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Wednesday, June 28, 2017


Tuesday, June 27, 2017


 Another year has passed and this year's anniversary of my eviction from my mother's uterus saw me turning 52 years of age. It fell during the week, so no crazed debauchery since most of my friends have work, but my soul mate, the one and only Suzi, dragged me out for dinner at one of her favorite restaurants, Palo Santo, on the night before I actually the the big five-two.

The eatery where this year's birthday festivities began. It's located on the block around the corner from me and boasts a delicious menu that changes daily.

Suzi shows off the Motorhead sox she got me for my birthday. Does she know me, or what? 

The minor sloppiness commences.

Anticuchos appetizer, aka beef heart. It was good, but its taste and texture were very much akin to very tender liver.
My meal: strped bass with mole sauce and assorted veggies.

 Suzi's meal: bluefish with plantain, guacamole and spicy pickled cabbage.

 The incredible tres leches cake. Words cannot describe its deliciousness, and I'm not even a dessert guy!

With Suzi. She's simply the best, and if she didn't have to fly to Philly the next day for work, we probably would have closed the place and ended up smashed on several carafes of quality sangria.

Then the 27th dawned and my actual fifty-second birthday began in earnest. Not very eventful since everybody else was at regular jobs, so I just ran some errands and bought some new sturdy sandals for summer wear. But of you thought the day would pass without some form of celebration on my part, you would be quite mistaken. Though my friend Jessica wanted to take me out for dinner, I took a raincheck on that because I had resolved to spend tonight's meal all by my lonesome in contemplation of me getting that much closer to the inevitability of the permanent dirt-nap. I found myself in the mood for some quality Chinese, so that's what I got.

My solo birthday meal. Since I'm not "getting any" this go-around, I figured I'd indulge in a delicious repast of Peking duck at Park Slope's only genuine and genuinely superb Chinese sit-down restaurant, Hunan Delight. I didn't have to share with anybody, so I gorged shamelessly but left enough for tomorrow's breakfast. 

And since it has been my policy in recent years to drag my birthday doings out for sometimes as long as two weeks, the adventuring and good times will only continue, so STAY TUNED, dear Vaulties!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


I tell you, if it isn't one thing, it's another...

I went to Mount Sinai today and got a preliminary checkup with the nephrology department, which my new primary care physician figured was a good thing to do because I had not been seen by nephrology since December of 2015. Diabetes plays havoc with one's kidney function and mine had not been monitored in a while, so there you go. Anyway, my last general checkup was at the end of April and my lab results from that stated my kidney function had dropped to just above 20%, meaning I now have to get regularly monitored by nephrology. Unless my kidney function increases, the specialist told me that I should allow the more hardcore doctors in the department to give me a more thorough going-over, because I could eventually require either dialysis or a kidney transplant. But that's a good ways off if it comes to that, and right now I just need to be monitored with more testing to see if anything can be done. And the worst part of all of this is that I feel fine, but what the hell do I know, since I am not a doctor?


Saturday, June 17, 2017


On June 9th, I attended the opening party for the Society of Illustrators' ART OF THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN show, an event showcasing original art from throughout the hero's publication history, with work by legends such as Steve Ditko — the co-creator of Spider-Man — and John Romita Sr. It was a gathering of NYC's comics professionals and venerating fans, and a great time was had by all.

The entrance to the Society of Illustrators.

John Bligh and Jared Osborn, my college and Marvel Bullpen brothers. Two of the most important people in my life and I love them very, very much.

Sadly, my web-shooter was empty. 

A Milton Caniff original of the Dragon Lady from the legendary TERRY AND THE PIRATES. I would kill to own this.

Hallway decoration.

It's always fun to get one's drink on at an industry party.

A concotion that the bartender described as tasting "like a melted sno-cone." When I asked him if it was any good, he unequivocally responded with "NO."

Miscreants and reprobates.

John Romita Sr. signs for a delighted fan.

A confluence of fans and pros. The line to get into the event reportedly went around the block. (Thankfully, myself and a few close friends and former colleagues were able to get in early and avoid the line.)

Big pimpin' with John Romita Sr. 

With Kenny "PIercing Metal" Pierce, a much-loved fellow geek and metalhead. 

College and Marvel colleagues.

The nice lady who interviewed myself and Jared for the SYFY CHannel.

Bullpen vermin, telling the cameraman and interviewer true tales of Marvel that were in no way fit for print or broadcast. They were appalled.

The interview in question.

With Chris Claremont, the writer whose classic stories set the majority of X-Men tropes in stone (for better or worse).

From THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #33: The original art from the legendary "Lifting Sequence" that arguably served as the true coda to our hero's development. It was also the end of the Lee-Ditko run on the series. I never imagined I would ever see these actual pages in the flesh (so to speak).

The awesome moment of triumph. I have no idea of this page's actual cash value, but its sale could likely pay the full mortgage on a house.

The middle segment of the famous three-part drug storyline in which Marvel defied the Comics Code Authority and published the story minus the Comics Code seal of approval. A major moment in the maturation of American comics content.

Harry Osborn: Drug addict!!! 

Spidey encounters a negro who's "stoned right out of his mind." (Surprisingly NOT at SUNY at Purchase, circa 1985-1988.)

More Marvel vermin.

Sylvia takes egregious advantage and cops a feel. (Yeah, like I minded...)

With the one and only Hildy Mesnik, one of the few remaining completely perfect human beings. I adore this woman, both professionally and personally. 

'90's Bullpen lads venerate the Romitas.

With John and Virginia Romita. John is one of the legends of the comics industry, being the second artist on Spider-Man and arguably the illustrator whose clean, Caniff-influenced figures defined the look of the character. I was honored to work with him every day for just shy of nine years (he was Marvel's art director at the time) and I find him to be one of the kindest, nicest, and most generous cornucopias of skill and knowledge when it comes to the art of comics and visual storytelling. Working with him was an education on the art of comics storytelling and how to be a true professional in the comics industry. I am honored to have been his colleague and student. Sweetest man in the biz. And his wife, Virginia, was my boss for several years. (My relationship with her got off to very contentious start but we ended up as friends.) Seriously, I love these guys. 

Freiends and former colleagues whom I adore.

With fellow staffers Mike Higgins and Terry Kavanagh.

As seen in the ladies' room. (photo courtesy of Francine Grillo)

Exposing Spider-Man's best-kept secret.

"Spider-Man No More!" my black ass!!! He's still going strong!


From 1933, a classic moment in cinema history.

Yesterday I went to the Brooklyn location of the Alamo Drafthouse cinema, and on the way out of seeing WONDER WOMAN for a second time I noticed an area where one could pose atop a replica of the 1933 spire of the Empire State Building and swat at planes a la the original KING KONG (1933)As it's my favorite movie, I could not resist the photo opportunity, so my dear friend Tracey took the following pictures.

 A scene I enacted many times during childhood play, finally properly realized.