Friday afternoon, Chuck Rozanski picked me up at the Denver International Airport. My trip from Newark Liberty had been the usual ordeal. Maybe a little more so. I had to go through one of those full body scans. I’m sure the scan-pic will be on the web soon, so anyone so bored as to be wondering whether it’s boxers or briefs will know. We were held at the gate for a while because the aircraft maintenance people had to change a lightbulb. I guess it was an important one. So, we were late taking off and late arriving.
Therefore, Chuck had a long wait for me. As he was hanging around outside the secured area, he noticed a lot of military people also sort of hanging around. They had on camo pants and boots, but on top wore loose sweaters. All of them. No weapons showing. But these people weren’t just passing through on their way somewhere, they were on duty. Eagle-eyed Chuck also noticed TSA types scattered about, Denver and State Police here and there and people in civvies who were people-watching with intensity.
The Watchers noticed Chuck noticing them. A group of Watchers, trying to be discreet and failing, sort of surrounded him.
Then I showed up and we went on our way. Chuck pointed out the Watchers as we left. Wow. Was there a terrorist threat? Or was it just Christmas/holiday season precautions?
We went to one of Chuck’s warehouses. Chuck’s troops put me to work signing comics for online customers.
After a while, Chuck’s other weekend guest, Mike Kott showed up. Mike and his lovely partner Sue run the Intergalactic Trading Company.
Mike is a long-time friend of Chuck’s—and mine, for not quite as long. A great guy.
Chuck took us to dinner at Hamburger Mary’s, a burger-lover’s paradise. Unbelievably great. Then we went to Charlie’s, an LGBT friendly bar to see a show.
The show was a benefit for Toys for Tots. Toys for Tots, as you may know, is run by the United States Marine Corps Reserves. Its mission is to provide Christmas toys for needy children. If you’re not in favor of that, you’re a Grinch.
The show was produced by two members of the Imperial Court of the Rocky Mountain Empire, a social and charitable LGBT organization.
Here’s a picture of me with Phantashe, a Baroness in the Court, one of the producers of the show and a star performer. “Pull my hair,” she told me. As you can see, I’m not a real aggressive hair-puller:
Phantashe’s co-producer was Dan Rutledge, the Emperor. A very nice guy. A gentleman of, indeed, Royal stature.
There were an amazing number of acts crammed into two hours. Some performers were gay, some straight, some in drag, some not. There were funny acts and serious ones. Some lip-syncing and some real singers. One young woman played the guitar and sang. Brilliantly. Twice.
Chuck donated a lot of money—and lest you think otherwise, these times are as brutal for him as they are for many. He also donated a mountain of new toys. Few things touch me more than concern for kids, so I was impressed.
They had a “fifty-fifty” raffle. Buy a ticket for a buck, win, and you get half of the raffle proceeds, the rest going to Toys for Tots. If you paid ten bucks, they’d give you a string of tickets stretching from the floor over your shoulder and back to the floor. And, of course, I’m a little over 6’7”. Hmm.
I bought a $10 string of tickets. I won. HA! Cheating, says I! But, I donated the winnings to Toys for Tots. I think anyone in that room who won would have.
The show ended too soon, Chuck, Mike and I went back to Chuck’s farm, and after a too-brief chat with Chuck’s wonderful, brilliant wife Nannette, I retired. Slept like a potato.
Morning comes early in Boulder, Colorado. City-fied potatoes like me probably couldn’t survive if we had to get up in time to wake up the rooster every day so we could milk the chickens or whatever the rustics do, but, I actually crawled out of bed before dawn and the day began, ready or not.
Good breakfast, then off to the Mega-store.
Chuck gave Mike and I a tour of the place. It’s part warehouse, part events venue and part retail outlet. It’s vast and spectacular.
Perhaps he needs a bigger banner….
Here’s a picture of me with Chuck’s brilliant (of course), beautiful number one daughter, Rowan. I asked for a wallet sized print so I could show people back home that I hang with Hot Chix.
I didn’t get a picture, but another of Chuck’s daughters, beautiful, brilliant Tannith, #3 in a series of four, was also in attendance. Absent, due to being on other continents, were Aleta and Elsbeth.
I signed books at a brisk pace and talked with many people. Half a dozen or more people there admitted that they read this blog! A few said they found out about the event here. Glorioski!
Chuck asked me to give a talk. I said, “Chuck, there aren’t very many people here. I can talk to people one-on-one if they come by the table.” Chuck said there are lots of people! So, I went to the presentation area. There were, I don’t know, more than 100 seats. I’m lousy at estimating such things. Once Chuck announced that I was going to speak, the presentation area filled up! The Mega-store space is so big that it could devour an army! There were way more people there than I’d guessed! I did a Q&A for an hour or so. It was cool.
Back to my table. Chuck ran an auction in the presentation area. I signed many more books.
Besides me, Chuck had invited any creators who wished to come and have a table, free. Two guys took him up on it. Here’s a picture of me, Chuck and those two:
Apparently, I’m losing it, because I swear the guy who is not Scott told me his name was Phil. On Chuck’s site (where the photo came from) he’s identified as Cory. I don’t know.
Those two have created a yet-to-be-launched fantasy property that’s terrific. You should see the art! They got a lot of attention from the crowd. At one point, when I had a break and went to their table to see what all the fuss was about, I couldn’t get near enough. Later, as the event was winding down, I got a chance to talk to the guys. They’re nice guys and talented. Stupid me can’t remember the name of the property and didn’t write it down anywhere. Sigh. If anyone can supply that info, I’ll post it here.
While the show was still going on, I was whisked to the airport and made it home with no more than standard difficulty. And, once home, I slept like a potato.
NEXT: Sex and Drugs, Really
RE: Mile High signing: "(…) My signed Magnus Robot Fighter (Valiant) #1 and Star Brand #1 arrived today…Living in Norway, it's not that easy to get to conventions and such to get books signed. It's a particular honour to have my first signed comic books signed by the living legend Jim Shooter, who's probably brought me more joy through comics than any other single creator. These will indeed be treasured items in my collection. (…)"
Wow. High praise indeed. Thanks.
Ole M. Olsen
When it was announced that you would be going to Mile High to sign books, I took advantage of the opportunity to order a couple of signed books online.
My signed Magnus Robot Fighter (Valiant) #1 and Star Brand #1 arrived today (yeah, they spent quite a while travelling across the Atlantic). I know you signed a lot of books that day, but thank you so much for signing mine as well! 🙂
These are actually my first signed comic books ever. Living in Norway, it's not that easy to get to conventions and such to get books signed. It's a particular honour to have my first signed comic books signed by the living legend Jim Shooter, who's probably brought me more joy through comics than any other single creator. These will indeed be treasured items in my collection.
In a few weeks I'm expecting an X-Men issue signed by Chris Claremont from the same source. That's not too shabby either. 🙂
Thanks again for the time you spent humoring myself and my boys and chatting with my otherwise bored wife. Mentioned I was a long-time fan but forgot to mention I read the blog- and realised when I arrived that I had forgotten the trade paperbacks from my collection I had plan to have signed. What a great warehouse/store, huh? I'll be back next time I'm in Denver!
Dear Mister .44,
The Mile High Comics Mega Store/warehouse/event venue is at 4600 Jason Street, Denver, CO 80211.
Hamburger Mary's is located at 700 East 17th Avenue, Denver, CO 80203
Charlie's, where the Toys for Tots Benefit Show took place, is located at 900 East Colfax, Denver, CO 80218.
Everyone loves a good conspiracy theory. My favourite – a bizarre one which I actually really believe in – is the Paul Is Dead theory. Was it Conway or Englehart who wrote the Batman comic based on it?
I wonder what the conspiracy theorists thought of one-time Marvel owners New World Entertainment? Presumably the publishing arm/light entertainment division of the New World Order? No wonder they wanted Jim out so badly …
I've been to the Denver Airport twice and failed to notice anything unusual about the place either. (Just another big airport. Seen one…)
Dear Mr. Shooter,
First of all, sorry for disturbing the flow of comments with a completely unrelated subject, but I could not find a medium to contact you personally.
I think of you as a man with a succesful marketing approach, looking back at your time with Marvel. I am an MBA student from Istanbul, and I practically read any Marvel comic there is so it is safe to say I am an avid comic book fan. I want to ask about your experiences, perspectives and ideas concerning the industry as I took up a finishing project about the industry, but aforementioned company-focused. The project will probably be published: I plan on it being help the industry reach its millions-selling, the respected medium deserved place. I know currently it seems like a long-shot dream, but it will at least be a start if people would be interested in it and built upon it.
I would be hugely grateful if you shared your time with me; somewhere to chat online or back-to-back e-mailing. If you think that there is time for me and my both real-life and internet friends who are waiting for your thoughts, here is my e-mail: ilk-insan at hotmail.com
Best regards and best of luck in life,
On a lighter note; I am watching a re-run of the $25,000 Pyramid on GSN. It was from '85 (they mentioned Airwolf). The set design looks like it was based on Galactus' helmet. A useless bit of info. No one I know would have gotten the reference. Carry on.
I'm not so sure that it does take a lot to freak out Jesse Ventura. Given his penchant for conspiracy theories, I think if there's not something suitably creepy about something, his imagination can fill in the rest.
I've flown in and out of DIA multiple times, and have never found it to be the least bit creepy. Massive, yes; creepy, no.
I just looked it up myself. That horse statue looks downright demonic.
RE: Denver International Airport: I looked it up. The weirdnesses you cite are discussed a lot, but what's it all mean?
RE: "I wish your blog entry had included a serious conversation with Chuck about the state and future of selling comics–new and old."
Your wish is my command. I will make that happen. Soon.
Thank you very much for the info on Scotlyn X.X. Bedford and his partner, Phil. I'll post it. It was a pleasure meeting you and your daughter. Be well!
RE: Steelers MNF disaster: They have too many injuries. When Pouncey is out, they're not the same team.
I knew it! You've secretly been Potato Man all along, right under our noses. Years and years of taunting us with hints in your interviews. Apparently afraid of JayJay all this time.
Great post, a wonderful read, sounds like you had an excellent time. You're looking good, beautiful head of hair.
Perfectly understandable that the airport creeped you out. Do you know anything about DIA? Beloved of conspiracy theorists, it's reputed to be the most unpleasant and spookiest place in America. The configuration of runways forms a swastika; the walls are disfigured by morbid and hideous murals depicting genocide and carnage; there are masonic inscriptions and iconography – Illuminati, New World Order , Satanism etc; there is a vast, labyrinthine secret military base underneath constructed for various unspecified, nefarious purposes – thus the military personnel hanging around outside. And Denver didn't need a new airport anyway, the old one was doing just fine. Jesse Ventura made a documentary about the wretched place and seemed pretty freaked out. And it takes a lot to freak out a former Navy Seal and tag team partner of Adorable Adrian Adonis.
MH is my go-to place for back issues (90% of my buying these days). I make an order about every month.
To Shooter: I wish your blog entry had included a serious conversation with Chuck about the state and future of selling comics–new and old.
Glad to hear the visit went great, plenty of enjoyable times, and a safe journey to and from.
I've never visited Chuck's stores in Denver but his online business has probably constituted at least 30-35% of my entire comic collection over the years. Lots of great deals throughout the year and a truly professional and polite staff always willing to help solve any problems with online orders.
He's truly a gentleman among comic book sellers.
Rio's Lair of Wonders
Hey there Jim. This is Rio. My daughter and I met you at the Mega Store opening. I have to say that it is a great honor getting to meet you after so many years of reading and collecting comics. You fulfilled one of this 38 year-old kid's dreams that day and I thank you for that. I also think the two guys who belong to DSBEniX studios are named Scotlyn X.X. Bedford and the other guy I overheard Scotlyn call him Phil but I may be wrong. Their website is http://www.DSBworks.com if you get a chance to check out their work. I found the art very impressive and the story grabbed my attention so I am looking forward to reading it when it is released.
Again, a huge honor getting to meet you. I wish you nothing but great success in all you do and you have a new fan to your BLOG 🙂
Do android potatoes dream of electric sour cream and butter?
I've never been able to make it out to Denver, but I'd love to visit Chuck's store. His website was one of the first real gems I found when I first got on the internet ten years or so ago.
Wonderful writer, and incredibly committed to comics. I still remember those yellow double-page ads in the comics back in the day and wishing I could afford to buy the whole lot. *sigh* Someday….
Fun post, with a hint of intrigue and a good cause in the mix!
Since I'd never even SEEN an Avengers comic book during your early '80's run, here's where I thank you: from tragic Linnea to quirky Tigra to star-crossed Tony & Jan to a wild Ghost Rider romp, all against the backdrop of the perils of Pym, great comics all around, to you, Bob Hall, Brett Breeding, et. al. They transported me well beyond the blues of those I've dedicated myself to helping coming into this holiday season.
Most of all, a mile-high Merry Christmas to you, Big Jim, and the stocking (and potato) stuffing Jay Jay le Blog Elf—and to all you fellow common taters. Bless you all for the great challenges to come in the brightest of days ahead.
Longtime fan here Jim, and fellow western PA guy. Did you wake up from being a potato long enough to watch that disaster of a Monday Night Football game? Sheesh…
It's true… no potato is safe around me.
Is it a good idea to mention potatoes around JayJay? Just curious.
I bought my Hulk #1 from Mike Kott. I was told an interesting story about him after I bought the comic. He supposedly won a prop used in the Empire Strike Back movie to George Lucas' dismay. There aren't any stores like that in Atlanta and what few store that are left look like they aren't doing well.
"If you paid ten bucks, they’d give you a string of tickets stretching from the floor over your shoulder and back to the floor. And, of course, I’m a little over 6’7”. Hmm. I bought a $10 string of tickets. I won. HA! Cheating, says I!"
Brilliant. This is just too hilarious. Never mind the prize, the satisfaction of winning something through such a funny form of "cheating" would be a prize all by itself.
This place is in Boulder? I go there once a year or so, I'll have to check it out.
As soon as I hit the words "Hamburger Mary's" I chuckled to myself, "Yay, Jim!"
There are several Marys nationwide and their shows are legendary. Glad you enjoyed it.
"I slept like a potato" —
What kind of potato? Red skin, Idaho…
And how were you served? Plain, with butter, mashed…
I would think a red skin mashed potato, for example, would sleep a lot differently than a large Idaho spud slathered in butter, sour cream and Baco-bits…
Thanks for coming to the Denver area, Jim. I was shocked at how cordial you were for an Ogre.
I was the one in the front row during Q&A who's 4 year-old kept trying to ask a question.
I spent a good sum of money there, which I hope helps Chuck and his crew. The family sure appreciated the early Christmas presents.