Archive for Local News

Rare vintage comic books ruined by water turned into art

1424524569974BRANDON, FLComic book store owner William Insignares recently discovered several of his pricey vintage comics were ruined by water.

“It still makes me sick,” said Insignares, who owns Blockbuster Comics in Brandon has been going over his list full of comics, some of which are rare, that were ruined by water and mold at his store.

The water damage ruined big ticket items in the shop like a 1956 Superman Volume 1 #109, valued at around $950, and a signed, now irreplaceable issue of Crisis of Infinite Earths.

“[That] one was special because the late Dick Giordano signed it for me,” he said.

Insignares looked for inspiration in his heroes of pulp and turned his tragedy into triumph. His plan is to now preserve these valuable comics for all to see.

“I thought, why not take these valuable pages, beautiful comic art and preserve it forever,” he said.

William teamed up with Seriously Fun, LLC to redecorate, starting with the front door.

“What we are going to do is take some of the comic books and fuse them to the front door using a proprietary modge-podge method we use, that way they can be immortalized for life,” said David Noll, co-owner of Seriously Fun, LLC.

The door covered with rare comics is expected to be completed by March.

You can track their progress by checking out their Facebook page.

Komic Kreators of Mid-Hudson Valley Showcases Local Artists

SpideyPoughkeepsie, NY – Komic Kreators of the Mid-Hudson Valley features the work of Hudson Valley artists who can be found in The Amazing Spider-Man Sunday comic strip, Brenda Starr, Dick Tracy, Thor, The Avengers and the work of Liza Donnelly, cartoonist for New Yorker magazine.

Fred Hembeck of Wappingers Falls, whose work includes drawing and writing storylines for The Amazing Spider-Man is looking forward to seeing his work featured in the show and expanding his audience.

“It will be people who aren’t necessarily steeped in the whole comic book thing,” Hembeck said. “This will give them a new appreciation for the amount of effort that goes into making this art.”

41819768001_4053586236001_trim-F9155C46-F84B-41D6-98AE-D27CBFEEA6EC-vsSpecial events set to be held in conjunction with the show include, “The Genesis of a Comic Image/Strip” Feb. 21 and “Women in Komics” on Feb. 28. “Women in Komics” will focus on the evolving role of women featured in comics and comic book-based movies as well as women who create comics.

“When you do this kind of work, you’re pretty much on your own most of the time,” Hembeck said. “And you kind of know that people read the stuff and enjoy it, but you don’t really witness it. It’s nice to have people see it in person and maybe say a few good things about it.”

For more information check

Marvel Universe LIVE!

Marvel Universe Live aims to captivate audiences with an original story that brings more than 25 Marvel characters together on one epic quest.  The story is framed around the battle over the Cosmic Cube, the source of ultimate power and one of the most feared and coveted treasures in the Marvel Universe. Shattered into pieces by the Mighty Thor in order to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands, Thor’s evil brother Loki devises a scheme to clone its powers, inciting a threat that could not only decimate Earth but also obliterate the Universe.

Marvel has teamed up with the producers of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus to produce a live arena show featuring Marvel characters July 10-13 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Produced by circus masters Feld Entertainment, this first-ever live Marvel tour makes its 85-city debut in Tampa, with special effects, pyrotechnics, aerial stunts, martial arts and motorcycles and favorite Marvel characters like Spider-Man, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Nick Fury, Falcon and S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents.

Pre-order tickets to the new Marvel Universe Live! show and get a free comic book

To celebrate this monumental event, Marvel is releasing a free “prequel” comic book to those who pre-order tickets. The story, created by Marvel’s Frank Tieri (Iron Man, Wolverine), will center on Lectro Link, a wearable tech invention (available as a collectible in the gift shop) that provides a remote power source for the Iron Man suit. The free comic book will be available to those who pre-order tickets by June 1.

For more information on tickets and tour dates click here.


Free Comic Book Day – May 3

black_widow_fcbd_editOne of the biggest events in the comic book industry, Free Comic Book Day (FCBD), is taking place on Saturday May 3rd, at participating comic book specialty shops across the U.S., Canada, and worldwide! 2014’s event will offer 60 free comics for new and devoted comics fans to discover, while exploring what other treasures their local comic shop has to offer.

Celebrating its thirteenth year, FCBD has been an industry-wide success in promoting the reading of comics and is one of the reasons behind the comic industry’s recent resurgence. The Free Comic Book Day Committee picked a listing of Gold and Silver sponsors whose comic books include titles that are great for kids and adults.  This year’s roster of books include titles for everyone’s tastes with Teen Titans Go!, Archie, The Simpsons, Hello Kitty, Hellboy, Guardians of the Galaxy, Grimm Fairy Tales, Transformers, and more. Complete descriptions of all 60 FCBD titles, along with four-to-six page previews can be found online now at

earthworld_supergirl_supermanComic shops will pass out comics for free on May 3rd, and host community events such as costume contests, drawings by guest artists, creator signings, raffles, door prizes, photos with costumed characters, and other community building activities throughout the day.  Every comic shop celebrates FCBD in their own unique way and fans have an opportunity to see their local comic shop’s personality and thriving community of pop-culture enthusiasts on display.

“Free Comic Book Day gives new and devoted comic book, entertainment, and pop-culture fans the opportunity to get great titles for free, while participating in fun and interactive comic shop events,” said Free Comic Book Day Spokesperson Dan Manser. “One of the best parts about Free Comic Book Day is discovering that you are a part of a giant community of like-minded fans who love the same stories, TV shows, and movies that you do. The comic shop is really a great place to meet your new best friends and discover the stories that will entertain you and enrich your life.”

For more FBCD news and updates, go to

Become a fan on Facebook at

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ALA Report: School Libraries are Under Fire

ALA logoThe American Library Association [ALA] released its State of American Libraries report. While recent data from the Pew Research Center shows American public libraries remain overwhelmingly popular, it also features a sobering warning: libraries face an alarming budget climate, especially school libraries, which have been devastated by budget cuts nationwide.

“School libraries continue to feel the combined pressures of recession-driven financial tightening and federal neglect,” ALA officials note, “and school libraries in some districts and some states still face elimination or de-professionalization of their programs.”

The report also cites a report from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released in August, 2013, which shows that school library spending on books and audiovisual materials has decreased by an average of 10.5% from 2007–2008 to 2010–2011. Recent headlines also suggest that public schools continued to struggle in 2013 with the impact of funding cuts, and for public school libraries.

Some examples the report states:

▪   The Sarasota County (Fla.) School District eliminated all high school and middle school library media specialists for the 2013–2014 school year.

▪   Also in Florida, the Marion County Public Schools cut 15 of its 30 elementary-school librarian positions for 2013–2014.

▪   New York State mandates that middle and high schools of certain sizes have certified librarians, but enforcement is difficult, and the New York City Department of Education has requested permission to offer fewer librarians in schools, citing funding challenges and technology changes. Librarians are not required in New York elementary schools.

▪   Recent data from the California Department of Education confirm the ratio of school library media specialists to students to be about 1:7,000.

“On one hand, budget and testing pressures have led to decisions to eliminate or de-professionalize school libraries,” writes Barbara K. Stripling, ALA president. “On the other hand, the increased emphasis on college and career readiness and the integration of technology have opened an unprecedented door to school librarian leadership.”

Other key trends detailed in the 2014 State of America’s Libraries Report:

▪   More and more public libraries are turning to the use of web technologies.

▪   The economic downturn is continuing at most institutions of higher learning, and academic librarians are working to transform programs and services by re-purposing space and redeploying staff in the digital resources environment.

▪   President Obama signed a $1.1 trillion spending bill in January that will fund the federal government through September and partially restore funding to the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), the primary source of annual funding for libraries in the federal budget, that were dramatically cut in the 2013 fiscal year under sequestration.

The full report, which includes the popular annual list of “the most challenged books” in the nation can be found here.

‘Golden Age’ comic artist Allen Bellman Speaks at Exhibition


Taramac, FL – Allen Bellman, 89, was born in Manhattan and studied at the High School of Industrial Arts. While still a teenager, he became a staff artist at Timely during the Golden Age of comics. He did the backgrounds for Syd Shores’ Captain America in 1942, and worked on titles such as: The Patriot, The Destroyer, The Human Torch, All Winners Comics, Marvel Mystery, Sub Mariner Comics, and Young just to name a few. MarvelComics5

On Friday, Dec. 27, Bellman will share more stories of his career as a comic book artist at the Young At Art Museum in Davie, FL as part of a celebration on the “Golden Age of Comics.”

Bellman’s lecture is part of the exhibition, Zap! Pow! Bam! The Superhero: The Golden Age of Comic Books, 1938-1950, featured through Jan. 5, 2014.

Zap! Pow! Bam! highlights many works of art and objects gathered from private and institutional collections that have not been previously seen.

As part of the exhibition, there is a vintage Superman phone booth, a pint-sized Batmobile, a superhero cinema and drawing studio, a costume area, video interviews with authors and illustrators, rare comic books, early artwork and original memorabilia.

“All my fans keep me young,” Bellman said. “They keep me out of the rocking chair. I have eight conventions lined up for 2014, including the Marvel Comics 75 -Year Celebration in San Diego (July 2014), which will be the biggest convention in history.”

For more information on Allen Bellman, visit

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