Tag Archives: captain america

Meeting Stan Lee

I scratched an item off of my bucket list Saturday.

If you were following me on my social media this past weekend, you know that I attended C2E2, a convention held in Chicago, to meet comic book legend Stan Lee, the creator of most of the Marvel Comics universe. I would rank Mr. Lee among the top five most influential writers on my life. Indeed, Mr. Lee might be among the most impactful writers of the last fifty years.

This was the best I could zoom in with my iPhone. I had to sit in the back. (L to R: Frank Miller, Stan Lee, the moderator)

After a harrowing three-hour trip with my friends Sergio and Jude (which included breakfast at IHOP, a brief Walmart run, and a shorter-than-expected battle with traffic), we arrived at McCormick Place. We got tickets and the lay of the land, so I changed into my Captain America cosplay and hurried to a huge auditorium for Mr. Lee’s panel with fellow creator Frank Miller (who I like but not nearly enough to bother meeting since the man is now insane). I was concerned I wouldn’t get in because it was crowded. You see, Mr. Lee is 94 years old(!), and 2017 is his last year for appearing at conventions, so this would be the last time most people would get to see him in person. I passed the time making friends with my “line-mates” (a word I coined that day), including a 20-something Chicago girl standing behind me. Thankfully, we made it in.

Unfortunately, the panel started 20 minutes late due to technical difficulties. My annoyance was drowned by my excitement, though. Mr. Miller came out first, but it was Mr. Lee who got the biggest cheer. What’s hilarious is the Chicago girl and I had joked about how it’d be hilarious if Mr. Lee passive-aggressively mocked Mr. Miller—and he did! In fact, Mr. Lee spent much of his time roasting Mr. Miller, making fun of his artwork and writing and his comic series Sin City, among other things. Mr. Lee also made frequent comments about how his eyesight was fine but his hearing was going out, so he couldn’t hear Mr. Miller or the moderator when they spoke into microphones (which he demonstrated by making garbled sounds), but he could hear them when they didn’t speak into mics.

My favorite moment (besides the Mr. Miller roasting) was his story about creating Spider-Man. At first I didn’t want to hear it because it’s a story I’ve heard from him in interviews many times, but he put a new spin on it. He was told by his editor to create a new hero, and when Mr. Lee was sitting at his desk to write, he saw a fly on the wall and thought it’d be “groovy” to have a hero who could stick to walls. He decided to call him Spider-Man and make him a teenager with lots of personal problems. He took that to his editor, who shot it down, saying, “You can’t call him Spider-Man! People are scared of spiders! You can’t make him a teenager because teenagers are always sidekicks! He’s a hero! Heroes don’t have personal problems!” Here’s the part I never heard before, though: Mr. Lee disregarded what his editor said and sent it to the printer because it was going into the final issue of Amazing Fantasy #15 and he figured no one would remember it. The next month, sales figures came in and showed that was the bestselling book that month, so the editor told Mr. Lee, “Remember that hero you made that we liked? We’re giving him his own series!”

Tenacity and guts. I love Stan Lee.

I realized during that panel that Stan Lee is the most endearing cranky old man ever. If anyone could be granted immortality, I hope it’s him.

The new crown jewel of my library. 🙂

My primary goals for the day after that were to get his autograph and a photo with him. I’d bought a photo-op in advance, but I had to stand in line for the autograph—for 2 ½ hours! It was much like waiting to ride a roller coaster at Cedar Pointe: multi-hour wait for a 60-second thrill. Was it worth it? Oh, heck yes! Again, I made friends with my “line-mates,” several of whom want to check out my books. (Hello to you, new readers!) If I got the chance, I wanted to ask Mr. Lee one of two questions. One wasn’t related to his work while the other was somewhat related. Regarding the former, a lesser-known fact is that Mr. Lee has been married to his one and only wife, Joan, for nearly 70 years(!), so I was gonna ask him what was the secret to a lasting marriage. If not that, I was just gonna ask him for writing advice. However, the organizers had to move the line fast, so I was only able to say, “Hello, Mr. Lee,” to him. Even then, there were two guys sitting on either side of him who had to point me out to him when I said that while he was signing my copy of Essential Captain America, Vol. 1. I guess he really is hard of hearing. He did smile at me, though.

Finally, there was the photo-op. Sergio joined me for that. He’d insisted the day before that he would not join me if I wore my costume, all but demanding that I “dress formal” for Stan Lee out of respect. I got the message, although my garb is more semi-formal. Anyway, it wasn’t nearly as long of a wait for the photo-op, but it was a brief meeting. This time, though, Mr. Lee said, “Hi, fellas!” to us. Sergio boldly went stepped forward and shook his hand, so I did the same, unsure if we were allowed to do so. Nobody said anything. The photo was snapped, and we hurried out.

Meeting greatness. (L to R: Me, Stan Lee, Sergio)

So, there you have it. I sacrificed going to Indiana Comic-Con the week before to meet their multitude of amazing guests and missed the chance to meet most of the multitude of other guests I liked at C2E2, but it was worth it.

As Stan Lee always says, “Excelsior!”

But I Digress…, Episode 36: A Review of ‘Captain America: Civil War’

“But I Digress…”
Hosted by Nathan Marchand

After a host of delays and problems filming this video, I’ve *finally* completed it–a month after the movie in question was released. Sorry.

Anyway, my buddy Sergio and I tackle what is arguably one of Marvel’s greatest films after some crazy (and schlocky) shenanigans.

Additional Music Credit: “There was a Hole Here” by The Wingless

My more timely text review: http://www.examiner.com/review/civil-war-is-marvel-s-best-film-yet

Did you enjoy the film? What are your thoughts on it?

Please subscribe, comment, and share!


NERD RAGE! Episode 1: Captain America Hails HYDRA!?

Hosted by Nathan Marchand

In light of the recent revelation that, apparently, Captain America–one of my favorite superheroes–has always been a supervillain, I decided to launch a new show called “NERD RAGE!” This show will focus on me ranting about any stupid decisions made in media and/or the nerd and geek community. This episode features my friend and frequent co-host Sergio Garza. “NERD RAGE!” will have an irregular schedule and have episodes posted sporadically.

What do you think of Marvel’s decision to make Cap a HYDRA agent?


Gen-Con 2013, Day 2: Fear of Commitment

(Continued from day 1).

Today has been busy, and yet not so. I cosplayed as Captain America. After exploring the exhibitors’ hall a bit, I went to my table. While there was more traffic than yesterday, I still encountered many uncommitted buyers. They still wanted to survey the area to see what else they could. Many promised to return tomorrow or Sunday.

At noon, I attended two writing seminars. The first was on cater building. One of the writers on the panel was a professor/writer who hosted a podcast that interviewed writers. I asked him if he needed more interviewees, but they were booked until December. Afterward, I might get in.

The second seminar was on networking (not name dropping). It was an informative panel. One of the writers present even showed up in a corset she was goaded into wearing!

When I returned, I met my favorite customer of the con so far. A young woman named Emmanuell. She was cosplaying as classic Uhura. My writer neighbor Ed had told her to wait for me because I wore my Capt. Kirk outfit yesterday (so he says… :P). She was a sweet girl, but disappointed nobody else in her group dressed up. She bought a copy of Pandora’s Box I told her to come to the Five Year Mission show tomorrow night, and she said she might (albeit in another costume).

Emmanuell and I.
Emmanuell and I.

I also met one of the reviewers who stopped yesterday while Eric watched my table. Two girls named Lyric and Lyssa (they have such awesome parents!) They work on their parents’ podcast, the Dwarven Tavern. I enjoyed talking with them and gave them free copies of all my books. They’ll interview me tomorrow.

By the way, a lady amateur director offered Capt. Charisma a movie role. 😐

My costume was a huge hit. Even at a con, with thousands of other cosplayers, I’m the most popular guy in the room. It helped I was a rare Cap cosplayer (so far). I was popular at my table and wandering the halls. A three-year-old boy named Connor especially loved me, so much so he warned me there was a Dalek down the hall (I shoulda said I’d kick its ton can keister).

I managed to arrive at my next event, a photography seminar at the Westin Hotel, only slightly late due to the many photo-ops. It was two hours long, but not as good as I was hoping. 🙁 It was at least informative.

My final event was a long HeroScape open play with custom figures. I played a game with Eric, who had the Wrecking Crew plus Lizard, and I had the original X-Men. I was cleaning his clock until he made a crazy comeback. But it didn’t compare to Darrin using the cheapest HeroScape army EVER! It shall not be spoken of again.

We left afterward. Sadly, when we reached the hotel and I undressed, I discovered the catch on my Cap costume zipper had broken. 🙁 If anyone knows how to fix it, please let me know!

On to day 3! The craziest of them all! Even more sleep deprivation!

(Continued in day 3).

NaPoWriMo 2013: Days 13 & 14: ‘Superman’ and ‘Captain America’

I wasn’t able to find time to do yesterday’s prompt, which was to take a walk and then write a poem based on what I saw. However, since I missed it, I decided to write two poems today. I also did it because today’s prompt excited me. It was to write a persona poem in the voice of a superhero. (What’s interesting is I wrote a poem about the Avengers last year, and now it’s a prompt!) As I said, I wrote two, one for each of my top two favorite superheroes. I’m not sure how good they are, but I hope you enjoy them.

Artwork by Alex Ross
Artwork by Alex Ross

Day 13:
By Nathan Marchand

Some call me, “Hero.”
Many call me, “Loser.”
I’m faster than a speeding bullet,
More powerful than a locomotive,
Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.
I could rule mankind, but I’d rather serve them.
But to them, I am too good to be true.
Their “heroes” brood and kill.
They can understand them.

But I am the Man of Tomorrow.
I am who they wish to become,
Who they could one day become.
Deep in their hearts, they yearn for greatness.
They see me, and see who they aspire to be.
Perhaps that’s why they scoff at me:
They fear they can’t reach these heights.
If they will only cast aside all that hinders,
They will believe any man can fly.

Day 14:
Captain America
By Nathan Marchand

Once, I was a soldier fighting for freedom,
A weakling granted incredible power.
Now, I am a man out of time
Who awoke from a frozen slumber
To find the world had moved on—
And my country had changed.
Ideals, morals, and patriotism are scorned.
The freedoms I defended are surrendered.
The line between right and wrong is blurred.

I am a relic of a bygone era, a forgotten symbol.
I punched out Hitler, but I can’t knock out cynicism.
No longer do I wear the flag of America the country
But of America the ideal: the nation she was and could be.
To forget that would mean the Red Skull won,
It just took a few extra decades.
I am a soldier without a country, but I still have a cause.
To fight for the restoration of the land I love.
Let all who oppose my shield yield!

Gen-Con, Day 3

Day three at Gen-Con wasn’t quite as eventful for me. That’s not to say the convention had slowed down. Not at all! But since there was so much more going on, not as many people (surprisingly) were perusing the exhibitors’ hall.

My day started with me checking out the life-size Dalek the Who North America had on display. Then as I entered and walked by their booth (I arrived an hour before the hall opened), I had the privilege of meeting Nick Briggs, the producer of many Doctor Who audio dramas, but he’s most famous for providing the voice of the Daleks. I talked with him for a while and got a picture with him:


Here I am with Nick Briggs, the heart and soul (and voice) of the Daleks on “Doctor Who.”

It’s a good thing I saw him when I did because I heard he was swamped later.

Next, I went back to the table of what looked to be a Christian ministry that reached out to the nerd/geek subculture, specifically gamers. It’s called GameChurch. I had seen their table the day before at closing time, so nobody was there. I talked with their rep, Rich Clark, for a while, learning more about their ministry. I also got a free “Jesus Loves Gamers” T-shirt and their tracts and business cards. I was very happy to see someone reaching out to a subculture the Christian church generally ignores or shuns. I learned by the end of the weekend that there are several others, but they have different niches. More on that in part four.

I spent most of the day selling books. I met some cool cosplayers while I was there. Not all of them bought books, but they were awesome nonetheless. My favorites were a young family. The dad was dressed as Captain America and his toddler son was Bucky! Check it out:


The dad dressed as Captain America.


Here’s his little son dressed as Bucky, Cap’s sidekick.

Cap is one of my favorite comic book characters, so I was excited to see them. The mom was wearing homemade fairy wings she made with green yarn and a coat hanger. (See the gallery when it’s posted).

Then there was this interesting character:


The crazy “God-woman.”

Where do I begin with her? For one thing, she jokingly said she was “God” since that was what her hat said. (I’ve sadly forgotten her name. If you see this, “God,” leave a comment and let me know your real name). She said her friends at the bar got it for her ten years ago. She oozed snide confidence. Regardless, she was cool and bought a copy of Pandora’s Box, as you can see.

I went to another Michael A. Stackpole seminar that afternoon. This one was called “21 Ways to Kill Your Novel.” Unfortunately, not only did I get to it late, Mr. Stackpole wasn’t able to list of 21 items before his hour was up. I did get notes on what I missed from a woman who sat next to me.

After killing some time photographing cosplayers and exploring, I went to the Westin Hotel for a TV writing seminar. I spent some time reading Trigun in the manga library. Then I attended a seminar called “Writing for Television,” which was taught by prolific screenwriter George Strayton. You may not recognize his name, but you’ll know his many credits, which include Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Xena: Warrior Princess, and the new Star Trek movie, among others. Not only did I learn how to break into the TV writing business, I got some…interesting inside info on some very popular creators and shows in Hollywood. It was great.

Afterward, I decided I’d go to Gen-Con’s film festival, which was being held at the Westin. So, I went to a screening of an Australian superhero comedy called The Justice Squad. I went into it not knowing what to expect—and was pleasantly surprised. It was hilarious! A documentary film crew follows Australia’s only superhero team as they prepare for comic book tryouts, which is the ultimate prize for a superhero. I would describe it as The Office with superheroes. I met the director, David Lawrance, afterward. He said the American audience laughed more than the Australian one did, so he was pleased. I asked him what his favorite comic book was, and he said it was Watchmen by Alan Moore (because you all wanted to know that). The film isn’t on DVD yet, but he hopes to make it available soon. Here’s a photo of us:


I pose for the camera with David Lawrance, the director of the Australian superhero comedy, “The Justice Squad.” (I apologize for the photo’s poor quality).

He also has ideas for a sequel. Here’s the film’s IMDB page (ignore the low ratings), Facebook page, and trailer.

I left the Westin, navigated the Indiana Convention Center, and went back to the parking garage. Once again, I learned why I hate the things. I got lost, spending 10-15 minutes (maybe longer) wandering around trying to find my car. It wasn’t worth the hassle, I decided.

So ended day three.



NaPoWriMo, Day 30: “Finding the Right Dance Partner”

Yes, I know I didn’t write or post this final poem on April 30. Unfortunately, life happened. I was unable to find time to write. However, I did make good on my promise to write a sonnet, albeit two days late.

This sonnet was inspired by one of my favorite scenes from Captain America: The First Avenger (one of my favorite movies). In it, skinny Steve Rogers is riding in a taxi with Agent Peggy Carter, his love interest. Steve confessed he didn’t know how to talk to women, especially since girls didn’t want to “dance with a guy they might step on.” “You don’t know how to dance?” Peggy asked, surprised. Steve went on to say he had decided to wait. “For what?” asked Peggy. “The right partner,” answered Steve. That scene stuck with me because I feel much the same way as Steve. (Note: I tried to find this scene on YouTube, but to no avail).

So, without further adieu, here is my first sonnet. (Honestly, I don’t think it’s that good, but you be the judge).

Finding the Right Dance Partner

The music played, summoning the dancers to the floor.
I, gulping and sweating, joined the crowds
And watched the lovely girls grab the hands of the men they adored
To sway and jive and spin, their heads in the clouds.
To one of the few partner-less girls I walked,
But she passed me to dance with another man.
I offered my hand to a second girl for a dance, but she balked.
One girl danced a few steps with me, but then she ran.
Abandoned, I was left with a clumsy girl,
Who, smiling always, tripped as she danced alone.
I offered her my hand, saying, “Shall we give this a whirl?”
But in my heart I feared this decision I’d later bemoan.
The smiling Beauty took my hand, and I was surprised to see
We danced better together and most gracefully.

NaPoWriMo, Day 27: “Avengers Assemble”

I totally “nerded out” with this one. With Marvel’s The Avengers opening next week (which will be one of the big movies for me this year), I decided to write a poem the superhero team. It was loosely inspired by the theme song for the Avengers cartoon airing on Disney XD: “Fight as One” by Bad City. I only have stanzas for three characters, but I may write some for the others later. Enjoy!

Avengers Assemble

There came a day unlike any other
When heroes united against a mighty foe.
In battle, each became a brother,
Fighting ‘til the enemy’s dealt the final blow.

Soldier, captain, a man out of time:
He wears Old Glory and wields the shield.
His is America’s spirit in her prime.
To no enemy will he yield.

Genius, billionaire, philanthropist:
An “invincible” knight seeking fame and redemption.
Though regarded by many as a narcissist,
His armor is strong and his loyalty without question.

Son of Odin, prince of Asgard, god of thunder:
He rides the lightning, clutching mighty Mjolnir.
Raising his hammer, he fills the sky with deadly wonder.
Evildoers who challenge him have their hearts melt in fear.

So now the battle has begun.
Together, they are strong.
Assembled, they fight as one,
Avenging Earth against all who do wrong.