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National Adoption Day


Tony Bella Ana Hawaii

Tony, Bella, and Ana discovering the Pacific Ocean.

I overshot this one by a couple of days (National Adoption Day is the Saturday before Thanksgiving) but I’m still going to cite it:  November is National Adoption Month and the 21st was the official National Adoption Day.

Our family has been blessed with three siblings — I call ‘em “the terrific trio” — whom my daughter and son-in-law adopted.

Heather and Bobby had decided waaaay back when they were in high school that they wanted to adopt in addition to any biological children they might have.  After they were married and their jobs and careers had stabilized to the point where they could start having a family[1], they began the adoption process.

It took several years.  There were psychological profiles that they had to complete, training classes where they were taught what to expect and how to cope, even we grandparents-to-be were checked out and CPR certified before the state would even think of letting Heather and Bobby actually meet potential adoptees.

Once they passed that hurdle, the process of matching them up began, and it was not easy.  Heather and Bobby opted to be available to adopt two slightly older siblings instead of infants[2].

Time and again they were told of potential matches, and time and again it fell through for a variety of reasons.  Weeks became months became years.

Feeling frustrated, they were about to drop out of the process when they were told about three young children, a brother and two sisters, who were older than the age range Heather and Bobby had been considering, but who were literally on their last leg in the adoption system:  If they weren’t adopted together ASAP, family services would split them up and put the older children in foster care and the youngest would be separated off for adoption by herself.

Heather and Bobby saw the three young children’s picture and knew they were the ones.  They met them, struck off a good rapport with them, and began the adoption process.

Boy, that sounds so easy — everything was peaches and cream and the bureaucracy fairies magically sprinkled pixie dust all over everything and made the process as smooth as silk.

It wasn’t.  There were still frustrations and friction points, delays and detours.

The children were friendly but wary[3] and there was some baggage that had to be unpacked.

But, oh, those children!  How could anybody not fall in love with them?  Bella and Tony and Ana filled a hole in our hearts that we never realized was there.

And the great thing about the adoption process is this:  We are family.

Don’t get me wrong, these are not three little angels who are absolutely perfect in every way:  These are three mischievous little kids who bounce on furniture, tease each other, yell indoors, “forget” to do their homework, and sing “John Jacob Jingleheimer-Smith” at the top of their lungs on long car trips.[4]

They have their bad moments, just like any other kids.  And they have their good moments, and they have their fantastic great moments as well.

Just like any other kid given half a chance.

So that’s how I want to end this:  Soon-ok and I are delighted to have three brand new grandkids in the family.  They are no longer “adopted”, they are family, they are part of us, part of our lives, and God willing we will be part of theirs for many years to come.

Adoption is not for everyone[5] but for those who can, it’s a blessing.[6]




[1]  This is a really important point to sink in to young people.  It never hurts to make sure your relationship is solid and you have the time and energy to raise children before you start having them.  Tragically, too many young couples aren’t ready and as a result too many children enter the adoption / foster care system instead of being raised in a stable home by loving parents.

[2]  Heather did her typically meticulous research and found that siblings who were adopted together responded better to their new parents and felt more safe and secure.  Toddlers or slightly older children would have their basic toilet training and language skills so they could communicate easier with adults.  This does not mean, of course, that everybody should adopt older siblings, just that there are plenty of children out there that need parents and it’s possible to find a match that’s good for everyone.

[3]  As well they should have been.  It is not my place to tell their story, but I hope someday they feel ready to share it with the rest of the world so others can know not every situation is hopeless, not all adults are untrustworthy.

[4]  I taught them that.  Heather and Bobby have vowed revenge.

[5]  Soon-ok and I discussed it when we were Heather and Bobby’s age but realized we were not cut out to be adoptive parents.  Adoptive grandparents, yes.

[6]  And yes, not every adoption story has a happy ending.  But stories where children get adopted and become part of a new family are far more likely to have happy endings than stories where children are left in bad situations, indifferent foster care, or institutionalized.

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Ya Just Can’t Shut Me Up! Radiodrome Podcast



Josh Hadley interviews me for the Radiodrome podcast.  We cover more than just the Sunbow Productions this time around, including Thundarr The Barbarian, Dungeons & Dragons the TV show, and even the short lived Beanie & Cecil revival.

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Knowing Is Half The Battle Podcast


Knowing Is Half The Podcast photo

Had a great time recently with Gina Ippolito, Ray Stakenas, and Robert Chan doing first an overview of my work leading up to G.I. Joe for Sunbow Productions and an analysis of my episode “Lights!  Camera!  Cobra!”  This was a great experience and so much fun we didn’t realize we had run waaaaaaay over time so here it is broken into 4 parts!

Part One

Part Two

“Lights!  Camera!  Cobra!” Part One

“Lights!  Camera!  Cobra!” PartTwo

Be sure to check out all their other Knowing Is Half The Battle Podcasts and their Facebook page plus their own pages with all the cool stuff they’re doing elsewhere!

GI Joe Embrace The Absurdity


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American Cinematheque TRANSFORMERS / G.I. JOE Panels



This is my first chance to comment at length on last night’s great showing of Transformers: The Movie and G.I. Joe: The Movie at the Egyptian in Hollywood for the American Cinematheque.

First off, I want to say what an honor and a thrill it was to be invited to participate. It was great seeing so many of the old crew again, including Don Jurwich, Larry F. Houston, Neil Ross, Hank Garrett (wish you had time to tell that hilarious story from your pro wrestler days about the “wild man” you had to face once), Michael Bell, Bill Ratner, Wally Burr, and my old friend (and one of the few I’ve got left) Flint Dille.

And it was especially great to finally see G.I. Joe: The Movie the way it was intended to be shown, and in as great and as historic a venue as the Egyptian (my personal fave of the old classic Hollywood theaters).  Soon-ok will tell you it was both a proud and a humbling moment for me.

And another proud and humbling aspect were all the fans who showed up and expressed great enthusiasm for what we had done 30 some years when we were toiling away at Sunbow. Truth be told, at the time we wondered how well we would be remembered for our efforts, and I’m happy to see that we made a big impression with a lot of people that continues to this day.

My thanx to Duvien Ho, Michael Floyd, and all the other folks at both American Cinematheque and Dammaged Goods for putting this show together, and a special thanx to fans and friends like Ralph Miley, Geoff Strout, Holly Knevelbaard, Josh Burns, Diana Davis, and so many others who came out and made it so wonderful.

Here is video & audio of the panels:

pre-show panel video

intermission panel video

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TRANSFORMERS & G.I. JOE At American Cinematheque!



For those Joe and Transformer fans out there, the American Cinematheque is hosting a double feature at the Hollywood Egyptian on March 7, 2015.  Both films will be shown and sandwiched in between ‘em will be writer/story editor Flint Dille, voice actor Neil Ross, director Don Jurwich, story board director Larry Houston, writer Don Glut, and yrs trly to talk about the films and the other series produced by Sunbow in the mid-80s.

Anything we can’t remember, we’ll make up…

The fun starts at 7:30, tickets are $11 (but only $7 if you’re an American Cinematheque member, so why doncha join?), and the Egyptian (my personal favorite of the classic Hollywood movie palaces) is located at 6712 Hollywood Boulevard, between Las Palmas and McCadden, just east of Highland Avenue in Hollywood.

Don’t make us come looking for you!

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Who Can Defeat Killah Priest & The Mighty Wu-Tang Clan?


Josh Hadley, that’s who.

Josh interviewed me earlier this year for his podcast, but a funny thing happened when he uploaded it.

He used an audio sample from Visionaries, one of the series I wrote for oh so many moons ago, as part of his intro to the interview.

Seems Killah Priest, a Wu-Tang Clan affiliate, has also sampled the same segment from Visionaries for one of his recordings, and his label has ‘bots crawling the ‘webs, looking for anybody who may have ripped them off.

Basically, they told SoundCloud to take down Josh’s Radiodrome podcast for copyright infringement!

Ha!  It’s going to take more than mere ‘bots to stop Josh or shut me up!

Vic Prezio - magnus brobot brawl

Listen to me blather on here.

Magnus, Robot Fighter brawl by Vic Prezio

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KING KIRBY: a play by Fred Van Lente & Crystal Skillman


“The Midtown Comics Podcast has teamed up the husband and wife team of comic book writer Fred Van Lente and playwright Crystal Skillman to present their play, King Kirby. King Kirby was performed for a live audience this summer, but now it’s presented to you in audio format for the first time for free!”

Jack Kirby is my nameBrief review based on my personal knowledge of Jack:

Hits several (but not all) keynotes in Jack’s long and illustrious career as well as several (but again, far from all) of the most prominent abuses shoveled on him directly and indirectly by the comics industry.  Based on my first hand experience with them, gives an adequate but not altogether thorough idea of what Jack and Roz were like, and what Stan Lee is like; I wouldn’t say this is a grievous fault since it’s hard to sum up the wonderful complexity of any human being in just an hour’s time, much less four people (Joe Simon is the 4th major role in the piece; I have no first hand knowledge of him).


The actors cast in the roles (Steven Rattazi and Amy Lee Pearsall) remind me of Jack and Roz as opposed to sounding like Jack and Roz, but they’re fine performers and their interpretations of Jack and Roz’ personalities are nice tributes to their memories (Nat Cassidy as Stan Lee comes much closer, but that’s because there is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to sound bytes by Stan).

The complexities of the various business deals and legal conflicts that marked both Jack’s personal career and the comics industry as a whole are streamlined but at least presented with enough detail to make the issues understandable to audiences unfamiliar with them.

In short:  I really, really enjoyed this and recommend it highly to everyone.

Jack Kirby and his creations

Thanx to Midtown Comics for staging and recording this live reading of comic book writer Fred Van Lente and playwright Crystal Skillman’s play:  When in Manhattan go visit Midtown Comics — it’s a helluva great store!

And a special thanx to Tom Spurgeon’s
The Comics Reporter for the tip off.

And yeah, I know some people are going to say the Spider-Man depicted here is Steve Ditko’s design; nonetheless, Jack took the first swing at designing the character and passed the job on to Ditko because he was so busy with other books.

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Pooh & Fancy


Steve Gerber at work

Those were the names of the late great Steve Gerber’s two pit bulls:  As nice and as sweet and as gentle a pair of animals as you could hope to meet.

Steve took them in as full grown dogs when he found them abandoned in a park (Pooh) and on the street (Fancy).   He gave them food to eat, a warm dry place to stay, plenty of exercise, and love by the bushel full.

They were, and remained until their passing, pit bulls:  If you petted them it felt like petting a coil of steel wire wrapped in industrial carpet.  If you were within swinging room when Fancy wagged her tail, it felt like somebody was slapping you on the leg with a rubber hose.

Big dogs.  Strong dogs.

And despite their breed’s reputation, two of the loveliest, nicest animals I have ever known.

Now, all animals have the potential of being dangerous, and pit bulls by their size and strength need a little extra precaution, and I certainly won’t tell anybody who has ever had a negative experience with a pit bull that’s they’re wrong in their feelings.


Pooh and Fancy were never treated with anything less that love and affection and kindness in Steve’s stewardship.  They reciprocated in turn:  Lovely, friendly animals who were always happy to see a friend of Steve’s drop in.  In all the time I knew them I never saw them acting aggressively, never heard them growl (they could bark — oy, how they could bark! — but that was usually from excitement and happiness).

I bring this up because of the nasty reputation the pit bull has (who was the comedian who said pit bulls were the dog for people too lazy to load a revolver?).  We hear stories of children and elderly people being killed by pit bulls, of adults being attacked seemingly without provocation.

Even the nicest tempered animal can lash out at someone who teases or torments it beyond endurance, and far too often young children don’t realize the dangers of antagonizing an animal, especially one as big as they are armed with strong jaws and sharp teeth.

But in the overwhelming majority of stories I’ve read on pit bull attacks and bitings, there always seems to be an element of human neglect and abuse involved:  The owner never properly trained the animal, often keeping it chained up or locked in a tiny yard, showing it no affection, teaching it to fear the owner but not to refrain from attacking other humans.

Nobody knows Pooh and Fancy’s histories;
as I said, Steve found them abandoned.

But because Steve showed them love, they responded with love.  And because Steve neither feared nor hated anyone in his circle of acquaintances, neither did Pooh nor Fancy fear or hate anybody them came in contact with.

I bring this up because of Michael Brown and Tamir Rice and literally hundreds of other young African-American men and women who have been killed by frightened citizens and overzealous cops.

It would be insulting to apply as simplistic an analogy as Pooh and Fancy to the problem of race relations in America, but there is something there we can learn from, a kernel of wisdom, as it were.  And just as African-Americans most explicitly are not animals nor are they obliged to be owned and control by others, there is none the less a reasonable lesson we can learn from Steve Gerber’s dogs.

When you treat people — and animals — the way you would like to be treated, they tend to treat you that way in return.

When you approach a citizen on the street and treat him in a suspicious and denigrating manner, you cannot feign surprise when you receive resistance and hostility in return.

“But they’re n[egroe]s!” some will say.  “They’re not like us!  They’re not law abiding citizens, they’re demonic animals who charged loaded guns and rape people and smoke dope and crank out babies that they expect white people to pay for!”


And if Steve had treated Pooh and Fancy with rubber hoses,
how do you think they would have acted to any other human?

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On The Convention Trail…



I’ll be at the Dallas / Fort Worth GI Joe and Action Figure Show 2014 in Grapevine, Texas on Oct. 4 & 5 tap-dancing like a Nicholas brother discussing*my involvement with G.I. Joe, Transformers, Thundarr The Barbarian, and a host of other questions about my career in animation / comics / videos games.**




*  Now that the statute of limitations is up…

** Besides the obvious one of “Who would hire you in the first place?”


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I Blather On And On…



Alex, Andrew, Sam, and Steve over at Nerdversity 101 asked me a few questions regarding Thundarr, classic G.I. Joe, and my upcoming Kindle Worlds G.I. Joe project “The Most Dangerous Man In The World” based on the infamous “lost” Joe TV episode.

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