We are scheduled to participate in three panels at Comic Fest this weekend with X-MEN:TAS director-producer Larry Houston. It will be our third appearance there, and we wanted to give you a sense of why we continue to go back. While WonderCon last month was exciting in its size and scope (70,000 people, 1700 at our X-MEN:TAS panel), Comic Fest is low-key. It’s like visiting a favorite small town instead of a big city. While the biggest Cons have expanded into every corner of popular culture, Comic Fest remains comics-focused. The people are very comics-knowledgeable. We meet friends from way back. (Scott Shaw, who designed the Fest poster below was my office-mate at Hanna-Barbera in 1986.) The location is like a vacation spot, not a trade show. And the founders go back to the beginning of the Con movement, so they choose guests wisely. So join us if you can — we’ll have a signing table and stacks of books. See you there.
We’re back! It’s been a while. We’ve been getting the word out about the book. WonderCon in Anaheim was nice enough to ask Julia and me to set up an X-MEN:TAS panel this past weekend. They didn’t happen to mention that the hall would seat 1700 people! Well, we found out that there is great love for the show: our panel was standing-room-only. Producer-Director LARRY HOUSTON and writers LEN UHLEY and BOB SKIR joined us. Afterward, there was three straight hours of book-signing at our table. We’re not sure what other cons we can manage to attend (a load of 100 books weighs 210 lbs, so flying places may be tough). But we’ll try. We’re set at MomoCon in Atlanta in late May. Writing can be solitary work, so meeting people who appreciate your efforts can be gratifying.
Left to right: niece Rev Wiederspahn, Julia, X-MEN:TAS writer Len Uhley, and me.
Wednesday night, at the New Moon restaurant in Montrose, California, twenty of the people who worked on X-Men:TAS came together to celebrate the publication of “Previously on X-Men” 25 years after the series premiered. Great fun was had by all. Below are 15 of us. Back Row, left-to-right: Bob Skir (writer), Scott Thomas (producer), Julia Lewald (writer), Stephanie Graziano (Graz Entertainment), Dave McDermott (writer), Margaret Loesch (Fox Children’s Network), Larry Houston (Producer/Director), Me, Marty Isenberg (writer), Jim Graziano (Graz Entertainment). Front row: Len Uhley (writer), Dean Stefan (writer), Avery Cobern (Fox Children’s Network), Steve Melching (writer), Brooks Wachtel (writer). All are interviewed in the book.
Jordan Gorfinkel (“Gorf”) of the LA Comic Con was nice enough to serve as host to Julia, Larry Houston, and me for a celebratory panel on the near-anniversary (coming Tuesday) of the first sneak preview of X-Men:TAS in 1992 (please see us all in the picture below). The standing-room-only crowd was great, as were the many cosplayers (see other photo) who reminded us how much the show still means to many fans. The book is on the way from the printer, so some time this week we will, after three years, have it in our hands. Can’t wait.
As the X-MEN:TAS book races to its thrill-packed conclusion (late June?), I find that I am discovering more people who made major contributions (artists, voice actors) but with whom I never had a chance to work directly. Storyboard artist Keith Tucker has worked on possibly more series with me than any other artist: X-MEN:TAS, Exosquad, Streefighter, Iron Man, some Disney shows — all the way back to the long-forgotten Sky Commanders at Hanna-Barbera. We writers and artists so often work separately, that a memory of Keith stands out in my mind. Sky Commanders was the first series on which I supervised the writing (along with fellow Tennesseean John Loy). I distinctly remember getting a call from Keith, who I’d never met, about an action scene: he had ideas for expanding and complicating the choreography and wanted to run them by me. They sounded great. At H-B at the time the pressure was on the creative staff to rush through production. Here was a storyboard artist asking to take an extra few hours to make a scene I had signed off on more exciting. I remember seeing the board and seeing how good it looked. I wondered how often we would have to time push the stories like this. So it’s no surprise that Larry Houston used Keith a lot on X-MEN. The odder thing is that, while working for 4 years on the stories, I never knew who all of the artists were. Thanks to the book, I’m finding out.
The celebrations have begun.
This past Friday, February 17th, marked the 25th anniversary of the green-lighting of X-MEN:TAS, which officially premiered 11 months later. The wonderful folks at San Diego Comic Fest (including Comic Con co-founder Mike Towry) asked Julia and me and four other members of the X-MEN:TAS creative team to hold four panels. Seated with us in the first picture below is producer-director Larry Houston. Also featured were writers Len Uhley, Dave McDermott, and Steve Melching. (Steve and Dave Join us in the panel shown below.). As a nice complement to our presentations, the fest theme this year was a celebration of the 100th birthday of Jack Kirby, co-creator of the X-MEN comic and so very much more. The audiences were friendly and, as is often the case, many among them knew our series better than we did. We watched old episodes and discussed how they and the rest of the series managed to get made. It was great fun for us and was a reminder of why we are writing the “Making of” book, now scheduled for publication this summer. Once the book is ready, we hope to visit Cons around the country, perhaps one a month. We hope to see you at yours.
It has begun. Our celebration of the 25th anniversary of X-MEN:TAS kicks off in nine days at COMICFEST in San Diego. Mike Towry and his crew have been nice enough to set up FIVE panels that in some way honor our series. Julia and I and Producer/Director Larry Houston (see photo) plan to attend ALL of the panels. The specific guests and topics follow.
SATURDAY, FEB. 18
11:00am: “X-Men, Lies, and Videotape” — writers Dave McDermott & Steve Melching
2:00pm: “X-MEN:TAS – Creative Round Table” — ALL OF US
3:00pm: “X-Men Mock Trial on Human Rights” — Legal Geeks & Some of Us
SUNDAY, FEB. 19
10:00am: “Nightcrawler” — writer Len Uhley
3:00pm: “Days of Future Past” — writer Julia Lewald