then, during an encounter with the aquatic heroine Mermaid, he crash-landed on a deserted island far from shipping lanes, where he struggled to survive, gradually building a home for himself, and using the scant tools and materials at hand to rebuild his equipment. That was years ago. He’s the Robinson Crusoe of the series, living alone on his island, plotting and planning for his triumphant return, if he can just get his equipment working right. When a distress call from a cruise liner comes through his radio, it looks like time for action…but Manta has been out of the game, and out of the world for so long. Will he be able to do what he’s been dreaming of?

A great story by Kurt Busiek with excellent art by Matthew Clark and Sean Parsons, all under a fine cover by Alex Ross.


Traditional Easter Eggs 2017

We were kind of mentally exhausted from the pysanky egg decorating on Saturday, but we wanted to do the traditional hard-boiled eggs too, so we’d have some to eat. Also, the egg decorating has become a tradition and a fun competition in our family group of Ann, Dave, Ellen, Tim, Ina and myself (Zack is away at college this year). We took a dinner break and then colored the hard-boiled eggs in the evening. I didn’t get any pictures of the process this time, but past years have plenty of that, I’ll add some links at the end of this article. Each of us dyed about a half dozen eggs, and then we judged them as a group this time rather than appointing one person to judge. It worked out fine, we arrived at a consensus. Fortunately Ann had saved the winner categories from past years, and we used those. Above is the entire winner group. Continue reading