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Thanksgiving Road Trip

Happy belated Thanksgiving to you all!

Over the holiday week our little trio traveled cross-country to the lovely lands of Santa Fe, New Mexico. A place we've always wanted to visit and heard many fantastic things about...A place we're considering making a permanent move to.

First of all let me tell you a little bit about the drive...Yes, we drove. And little Stella is a champion of the road. Very well-behaved whilst driving long distances. And if you knew her I'm sure this bit of news would garner the same reaction from those who do...A jaw hitting the floor look of absolute disbelief. For those who know her know of her legendary amounts of endless energy. This child cannot stop moving. So, we're very proud of her patience on the long drives. Anyways, the drive...Traveling through Iowa, Nebraska and eastern Colorado is a challenge. Not in the fact that the roads are bad or complicated. NO. The drive is an easy one to map out and follow; basically about three turns the whole way. The problem is that there's very little to look at. Sprawling fields of cows and cornfields. That's it. That is it. At least on the freeway anyways. Inland might be a different story, I can't say. So the drive was pretty boring until we hit the Denver area and were able to drive down along the Rockies for the remainder of the drive all the way into Santa Fe. This stretch is absolutely breathtaking! And so, 21 hours after leaving Milwaukee we made it to Santa Fe where we spent 4 wonderful days. All the good things you've heard are true. Beautiful scenery, hiking, climate, friendly people, wonderful restaurants and shops and the most amazingly crystal clear skies I've ever seen. One night, after many glasses of wine and a delicious meal prepared by friends Crawford and Kate, I walked out to get something out of my car and looked up...It literally looks like the stars are 20 feet above your head! I was stunned by the beauty. I just stared for a few minutes in disbelief. It's no wonder why so many artists draw inspiration from this wondrous land.

The hot tub where we stayed was the only disappointment. This friggin' thing was set so high you felt as if you were being prepared for a meal in some twisted horror movie. Poor Stella wouldn't, COULDN'T, even stick her little toes in it! And even though I told the management every day we were there, nothing changed. They assured me "maintenance checked it," but when I asked again the 3rd day the guy at the desk just came back by the tub and stuck his fingers in it and then proceeded to try and "fix it himself". I watched with sad pity as he went to the "humidity control" on the wall by the light switches (the humidity control for the room!) and fiddled with it a bit and then said, "Try it now" referring to the hot tub...First of all, I knew what he did had nothing to do with the tub and second, even if it did did he really expect the tub to drop from 130 degrees to 105 in mere seconds?! I regretfully informed him that the knob he fiddled with was not for the tub. He blank-stared me and then looked around at the walls for another knob. After spying no other knobs he assured me he'd "have maintenance check it tomorrow." I later found out about the one big drawback of Santa Fe..."Monyana Time"...Everything's done at a slower pace when it comes to repairs there. And in the case of a hot tub?...Apparently not at all.

So, the hot tub was a bust but everything else was great (they really need to find better frames for Georgia O'Keefe's paintings at her museum though! Horrible frames.).

There was a nice little comic book shop & gallery out there as well name of "True Believers!" I was delighted to see that they had a wide variety of books, representing a wide range of genres and publishers. They also had a copy of Three Fingers prominently displayed! In addition they had quite a few nice pieces of original comic book art on display throughout the store...Something I think more stores should do and I'm surprised that I do not see it more.

On the trip I read the latest issues of CIVIL WAR, JUSTICE LEAGUE, PEEPSHOW, WALKING DEAD TPB 2 and ASTONISHING X-MEN. All great reads and highly recommended.

I was also able to do some much-needed brainstorming on my upcoming releases. Again, it must be those clear skies. I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to this year's upcoming conventions where I'll have my new books available for your discerning approval. I'll be at all the usual events...San Diego Comic-Con International, WizardWorld Chicago, Minnesota Fallcon, SPX and a few others. BE THERE!

I am also delighted to announce that I've been approved as one of the exclusive artists to be chosen to illustrate HELLBOY Sketch Cards for the upcoming trading card set from Inkworks! This card set is based on the Hellboy animated movie which premiered in November, "Hellboy, Sword Of Storms!" Hellboy's always been one of my favorite books so this is a real treat for me. The cards will be out in early 2007 so order your sets asap!

Now I have to get back to stuffing the thousands of little chunks of beef jerky into tiny little bags for "Jim's Jerky." My entire house smells like beef jerky! I'm not joking. The things I do to "follow my vision!"

Word! r

Viva La King!

Bon Jour! Or however you say greetings in french! I am extremely excited about the fact that my graphic novel, THE KING, is now available in France! From what I understand the french edition has been released and is on the racks as I write this. I'm very proud as this is my first foreign edition of the two Top Shelf books I've done. I had a german edition published of my HOW TO PICK UP GIRLS IF YOU'RE A COMIC BOOK GEEK some years back but it has been quite some time. So, if you're from France or plan on being there soon, or have internet, get your copy now!

My thanks go out to my hairy buddy, Wayne Beamer (I'll tell you all the story of my briading Wayne's back hair at the last convention in an upcoming column), this week, as I have to believe that all the "Shilling" (as he called it) of my newest 3 Geeks comic, "Jim's Jerky", that I shamelessly did on his website the last couple months, has led to some pretty unbelievable sales. I just got my Diamond orders in and had to take a breath as it felt like someone punched me in the belly. I had hoped to sell at least 1,000 of the 4,000 units I had printed. Never figured I'd need more than 4,000. Even taking into account that I'd be selling "Jim's Jerky" as a 20 count P.O.P. (point of purchase) box for countertops. Well...I was wrong for the first time in my life. 6,000!!!! Six friggin' thousand copies sold!!!! So, although I am extremely excited about selling so many of these comics/jerky combos I now find myself having to order 4,000 more comics, a boatload of beef jerky, a ton of boxes, labels up the wazoo, those kooky little glue dots and a zillion of the little bags that I have to individually stuff the little jerky pieces into! When Sandy and I put together 300 units before Comic-Con it took us about a half a day TOGETHER! We now face the proposition of putting together SIX THOUSAND of these! And I can't be handling all that delicious beef jerky without frequently downing a chunk. I'm gonna be full of delicious meat.

So, thanks to Wayne and all of you who ordered "Jim's Jerky!" It'll be in the stores in December.

Did you ever laugh so hard you got a headache? Yeah, sure, many times. Did you ever laugh so hard you still had the headache the following day?! I did last week. BORAT! This guy has got stones. I can't believe he hasn't been killed by an angry mob yet.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Borat phenomenon, Borat is one of the many characters created by Sacha Baron Cohen, a comical genius who has taken the "Candid Camera" concept to the Nth degree of hilarious awkwardness! It's Candid Camera for the new millennium, full of outrageous situations where Cohen somehow manages to bring out the worst of people's prejudices, ignorances, or just flat out puts people in the most impossibly embarrassing situations you can imagine. As the character "Borat," Cohen poses as a documentary filmmaker from the backwards country of Khazakstan. He plays the ignorant 3rd-worlder perfectly, displaying pitiful naivete, outdated sexist attitudes, hilarious and often inappropriate butchering of the English language, and public displays which would get a person thrown into jail here but are seemingly commonplace where Borat hails from. All of which are, usually, awkwardly excused by the people he's playing the prank on because they assume he just doesn't know any better.

Usually!

Sometimes he takes it too far, however, and things get out of control. People lash out at him and in some cases have no choice but to subdue poor, pitiful Borat with force. Example: Borat's attempt to wed his beloved Pamela (emphasis on the middle syllable, Pa•MEL•a) Anderson by force! I have to believe that if anyone was in on any of the pranks played in this film it would have had to be Ms. Anderson. If she WASN'T?!... WOW!!!...Then this guy doesn't just have "stones" he has "Super-Stones." And, quite possibly, a deathwish!

For more Borat tune into DA ALI G SHOW on HBO, which is, in my humble opinion, even funnier than the movie. Here Cohen features three different characters, the dolt of a wannabe white gangsta hip-hopper, the uber-gay german tv host, and the beloved Borat. The show is tighter than the movie as it moves along in shorter segments.

So, yes, the HBO version is slightly better, but the scene in the movie of Borat and his producer wrestling was worth the price of admission alone...And the scene which caused my two-day headache.

Word! R

Election Over!

Well, I don't know about the rest of you--your political views and affiliations and such--whether you're happy with the results of yesterday's elections, or not, but me?...I'm just happy it's over! At the end I really found myself not caring who the hell won, or not, I just wanted the endless deluge of television ads, countless phonecalls and the extremely annoying "pop ins" at my front door to end! I was so jaded and fed up that I blasted some poor old lady at my door Tuesday morning. Before she could even open her mouth I asked, "Is this a political thing?", to which she barely managed a feeble nod in acknowledgement before I proceeded to tell her, "We've had enough...we're done...the tv ads, phonecalls, doorbell ringing!...ENOUGH." She just winced and raised her eyebrows. I felt a twinge of sorrow for blasting her and added, "Look, we're going to vote, alright...we're just sick of all of this." To which she gladly pounced, smiling, sensing my weakness, "Well, that's why we're out, just to make sure that you vote and..." to which I regretted my giving her this opening and proceeded to shut the door on her diatribe.

I also let some knucklehead on the phone have it last night...I believe his name was Darrin...I picked up, fully knowing it was yet another political do-gooder and primed to attack. Darrin introduced himself and then reminded me kindly that today was voting day. I said to the kindly Darrin with as much sarcasm as I could muster, "Really, Darrin?!...and you don't think I've been able to figure that out by now what with the thousands of tv ads, countless phonecalls and obnoxious visits to my home?" To which he gave a polite, sympathetic, chuckle and said 'He knew.' But still went on even after my sarcastic response telling me the importance of today's vote and all (they simply do not care if they are being patronized...nothing will deter them) and then I cut Darrin off just like the little old lady and told him that I already voted, he could give it a rest, and hung up.

Is this how it's going to be every election now? Each election I think it can't get any worse than the one before and then it does!

I am going to start something now, folks, and I need your help. We need to start counting. Start counting who calls more and pops in more and advertises more and then vote for the other guy or other party! I did not count who was worse this past weekend and I suspect it was pretty close (although the "pop ins" category was definitely dominated by the Democrats), but next time I'm counting! And I'm going to tell each person what I am doing. If we all do this we can end this annoying deluge of propoganda, but we must stand united!!! 'Nuff said on that subject.

You know what I found the most upsetting today? nothing having to do with the aforementioned election, no. This is something far more upsetting to me and probably to the very fabric of our reality. In case you haven't heard the news (and if you didn't you are either living in a cave or have no soul) Brittany Spears has filed for divorce from Kevin Federloser. If true love like theirs cannot survive in this universe what hope do any of us have? (insert slobbering sobs and sniffles here) I really thought these kids were special...were real, man.

I'm wondering if the review in this week's Entertainment Weekly of poor Kev's new cd had anything to do with it? They gave his effort an "F" in case you didn't know. I was shocked. I didn't get a wink of sleep last night. BTW if you go back to the previous installment of EW you can read the brilliant interview with Kev in their "20 Questions" feature. This kid is just misunderstood, man! Sure he comes across as a complete idiot. Yes. It is true. But I think that his pure idiocy is a form of rare genius. Yes I truly do.

He's so cool.

So, alas, I am devestated by the real news of today. Who cares about who's running our country when Brittany and Kevin are over. They're over...it's over (insert more sniffles and sobs here, but softer now...more resigned).

In comics news!...

I've been reading REX MUNDI for the first time and am really digging it. It was recommended by Neil over at Kowabunga Comics in the lovely Oconomowoc WI. He also plugged THE WALKING DEAD of which I'd already heard many good things but had not yet picked up. Well, I did and I dig. I groove on a good zombie story as much as the next guy and this is good zombie fun! Great art, too! What they're doing with black and white art is astounding. I think the popularity of the zombie genre (when done right, of course) is the bleak feeling it has. That sense of utter hopelessness. We can all feel the situation. It's relatable. So dig it, man. I look forward to buying more trades.

The last issue of PLANETARY was the usual coolness. Finally ended a very crucial story arc.

Also picked up the new MIDNIGHTER and latest AUTHORITY issues. Too early to say on either of these but what struck me most was the way the blurred a lot of Gene Ha's art. I didn't dig the effect. And I think Gene is one of the top ten (no pun...well, yes, pun intended) artists in the biz today! I don't know if it was his decision to experiment, or someone elses, but it takes away from his beautiful work. Me no likey.

That's enough for today. I just ended a gig inking Care Bear pics for a Care Bear Giant Coloring Book and am fairly pooped out. It was a great gig, and paid well, but we were under the gun on this job and had a tight deadline. I know many of you reading this right now are furrowing your brows and saying, "Who the hell cares about his Care Bear gig?!" But soooo many more of you out there DO CARE, alright?! And I care! And the kids care! Hey...that was a lot of usage of the word "care". Isn't that cool? I was talking about the "Care" Bears and then I started talking about people "caring"! It's really kind of cosmic in a way. Wow.

Take care (hey there it is again! Holy shit!), R

Happy Birthday To Me!

Yes, kids, today is, perhaps, our most cherished of holidays...my birthday. You're welcome. I celebrate today by just being me. It's a glorious thing being me. You know, my mother is concerned about my afterlife...she's big on religion and I was raised in a Lutheran household--went to church every Sunday, was confirmed, married in the Catholic church (my wife was raised catholic)--but these days don't find myself prescribing to any organized religions. It's just a personal thing. If you're a religious person and your religion brings you peace and comfort I am sincerely happy for you...as long as you're not bringing any personal Jihad down on any others. To each his own as long as there's not violence behind it. Peace out, man. Make love, not war. Even if you're just making love with yourself. So, anyways, back to my mom and her concern regarding my soul and its well-being. After years of badgering me about it, and my pointing out, repeatedly, that I am more "Christian" than 80% of practicing Christians without going to church-- and pointing out my personal problems with organized religions (of which I won't detail here)--I pointed out the one reason she should not worry about me at all. The big one! The reason I have a one-way ticket, straight shot right up to the pearly gates and a guaranteed seat right next to the All-Mighty (And I was shocked that she hadn't recognized this one little factoid)...I was born on November 1st, mom! Not on October 31st, the evil day!...But Novemebr 1st! Come on people! Any good catholics out there should know what that day is, right?! ALL SAINTS DAY! Straight. Shot. To. Heaven! I am all set. So, if any of you out there are concerned, fret not, I'm good. Although if you are reading this I can assume that you are already believers in the Church of Rich Koslowski and had no concerns whatsoever regarding my soul. I am "preaching to the choir" as they say (insert chuckle here).

So, my daughter, Stella, made me a great card for my birthday and then proceeded to tell me that she had a great idea what to get me for my birthday. She was extremely excited, by the way. I asked what, excited myself, and for her since she was obviously so excited. She told me she wanted to take me to Target and get me a Barbie Princess movie! She loves the Barbie CGI movies (they are pretty good for young ones). So, I smiled big and let her know that I thought that was a fantastic idea. We just got back from the store...I got 2 Barbie movies. YES! I also picked up the new Bob Dylan, Modern Times cd which is absolutely phenomenal, and the new BECK cd which I am listening to as I write this. I love Beck and this one sounds like a winner so far. Stella didn't seem to care that I was getting the cds.

On a different note...I will be doing a store signing this Friday night 5-9 at Kowabunga Comics in Oconomowoc, WI if you're in the area. And if you're not, well, then you should seriously consider flying in. It's a great shop located in one of Wiscoonsin's most beautiful settings. And I'll be there. 'Nuff said!

On another different different note...The French edition of The King is due out this month overseas! Very excited about that! So if you're fluent in french check it out. Also! The 3 Geeks, Jim's Jerky will be out soon. If you missed ordering it in the Previews catalogue ask your retailer...it might not be too late. Or it is available here on the site.

One last thing for today as I plan on chillin' for the bulk of this blessed of days. As it is my birthday and this makes me feel in a generous state of mind (and the knowledge that my soul is all good and all) I will be offering a one week long deal on any orders received on the website. I'm doing a "buy one, get one free deal!" Buy any item and receive an item of equal or lesser value for FREE!! And if you buy two items you get two freebees, three items three free, and so forth and so on. Rock on, right?! This includes original art, shirts, books, whatever. Am I a cool dude, or what? I might even be inclined to throw in a free sketch if your order is a big one. Cuz i am just that cool. AND since I am that cool I am going to go ahead and extend this one week sale to ten days. So, let's say the sale goes from today, November 1st through November 11th just to be fair. Send me your orders and we'll figure it out.

Well, that's it for this blessed of days. Go pray to me at the shrines I am sure exist in your homes. I will be hitting the hardcourt tonight for the first time this year and, yes, I will be wearing my protective eyewear (reference to basketball and an eye injury I suffered a couple years back in case you're wondering what the heck I'm talking about). Word! R

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