July 16 – July 22



RANDOM PIC OF THE WEEK

While the 2018 San Diego Comic Con was the best con experience of my life, this one back in 2000 came close. It was the time I dressed up as Tony Clifton. That was amazing!

I had my iPad dock set up in my hotel room in San Diego, and “I’ve Gotta Get a Message To You” by the Bee Gees came up. This is one well-constructed song. Gorgeous! I’ve been humming it ever since.

Monday the 16th – AND SO IT BEGINS…! – It was another early morning for me, as I needed to be up at 9 to be at L.A. Studios at 10 to do more work on the secret animated film I’m working on. It was a fun 3 hour session, and when we wrapped I headed home to walk Roxy. Then I drove over to my seamstress’ house to drop off the gold wristbands for our King Tut figure that we’d be unveiling at the upcoming San Diego Comic Con. Mariah needed to put some grommets in them for the laces, and sew a hem on them. I drove by KFC to get some lunch, then I hit Foam Mart to get some Barge Glue thinner (VERY important if you’re working with Barge Glue!), and then I hit Walmart for some Comic Con supplies and snacks. I dropped over to my mailbox to get my packages, and then went home to relax. I was exhausted! Those early mornings really kick my ass! I did some work around the house, printed my packing list for the convention, then grabbed a short nap on the couch. I got up later to do a bunch of auditions, type out Wally’s Week, and then I made hot dogs on the grill and watched a few more episodes of “Happy Days” from the first season DVD set. I LOVE this!

Tuesday the 17th – CUFF STUFF! – When I got up at 2 I took Roxy over to the groomer’s to get her a bath. She’d be coming with me to San Diego, so I always make sure she’s nice and clean before we travel. I met my pal Clay for lunch, as his wife Mariah gave him the finished King Tut wristbands to pass along to me. She also stitched on an “Invader Zim” graphic on to a black t-shirt. The original t-shirt that was released back in 2002, and featured my character Tallest Red, had a great design on the back of the shirt. But I wanted it on the FRONT of my shirt for Comic Con. So I had her create what she called a “punk patch.” When she was into punk rock as a kid, they’d take graphics they liked off of t-shirts and stitch them on to their jean jackets. It worked out perfectly and is virtually non-detectable! In the car on the way home I had the conference call that was postponed from last Sunday, picked up Roxy, and then headed home to start working on the King Tut cuffs. I worked for 6 hours straight with no break. They were very intricate to construct, with lots of specific shapes and trim cut from suede. After that I had a ton of auditions to record. I also finished packing and was totally exhausted! I made a Tombstone pizza and watched more “Happy Days” before bed. But the craziness had only begun!

Wednesday the 18th – READY TO LAUNCH! – The first order of the day was a lunch meeting at the Hollywood Museum about the unveiling of the new King Tut figure and the panel at the San Diego Comic Con. Everything was good, and I warned them to get on the road to San Diego as soon as they possibly could because the traffic is about double (or triple) what it usually is. Kelly Delcambre, the artists who created the figure, had already delivered the figure to the museum and was on his way to San Diego. I wish I had known the museum had the figure; I could have brought the finished wristbands and attached them. Oh well, we’ll do it at the convention. Pat Evans, the artist who created all of the metallic jewelry on Tut, would be bringing all of his stuff to the convention as well. There would be lots to do on-site when we all converged Thursday night for the panel. I swung by the bank to pick up some “operating capital” for the weekend, picked up lots of Pure Leaf iced tea for the trip, and then went to Enterprise to get my SUV; a GMC Yukon that I named “Cornelius.” (Think about it.) I got home and napped for a bit, and then my pal and house-sitter Brittney Powell dropped by about 7 to take over Planet Wallywood and watch my cat Spooky. I loaded up the car and Roxy and we hit the road around 9:30pm. I like to drive late to avoid traffic. I do the same thing when I drive to Palm Springs! I was able to get my favorite Native American radio station at 660AM on the radio too! The only disadvantage of driving to San Diego at night is that you can’t see the ocean. But it’s totally worth missing the daytime traffic to San Diego. We made it to the Manchester Grand Hyatt hotel in just under 2 hours! I was driving at top speeds and it was beautiful! Those Yukons really move! From the second I checked into the Hyatt I knew it was going to be a trip to remember. The gal behind the counter came out from behind her work station to pet Roxy. She’s always a star wherever she goes! She’s already the unofficial mascot of the Palm Springs Hyatt, and I was suspecting that she would be the unofficial mascot of the San Diego Hyatt before we left on Sunday! Around midnight I met up with my pal (and panel moderator) Mark Fullerton and his girlfriend Connie. I was starving, but Connie was tired. So Mark and I caught an Uber to the local Denny’s. We plotted out the course of the weekend over some really GREAT food! I went back to my room and unpacked. Thursday will be a VERY busy day!

Thursday the 19th – ZIM-MANIA; PART 1! – Mid-afternoon I got ready and took a cab over to the Andaz hotel to meet up with the Nickelodeon staff. The cab driver’s credit card machine was “conveniently” out of service, so I had to pay cash. Hmmm…suspicious. Some of the voice-cast were due for a photo session at 3:30, but I was early. While I enjoyed eating some Pizza Hut food that was provided, Rikki Simons, Richard Horvitz, and Kevin McDonald arrived. It was REALLY great to see Kevin McDonald, my fellow Tallest, as it’s very rare that he does public appearances. After our photo shoot at the Andaz, we were driven a short distance to the Hard Rock hotel for interviews. IGN had a makeshift studio set up and were doing live shots from the convention. It was really cool! The 10 minute interview from the “Invader Zim” cast was truly golden. Check it out here…

After the IGN live-shot, we went to Nickelodeon’s press suite and did audio interviews. We were supposed to go until 6, but things were running slightly behind. I was starting to panic since my panel for the “Hollywood Museum Batman ’66 Exhibit” was at 6. Thankfully, Mark’s girlfriend Connie was able to walk and feed Roxy at 5, so all I had to do was get back to my room, change shirts, and walk over to the convention center. Mark had already obtained my badge so all I needed to do was walk in. When I got to the room where the panel would be held I was relieved to see that everyone had made it on time and nobody got hung up in traffic. Getting the Tut figure into the building, however, was a bit more of a sticky wicket! But it all worked out, and there he was hidden under a tarp! It was fun to do the panel with the artists and creators who made the Batman exhibit at the Hollywood Museum a reality. Burt Ward was even there to lend some star-power to the event! The unveiling of King Tut went off without a hitch! But for a while there it was looking shaky. He got rave reviews, and now he’s off to the museum where he’ll be a permanent resident. After dinner I went to my room and got Roxy, and a bunch of us went to a restaurant located behind the hotel called Sally’s for dinner. I had never seen a restaurant with a separate dog menu before, even in Palm Springs, but I was amazed and elated! So was Roxy, as the Surf & T-arf she enjoyed was wolfed down in a matter of seconds. Speaking of seconds, she kept staring at me all throughout dinner with “those eyes” asking for seconds! After dinner we walked around Seaport Village to tire Roxy out so she’d sleep soundly all night. I needed a good night’s rest, because I had another full day of “Zimming” on Friday!

Friday the 20th – ZIM-MANIA: PART 2! – By 12:30 I reported to the Nickelodeon booth on the convention floor. The cast of Zim were to meet there and be escorted up to our panel at 1pm. I was wearing my “punk patch” Zim shirt (with my character proudly displayed on it) and my vintage GIR slippers! We were all introduced on stage and the reaction of the crowd was electric and exciting! I could literally NOT stop smiling! It was so nice to be with these people again, and I had missed them (and the show) greatly! But the reaction to the sneak-peak Zim teaser was so overwhelming that they showed it TWICE! I suspect that if this movie is successful for Nickelodeon, a revival of the series may be in order! Fingers crossed! Here’s the teaser that everyone saw at our panel.

After the panel we all walked down to the Nick booth for a cast signing. Richard Horvitz and I have known each other for a very long time, and we enjoy laughing and singing together. In fact, we spent the entire time at the panel singing Elvis songs! I had seen so many signings in the past that were lifeless and joyless, I was happy that the energy of ours was lively. We had a great time laughing and joking with the Zim fans, and taking lots of selfies! After the event I walked back to the hotel and too Roxy out to the Seaport Village so she could experience the ocean in the daytime. My pal Mark Fullerton got some stunning pics of her! As a herder, she’s always intrigued by fast movement; bikes, skateboards, joggers, etc. She’ll get excited and bark as if she’s ready to go to work and herd. But when she saw the boats and Jet skis on the water she got very excited. It was fun to watch her try and figure out how to go get them. But she looked at the glassy, wavy stuff that was between her and the boats, and she wasn’t sure she wanted to make the effort. I’m not sure she had ever been to the ocean before; certainly not with me! Her reactions were priceless. And the reactions of the people in the village when they saw her were great too! When we were in the elevator earlier, somebody mentioned that she was the Lassie relative. I asked how they knew she was related and they said they heard news through the hotel grapevine. She was already a star! I got back to the hotel and napped for a bit, and then called my friend Valerie Perez. We were due at the big IGN party at the Andaz hotel later that night. We met at the Andaz but the line to get into the party was very long. Apparently they had already reached capacity, and until some people left, the line of people couldn’t be admitted. Luckily, somebody at the admissions table recognized me from the interview the day before and we were walked around the side to the VIP entrance. The rooftop of the Andaz was beautiful and we enjoyed looking at a full 360 degree view of San Diego. We had a few drinks, took some pictures, and then took off. The music was loud and annoying. Since the traffic in downtown San Diego was so nuts, we just walked back to the convention center area. I walked Val back to her hotel, and then I walked back to the Hyatt. I took Roxy out for a walk, fed her dinner and then turned in for the day. Saturday was my day off, so I was looking forward to sleeping in a bit!

Saturday the 21st – “ANIMAL” INSTINCTS! – Since I had no official responsibilities on Saturday, I slept in fairly late. About mid-afternoon I met up with Mark and we walked over to the convention center. I had my 1:1 Animal Muppet replica in a bag, and I wanted to have some fun with him on the convention floor. I don’t know what I was thinking. Being Saturday, it was wall-to-wall people. I never took him out of the bag on the floor because I started to worry that he would get damaged. My pal Mike (who had brought his Rizzo and Gonzo) had just left his booth for lunch. So Mark and I decided to call it a day and leave. But once we got into the front lobby it was more “relaxed” – in a “Saturday afternoon at Comic Con” kind of way. The convention had provided a backdrop for all photo ops, so I put Animal on and took a few shots. Of course he started drawing a crowd and posed for lots of photos. Mark started shooting some video, so Animal did a live on-the-scene report (on two syllables or less) from the convention. But on the way back to the hotel an amazing thing happened. When you consider that there were about 200,000 people at Comic Con, the chances of what occurred are so minuscule they boggle the mind. While walking back to the hotel I saw a kid in a nice home-made Animal costume; complete with papier Mache head! WHAT ARE THE CHANCES?! I mean, at that specific time, at that specific area, with an obscure character like Animal! I couldn’t resist the photo op that fate was giving us! It was one of those golden moments I’ll never forget. And most likely, neither will the kid and his folks! Mark and I met up with our pal Boz in the lobby, who had just gotten to town. We got him his credentials for the “cosplay” panel I’d be doing on Sunday, and then I went upstairs to clean up for dinner. One of my old childhood pals from Aberdeen, South Dakota moved out to San Diego many years ago when he joined the Navy. Now Captain Tim Pence (retired) enjoys seeing us whenever we’re in town for Comic Con. A bunch of us met him at Ruth’s Criss Steakhouse for dinner and had a great time. A few years back when my friend Brittney was with us, I kept talking about Captain Tim Pence. She thought I was saying Captain Tinpants! So now, we call him Captain Tinpants. It always brings a smile to our faces. Because the service was so dreadfully slow at the restaurant, we weren’t able to make it back to the convention center to see the final parts of the masquerade. By the time we returned to the hotel everything was pretty much wrapped up at the convention. I went up to my room but I wasn’t tired. So I decided to take Animal down to the hotel bar at 1am and have some fun. People went CRAZY! It was a great time. I had enjoyed showing off my “other” Animal (Roxy) most of the weekend, but now it was time for THIS Animal to play! And the bar crowd loved him. The lobby of the hotel stayed crowded until 3am. It was a great time talking to everyone, but doing Animal’s voice was tough on the pipes. So I went to bed to rest.

Sunday the 22nd – I WAS COSPLAY BEFORE COSPLAY WAS COOL! – The final day of the convention was my opportunity to shop around. I spoke with a Marvel artist and commissioned an art piece for a friend. Then Mark and I hit the floor to go visit some of our favorite booths and tables. Around 2:30 I went back to my room to walk Roxy and change clothes for my cosplay panel at 4. It would be the final panel, in the final hour, of the final day of the convention. I thought that was pretty cool! It was a nice crowd who seemed to stay enraptured with my many stories from the early days of cosplay, before it was even called cosplay. But time ran out and I still had lots of stories to tell. It was a great time with lots of genuinely interested people. Mark did a great job moderating, as always, and Boz did a stellar job with the video presentation. My friends the Logans from South Dakota were there and surprised me at the panel. My old pal Jason Hawkes surprised me as well. Jason and I worked together at Universal Studios back in the 90s. We both performed Beetlejuice in the Graveyard Revue at the park. I figured I had plenty of time to goof around after the panel, as the artist who did my commission told me the floor closed at 7. So when I went downstairs at 5:40 to get my drawing, we weren’t allowed on the floor because they had closed at 5! I had prepaid for the sketch, and now I had no way of getting it. The artist had my card, but he didn’t even call me to let me know he was leaving. Mark heard him say the floor was closing at 7 as well, so I know it wasn’t me. Luckily, after explaining my situation passionately, a security guard walked me to the booth to get my drawing. Whew! We all went to my room to get Roxy, and then we headed over to Sally’s again for dinner. It was fun catching up with the Logans over dinner! (Yes, Roxy DID get another Surf & T-arf!) After bidding the Logans farewell, a few of us went over to Ben & Jerry’s to get ice cream and relax. It had been the best Comic Con experience in my life. There were others that were close, but this was by far the best. The museum panel, the Zim craziness, and the cosplay panel. Plus being with good friends. It was all magical! But the day was getting away from me, and by 9 I headed back to my room to shower and pack up for the late-night trip home. I hit the road at 10:30 and was back home by 12:30. I paid Brittney, unpacked a few things, and collapsed. What a GREAT time!

And how was YOUR week??!!

PIX FROM THE WEEK

Here are some pics from the 2018 San Diego Comic Con –

Day 1…enjoy!

The first stop was to the Andaz Hotel for a photo shoot with some of the voice cast from “Invader Zim!”

Our moderator for the “66 Batman Hollywood Museum” panel…Mark Fullerton.

The panel Batusi’s for the crowd at the end of the panel. From left to right is…Mark Fullerton, Roger Neal, Donelle Dadigan, Burt Ward, me, Kelly Mark Delcambre, Pat Evans and Scott Sebring.

Kelly readies the King for his big debut.

Bow to the King, you plebian!

The staff poses with the King…from left to right…back row…me, Kelly Delcambre, King Tut, Hollywood Museum owner Donelle Dadigan, Hollywood Museum Head Curator Steve Nycklemoe. Front row…left to right…Pat Evans, Mark Fullerton, Scott Sebring.

Posing with the next generation of Voice Actors…Max Mittleman and Zeno Robinson!

Roxy poses in the mock comic book cover photo op in the lobby of the Hyatt

The energy was great in San Diego, and Roxy made friends wherever she went!

 

Comic Con – Day 2

The second day started with a really fun “Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus” panel with a ton of great people!

I was SO happy that the “other” Tallest (Kevin McDonald) was able to attend!

There’s nothing better in life than hanging out with people you like who make you laugh!

Thanking the Heavens that “Invader Zim” is returning as a TV movie. Will a series follow? It’s up to YOU!

I was ready for anything in my vintage “Invader Zim” t-shirt and GIR slippers!

When Richard and I got the contracts from Nickelodeon to do a signing at their booth, we misread it. We thought it was for a SINGING, not signing! So…we did both! And had a LOT of fun doing it after the amazing panel!

Smiles all around!

Death! Don’t take me now! I’m not ready!

I’ve always liked Wonder Woman because we have the same initials!

Coincidentally, outside the hall, I ran into my friends Paul Dini and Perry Zombolas! Paul is the greatest Batman writer of all time, and Perry was an animator at “Family Guy” who designed the artwork for my business card. Talent all around the place!

After the panel, it was time to relax with a walk around the gorgeous San Diego bay with Roxy. She had never seen the ocean before and was transfixed with the boats, the Jetskis, and of course, the ducks!

 

Comic Con – Day 3

Saturday was my “day off” at Comic Con. So I decided to take my pal Animal over to check out the activity. It was so crowded we soon left, as I feared that in the hubbub Animal would get damaged. But before we left we had to pose in front of the photo op area!

He also met Batgirl and discovered her secret identity!

But the oddest thing of all, was on the way back to the hotel, we saw a kid dressed in an awesome Animal costume! On the busiest day of Comic Con, with 200,000 people there, what are the chances that I would run into he and his family! The odds are mind-boggling!

Here’s more of Animal’s on-the-scene reporting from the convention floor!

In this day and age? Really? I’m not falling for it!

Instead of fighting the crowds at Comic Con, we went over to Seaport Village for lunch and Roxy got to see a mama duck with her babies swimming in the stream! She was amazed! And happy!

The mama brought her babies over to meet Roxy. It was SO cool! Maybe she thought Roxy was Lassie?!

Gorgeous day. Gorgeous dog.  (Photos by Mark Fullerton )

 

Comic Con – Day 4

The final day started with some shopping and browsing around on the convention floor. But first I wanted to lock in on where my panel would be later that afternoon. I thought it was cool that I was the final panel, in the final hour, of the final day.

I LOVE this screenshot! I closed out the con!

This is an original “Star Trek: Original Series” phaser that’s being auctioned off through Profiles in History. It’s not a “hero” phaser, but still original nonetheless!

Technical Advisor Boz Adams, me, and Moderator Mark Fullerton prepare to start my cosplay panel.

It was lots of fun telling stories about the “cave” days of cosplay when I was a kid.

After the panel it was time for some Bat Shield buffoonery!

And of course, there’s always time to laugh with friends…old and new!

I was elated to see the Logan family from South Dakota at the panel!

And there’s ALWAYS time for autographs…

…and selfies!

Katie had on some cool Riddler shoes that I tried to steal, but I got all “Wicked Witched” and stuff! OUCH!

Afterwards, we all went back to Sally’s so Roxy could get another Surf & T’arf. Easy come…

…and easy go. Nice of them to mark the spot as a restroom!