Mike retired from a 35-year newspaper career in 2002, his last position as publisher of the Newton Daily News in Newton, Iowa. Now he spends his time writing books, screenplays and giving speeches.
He is the author of 32 books, including the biography of Iowa’s Terry Branstad, the longest-serving governor in American history, until recently the U.S. Ambassador to China.
One of his novels – Lowell Park -- is about Ronald Reagan as a lifeguard in Lowell Park in the summer of 1932 and has been floating around the Hollywood scene for over a decade. He also has a screenplay called “The Grappler” in Hollywood.
Mike has been the featured speaker at over 100 events – including athletic banquets, civic meetings, and American Legion Boys State and high school assemblies.
He has appeared on numerous TV shows --- including for ESPN, A&E, Fox Sports, Iowa Public Television and the popular morning show, Fox and Friends. He has been the guest on over 200 radio talk shows and dozens of podcasts.
As a writer, he has met and interviewed such people as Ronald Reagan, Muhammad Ali, Robert Redford, four movie Tarzans and many other stars of movies and sports. He has hosted four Dum Dum events, which is the annual meeting of Edgar Rice Burroughs fans.
He is considered by many the nation’s top authority on the history of wrestling. He has been named National Wrestling Writer of the Year five times and is a member of 11 halls of fame.
In 1998, he created the International Wrestling Institute and Museum, which was located in Newton for ten years before moving to Waterloo in 2008. He served as its executive director until retiring in October, 2009. He also created WIN (Wrestling Insider Newsmagazine), the WIN Memorabilia show and the Dan Hodge Trophy, called “the Heisman Trophy of wrestling”.
As an athlete, Mike participated in wrestling, judo, sombo (submission wrestling) and bench press contests.
ANTHONY TOLLIN began his professional comics career in 1973 at Warren (as assistant editor of VAMPIRELLA, EERIE and FAMOUS MONSTERS) and also worked for Tony Isabella at Marvel before beginning his 20-year career at DC Comics the following year. After serving as DC's head proofreader and a staff artist, Tollin became assistant production manager-color coordinator, overseeing all color work and reproduction at DC. In 1981, Anthony went freelance as a colorist under exclusive contract and over the next dozen years colored half the DC covers and such legendary series as SUPERMAN, GREEN LANTERN, CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS, AMBUSH BUG, INFINITY INC., WARLORD, THE SHADOW STRIKES, DOC SAVAGE, FLASH GORDON and THE PHANTOM, while also co-coloring the BATMAN and NEW TEEN TITANS titles with his late wife, Adrienne Roy. Tollin also colored MICKEY MOUSE and DONALD DUCK for Disney Comics and NATIONAL LAMPOON's Sunday newspaper parody, co-authored THE SHADOW SCRAPBOOK with creator Walter Gibson, and authored over 70 old-time radio historical books for the Smithsonian Institution and Radio Spirits, while also scripting the WHEN RADIO WAS syndicated series (hosted by Stan Freberg), broadcasting histories narrated by Walter Cronkite and serving as historical consultant of MARTIAN MANIA, hosted by AVATAR's James Cameron. More recently, Tollin was editor-publisher of Sanctum Books' classic pulp reprints of THE SHADOW, DOC SAVAGE, THE SPIDER, BLACK BAT and other classic pulp characters.
J. David Spurlock
J. David Spurlock is one of America's most acclaimed comics historians. Spurlock is an award-winning author, historian, educator, creator rights advocate, documentary filmmaker and associate to star talents Steranko, Joe Kubert, Carmine Infantino, Julius Schwartz, Wally Wood, Joe Simon, Frazetta, Basil Gogos, Neal Adams, Stan Lee and many more. Spurlock befriended Jack Kirby and his wife Roz, in 1977 and remained friends with the Kirbys the rest of their lives.
Spurlock's 2020 book Fantastic Paintings of Frazetta is Amazon's #1 "Hot New Release" for Individual Artists. His book How to Draw Chiller Monsters, for Random House, rose as high as #18 on the Bookspan best-seller list. Spurlock's IPPY Award-winning book, Alluring Art of Margaret Brundage, has been universally acclaimed including by MTV and by the Village Voice who proclaimed it one of The Best of 2013. Spurlock's work was so instrumental in expanding knowledge and interest into Brundage that, The Hugo Awards presented Spurlock with a Brundage-related Hugo award. In addition to the many books he has authored, Spurlock has contributed to various pop-culture magazines including The Jack Kirby Collector, Comic Book Marketplace, Comic Book Artist, Alter Ego and, the Comic-Con International Souvenir Book which has over 100,000 readers.
In 2012, Spurlock was appointed Director of the Wallace Wood Estate. Wood is the Hugo Award recognized illustrator of Galaxy and Planet Stories as well as the Eisner Hall of Fame co-creator of MAD, Mars Attacks, Daredevil and Weird Science. Spurlock is the World's leading historian on Wood. His many Wood-related projects included the Eisner, Locus and Hugo Award nominated biography Wally's World with co-author Steve Starger. The collaborations of Jack Kirby and Wallace Wood is a subject of Spurlock's writing which has been published in English, French, Portuguese, German and Spanish.
A sampling of Spurlock's speaking engagements include: Various San Diego Comic-Con Jack Kirby-related panels from 1996 through 2018 (so far); 2013 WorldCon (various lecture panels including on Robert E. Howard, Copyright Law, and on Margaret Brundage); various appearances with Stan Lee (including Dragon Con live audience of 4,600 plus TV); the Famous Monsters of Filmland convention in Indianapolis (with Basil Gogos, Harry Knowles and Bela Lugosi Jr); multiple Frank Frazetta panels at the San Diego Comic-Con; Rutgers School of Law; and University of the Arts in Philadelphia; etc. In 2011, Spurlock joined Arlen Schumer, Rand Hoppe of The Jack Kirby Museum, John Morrow and Michael Bonesteel of The Art Institute of Chicago on the New York Comic-Con panel, The Auteur Theory of Comics. In 1998, Spurlock orchestrated the Master Storytelling panel featuring Will Eisner, Jim Steranko and Neal Adams for the San Diego Comics Expo. Circa 2006, Spurlock orchestrated a similar panel with Jim Lee, Neal Adams and Steranko for New York Comic-Con.
Philanthropy: Spurlock has founded multiple scholarship funds at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. He has lectured worldwide on Pop Culture and Creator Rights and has taught at the university level since 1986 including at The University of Texas, The Kubert School, The School of Visual Arts, Rutgers School of Law, and The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Contributor and/or consultant to art exhibitions include: the 2012 Allentown Art Museum exhibition, At The Edge: Art of the Fantastic; guest curator for major exhibits at Geppi's GEM Museum, The Society of Illustrators, National Arts Club, Scope during Art Basil Miami and more. Joe Kubert, J. David Spurlock and Dr Rafael Medoff spearheaded a campaign on behalf of Holocaust survivor Dina Babbitt to get her art returned to her from Auschwitz. Neal Adams, Stan Lee, Joe Simon and Jim Steranko were just a few of the notables who joined the campaign via Spurlock. The Babbitt Campaign led to the founding of Comics Creators for Holocaust Education by Dr Medoff and Spurlock as well as other projects including the Adams-Medoff-related book We Spoke Out. The Society of Illustrators (Dallas) President Emeritus and creator rights advocate Spurlock, also serves in an advisory capacity to various organizations including The Inkwell Awards (ambassador) and The Visual Arts Foundation.
Film and TV credits include: Frazetta Painting With Fire; STARZ network's Comicbooks Unbound; Free@Last TV's 2005 documentary, The Batman Story, for BBC Five; directing BBC-star Jonathan Ross in an interview of Jim Steranko; serving as a consultant to Morgan Spurlock on the documentary, Comic Con Episode Four: A Fan's Hope; an on-screen interview for a 2013 documentary on Daredevil; Irwin Hasen The Movie, and the PBS documentary, Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle. Spurlock appeared on the Frazetta episode of Strange Inheritance and is working on various documentary on artists including Gene Colan, Jim Steranko, Carmine Infantino and Wally Wood.
Acclaim: Spurlock's works have been lauded by the Rondo Awards, The New York Times, IPPY Awards, Entertainment Weekly, Eisner Awards, National Public Radio, Time Out New York, Library Journal. Publishers Weekly, the Hugo Awards, The Village Voice, Locus Awards, The Society of Illustrators, and MTV.
We are proud to welcome back Buddy Saunders from MyComicShop.com this year! Saunders started out in the world of fanzines. As part of the "Texas Trio" (with Larry Herndon and Howard Keltner) Saunders published the fanzine Star-Studded Comics from 1963–1972. It featured early work by George R. R. Martin, Grass Green, Jim Starlin, Roy Thomas, Sam Grainger, Alan Weiss, Dave Cockrum, Mike Vosburg, Biljo White, and Keltner, among others, and featured the early appearances of Dr. Weird, Xal-Kor, Wildman and The Eye. Saunders' cover for its second issue won an Alley Award in the amateur division in 1963. In addition, during this period Saunders was a regular contributor (as an artist) to the seminal comic book fanzine Rocket's Blast Comicollector.
Saunders operated his own mail order service starting in 1961. He owned and operated Lone Star Comics, a chain of seven Texas comic book stores founded in 1977. With the sale of the Lone Star comic book store chain in 2013, Mr. Saunders and his family now operate the online Lone Star Comics, www.mycomicshop.com.
As a writer, he co-authored A Voice and Bitter Weeping with Howard Waldrop, later expanded into the 1974 novel The Texas-Israeli War: 1999, as well as Time and Variance, with Waldrop and Steven Utley. Saunders' story "Back to the Stone Age'" was nominated for a Nebula Award for Best Short Storyin 1976. Saunders' recent work includes two novels based on the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs: The Martian Legion (2014) and Tarzan and the Cannibal King (2017).
Buddy will be previewing our upcoming OAF Legends statue, and there will be a reading selection from his upcoming book. He will also be buying collections on the exhibit floor. We want to also thank him for sponsoring the show!