Video of Helen Slater panel from Planet Comicon

Helen Slater as Supergirl
Helen Slater got her big break as Supergirl in the 1984 film.

Jason P. Hunt of has posted a video of the Helen Slater panel from April’s Planet Comicon. I moderated this panel, but don’t let that stop you from watching it.

Helen tells about her education at the “Fame” High School for the Performing Arts, her big break in Supergirl, and other films including The Legend of Billie Jean, Ruthless People, and Secret of My Success. She also talks about her television work on Smallville, Seinfeld, Dream On, and Gigantic.

On Beyond the Planet

As far as I’m concerned, this past weekend’s Planet Comicon was a great success. There were far too many highlights for me to possibly cover them all, but I’m going to ramble through what comes to mind. I’ll just have to fill in the rest later.

First, my biggest regret: I was so busy that I didn’t manage to take many photos. I guess it will just have to live in my memory (but if anyone’s got photos they’d like to share, I’d love to have some.) I was constantly scrambling during the show because I did double duty, serving as Panel Coordinator and also making courtesy car runs to transport our out-of-town guests between the hotel and convention center. The courtesy car service meant that I always hit the convention hall after the show was up and running, so I never managed to catch up with all of the programming duties. Next year I’ll have to do one or the other.

Thanks to Seth Wolfshorndl for allowing my to swipe this image of Kenny Baker at Planet Comicon!!

Next, the most special memory: I had the pleasure of driving Kenny (R2-D2) Baker and Valerie Gale during the convention. My Chrysler Concorde, it turns out, is well-suited for Kenny’s needs. It’s low enough to the ground for easy entry and also has a large trunk to hold the rented wheelchair that helped him get around. They are an absolutely charming couple and were wonderful to escort. My kids were delighted that Kenny gave them signed photos. I was thrilled when Valerie kissed me on both cheeks as we said our goodbyes – and she got quite a razzing from Kenny for that!

The parade of courtesy cars: I also provided transport for sci-fi icon Walter Koenig, scream queen Brinke Stevens (who “liked my chariot”), editor/publisher/artist representative Renee Witterstaetter, and artists Angel Medina and Bernie Wrightson. Each and every trip was a pleasure and it was great to get a chance to spend some one-on-one time with some very talented and interesting people.

The parade of panels: As coordinator of the panels, I was happy that promoter Chris Jackson and I were able to come up with a well-rounded roster of presentations. Walter Koenig was kind enough to handle an hour on Saturday and then a second full solo session on Sunday. He had the crowd enthralled for the whole time. (Thanks to Rob Davis who oversaw both Koenig events and also to Victor Péna, Phill Dutcher, and Mark Runyan for wrangling the sound system)

Through pure coincidence we had a terrific assemblage of Ghost Rider talent on hand for a fabulous panel (pictured above). Ghost Rider co-creator Gary Friedrich, current series writer Jason Aaron, long-time GR artist Javier Saltares were interviewed by Jai Nitz (with the microphone in the photo). Another definitive GR artist, Mark Texeira, was slated for the panel, but unfortunately a delayed flight kept him from making it in time.

Jai Nitz also interviewed Kurt Busiek on Sunday. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to see more than a few seconds that panel, but they ran long, so the large crowd must have been enjoying it.

I got the chance to moderate three panels. Panel one featured local talents Hector Casanova, Travis Fox, and Daniel Spottswood. Panel two had the current Superman Confidential creative team B. Clay Moore, Phil Hester, and Ande Parks. Panel three featured the terrific artistic talent of Eric Powell, Tony Moore, and last minute pinch hitter Jeremy Haun.

The last panel of the weekend featured your truly and Renee Witterstaetter providing tips to aspiring creators about how to crack into the comics biz. The session was modestly attended but seemed to be received well. Those in attendance were the first to hear an announcement that affects this blog.

My wife and I are drafting a business plan to launch a full-scale ad supported site for comics creators. I’ll finally make use of the URL that I’ve had parked for ages (if you go to it now you’ll just be redirected back to this blog). The plan is for Kelly to run the day-to-day operations for the foreseeable future while I maintain my “real job” as Marketing Director of MCH, Inc. There will be much more to announce as we finalize the business plan and move toward a launch date. Check back regularly. If you would like to get our upcoming weekly e-newsletter for comics professionals and aspiring professionals, just send your name and email address to us at

Whew. Now it’s bedtime!

My first night in fandom

The fine folks at the Mid-Missouri Comics Collective asked me for information about the comics history of Columbia, Missouri. Since Eclipse Comics’ offices were located in Columbia for a while, I dashed off an e-mail to cat yronwode, the no-capital-letters-in-her-name former editor-in-chief of Eclipse Comics, to pose a few questions.

That email took me on a trip down memory lane to my first meeting with cat. I was just 15-years-old. My buddies Mark Runyan, Robb Cox, and I just had become aware of a local group of grown-up comics fans who had a club named “Ozark Fandom” near my hometown of Willow Springs, Missouri. Through the mail, the group’s leader – a really nice guy named Chris Rock (but not that Chris Rock) – invited us to a club meeting.

It ended up being one of the most memorable evenings of my life. The meeting was held in a log cabin at the end of a dirt trail in rural Howell County. At that meeting we met Chris, cat, and a number of other local fans, including Ronn Foss who was a pioneer of small press comics fanzines. I have to say that cat was the most dynamic personality of the evening, educating, entertaining, and challenging a trio of pimple-faced adolescents.

At the time, cat was writing a comics news and reviews column in the weekly adzine The Buyer’s Guide for Comics Fandom (now known as the magazine Comics Buyer’s Guide). As a result, she had a boatload of review copies that she gave away at the meetings – including a bunch of small press comics fanzines. Those were the first real amateur comics zines I’d ever seen. The significance of that gift on my life is not measurable. Because of those free zines I discovered a whole new perspective on comics and publishing. My eyes were opened by terrific zines including Bill-Dale Marcinko’s AFTA, David Heath, Jr’s No Sex, and Gene Kehoe’s It’s a Fanzine.

I’m sure it’s impossible for kids in today’s Internet-driven and comics-saturated pop culture to understand, but my friends and I had had almost no direct exposure to other comics fans, let alone involvement in any sort of organized fandom. While Robb, Mark, and I had already been creating our own amateur comic books, cat’s fanzines introduced us to a wonderful, fascinating new world.

Those freebies led to more zines produced by Kirk… and extensive contact with other zine publishers… and comics and articles published by others… and my first professional writing… and my first professional comics work… and to the creation of Comics Career Newsletter itself. By then, cat was editing the Eclipse Comics line and agreed to be interviewed for the CCN‘s first issue.

I haven’t scratched the surface of my wonderful memories of that magical night in 1979 when cat yronwode, Ronn Foss, Chris Rock and the rest of the Ozark Fandom gang through open to doors to comics fandom. Thanks to them all for the first night of the rest of my life.