Convention Stuff

Allen Bellman and Gil Gerard at the Alabama Phoenix Festival


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Two very respected figures in the geek/nerd world were at the Alabama Phoenix Festival this year!  I first want to talk about Allen Bellman!  Allen Bellman is an experienced comic book animator and he worked for Timely Comics starting on Columbus Day 1942!

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Allen Bellman did backgrounds for Syd Shores’ Captain America.  He also worked on The Patriot, The Destroyer, The Human Torch, Jap Buster Johnson and Jet Dixon of the Space Squadron, All Winners Comics, Marvel Mystery, Sub Mariner Comics, Young Allies and many more!  Back then, there were two rooms in comic book offices.  There was an animators room and an illustrators room.  Allen talked about the time he was invited to see Captain America: The First Avenger in 2011.  It makes sense because he worked on the comic book.  He said the movie was very good and was happy for the respect.

Allen was drawn to the comic book industry and he loved what he did.  Many of the guys he worked with back then are not around today and several are in poor health.  Back then, the people working on the comic books were respected and had lots of kindness.  Allen worked on his own crime feature called Let’s Play Detective.  He also contributed to pre-Code horror, crime, war and western tales for Atlas Comics.  Allen Bellman worked in the comics field until the early 1950’s; then he worked with the The South Florida Sun-Sentinel in the art department until he retired.

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Did you know that Allen Bellman is also an experienced photographer?  His photos have won several nationwide photography contests and his photos have appeared in art exhibits, books, and magazines.  As you should know, Disney bought Marvel and this struck a nerve with Allen Bellman.  He said he was not happy seeing Disney buying Marvel.  He respects the good job Marvel does and he hopes Disney will not mess things up.  As he says, “hats off to them.”

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For anyone reading comic books, Allen hopes you will respect the work of the animators.  He hopes you admire the artists work and you continue to read comic books!  Allen Bellman now tours the country at several cons and has been married for 51 years!  Not bad!  To learn more about Allen Bellman go to: http://allenbellman.com/

Now to talk about Gil Gerard!  Gil Gerard is most famous for playing Buck Rogers on the TV show Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.  Buck Rogers lasted for two seasons on NBC and did you know that each episode costed up to $1.5 million to make?  The show wanted to manage the concept of staying on Earth in the 25th century.  Gil Gerard said the show was not as rich as it could have been and was disappointing.

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Special effects on the show was very interesting.  Many people and models were used to make Buck Rogers.  Very little computer graphics were used on the show.  Gil Gerard was proud of the team that worked on the show as everyone worked as a team.  One part of the show involved the military.  Gerard has flown four supersonic jets and he wanted the show to honor the military.  Many of the props and costumes in the show were used from Battlestar Galactica, which was still in production at the same time the pilot film for Buck Rogers was made.

The second season of the show was delayed because of a writer’s strike and it began filming late.  Gil Gerard said he never liked the second season.  The second season had brand new producers, many new characters, and the plot was from aboard the ship The Searcher.  Yes, this does sound like Star Trek which Gil Gerard finds interesting.  Sadly, NBC cancelled the series and no final storyline was ever produced.  That might change soon as fans are wanting a final storyline to be made and put on YouTube.  Kickstarter anyone?

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Some fans are hoping Buck Rogers will make a come back.  And Gil Gerard hopes it does well!  Gerard would come back to play the role of Buck Rogers if the script was good.  And here was an interesting question, who would you want to play Buck Rogers?  Gil Gerard’s answer, Nathan Fillion from Firefly!  I do think Buck Rogers in the 25th Century deserves a proper finale.  Hopefully Gil Gerard will play his iconic role one last time!

One thing Gil Gerard appeared on that should surprise you is the show Action Hero Makeover on the Discovery Health Channel.  Yes, Gil Gerard did struggle with weight problems like many people do today.  Gerard struggled with his weight for 40 years and underwent life-saving mini-gastric bypass surgery.  During the Alabama Phoenix Festival, he looked great in my opinion!

To learn more about Gil Gerard go to: http://www.gilgerard.com

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