Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Fantasticon photo gallery 3: KISSin' time

TOLEDO — And last but not least, you wanted the best, you got the best, the hottest band in the world — KISS!

That's right; even though this weekend's two-day Fantasticon in Toledo was a comic book convention, there were some fans dressed as my favorite rock band, KISS. And as I've said before, comics and KISS are two things I've loved for a looooong time!

War Machine is always good for a photo op!
From left are Brian Ford as Paul Stanley, Jim Alex (Ace Frehley),
Lou Ryan (Peter Criss) and Tim Cerda (Gene Simmons).
War Machine, self-advertised as Detroit's premier KISS tribute band, performed at Fantasticon. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see them play, but they were super nice as I hung out with them and had several pics taken with them Sunday.

This is the last of three photo galleries I've posted about Fantasticon. In the first one, I posted pics of fans dressed as Gandalf and there was even an underage Deadpool. Fans got their dark side on in the second Fantasticon gallery, in which there are photos of "Star Wars" and Batman baddies. Plus comic book afficianado Jamie Stewart and I spent some time with Toledo author and "Batman" TV series advocate Jim Beard.

When I saw this couple dressed as Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley ...
The War Machine members weren't the only fans dressed as KISS. There was a couple from Adrian, Mich. dressed as Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons. So naturally, I had to get my picture taken with them too!

I chatted a bit with Tim Cerda as Gene Simmons, whom I told how impressed I was with the demon makeup he did.

Cerda joked how he got lucky, but said often his hand can get shaky when he's applying it. A painter by day, he said he feels exactly like Superman when he's dressed as Simmons, but he knows by the next day it's back to being Clark Kent.

"... just like the real Gene Simmons says," I added.
... of course I had to get my picture taken with them!

Brian Ford (Paul Stanley) also was quite personable -- and like the Starchild, a ham in front of the camera.

I shared with him how I'd seen the tribute band Cold Gin in the late 1990s in Richmond, Va. and how "their" Stanley thought he was the you-know-what with a bit too much of a diva attitude. This guy also had absolutely no hair on his chest -- unlike Stanley who seems to need to comb his chest hair at times. Ford said he's considered wearing a rug-like piece like Austin Powers just to get a laugh.

A nearby fan nicely took my picture with the full War Machine gang. It turned out OK, but I wanted a close-up. When I found Cerda and Ford at the table later, they were more than happy to redo the picture. That says a lot about these guys and the way handle fans!

Artist Tony Miello's painting of KISS' Paul Stanley
was the first thing I saw as I walked into the artist alley Sunday
at the Grand Plaze Hotel and Convention Center in Toledo.
Also at Fantasticon was artist Tony Miello, who did a series of close-up paintings known as "the Faces of KISS."

Miello, who also does DC and Marvel characters, did one painting each of the original KISS members plus the late Eric Carr.

Each painting had a hint of the color from each of the founding members' 1978 solo albums. Miello said he used studio shots, candids or concert photos to choose which face to paint. Very impressive stuff!

Back to War Machine one more time.

Clowning around with War Machine. (See what I did there?)
As Jamie and I were chatting with Jim Beard about his contributions to a series of impressive hardcover/tabletop books covering each decade of the comic book industry, I noticed this guy dressed in a really wild -- not to mention loud! -- clown suit talking to War Machine.

Naturally, this was too great of an opportunity not to grab a photo. My first was a candid shot, but Ford was behind the War Machine table on his smartphone. Never one to pass up a "photo op," he quickly joined his bandmates for a pic with the dude in the clown suit. Naturally, they hammed it up for the camera.
Since when did KISS tribute bands make a clown their fifth member?
And Brian Ford, you're missing a photo op, dude!

 War Machine bandmates Brian Ford (as Paul Stanley) and Tim Cerda
(Gene Simmons) pose like pros. Cerda's demon makeup was nothing
short of spot-on from Simmons' 1977-'78 LOVE GUN look --
and just as impressive in person.
The members of War Machine were genrous with their time
and creative with their poses Sunday at the Fantasticon in Toledo.
And patient with me! LOL
War Machine -- I can't wait to hear them in concert one day. If their time with me is any indication, their shows should be

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