Rudders Chart Course to Science Fiction and Fantasy Haven

Rudderhaven Publications

Some people attend science fiction conventions to meet their favorite authors. Some go to see friends they haven't seen since the last convention. Some go to take in the sights and sounds, and some go to buy goodies not on display in regular stores.

And some people go to meet publishers, to network, to find a home for their next story. And if the wayward author is fortunate, he crosses paths with someone like Douglas Rudder, of RudderHaven Publications. That's what this author did, when attending this year's Archon 38. Here is Douglas and his family, discussing the goals of Rudderhaven Publications, and the anthology books they had currently with them -- as well as the anthologies planned for the future.


Archon 38 Keeping the Science in Science Fiction

The Robots of Archon

O'Fallon Robotics, Challenger Learning Center On Hand with Demonstrations

If your opinion of science fiction conventions is all robots and rockets... well, you're right. But it's not just fantasy costumes and panel discussions about which Doctor Who is the Doctor Who -- at least it is at Archon, the premiere science fiction convention for the St. Louis metro area, held annually in Collinsville, Illinois. Yes, your senses will be initially assaulted by a flood of steampunkers, furries, superheroes, and uber-fans. But after a few moments, you'll start to notice people who are more... oh, let's just risk it all and say "normal" clustered here and there among the crowd.

Among these islands of relative comfort, you will run into people like teenagers Dani Smith and Kaela Faragher, who represent the O'Fallon Robotics Team.


From Superheroes to Space Opera with Van Allen Plexico

Van Allen Plexico at Archon 38

I've bumped into author Van Allen Plexico at a couple of different venues we've shared, from past Archon conventions to Free Comic Book Day appearances. I even had the opportunity to co-host a panel with him at this year's Archon 38.

So it was an inevitable opportunity as well as an estimed privilege to corner him at his dealer's table this year to talk about just a few of the many books he's written, from superhero sagas like his Sentinels series to space opera and his latest science fiction venture, THE SHATTERING.

I'm still waiting for the day when Plexico collides all his worlds into one -- and issues a story about a superhero's journey through perilous outer space aliens in a quest to obtain prime tailgate space at an Auburn bowl game.



3D Printing Makes a Splash at Archon 38

3D Printed RJ Carter with HeroClix Batgirls for scale.

The concept of clicking a few buttons and having something made from nothing has been a staple of science fiction. And with the advent of 3D printing technology, we're one step closer to making one more fantasy a reality. With devices that print not only in plastic, but also metals, chocolate, and even cellular tissue, there's a bold new horizon out there waiting to be crossed.

But until we reach that point, let's have some fun with it. Representatives from EF Innovations were on hand at the Archon 38 science fiction convention in Collinsville, Illinois showing off their 3D scanning and printing techniques. It was the perfect market, with gamers on hand who couldn't resist the opportunity to create one-of-a-kind representations of their role-playing characters by dressing up, getting scanned, and being printed as a miniature or slightly-less-miniature version.


Cosplay Abounds at Archon 38

Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn at Archon 38

It's not a science fiction convention without a plethora of cosplay -- that fun time when you can let out your inner Halloween freak without it having to be Halloween. Fans from all over brought their favorite characters -- or events -- to life at the Archon 38 science fiction convention in Collinsville, IL, crowding the halls with steampunk, super heroes, monsters, princesses, and sometimes steampunk monster superhero princesses. It was imagination on display for one and all to admire (or, in some cases, cock an eyebrow).

Here is just a sampling of some of the many, many characters I ran into during my three days at the convention.

Doctor! DOCTOR! Whatever you do, don't blink until the TARDIS arrives!


Pardon Our Dust...

Thanks for coming by to visit us. We're busily sweeping up the place, buying new furniture, washing the windows, chasing out the rats, and doing everything we can to entice you to come back when we have our content up and ready. It's going to be soon.


What's Good About Cons? My Wizard World St. Louis Retrospective

I had the opportunity to go to my first ever Con. In particular, I went to the 2014 Wizard World Comic Con in St. Louis, Missouri. Hosted at the America’s Center convention center, this was to be my very first Con that I attended, and needless to say, I was completely stoked.

I went in with typical fanboy aspirations. Maybe I’d shake Lou Ferrigno’s massive hand. Perhaps I’d get to tell Burt Ward and Adam West how many hours of my life I’d lost in front of the TV at my grandparents watching old episodes of Batman. I’m not a huge fan of Dr. Who (I’ll tar and feather myself now, thanks), but I was definitely planning on meeting cult classic icon Bruce Campbell.

As I entered the cavernous space that is the America’s Center, I decided that first things needed to be first. I needed to see my good friend, the wonderfully talented Aaron Walther.


Wizard World St. Louis - April 5, 2014

Wizard World Saint Louis rolled into town yesterday and continues today thru tomorrow. I ventured into the fray this morning with plans to see as much as possible, and I was not disappointed. There is soooo much to see and do. The staff did a good job of keeping everyone organized and moving. The show appears twice as big as it was last year, this year using the floor of the Edward Jones Dome as the main area. With the huge list of artists, celebrities, vendors and events, they needed it.

Everyone from William Shatner to Matt Smith, Adam West and Burt Ward to Bruce Campbell… Every avenue of science fiction, comics, anime, cosplay and video games is represented here. I love coming to the shows to see it all.


Dr. Dina: The 4/20 411 on Medical Marijuana and Media Myths

Marijuana has been a plot device in film and television ever since the 1936 debut of "Reefer Madness" and on up through every Cheech and Chong film of the 70s.

Most recently, pot was the driving force between the multi-season Showtime series, Weeds, from Jenji Kohan. The series starred Mary-Louise Parker as the fictional Nancy Botwin, a suburban soccer mom and widow who turns to selling weed to make ends meet after the death of her husband. The adventures quickly escape suburbia and into the realm of Mexican drug cartels and DEA agents.

As fictional as Nancy Botwin is, the woman she was modeled on, known as Dr. Dina, is as real as they come. An outspoken advocate for medical marijuana as well as a force of nature, Dr. Dina spoke with The Trades to deliver "the straight dope," so to speak, on the American love/hate affair with weed.

Why is this an important issue to you, and how did that come about?


Andrew Breitbart: Walking Toward the Fire with Righteous Indignation

Andrew Breitbart

Update: March 1, 2012. At the age of 43, Andrew Breitbart has passed away of natural causes yet to be determined. It was barely less than a year ago I had the opportunity to interview the man who fearlessly confronted and challenged corruption in the government and the media.

It is with a sad and heavy heart that I update this interview with this information.

Working mostly behind the scenes, Andrew Breitbart has evolved into the face of New Media conservatism. With websites like BigGovernment and BigHollywood, and prepping a handful of other Big internet ventures, Breitbart rocketed to public attention when he rolled out James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles' video exposure of ACORN.


Nicole Weider: Countering Image Conscious with Image Conscience

Nicole Weider

Nicole Weider has a passion. A former fashion model, Weider has taken to the Internet with a message for young girls, urging them to reject the messages of promiscuity and unrealistic definitions of beauty. Through her website, Project: Inspired, Weider is not just reaching out to young teens -- she's waging a war on the top magazine in the industry: Cosmopolitan. Where most models would give their eye-teeth to be on the cover of the foundation of Kate White's masthead, Weider seeks to give the cover a different look -- from inside a plastic bag.


There have been several films in the past that follow the plot of "small town girl moves to Hollywood, discovers seedy life of vice." Movies like "Valley of the Dolls" come to mind. Did your real-life experience compare to these fictional representations?


Dr. Steve Gerali: To Save a Life

Steve Gerali

Overlapping with National Suicide Prevention Week this year is National TO SAVE A LIFE WEEK (September 6 - 12), which encourages churches, parents and teens to start the new school year looking at the issues of teen suicide, bullying, depression, body image, etc., and to start the conversation to let teens know they are not alone -- that help is available. To better understand the issues of teenage depression and suicide, we talked this week to Dr. Steve Gerali, author of What Do I Do When Teenagers are Depressed and Consider Suicide?, as well as a host of other publications focused on understanding the problems of adolescents.

As regards suicide prevention, let's open with the classic question of Cain: Are we our brothers' keepers?


Lou Scheimer: A Candid Conversation with Filmation's Founder

Lou Scheimer

I've been lucky to do a number of interviews with influential people through the course of my career. I don't do an awful lot of them, but I've done enough to generate a conversation at a dinner party, if ever I should attend one. However, there are a few interview opportunities that have come my way that exceed fortune. I haven't been lucky to talk with these people -- I've been blessed. Thurl Ravenscroft, Dan DeCarlo, Mort Walker, Stan Lee... pioneers all, and veterans of their craft who impacted the world in so many ways, some of them not always through the things for which they are most remembered.

I can now add Lou Scheimer to that list.


It's Time for Comic Books to Show Us What They're Made Of

The Texas jury was tired, eager to render a verdict and go home. The Prosecuting Attorney was making her passionate closing remarks.
"This medium," she intoned, "the medium that this obscenity is placed in, is done so in an appealing manner to children."
Obscenity? Appealing to children? What new horror was upon us?
"Comic books," she continued, " -- and I don't care what type of evidence or what type of testimony is out there -- use your rationality, use your common sense! Comic books, traditionally what we think of, are for kids!"
It was bloviating, and it was grandstanding. And it was working. Jesus Castillo was on trial for selling an adult comic book to an adult. But all the jury saw was drawings in boxes with word balloons, depicting things they'd never seen Captain Marvel Junior do back in the day when they plopped down a dime for their funnybook fix.


Thurl Ravenscroft: He's Grrrrr-eat!

Thurl Ravenscroft

Author's note, May 24, 2005: It's been less than 30 minutes since I heard the heart-rending news that Thurl Ravenscroft had just passed away at the age of 91. Many people are unfamiliar with Mr. Ravenscroft and his work. Those who have a passing acquaintance may know of some of his more famous voice acting roles.

I was privileged and honored to speak with the man a few years back and learned there was so much more to Thurl than a career behind a microphone. Actor. Singer. Veteran. Mister Ravenscroft, you will be missed. You were, indeed, great.


All I Ever Needed to Know, I Learned From Comic Books

I sat down the other day and began the process of sorting and rummaging through the comics I've amassed over my many years. It's a task I always take great pleasure in, as I invariably have to open one up every five minutes or so and once again read a favorite story. But this time, as I looked around at the boxes of four-color funny books, I began to reflect on myself as a person.

I'm not an idiot. I know what people think of someone over twelve years old who still reads comic books. I've endured many of those labels over the years:

Slow. I've a Masters Degree in Computer Science, and at last testing my IQ was measured at around 150.

Different. The definition of "normal" is still up for debate.

Geek. I treat this one is my personal badge of honor.



The Superhero Fetish

Have you done it?

Entertained impure thoughts about your favorite super character? Had masturbatory fantasies about 'doing it' with a costumed partner? Composed a story -- even if you never wrote it down -- where the superheroine is captured and subjected to debauchery; or where the superhero rescues you and then stares longingly into your eyes?

Have you done it?

Well? Have you?

It all began innocently enough. (Honest!) In an earnest attempt to keep my ear to the ground of comicdom, I found myself wandering into the world of Yahoo Groups, wherein I entered a simple query: SUPERHEROES.

I expected the bulk, if not all, of what I would get back to be fan sites and wish lists, with perhaps a few hits worth exploring.

What I didn't expect was sixty-seven entries under the heading SEX & ROMANCE -> ADULT -> FETISHES -> SUPERHEROES.


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